Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Michigan Wolverine named Farnham Johnson. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Farnham James Johnson was born on this date in 1924 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was an excellent athlete who played football at Wisconsin before coming to Ann Arbor as part of the Navy’s World War II training program.
According to the Bentley Historical Library Team Roster files, Farnham Johnson played one season at Michigan. He is listed on the 1943 Football Roster as an End (6 feet and 188 pounds) who was in the Marine training program. Johnson did not earn any starts during the 1943 season, but he did play often enough and well enough to earn a varsity letter from Coach Fritz Crisler.
Michigan won eight out of nine games in 1943 and finished the Big Ten with a perfect record of 6-0-0. They tied for the championship with Purdue. It was a very good year for the Wolverines and Fritz Crisler finally had a Big Ten title under his belt.
So, Farnham Johnson was in the right place at the right time as far as his football career was concerned. He only played one season for the Wolverines, but he made it count! He was part of some interesting “firsts” during his time at Michigan. Here are the best ones I could find for Mr. Johnson:
- Farnham Johnson played in the first, and only, game in Michigan Football History against Camp Grant in 1943. The Wolverines won the game by a score of 26-0.
- Johnson was on the first Michigan team to play a number one rated team in 1943. Michigan was ranked #2 and the game was in Ann Arbor, but Notre Dame was better that day. They left town with a 12-35 win over the Wolverines.
- Johnson played on Fritz Crisler’s first Big Ten Co-Championship team in 1943.
Like most men of his era, Farnham Johnson went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He rose to the rank first lieutenant. After the war, he even got back in shape to play some professional football. Thank God for men like Farnham Johnson and the other members of America’s “Greatest Generation.”
So, the 94th birth anniversary of Farnham Johnson is a good time to celebrate the memory of another Michigan Man who contributed to the long and rich history that is Michigan football. Johnson, and his teammates, contributed eight wins and a conference championship to the winningest team in college football history. He died on December 12, 2001 at seventy-seven years of age. May Farnham Johnson always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!