1833年，杨顺受美国公理会差会派遣，前往暹罗曼谷，向当地来自福建省的华人移民传教，学会福建方言。1846年，他前往中国福州传教，1847年1月2日到达福州，为抵达该市的第一位新教传教士。但是他发现福州方言与他在曼谷学到的方言大为不同。他先在中洲租屋居住，他认为这是一个富有潜力的传教中心，建议美国公理会差会迅速增援力量。几个月后曾经在暹罗同工的弼利民（Lyman Birt Peet）夫妇来到福州与他会合。
- The Missionary herald: Volume 36 - Page 24 美国公理会差会 1840 "Stephen Johnson, born Griswold Ct.; graduated AC 1827, Auburn 1832;...."
- 仓山区志. [2009-07-07]. （原始内容存档于2011-07-07）.
- Handbook of Christianity in China: 1800 to the Present - Page 155 N. Standaert, R. G. Tiedemann - 2009 "The American Board would also see its ranks and its presence in China expand during this first treaty port period. ... In 1847 Stephen Johnson 詹思文(1803–1886) entered the city. He had been one of the ABCFM missionaries who had worked ..."
- Obituary record Amherst College - 1874 (correct?) "STEPHEN JOHNSON, the son of Stephen and Lydia (Larued) Johnson . After his return home he preached as his health would permit until 1862, when he removed to Gouverneur, New York, where he engaged in gardening, and there resided until his death, which was occasioned by the fracture of one of his legs,"