Herbert Johnson

Image of Special Agent Herbert Johnson
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
May 21, 1934
Location of Death: 
Philadelphia, PA
Picture of US Treasury Department IRS Investigator badge

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agent Herbert Johnson was involved in the investigation of a major Philadelphia bootlegger.  In late 1932, while installing a wire tap on the bootlegger's business telephone, he became distracted and concerned when he heard nearby noises and fell from the telephone pole, seriously injuring his spine.  Assistant Special Agent in Charge Warren Heddens, who was with Agent Johnson, immediately rushed him to the local hospital.  Approximately 18 months later, Agent Johnson died from his injuries.


Agent Johnson joined the Bureau of Prohibition on August 7, 1929.  He had an excellent reputation and worked on many of the famous criminal prohibition cases of the era, including a three-month undercover assignment on the "Mendelsohn case."  He was considered an innovative and outstanding agent.  Prior to become a Prohibition Agent, he played professional baseball on Maryland's Eastern Shore and reportedly played with legendary Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox.  Agent Johnson was a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, where he was a three star athlete (baseball, football and boxing).


Agent Johnson was survived by his wife, Alma (née Murphy).

Associated Artifacts: 
Image of Certificate of Death for Herbert Johnson
Image of newspaer article with headline: Prohibition Agent Near Death From His Wounds
Image from The Seattle Daily Times, headline: Deputies, Dries Fights; 3 Shot
Image of work related paper for Herbert Johnson
Image of Inside ATF, dated March 1999, with article headline: Medals of Honor Awarded 70 Years After "Dry Law" Agents Deaths
Image of Inside ATF, June 1999, article titled: Medals of Honor Pay Tribute to Slain Agents, Family Vindicated
Last Reviewed September 25, 2015