JOHNSON, Clarence Alexander, business executive, was born in Rowan County, N. C., Sept. 1, 1876, son of Caleb Webb and Mary Elizabeth (Dixon) Johnson.  His father was a farmer.  Having attended a rural school near Cleveland, N. C., Clarence A. Johnson completed his education at the Norfolk (Va.) Business College.  In 1892 he moved to Tarboro, N. C., where he became secretary to Frank S. Royster (q.v.), founder of the F. S. Royster Guano Company of North Carolina.  When the headquarters of this company were moved to Norfolk and it became the F. S. Royster Guano Company of Virginia, he remained in Tarboro as secretary and treasurer of the original Royster plant, which business in 1898 became the F. S. Royster Mercantile Co., manufacturer and retail outlet for guano.  He was elected president and treasurer of the Consumer’s Cotton Oil Co., organized in 1902 for the manufacture of cotton oil products, and in 1914 he formed a company known as the Tarboro Gin Co., and served as its president and treasurer until his death.  In 1913 he was one of a group that built tobacco warehouses for the sale of tobacco in Tarboro and organized the Tarboro Tobacco Co. for the purpose of redrying tobacco.  He had a number of other business interests in Tarboro: he was president of the Farmers Banking & Trust Co., Pamlico Savings & Trust Co., Edgecombe Homestead & Loan Association, vice-president and a director of the Carolina Telephone & Telegraph Co., and secretary-treasurer and a director of the Cotton Belt Land Co. and a director of the Hart and Fountain cotton mills.  He was also chairman of the board of directors of the Clinchfield Manufacturing Co., Marion, N. C., and the Savage (Md.) Manufacturing Co., and vice-president and director of the North Carolina Joint Stock Land Bank of Durham.  Outside of business, he served as chairman of the Edgecombe County Board of Education from 1911 to 1920, as chairman of the Board of Public Works during 1933-40, and as sinking fund commissioner for the Town of Tarboro, the county Board of Education and the Tarboro Fire Department.  Active in civic affairs, he was appointed to the North Carolina State Welfare Board in 1935.  He was elected a director of the North Carolina Rehabilitation Corp., in 1938, and was president of the Cavalier Highway at the time of his death.  Johnson was a past president of the North Carolina Cotton Seed Crushers Association and the North Carolina Cotton Ginners Association, and he was elected to the National Cotton Council in 1933; he was a director of the Merchants Association and Chamber of Commerce of Tarboro and a member of the Kiwanis Club.  His religious affiliation was with the Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church, Tarboro, of which he was a trustee and chairman of the board of deacons.  In 1939 he built the Johnson Memorial Presbyterian Church at Bethel, N. C.  Politically he was a Democrat.  His favorite recreation was fishing.  Johnson was married in Tarboro, June 15, 1898, to Cora Lee, daughter of Robert Cotton Brown of that place, a merchant, and had a daughter Anne Elizabeth, who married Samuel Anderson McConkey.  His death occurred in Norfolk, Va., Apr. 3, 1941.

Transcription from the book, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, volume XXXIX, published in 1897, page 271, found on the website, Hathitrust Digital Library (, accessed 13 February 2021.  

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