Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Johnson, Sir William

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JOHNSON, SIR WILLIAM, a British officer; born in Warrentown, County Meath, Ireland, in 1715. In 1738 Johnson established himself as the manager of the estates of his uncle (Admiral Sir Peter Warren), on the S. side of the Mohawk river, about 27 miles from Schenectady, N. Y. Here he speedily gained the confidence of the surrounding Indians, learned their language, and was adopted as a sachem by the Mohawks. In 1743 he was appointed by the British government chief superintendent of the Indians, and in 1750, a member of the provincial council. At the close of the war with the French, in 1753, Johnson threw up his commission, and retired to his fortified residence, called Fort Johnson. In 1755 he met and destroyed the French army under Baron Dieskau, at Fort George. In recognition of his services, Johnson was presented by the English government with a grant of 100,000 acres of land in the valley of the Mohawk, where he built the village of Johnstown, which became in 1772 the capital of Tryon county. He died near Johnstown, N. Y., July 4, 1774.