Johnson, Francis "Frank"

Francis "Frank" Johnson (1792-1844)

Composer, bandleader, and bugle player in the antebellum United States.

Former Home Address:  536 Pine Street

(See place marker no. 13 on map)


After gaining early experience in a black military band during the War of 1812, Frank Johnson built a reputation during the 1800s as a composer, band leader, fiddler, bugler, French horn player, and orchestra director. His musical ability so impressed General Lafayette during a performance at Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Theatre in 1825 that the general sponsored a European tour for him. It was during the tour that Johnson was invited to play for Queen Victoria, who presented him with a silver bugle after his performance. When he died, the bugle was buried with him.

(From: Blockson, Charles L. Philadelphia's Guide: African-American State Historical Markers. Philadelphia: Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection / William Penn Foundation, 1992.)