William Johnson's Diary: Presidential election 1840

From: Natchez National Historical Park (Facebook)

Voting begins today, Nov. 2, in the 1840 presidential election and Johnson is very disappointed that his barbershop is not busier. At day's end, 649 votes has been cast. The barber notes in his diary that crowds had followed a giant ball - the Tumble Bug Ball - through the city. It appears that one of the effective methods of arousing party enthusiasm among Whig voters was the rolling of a gigantic ball from town to town. The Natchez Free Trader reported: "The election...went off in the most peaceable and orderly manner; no fights and an abundance of good feeling." The next day, Johnson noted in his diary that someone had stolen the great ball, demolished it and rolled it down the Bluff.

Since the William Johnson House at Natchez National Historical Park is currently closed, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with our social media followers some daily excerpts from Mr. Johnson's diaries. Louisiana State University first published Johnson's diaries in 1951 as William Johnson’s Natchez: The Ante-Bellum Diary of a Free Negro, on the 100th anniversary of his death. The original diaries, which include his pen and ink illustrations, have been digitized and may be viewed online at https://www.lib.lsu.edu/


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