Feb. 8, 1998, R.R.
The Glengarry News, February 6th, 1958, pg. 1, col. 1 & 2.
Sir John Johnson Built The First Mill In Ontario At Williamstown
The Glengarry gentleman who did most intensive work in research on the life of Sir John Johnson, as it affects this locality, was the late John A. Macdonell, K.C. (Greenfield) of Alexandria, and to his work we are indebted for the information which is set forth in the following article.
The Revolutionary War lasted eight years, and Sir John Johnson was the Colonel Commandant of the Battalion of King's Royal Rifles, of New York. This battalion saw a great deal of service and to many were given grants of land in the vicinity of Williamstown, a village which Sir John named after his father, Sir William Johnson.
It was Sir John who built the first mill at this place, the site of which is soon to be commemorated by the erection of a plaque, "The mill was probably the first in this part of the country, if not indeed in what is now the Province of Ontario. It was possible that during the previous French regime there may have been something that answered the purpose at Cataraqui where Kingston now stands, and where the French had a fort.
Sir John never lived permanently in Williamstown because of the nature of his business and his many and widespread responsibilities. But he built The Manor House, which he occupied during his occasional visits.
He received his Knighthood in St. James' Palace, London, in 1765, when he was only 23 years of age.
Among his other holdings in Canada after the war, was the Seigniory of Argenteuil, Quebec, and he was considered in his time "the most conspicuous figure in Canada". He died at his home, St. Mary's in the County of Rouville, Quebec, January 4th, 1830, at the age of 89, and was buried in the family vault on the south side of the St. Lawrence, near Montreal.
In Jones History of New York, Sir John Johnson was described as a man, bold, resolute, brave and active. That he was generous, with a fine sense of values of what the little village required among other things. We have proof for the Fair Ground and Public School are still in active use. As for The Manor House, it had always been part and parcel of ourselves as we reflected the Pride of Possession.
This is the third in a series prepared for the Glengarry News by Miss Llewella Dunlop of Williamstown.
end of article as we have it, awf nov.8.99
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