Johnson Hall State Historic Site to present 18th Century life presentations

JOHNSTOWN — Johnson Hall State Historic Site will present two interpretive programs about 18th Century life at the hall on the weekend of July 13 and 14.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 13, the program “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.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14, visitors will discover “Who Were the People In Your Neighborhood?” in a program. Visitors will mingle with Colonial residents of Johnstown and Johnson Hall, who will discuss their lives. A tailor, blacksmith, and a cordwainer (shoemaker) will demonstrate their trades, while a tenant farmer and house servant interpret their duties on the property.

Finally, a Seneca American Indian visitor will give insight into his culture, businesses and personal relationships with Sir William Johnson. Reenactors will break from noon to 12:30 p.m., but the hall will remain open then for visitation.

Among the 18th Century persons documented as living and working in Johnstown and at Johnson Hall were tailor John Friel, blacksmith Christian Schick, and cordwainer John Looney.

Both events are free, but donations to support the events are appreciated by the site. As both days’ events will be Open Houses, there will be no regular hall guided tours on July 13 and 14.

Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian estate of Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant and their family. Johnson was the largest landowner and most influential individual in the Colonial Mohawk Valley, historians say.

For more information, on the internet visit:; email: [email protected]; or call (518) 762-8712.

By Paul Wager

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