Robert Hogg Johnson

No. 13064 Robert Hogg Johnson

Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Robert H Johnson 70 Shepton Street, 346th Infantry Co L 87 Division as a runner.

Robert Hogg Johnson.  Written by Camille Arbogast.

Robert Hogg Johnson was born at 39 Robinson Street, in the Meeting House Hill section of Dorchester, on September 15, 1892. His parents, Mabel and Wells H. Johnson, were both from New Hampshire; Wells was a lawyer and stenographer. In the 1880s, he was the private secretary of New Hampshire Senator Edward Rollins, and spent two seasons in Washington, D.C with the Senator. Wells later had a long career as a stenographer in the Suffolk Superior Court. Prior to her marriage, Mabel worked as a housekeeper in Boscawen, New Hampshire. They were married in 1891, in Boston, by Reverend Samuel E. Herrick of the Mount Vernon Church in Pemberton Square.

Robert had three younger sisters, Ruth, Rita, and Mildred. In 1900, the family lived at 118 Lonsdale Street in the Ashmont section of Dorchester. By 1910, they had moved a couple of blocks away to 70 Shepton Street. During the 1913-1914 school year, Robert was a special student at Boston University. On his World War I draft registration he gave his profession as actor. His listed the “Bostock Brothers” theatrical agency of Times Square, New York, run by Claude and Gordon Bostock, as his employers.

Robert was drafted and inducted into the army on June 25, 1918. He initially served with Company E of the 346th Infantry of the 87th Division. He joined Company L of the 346th shortly before shipping overseas on the USS Stephen Castle on August 26. He was made a Private First Class on October 7. In December, he began serving with the 302nd Infantry Military Police Company. He was promoted to Corporal on July 5, 1919; a few days later, on July 12, he became a Sergeant. Robert returned to the United States in September 1919, sailing from Brest on the USS Mount Vernon as part of Brest Casual Company #4719. He arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was demobilized at Camp Devens in Shirley and Ayer, Massachusetts on September 25.

He returned to live at 70 Shepton Street with his family, working as a bookkeeper in an office. His sister Ruth was a private secretary; Rita was an artist. Youngest sister Mildred was still in school. In March 1920, their father, Wells Johnson, died. Reverend Jason Noble Pierce of the Second Church in Dorchester officiated at his funeral.

The family moved to 25 Wheatland Avenue; directories in the 1920s indicate Robert was living there as well; he worked in a restaurant. When his mother died in April 1928, her funeral was held at the house. The 1928 Boston directory reports Mabel’s death and shows Robert still living at 25 Wheatland Avenue, now working as an artist. By 1929, Robert is no longer listed in the Boston directory. After this time, the details known about Robert’s life are sparse.

Robert relocated to New York City. He is probably the Robert Johnson found on the 1940 census residing on Manhattan Avenue and working as a ticket taker at a theatre. According to his World War II draft registration, he worked at the Lido Theatre, a movie theatre in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood. He listed as his contact Louis Goidel of Brooklyn, possibly the Louis Goidel who managed the Hamilton Theatre, a movie theatre on Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn. In 1942, Robert was living at 8 West 101st Street. At the time this biography was written, we are not able to confirm any further details about the rest of his life or when he died.


Birth Record, New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts;

Marriage Record for Wells and Mabel Johnson, New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915;

“Dorchester District,” Boston Globe, 10 March 1920; 6

1900, 1910, 1920, 1940 Federal Census;

Boston University, The Year Book 1913-1914, Boston, MA, 1913, via google books

World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration;

Compiled Service Records. World War I. Carded Records. Records of the Military Division of the Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts National Guard.

Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938 & Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943, National Archives, Washington, D.C.;The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.;

Boston City Directories,

“Deaths,” Boston Globe, 7 April 1928; 20

Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, National Archives and Records Administration;

“More Letters of Thanks from ‘Movie’ Managers,” The Standard Union, Brooklyn, NY, 8 July 1923; 30



Posted on

April 5, 2022

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.