Historic Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

A couple of Saturdays ago, my sweet husband and I drove about an hour north to the small city of Johnstown. We had never been before, but the lure of a city-wide garage sale proved very compelling.
 
I knew it claimed a pre-Revolution era (1763) stately home as well, and hoped we’d have time to visit. We did. (Note: These photographs were taken with my iPhone 5s, and the quality of indoor shots reflects that.)
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

Sir William Johnson, an Irish immigrant and nephew of English Admiral, Sir Peter Warren, built Johnson Hall in 1763. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was the home he shared with his second common-law wife, Molly Brant, a Mohawk, and their eight children.

His relationship with the Mohawk and other Native American tribes, eventually led to his appointment as British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies. His house and courtyard were often filled with his Native American guests and Mohawk friends, who called him, “A Man Who Undertakes Great Things.”

Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

He built two block houses as defenses on either side of the manor, which he eventually used to house his many slaves and servants.
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

Because of his successes during the French and Indian War, Johnson was conferred the British title of Baronet. He was the first American to be made an English peer. Above is the original document, issued by King George II in 1756. It entitled him to use “Sir” before his name.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
The blue parlor contains a portrait of Sir William, surrounded by many of the type of Native American artifacts he would have acquired through the years.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
Just a few of the furnishings are original to the house, the rest are period replacements or period reproductions (as is the wall paper).
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

Living on the edge of Native American territory put him and his family in a somewhat dangerous position, even given his high status among the Mohawk. This rack of guns, along with another matching set, flank the front door.

Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
The white parlor, across from the blue parlor, is shown ready to receive guests.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
The original floors are wonderfully worn and smooth.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
Sir William apparently conducted work from his bedroom on the first floor.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
I love the wall paper in his room.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
We took the wonderful, original staircase, up to the second floor.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

As we climbed the stairs, the docent told us about the numerous wedge-shaped cuts found on the banisters, made by angry Native Americans or American rebels at the start of the Revolutionary War. By the time of the Revolution, Sir William had died and his son, Sir John, owned the home and property. Because of the family’s loyalist position, the patriots seized it all and the family fled to Canada.

Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
One of the upstairs guest rooms.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
The lock to the attic door.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
The staircase leading to the attic.
 
Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

From the attic, we made our way down to the cellar, where all of the cooking for the house would have been accomplished. I love the rustic appearance, including the walk-in fire place and large butter churn.

Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)
 
And all of the crockery.
 
 
 
I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as we did!
 
139 Hall Avenue
Johnstown, NY 12095
518-762-8712
 
Open Th-Sa (10-5) & Su (1-5)
May 15th — October 13th
$4.00 admission

 

Bye for now,

scan of Diana signature

Johnson Hall, Johnstown (NY)

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. HI Diana, What a great day trip and tour of this historical place. Thank you for sharing.
    Enjoy the pics and the history!
    CM

  2. I love old homes like this. Makes me want to live in that time period….but only for the d├ęcor and dress!!

  3. Hi Diana,
    You always have a remarkable eye for vintage and/or historical items and places of interest!
    I really enjoy your blog and finds, also every blog that you choose as a person of interest is always spot on and someone else for me to follow. I tend to give things at thrift or consignment
    places a second or third look, thanks to you!
    now

  4. i LOVE HISTORIC PLACES. IN ARCATA, CA I LOVED THE DRIVING TOUR OF THE HISTORIC HOMES AND THE TOUR OF THEIR LIVING HISTORY FARM! I SAW TELLURIDE, COLORADO WHEN IT WAS NOT A SKI RESORT BUT ONLY AN OLD HISTORIC MINING TOWN WITH ABOUT 12 HIPPIES LIVING THERE!

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