New York State Wanderings: William Johnson House – The Mohawk Valley

After visiting Fort Johnson, I headed north on Hwy 67 to Johnstown.  It was about 8 miles. I was on schedule so I didn’t have to rush and was able to find the Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown, New York.

http://nysparks.com/historic-sites/10/details.aspx

In Johnstown I turned right onto Hwy 29 and it was about 1.5 miles to the park. At Pearl St. you turn to the right into the park.  There is a very huge statue out front so it is not hard to miss.

There is plenty of parking up near the house. This includes a video of the house:  http://historystarproductions.com/blog/a-visit-the-home-of-sir-william-johnson-johnson-hall/

Announcement Sign

Announcement Sign

Johnson House

Johnson House – front

Johnson House the back area

Johnson House the back area

The tour starts over in the left block house where they have a bookstore.  Apparently they do them on the 1/2 hour and the docent was determined to wait till 1 pm.

Once again, I was impressed, Sir William Johnson liked big houses.  We started in the basement and viewed the kitchen and butlers quarters. The main area of the house had about 4 rooms. The hallway was wide and the stairs were also wide.  Each room was carefully decorated and quite large. There were two more floors to investigate.  According to the docent, Sr. William was sick during a conference he was having in the house and died.  That must have been a very sad day.  He died in 1774 and just missed the Revolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Johnson,_1st_Baronet

I was unaware that Sir William Johnson had a lot of land, I knew he had some which he rented to tenants but I did not realize that he was extremely wealthy.  I also was not aware that he earned his fortune in the fur trade.  Because of his service in the French and Indian War he was given the barony of New York and that was a hereditary title. He was very powerful and very privileged.  His wife Molly Brant or rather second wife was rather powerful herself.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Brant   I asked the docent if he knew the six tribes of the Six Nation and much to my delight he did and he listed them right off, the six Iroquois nations:  Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. He was very excited because they had a reenactment that past weekend and they were cleaning up the straw on the lawn.

I purchased a book:  “Liberty’s Exiles,” by Maya Jasanoff as recommended by the docent at Fort Johnson.  They had sold their last copy.  I will see if it is of value.

Once again I have only touched the surface of the history of a place and there is more that could be learned about this man, his family and his life.   There was more to explore on the property but I was exhausted and headed for my lodging on Hwy 29 in Gloversville.  This scene reminds me of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Johnstown, NY

Johnstown, NY

Update June 6, 2015: Sir William Johnson’s son Sir John Johnson lead a large group of Loyalists to Canada and many were of Scottish descent, having settled on lands of the Johnsons in the Mohawk Valley.  This is why I visited this area to see where these Scottish settlers came and lived.

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Ireland & England, Johnstown, Mohawk Valley, Scotland, Trip to Ontario & Canada 2014 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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