Richard P. Johnson was born in 1838 in New York, the son of Andrew (d. 1842) and Catherine A. (Penny).
Richard’s parents were married in December of 1834 in New York city. The family left New York State and eventually settling in western Michigan. By 1850 Richard was living with the Michael Cromiger or Croniger family in Cascade, Kent County and attending school with one of the Cromiger children (although curiously his place of birth is listed as unknown). By 1860 Richard was working as a farm laborer and living at the Western Exchange Hotel in Cascade, which was operated by Daniel Cromiger (who had lived next door to Michael Cromiger in 1850). Shortly before the war broke out Richard joined the Valley City Guard, a prewar Grand Rapids’ militia company many of whose members would form the nucleus for Company A.
Richard was 23 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861.
He was killed in action on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, reportedly by an exploding shell, and was buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave no. 2965 (or old 2).
In June of 1863 his mother was living in Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio when she applied for and received a pension (no. 16873).