Olin D. Johnston

Olin D. Johnston

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Olin D. Johnston

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Olin DeWitt Talmadge Johnston (November 18, 1896 April 18, 1965) was a Democratic Party politician from the U.S. State of South Carolina. He served as the 98th Governor of South Carolina, 1935–1939 and 1943–1945, and represented the state in the United States Senate from 1945 until his death in 1965.

Early Life, Military Involvement, and Politics

Johnston was born near Honea Path, South Carolina in Anderson County. Johnston enrolled in the Textile Industrial Institute, now Spartanburg Methodist College in 1913 and graduated in just over a year. He entered Wofford College in 1915, but his studies were interrupted by service in the United States Army during World War I. He served as a sergeant in the 42nd Division, the Rainbow Division, in France. After the war Johnston returned to Wofford, graduating in 1921. He attended law school at the University of South Carolina and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1923, representing Anderson County for one term. He was elected to the same body in 1927 as a representative from Spartanburg County and served for two terms. As a young legislator, Johnston was an advocate of the state's textile mill workers, and his major accomplishment was shepherding a law that required mill owners to install sewers in mill villages.

Johnston made his first campaign for governor in 1930, and led the slate of candidates in the primary, but lost by around 1,000 votes in the runoff election. Undeterred by...
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