- Sir John Johnson, 2nd Baronet
Sir John Johnson, 2nd Baronet (
5 November 1741– 4 January 1830), was a loyalist leader during the American Revolution. He was the son of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet, who had promoted the British settlement of the Mohawk Valleyand founded the community of Johnstown in Tryon Countyin the Province of New York.
Sir John Johnson, who assumed office in 1771, was the last Provincial Grand Master of
Masonsin the colonies of Province of New York, New Jerseyand Pennsylvania. Johnson married Mary Watts (daughter of John Watts of New York) on 30 June 1773. The couple had eight sons, all of whom served in the British army and navy, and three daughters.
In 1774, John Johnson inherited his father's title and estates, making him a wealthy landowner. In 1775, he was appointed doorkeeper of the New York Provincial Assembly.
In January, 1776, nine months after the outbreak of the American Revolution, Johnson gathered several hundred armed supporters at Johnstown. He sent a letter to Governor
William Tryon, through Captain John McDonell, stating that he and his loyalist neighbors had conferred about raising a battalion for the British cause. He also said he could also raise five hundred Indians which when used with his regular troops could retake all of the forts captured by the "rebels". On January 20, 1776, General Schuyler, with a force of Continental troops and the Tryon County militianumbering around 3,000, disarmed Johnson and about 300 of his loyalist supporters. Sir John was released on his parole of honor.
When Johnson heard of another force being sent to arrest him in May 1776, he decided to flee to
Canada. He led about 170 of his tenants and allies among the IroquoisConfederacy to Montreal, Quebec. Sir John's loyalty to the King cost him his home in Johnstown and extensive property in the Mohawk Valley, all of which was confiscated after the war. Johnson and his followers formed the core of the British militaryregiment known as the King's Royal Regiment of New York, which saw substantial action under his command throughout the war. Johnson was promoted to the rank of brigadier generalin 1782. On March 14, 1782 he received the appointment of Superintendent General and Inspector General of Indian affairs. His authority extended over all northern Indians allied with the crown.
After War Years
In 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed, establishing the independence of the
American Colonies. Johnson and thousands of other loyalists found themselves in permanent exilein Canada. In 1784, Johnson was assigned by the British government to distribute crown lands along the St. Lawrence Riverand the north shore of Lake Ontarioto the loyalists who had come to Canadaduring the Revolution and to help them settle on these lands. Johnson estimated that he had arranged the settlement of 3,776 loyalists during that year. In 1791, Lord Dorchesterrecommended him as lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, but London turned this recommendation down.
In 1796, he moved back to
Montrealand served in the Legislative Council of Lower Canadaand as head of the Indian Department for Lower Canada. He held extensive land holdings in Upper and Lower Canada, including the seigneuries of Monnoir and Argenteuil.
Johnson died in
Montrealin 1830 at the age of 88. He was succeeded to the baronetcyby his eldest son, William.
His last surviving child, an unmarried daughter, died in London on
1 January 1868.
The Sir John Johnson House in Williamstown was declared a Canadian National Historic Site.
*"White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America",
Fintan O'Toole, 2005.
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2937 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
Harold Frederic, 1877
* [http://www.genealogie.org/club/shhr/arch/archaeology.htm Sir John Johnson Burial vault (for reference only)]
* [http://www.nymasoniclibrary.org/ The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of New York: The History of the Grand Lodge of New York]
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