Johnson, Guy (DNB00)

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JOHNSON, GUY (1740?–1788), American loyalist and militia colonel, a nephew of Sir William Johnson [q. v.], was born in Ireland about 1740. He served with the American provincial troops against the French in 1757, and commanded a company of rangers under Jeffrey Amherst [q. v.] in 1759–60. He became one of Sir William Johnson's assistants in the Indian department, and on Sir William's death in 1774 was provisionally appointed his successor by General Gage, at the express desire of the Indians. He was confirmed as superintendent of the Indian department by the home government.

Johnson lived in great affluence at Guy Hall, Tryon county, New York, where his intemperate loyalty is said to have precipitated the revolutionary troubles. He returned to Staten Island, after a visit to England, in August 1776. His estates were confiscated by the Americans, but through the war he continued to act as superintendent of the Indian department. In 1778–9 he appears to have been in New York, awaiting passage to Quebec. In a letter to a correspondent in England he refers to the terror caused by the Indian raids on the frontier as calculated to divert the rebel forces from the seat of war (Add. MS. 34323, f. 20). In another he speaks of having been manager of a theatre in New York (the old theatre in John Street) during the winter of 1778, and of having acted in one of Colman's plays, whereby he cleared five hundred dollars for the benefit of the soldiers' widows and orphans (ib. f. 26). Afterwards he appears to have reached Quebec, and he was associated with the operations of Joseph Brant and the Mohawks against the Americans under General Sullivan. In 1783 he was replaced by his brother-in-law, Sir John Johnson, bart., who was made inspector-general of the Indians. Guy Johnson thereupon came to London to urge his claims against the government. He died, it is said in poverty, in the Haymarket, London, on 5 March 1788. The accounts of the Indian department for part of Johnson's tenure of office in 1777–83 are now in the British Museum, forming Add. MSS. 20769– –20770. His correspondence with General Frederick Haldimand [q. v.] is among the Haldimand MSS., and a register thereof forms Add. MS. 21766. Some private letters dated in 1774–9 are in Add. MS. 24323, ff. 11, 14, 20, 22, 26.

Johnson married in 1763 his cousin Mary, daughter of Sir William Johnson.

[Foster's Baronetage, under ‘Johnson of Twickenham, Middlesex;’ W. L. Stone's Life of Sir William Johnson (Albany, New York, 1885), 2 vols.; Seilhamer's Hist. of the American Stage, vol. ii. (New York, 1889), containing curious particulars of the ‘Military Thespians’ of 1775–1780, but makes no mention of Johnson; Drake's American Biog.; Bancroft's Hist. United States, vols. iv. v.; Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. ut supra; Gent. Mag. vol. lviii. pt. i. p. 275.]

H. M. C.