A soldier's point of view. Did you know the stone houses at Johnson Hall were designed to serve as defensive structures?
News of peace, concerning the French and Indian War, first reached Johnson Hall the beginning of February 1763, with a detailed account outlined to Henry Gladwin by Sir William in April, "...you will undoubtedly have heard the Preliminaries having been signed towards a General Peace between England, France & Spain...all Canada ceded to us by France, Florida by Spain and the River Mississippi to be our boundary towds. Louisiana..." With the signing of the Treaty of Paris nearly two months earlier, a political shift took shape in North America.
While the British hashed out peace with France and Spain, American Indians experienced aftershocks from the Treaty of Paris. Tensions began to rise as native nations in the Ohio and Illinois territories, accustomed to the French, were now forced to deal strictly with the British government. Combined with the establishment of military outposts and English settlers encroaching farther onto their land, rumblings of an uprising circulated among nations from the west to the east. Sir William relayed such information to General Jeffrey Amherst, "Altho all the Indian Nations were as he [speaker of the Onondaga nation] said become very Jealous of the English, who had erected so many Posts in their Country, but were not so generous to them as the French, and particularly gave them no Amunition, which was the chief cause of their Jealousy & Discontent."
The contentious years following the Treaty of Paris in 1763 became known as Pontiac's Rebellion, named after the Ottawan chief who encouraged a unified front & attack from American Indians against British control. The Seneca nation supported the call to action and British officials, worried over potential attacks on New York's frontier and outposts, deployed troops to protect those areas.
On at least two occasions soldiers were ordered to Johnson Hall, the first ordered by General Jeffrey Amherst from Fort Stanwix in the fall of 1763. It remains unclear if these troops ever arrived. The second came by order of General Gage, as Robert Elliot, Lieutenant Colonel of the 55th Regiment of Foot wrote in April 1764, "Agreeable to Genl. Gages Orders to me I send with the bearer Serjt. Anderson fourteen good Men (of my own company) to remain at Johnson Hall." Throughout Pontiac’s Rebellion Johnson Hall escaped the misfortunes of any raids. This photo was taken from one of the loopholes in the original stone house still standing at Johnson Hall.