William Ransom Johnson lived near here at Oakland. Called the “Napoleon of the Turf,” he dominated American horseracing early in the 19th century. He trained more than 20 champions and achieved national fame from the 30 North-South match races held at Long Island’s Union Track, 1823–1834. The most famous, American Eclipse vs. Sir Henry in 1823, drew more than 60,000 spectators and was the nation’s first major sports event. After Johnson’s Henry lost two of three heats, several bettors lost fortunes. Johnson represented first Petersburg and then Chesterfield County in the Virginia legislature,1818–1837. He died in Mobile, Alabama.
Year On Marker: 2007
Original Sponsor: Pegram Johnson
Geographic Location: Chesterfield County
Physical Description of Location: Southeast corner of the intersection of River Road (State Route 602) and Cedar Creek Road, Chesterfield Court House, VA 23838.
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