William B. Johnson

William B Johnson

William B. Johnson began his career in the military, enlisting in an Iowa battalion of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He was part of General Sherman’s March to the Sea and was wounded twice. He continued his army career when the war ended, serving as a scout and wagon master.

Captain Johnson left the military to become a deputy U.S. Marshal in Indian Territory and later a sheriff in both Wheeler and Valley Counties, Nebraska. In Osceola, Iowa, north of Kansas, he was under-sheriff and a city marshal. In 1887, he arrived in California, working as a detective in Los Angeles and dealing in real estate.

In 1892, Johnson moved east and, in 1893, was elected the Riverside County’s second sheriff. Two years later, he moved to Riverside and took the office of the city’s first chief of police.