Born in Stratford, Connecticut, on October 7, 1727, Johnson was already a prominent figure before the American Revolution. The son of Samuel Johnson, a well-known Anglican clergyman and later president of King's (Columbia) College, Johnson received his primary education at home. He then graduated from Yale College in 1744, going on to receive a master's degree from his alma mater in 1747 (as well as an honorary degree from Harvard the same year). Although his father urged him to enter the clergy, Johnson decided instead to pursue a legal career. Self-educated in the law, he quickly developed an important clientele and established business connections extending beyond the boundaries of his native colony. He also held a commission in the Connecticut colonial militia for over 20 years, rising to the rank of colonel, and he served in the lower house of the Connecticut Legislature (1761 and 1765) and in the upper house (1766 and 1771–75). He was a member as well of the colony's Supreme Court (1772–74).
Read more about this topic: William Samuel Johnson
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