Thomas Johnson was born in Calvert County, Maryland, on his father’s lands near the mouth of St. Leonard’s Creek. He was the son of Thomas and Dorcas Sedgwick Johnson and the grandson of Thomas Johnson, barrister, who was the first of the line to reside in Maryland, having fled there after running away with a chancery ward. All of these Johnsons were descendants of Sir James Johnson of Yarmouth, Norfolk-shire, a favorite of Queen Anne. Governor Thomas Johnson was educated at home and in the Annapolis law chambers of Stephen Bordley. Though his father was a cautious man (a member of the Provincial Assembly, 1725-1732) and his Johnson ancestors enemies of Cromwell, young Thomas was a strong Whig from the beginning of his political career, being first elected to the Assembly from Anne Arundel County in 1762. He was opposed to privileges for placemen, the Fee Bill, the Stamp Act and the Tea Act from the time they were first mentioned, despite the favor that he might have won through greater docility.
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