JOHNSON INSTITUTE. Johnson Institute, a private secondary school founded in 1852 by Professor Thomas Jefferson Johnson, was located on Bear Creek near the site of present-day Driftwood, thirty miles north of San Marcos in Hays County. The original facilities, log buildings built with the assistance of students, were replaced in 1868 by a solidly built, two-story, ten-room, limestone structure, which served as boardinghouse and school headquarters. A coeducational student body drawn from the neighboring area included several hundred day and boarding students. Johnson died in 1868, and his family kept the school open until 1872. Johnson, his wife, and various family members and slaves are buried in the institute cemetery.
Walter Prescott Webb bought the property in 1942 and leased it to Rodney Kidd, director of the University Interscholastic League in 1947 for use as a boy's camp named Friday Mountain Ranch. Roy Bedichek took a sabbatical leave from his duties at the University of Texas and spent the year 1947 at the ranch, where he wrote Adventures of a Texas Naturalist in the institute building. Webb sold the property to Kidd in 1963, and the Friday Mountain camp was operated by Kidd and his family until 1984; during Kidd's ownership the institute building and cemetery were maintained in excellent repair. The property was subsequently purchased by the International Society of Divine Love for religious purposes. The society made such extensive alterations to the institute building that the Texas Historical Commission voted in 1992 to revoke its 1964 Recorded Texas Historic Landmark designation.
Robb Burlage, "Johnson Institute-Future Unlimited," Junior Historian, January 1955. Willie Kemp, "Bear Creek and Friday Mountain," Frontier Times, March 1970. San Antonio Express-News, November 29, 1992. T. U. Taylor, "Johnson Institute," Frontier Times, February 1941. Tula Townsend Wyatt, Historical Markers in Hays County (San Marcos, Texas: Hays County Historical Commission, 1977).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.William S. Osborn, "JOHNSON INSTITUTE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbj09), accessed February 08, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history everyday,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles