Johnson Hall State Historic Site, located at 139 Hall Ave in Johnstown, Fulton County, NY, is set to present two interpretive programs about 18th century life at the Hall on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14.
On Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm, “Mourning at Johnson Hall” will be presented. The Hall will be draped in mourning as the 245th anniversary of the July 13, 1774 funeral of Sir William Johnson is observed during an Open House. Reenactors will accompany the coffin in the White Parlor while discussing the Baronet’s death as well as funeral and mortuary practices of the period.
On Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, “Who Were the People in Your Neighborhood?” will be presented. Visitors will mingle with colonial residents of Johnstown and of Johnson Hall who will talk about their lives. A tailor, a blacksmith, and cordwainer (shoemaker) will demonstrate their trades, while a tenant farmer and house servant will interpret their duties on the property. Finally, a Seneca visitor will give insight into his culture, business and personal relationships with Sir William Johnson. The reenactors will break from noon to 12:30 pm, but the Hall remains open for visitation.
Among the 18th century people who can be documented as living and working in Johnstown and at Johnson Hall are tailor John Friel, blacksmith Christian Schick and cordwainer John Looney.
Both events are free of charge, but donations to support the event will be appreciated. As both events will be Open Houses, there will be no regular guided tours on these days.
Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian estate of Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant and their family. Sir William was the largest landowner and among the most influential individuals in the colonial Mohawk Valley. His dealings 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. Historic restoration of the Hall is on-going.
More information is available online, by emailing JohnsonHall@parks.ny.gov, or by calling (518) 762-8712.
Photo of Johnson Hall provided.