Tag Archives: Johnstown

The Mystery of William Johnson’s ‘Fish House’


By on

3 Comments

47One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.

There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. Continue reading

Heritage Holidays in the Mohawk Valley


By on

0 Comments

Johnson Hall ChristmasIn conjunction with the City of Johnstown’s Colonial Stroll holiday activities, Johnson Hall State Historic Site will hold an Open House on Friday, December 5th from 5 pm to 8:30 pm.

Johnson Hall’s first floor will be decorated for the holiday season, where music of the 18th century will be performed by Liaison Plaisantes. Refreshments will be offered in the historic butler’s pantry. The museum shop will offer 20% off for holiday shopping that evening. Horse-drawn wagon rides of the mansion’s south lawn will be available to visitors between 6 pm and 8 pm. Continue reading

Johnstown: Serial Killer Robert Garrow Talk Thursday


By on

0 Comments

Robert GarrowThe Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm. The presentation will be given by regular New York History Blog contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.

Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. Continue reading

Slave to Fiddler: Utica’s Joseph Pell


By on

0 Comments

pelldeathI wrote an article about early black musicians in New York State back in December, but I decided to omit Joe Pell from that piece for two reasons. He seemed never to have been a full-time musician (as were the other performers in the article), and, in December, nearly all the information I had on Pell came from his obituary, and obituaries are not always the best place to locate objective, unbiased information about a person.

I have since been able to confirm much of what was written upon his passing, and I present here an annotated obituary of this talented and beloved black performer. My annotations appear within square brackets. Continue reading

In Johnstown, Hope for Votes for Women Trail Funding


By on

3 Comments

piano-72-LittleIt’s late afternoon in Johnstown, NY, magic hour, right before sunset when filmmakers capture the best lighting. Nancy Brown, a fifth grade teacher, is waiting to take us to the local historical society and out to dinner with three other board members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.

This is the town where well-known women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton grew up. The place is also loaded with history of the American Revolution, plus generations of tanners and workers in the glove industry who lived and worked here. We can’t get to the Johnstown Historical Society at 17 North William Street without passing sites of major historical interest. It’s as if everybody is related in some way to this historical community. It looks like classic small town America, made in America. Continue reading

Johnstown: St. Patrick’s Masonic Lodge


By on

3 Comments

St Patricks Lodge 2008-1I noticed that there was a report in the Leader Herald on the Johnstown Masons of St. Patrick’s lodge, so I thought this bit of history might be timely:

St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 8 (now called St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 4) in Johnstown, NY, founded by Sir William Johnson, is one of the oldest Masonic Lodges in the State of New York. Sir William Johnson was raised a Master Mason on April 10, 1766, in Union Lodge No. 1, located in Albany, New York, (now Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3).Augustine Prevost, a brother of the Union Lodge, wrote to Johnson a few weeks earlier, on March 23, 1766, informing him that Johnson’s friend and fellow Masonic brother Normand McLeod, had formally notified Union Lodge of Johnson’s desire to be a master of a lodge in Johnstown. Prevost noted in the letter: Continue reading

Johnson Hall Opens for 2012 Season


By on

2 Comments

Johnson Hall, the 18th century baronial estate of Sir William Johnson and his family, has opened its doors for the 2012 season. Through Sunday, October 14th, the State Historic Site will offer guided tours on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 1pm to 5pm.

Tours will generally begin on the half-hour, with the final tour of the day beginning at 4pm. Pre-registered group tours and Site special events may alter this tour schedule. The historic house will also be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian estate of Irish-born Sir William Johnson and Mohawk Indian Molly Brant and their family. Sir William (1715 – 1774) was the single largest landowner and most influential individual in the colonial Mohawk Valley. His success in dealing with the Six Nations had a lasting impact on their relationship with the English, and largely influenced England’s victory in the Anglo-French struggle for control of colonial North America. The main house and flanking stonehouses, originally surrounded by a 700 acre farm, now interpret the Johnson family through guided tours of the period room settings, educational programs and special events.

Admission fees are $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens and students. Children 12 years of age and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Groups of 10 people or more, as well as school groups, must register in advance. Group fees are $3.00 per person, while the school fee is $1.00 per person (regular school year only). Special fees for Site special events may apply.

The 2012 Site calendar of events will be announced shortly, highlighted by the annual Market Fair on July 14th and 15th , which will feature an 18th century cricket demonstration, live performances, vendors, encampment, an open house and much more.

The Friends of Johnson Hall, a not-for-profit support group, will host the Johnson Jog 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 19th. More information on this major fundraiser, which will support the education and preservation programs at Johnson Hall, visit www.friendsofjohnsonhall.org or call (518) 762-4459.

For more information on Johnson Hall State Historic Site, visit www.nysparks.com or Facebook, or call (518) 762 – 8712.

Celebrating the Holidays in 18th Century Johnstown


By on

0 Comments

The goal of every museum and historic site is to make history come alive in the imagination of the public. The past few days have witnessed a number of celebrations of holiday greenery, music, and feasting, commemorating early festivities in the Mohawk Valley. Most of the greenery and more usual trappings of holiday spirit that are near and dear to our imaginations and hearts did not become common in household celebrations until the nineteenth century. More common in the 18th century secular celebrations were simple gifts of trinkets or money and feasts involving food and drink. There were additional rituals in colonial New York German and Dutch households where ceremonies were brought over from their countries of origin. Continue reading

Wanda Burch: 18th Century Bed Rugs


By on

1 Comment

The question was raised on “what are bed rugs?” in a recent living history association [ALHFAM] on-line thread. Bed rugs, often spelled “bed ruggs,” were common bed coverings that appear in both 18th and 19th century house inventories. Bed rugs were inventoried in Johnson Hall in Johnstown, NY, in a 1774 inventory of household goods by Daniel Claus. Johnson Hall was built in 1763; but the inventory was completed in 1774, a common recording for wills and cataloguing household goods. Continue reading