Born near Honea Path in Anderson County, Olin D. Johnston (1896-1965) attended local schools, the Textile Industry Institute at Spartanburg, and Wofford College. While in school, Johnston worked in the cotton mills. During WWI, Johnston enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a Sergeant with the American Expeditionary Forces. After being discharged from the military in 1919, Johnston returned to Wofford College, from which he graduated in 1921. He went on to receive a law degree in 1924 from the University of South Carolina. After being admitted to the bar, Johnston began a law practice in Spartanburg, and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1923 and again in 1927. As a legislator, he gave major attention to labor problems in the state. In 1934 he was elected governor. During his administration, liquor control, social security, and workmen's compensation laws were enacted. A state Department of Labor and a State Aeronautics Commission were created and a Rural Electrification Authority was set up. Johnston was a major spokesman for the "little man" and the worker. He supported Roosevelt and his New Deal policies. Johnston was elected governor for another term in 1942, but resigned in January 1945 after having been elected to the U.S. Senate. He served in the Senate until his death in 1965. Senator Johnston is pictured here with Senator J. Strom Thurmond in a photograph published in the Columbia "State" on September 23, 1955.
Courtesy of "The State" newspaper.