Johnstown Historical Society
Visitor's Guide


To Places of Historical Interest in and About the
City of Johnstown,
New York


Sir William Johnson,

Compliments of the Johnstown Historical Society.
Museum at Sir William Johnson Mansion.
Open to Visitors From 1 pm to 4 pm, every day except Sunday.

This is a booklet that appears to be printed around 1925.


Historic Johnstown

For the visitor to follow a continuous route in seeing historic Johnstown, commence at the grave of Sir William Johnson in the church yard of St. John's Episcopal Church on North Market Street, just north of Main Street; the grave is marked by a marble slab and four corner stones.  This grave was originally under the chancel of the church which faced north; the church was destroyed by fire and when rebuilt was faced on North Market Street, leaving the grave outside of the walls.

Passing through Church Street westerly we come out in front of the Court House, built by Sir William Johnson in 1772, being the oldest, and when built, the most westerly Court House in the United States.  In the cupola is the Triangle used to announce the sessions of court since September 8, 1772.  In this venerable Temple of Justice Sir William presided during his life, and it has since been honored by the professional presence of such jurists as Daniel Cady, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Abraham VanVechten, Elisha Williams, Joshua A. Spencer, Nicholas Hill, and other eminent men.


Fulton County Courthouse


Passing north on North William Street to Green Street (Formerly Old Sacandaga Street), is the Drumm House, built in 1763 by Sir William Johnson and for some time occupied by the school master who taught his children in the First Free School in the State of New York.

Just east of this facing on Green Street and extending to North Market Street is the Colonial Cemetery, containing the graves of Major Richard, Dodge, his wife (Anna Sarah Irving), sister of Washington Irving, Colonel Archibald McIntyre, Colonel James Livingston, Major John Little, Captain Amaziah Rust, Captain Henry Pawling, Surgeon William Reid, Lieutenant William Wallace, Samuel Kennedy, Captain Clement Sadlier, Surgeon Thomas Reid, Soldiers of the Revolution and the War of 1812.  Here are also the graves of other persons of note in their day, including John Baptist Vaumane de Fon Claire, Captain under Louis XVI, and Talmadge Edwards, who started the Glove Industry in this country.  At the west end of the Cemetery, now marked by a granite cross, was the site of St. John Episcopal church, built in 1760, being the first church edifice north of the Mohawk River.

Passing north westerly at the junction of West State and Mill Streets is the Streeter Grist Mill.  A portion of this mill was constructed from the timbers of the Grist Mill originally built by Sir William Johnson just west of Johnson Hall.

Proceeding westerly we come to the monument of Sir William Johnson at the intersection of Hall Avenue, erected in 1905 by the Aldine Society.

Passing westerly along Hall Avenue we come to Johnson Hall built by Sir William Johnson in 1762, the only Baronial Mansion now standing in the United States.  It was flanked by two stone forts on the westerly side, which was most exposed to attack, one of which forts is still standing.


Johnson Hall


The Hall and about eighteen acres of land was purchased by the State of New York in 1907 and placed in the custody of the Johnstown Historical Society.  Opposite the Hall was the usual camping place of the Indians who came to see Sir William Johnson.

The visitor to the interior of the Hall will find many things of historic interest.  Here may be seen the upper chamber in which St. Patrick's Lodge, F. & A. M. was instituted, in 1766, where, with Sir William as Master, the Lodge met before the erection of a building for its use.  Attention will be directed to marks made by the Indian Chief Brant with his tomahawk on the mahogany stair-rail leading to the second story, which appear from top to bottom.  As to what moved Brant to these acts of vandalism, there are conflicting traditions; one that he left the marks for a sign to the Indians not to burn the house; the other that, assembled in the upper hall with friendly Indians and hearing the approach of a company of militia, he left in haste and rage, inflicting savage blows in malice.  This historic mansion was the scene of great activity during the life of Sir William and the center of an influence which largely shaped the destinies of the United Colonies.  Many Indian councils were held here within a circle of locust trees still standing in front of the Hall.

The original highway came up along the creek and passed just in front of the Caretaker's Cottage.  Just east of the cottage is an old black walnut tree said to have been planted by Sir William; just east of the stone arch bridge was the site of Sir William's Grist Mill and just west of that were the quarters for his servants and slaves.


Arch Bridge


Passing north on Johnson Avenue near its junction with O'Neil Avenue is a boulder with a bronze tablet, placed there by the Daughters of the American Revolution to mark the site of the battlefield where was fought, October 28, 1781, the Battle of Johnstown, said to be the last battle of the Revolutionary War.  About fourteen hundred men were engaged in the fight.  The retreating enemy were pursued as far as West Canada Creek, where Walter Butler, the Tory leader, was killed.  Lieutenant William Wallace, who was wounded in this battle, pointed out its location to the late Henry Schuyler.


Rev. War. Monument


Returning to William Street, which during the time of Sir William was the principal business street, diagonally across from the Court House will be found the site of the First Free School in New York, established by Sir William in 1764.

