Born: Aug. 2, 1825
Died: Aug. 31, 1872
Known for: California's governor when The Bee launched its first edition in 1857, J. Neely Johnson became the state's youngest leader after taking office at age 30.
Background: An Indiana native, Johnson moved to Sacramento in 1849 and became an attorney. He then served as Sacramento's city attorney, and was re-elected in 1851. Johnson became a state assemblyman in 1852 before being elected the state's fourth governor in 1855. He represented the new American Party, better known as the Know-Nothings. During his term, California's first railroad was completed and the first wagon road was accessible over the Sierra Nevada. Johnson served one term as governor, and in 1867 was appointed to the bench of the Nevada Supreme Court.
A highlight: J. Neely Johnson Park at 11th and F streets in Sacramento was named for the former governor. The Greek Revival style J. Neely Johnson House -- one of the city's oldest homes -- stands at 1029 F St.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.