Written by Jasper County Historical Society, July 2019
The Foundation donated a large selection of items related to Rensselaer physician Dr. Cecil Emerson Johnson. Included are a huge medical book, several pieces of medical equipment plus a wide variety of other items. From this collection we are learning more about his life. The highlights listed here were gleaned from a death announcement in the Rensselaer Republican and various items in the collection.
Dr. Johnson was a native of Iowa and graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Medicine. He arrived here in 1912 after completing his internship at Michael Reese Hospital. A certificate of thanks for 24 months of service at Michael Reese Hospital is included in the new materials. He established his Rensselaer offices after completing this internship and remained until his death on August 2, 1959 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lafayette. His vehicle overturned 6 days earlier on Route 53 south of Wolcott and he never regained consciousness.
On June 29, 1916 Dr. Johnson signed an Oath for Commissioned Officers of the National Guard. He served with the guards at the Mexican border in 1916.
During WWI he served with the British Expeditionary Forces in the Somme Defensive, the Somme Offensive, the Second Battle of the Marne, and the Siege of Soisons where he received shrapnel wounds to his right thigh and abdomen. He held the rank of Major at the time of his discharge. His notes on types of gas attacks are included in the collection.
He served as an associate to Dr. I. M Washburn at the Washburn-Johnson Clinic on E. Harrison St. Upon the retirement of Dr. Washburn, the clinic became known as the Johnson Clinic. Johnson would later ask Dr. Paul Williams to become his associate.
From 1919 to 1959, Dr. Johnson served as Saint Joseph’s College Physician.
In 1931 he became a Medical Examiner for the United Mutual Life Insurance Company.
In 1945 he served as Acting Local Surgeon for the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway.
In the late forties, he served for 4 years on the administration of Indiana’s Selective Service System.
In 1953 he had box seats to the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon. His inauguration invitation and tickets are included in the collection.