Passing up South William Street to West Clinton Avenue, at the northeast corner, is the site of the Old Tice Tavern, at which General Lafayette stopped while on a visit here in 1778.

Passing up South William one block further to Montgomery Street, southeast corner, we come to the Younglove Homestead, formerly Jimmie Burke's Inn, built in 1793.  The sign of Jimmie Burke, used on this Tavern, is in the Sir William Johnson Mansion.

One block east and nearly a block south, at No. 110 South Market Street, in the rear of some dwellings, is the Old Academy, built in 1798.  For many years in its cupola hung the bell sent to this country by Queen Ann for Queen Ann's Chapel at Fort Hunter, about 1710.

Returning to Montgomery Street (part of the old road from Albany to Stone Arabia and west) one block east may be seen the Jail built in 1772, which at first was used for all the State west of Schenectady County.  It was both a Civil and Military prison during the Revolution.  It was stockaded and guarded by two block houses on the corners of the streets, and gave the best protection of any building in America against all weapons of warfare, except artillery, and was known as "Fort Johnstown".  In the yard fronting the building, the Johnstown Historical Society on Decoration, 1900, planted a canon and cannon balls, in memory of the Patriot Heroes of the battle of Johnstown and to mark the site of old Fort Johnstown.

Passing east on Montgomery Street four blocks we come to Persse addition, where stands the Old Lodge building, erected in 1794.  The Masonic Lodge held its meetings here for seventy-three years, and during the Anti-Masonic excitement.

Proceeding north on Perry Street to East Main Street and east on East Main (formerly New Sacandaga Street) to the junction of East State Street may be seen the Soldiers' Monument; just east may be seen Union Hall, built in 1798 by Vaumain de Fon Claire, and kept by him as a Hotel.


Soldier's Monument and Union Hall


Tradition says that it was in this house that Nicholas Stoner, the noted soldier and hunter, killed the Indian who had killed Stoner's father, although there is another tradition that this event occurred at Tice's Tavern instead of at Union Hall.

A few miles south of the city may be seen, in a good state of preservation, the "Butler House" built in 1742 by Colonel John Butler and later occupied by his son Walter Butler, who was killed at West Canada Creek after the Battle of Johnstown.

A few miles east at Fort Johnson is the home of William Johnson before he was made a Baronet.


Johnstown Post Office



The first Episcopal church was erected in 1760.
The first Methodist Episcopal church was erected in 1762.
The first Presbyterian church was erected in 1799.
The first Lutheran church was erected 1816.
The first United Presbyterian church was erected in 1830.
The first True Reformed church was erected in 1838.
The first Baptist Church was erected in 1851.
The first Roman Catholic church was erected in 1869.
The first A. M. E. Zion church was erected in 1873.
The first Reformed church was erected in 1896.
The first Roman Catholic Slovak church was erected in 1915.


Colonial Club


Johnstown Data

The first Patent was granted 1723.
The Indian name for Johnstown in 1750 was Ka-lan-e-ka.
Johnson Hall erected 1762.
The Drumm House erected 1763.
St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4, F. & A. M., chartered 1766.
The Court House erected 1772.
The Jail erected 1772.
Jimmie Burke's Inn erected 1793.
First Masonic Lodge building erected 1794.
First Newspaper published 1796.
Academy erected 1798.
Union Hall erected 1798.
Manufacturing of gloves introduced about 1803.
Johnstown incorporated as a Village 1808.
First bank incorporated 1831.
First great fire occurred 1834.
Gas introduced 1857.
First telegraph introduced 1857.
Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville R. R. completed 1870.
First horse railroad 1874.
Present waterworks built 1878.
Electric lights introduced 1887.
First asphalt pavement laid 1891.
The Johnstown Historical Society organized in 1892.
First electric railroad 1893.
Johnstown incorporated as a City 1895.
Johnstown Public Library erected 1902.
Y. M. C. A. building erected 1902.
Colonial Club building erected 1905.
Johnson Hall purchased by State of New York, 1907.
Willing Helpers' Home for Women erected 1908.
Masonic Temple erected 1925.

Officers of the Johnstown Historical Society

President - Fred. Linus Carroll.
1st Vice President - Mrs. Rosa M. Knox.
2d Vice President - Rev. W. W. Ellsworth.
3d Vice President - Everett M. Kennedy.
Recording Secretary - McIntyre Fraser.
Corresponding Secretary - Mrs. Elizabeth E. Carhart.
Treasurer - W. W. Chamberlain.
Board of Managers - 
  Harold B. Northrup
  Mrs. Margaret B. Trumbull
  Edward Wells
  James F. Murray
  Fayette E. Moyer
  Mrs. Frank S. Dudley
  J. Keck

Superintendent:  Fred Plamondon, Telephone No. 524 J.

All donations or loans to the Johnstown Historical Society can be left at the office of W. W. Chamberlain, the Treasurer, and same will be placed in Johnson Hall.


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Copyright , 2001 Jeanette Shiel
Copyright , 2001 postcards, Martha Magill
All Rights Reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:14:05 PDT