Richard Mentor Johnson (October 17, 1780 or 1781[a]November 19, 1850) was the ninth Vice President of the United States, serving in the administration of Martin Van Buren. He was the only vice-president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment. Johnson also represented Kentucky in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and began and ended his political career in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

As his constituency grew, his interracial relationship with a mulatto slave named Julia Chinn was more widely criticized, damaging to his political ambition. Unlike other leaders who had relationships with their slaves, Johnson was open about his relationship with Chinn, and regarded her as his common law wife. He freely claimed the two daughters he had with Chinn as his own, much to the consternation of some in his constituency.

Chinn and Johnson were parents of two daughters whom Johnson acknowledged, educated, and insisted be accepted in society. It was well known that the girls sat at the same table “with the most honorable of his white guests.” The girls were Adeline, born October 13, 1804, and Imogen, born February 17, 1812. Legally, they were African Americans and Johnson’s slave property.

Johnson maintained a school for Indian youth o­n his estate. The teacher, James Y. Henderson, who, like Johnson, believed in educating blacks, came regularly to the house to teach the girls and the household slaves to read the Bible. Their mother, Julia Chinn, was literate; we know of letters she wrote to Johnson. When she died of cholera in 1833, Johnson took o­n a series of mulatto mistresses.

Invited o­ne year to deliver a Fourth of July oration, Johnson sent his daughters to the pavilion where the white ladies were seated. The ladies forced them to move. An angry Johnson rushed through his speech, picked up his daughters, and quickly departed.

Both girls married white men and were deeded sections of their father’s land. Imogen married Daniel Pence, with whom she had six children. Imogen and her husband received real estate at North Elkhorn. Adeline married Thomas Scott and they were deeded Blue Spring Farm.

The relationship was a major factor in the 1829 election that cost him his seat in the Senate, but his district returned him to the House the following year.

Johnson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1806. He became allied with fellow Kentuckian Henry Clay as a member of the War Hawks faction that favored war with Britain in 1812. At the outset of the War of 1812, Johnson was commissioned a colonel in the army. He and his brother James served under William Henry Harrison in Upper Canada. Wikepedia.

Johnson participated in the Battle of the Thames where he commanded as a Colonel under William Harrison and some maintain that he personally killed the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (who also had a twin brother), one of the most powerful chieftans in the northern hemisphere who attempted to assemble a confederation of tribes to resist white settlement into the center of the North American continent, in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. When the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, Tecumseh took his followers and joined the British. He was appointed an officer, and participated in several battles, including the capture of Detroit. a fact he later used to his political advantage. (sources: Wikepedia, abouthistory.com,

Following the war, Johnson returned to the House of Representatives, and was elevated to the Senate in 1819 to fill the seat vacated by John J. Crittenden, who resigned to become Attorney General.