From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Johnson, James Bartlett

(born: 1830  -  died: 1900) 

James Bartlett Johnson, born in Taylor County, KY, was enslaved, but his wife Mary A. Buchanan had been free since she was three-years old. The family was separated in 1856 when Johnson was sold to a Louisiana plantation. While there, Johnson began preaching and organized a church where he preached to the enslaved.

Johnson escaped and joined the Union Army in 1861, serving for three years. When discharged he made his way to Kentucky, where he found his wife and child after having been separated from them for nine years. The family moved to Louisville, KY, where Johnson was ordained a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church and became a member of the Kentucky Conference. He was called into service in Springfield, KY and Lebanon, KY.

While Johnson was in Lebanon, the church was burned to the ground and the members left because of the split between the AMEZ Church and Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. The Springfield and Lebanon churches and congregations were later restored under one circuit.

Bishop Johnson served in several other churches and was a respected leader of the AMEZ Church. He died in Louisville on September 9, 1900 [source: Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Taylor County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Washington County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Marion County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Read about Springfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lebanon, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Johnson, James Bartlett,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 27, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-05-26 02:14:01