Andrew Johnson, Architect [1844-1921]
Andrew Johnson [†] was born in Sweden in 1844, the son of Anna Persdotter and Johns Persson. While studying architecture at Uppsala University, he won an important design competition and was awarded a trip to America. After his arrival in New York City in 1865 and his marriage the following year, Johnson decided to make the United States his home. He soon traveled to Chicago where he was granted a contract by the Illinois Central Railroad to construct several depots along the company's rapidly expanding rail network in the South. By the 1870s the Illinois Central Railroad was becoming a major factor in the economy of Mississippi, and Johnson soon settled in Sardis (MS) near the center of the state's rejuvenating cotton production, an important source of business for the railroad.
Research has not yet uncovered information on the railroad depots Andrew Johnson constructed, but among the significant buildings he designed in Sardis are the Ballentine-Seay House (1870) the Johnson-Tate Cottage (1873), and St. John's Catholic Church (1872) in Como. Possibly his finest public building was the Second Empire First Sardis courthouse (ca. 1878), which unfortunately has burned.
† Judith D. H. Holland, Short's Hill, Sardis, Panola County, MS, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.