National Geographic : 1947 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Johnstown's "Eternal Triangle" Announces Sessions of Court For generations its bell-like tones have summoned lawyers and litigants to the neat red-brick Fulton County Courthouse, erected in 1772 by Sir William Johnson (page 96). In the pigeon-inhabited belfry Tom Dawes inspects the rope which operates the hammer at upper left. Indian raiders of 1780. They took his life and scalp and put his home to the torch. Today little Fonda makes glove linings and serves as an outlet for the "glove cities" - Johnstown and Gloversville-to the north. Legends Cluster about "Sir Bill" At Johnstown stands Johnson Hall, the blockhouse-defended baronial mansion of Sir William Johnson, pre-Revolutionary Superin tendent of Indian Affairs in most of British North America (Plate I and p. 106). The remarkable Irishman is buried in St. John's churchyard in this city he founded and named. Around him stories and legends cluster, though "Sir Bill" has been dead these 173 years. "But he must not One relates to a deal with his friend "King" Hendrick, the Mohawk war chief later killed fighting the French at Lake George in the battle which won John son his baronetcy. Admiring a richly embroidered coat be longing to Johnson, the Indian said to him next day, "Brother, me dream last night." "Indeed," replied Johnson. "What did my brother dream?" "Me dream that coat be mine." Without hesitation Johnson answered, "My friend has dreamed truly. That coat is his." But to Hendrick the following day Johnson said, "My brother, I dreamed last night." "And what did my white brother dream?" asked Hendrick, doubt less already suspecting it had been an expen sive coat. "I dreamed this land belonged to me," said Johnson, indicating on a map a 66,000-acre tract between present day Herkimer and Johnstown. "My brother dream truly. The land is his," replied the chief. dream again!" Johnson was equally successful in acquir ing wives. One was a niece of Hendrick, and the last was Molly Brant, the redoubtable Joseph's sister. He fathered many half-breed children, but his best-known offspring were by his first wife, Catherine Weissenburg. A pretty German girl, she was "bound out" to a Valley man named Phillips when the rising squire, Johnson, admired her. As Phil lips is supposed to have told it: "Johnson, that tamned Irishman, came t'other day and offered me five pounds for her, threatening to horsewhip me and steal her if I would not sell her. I thought five pounds petter than a flogging and took it, and he's got the gal."