Overview of Chapter Eleven
Sir John Johnson

Sir John Johnson was captured, imprisoned and quickly released from a Mohawk Valley jail in January 1777 upon giving his word to no longer resist the rebel movement. He defied American General Philip Schuyler and continued to recruit and train Loyalist combatants until he was forced to flee to Canada with his tenant farmers as refugees. He returned years later as regiment leader of the King’s Loyal Yorkers to destroy crops and farms in the valley he loved. When he was eventually laid to rest in his family’s vault on a mountain in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, he ensured it was positioned to face New York.


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The parallels were many and the differences few between the lives of Sir John Johnson and his father, Sir William Johnson. They were baronets with huge landholdings in their respective colonies, Upper Canada and New York; they were prodigious at fathering children; they held sway in the British colonial administration, and they were both heroes who gamely fought in the name of their king.

Even in death, the two colonials eerily mirrored each other. Their funerals were grand affairs which native North American leaders chose to honor with their attendance. Later, the stately gravesites of both men were dishonored and desecrated, one intentionally and the other accidentally.