Edward Bryant (E.B.) Johnson

Edward Bryant (E. B.) Johnson [1] (Oct. 1, 1863 – Dec. 25, 1935) was the eldest son of Montford T. Johnson. He spent his youth as an Indian Territory Chickasaw cowboy who went on to study business and engineering. As Montford Johnson’s son, E.B. was present for many of the important events in his father’s life, including the establishment of new ranches, the negotiations at Fort Marion and the major changes to ranching due to Oklahoma statehood [2, p. 87].

After Montford Johnson's first wife, Mary Elizabeth Campbell, died in 1880, he married Addie Campbell and moved northeast of present Minco, Oklahoma, and he lived there until his death Feb. 17, 1896. He left 12 children from the two marriages. E. B. Johnson consolidated their property into three ranches after the Dawes Commission allotments. He also expanded the family's cattle operations into the Texas Panhandle. The Johnson businesses continued to thrive until the 1980s when they were dissolved into individual holdings [3].

The early life of E. B. Johnson was spent in the different localities where his father had his business and ranching interests, living at Johnsonville until 1878. He attended the local schools, an academy in Indian Territory, was a student at Cane Hill College in Arkansas, and completed the junior year at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute of New York, where he pursued a course in civil engineering. However, his life has been identified primarily with the livestock and business interests of Indian Territory and Oklahoma [4].


It is said that E.B. Johnson dogged his father’s heels from the time he could walk and ride. By age 12, he was a skilled, seasoned cowhand.

E B. Johnson received a basic education at Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory, where he also witnessed the Plains Indian Wars firsthand, and he also attended various Chickasaw Nation schools. He later was a student at the School of Civil Engineering of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in New York City [2, pp. 153-154]. His mother died before he traveled to New York. He returned home when his father remarried and at the wedding met his future wife, Mollie Graham. E.B. Johnson also returned home each summer and worked as a cowboy, but came home to stay in 1884 after his father told him in a letter that his health was failing, and he needed his son to take over his affairs [2, p. 263].

Photo courtesy of the family of Montford Johnson

[1] Edward Bryant Johnson is portrayed by Callan Wilson in the Chickasaw Nation Productions film “Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher.” C. M. Relations, "The Chickasaw Rancher," Chickasaw Nation, [Online]. Available: http://www.chickasawrancher.com/Cast/Callan-Wilson.aspx. [Accessed 25 10 2021.

[2] N. R. Johnson, The Chickasaw Rancher, Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2001.

[3] C. N. Kingsley, "Johnson, Montford T," Oklahoma Historical Society, [Online]. Available: https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=JO012 . [Accessed 2 9 2021].

[4] Rootsweb, "Edward Bryant Johnson," Rootsweb, [Online]. Available: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~oktttp/history/volume_4/edward_b_johnson.htm. [Accessed 2 9 2021].