Johnstown (city), New York

Johnstown (city), New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Johnstown, New York
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =



pushpin_label_position =
pushpin_map_caption =Location within the state of New York
pushpin_mapsize =

mapsize =
map_caption =

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Fulton
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =

area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 12.6
area_land_km2 = 12.6
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 4.9
area_land_sq_mi = 4.9
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 8511
population_density_km2 = 676.1
population_density_sq_mi = 1751.1

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 205
elevation_ft = 673
latd = 43 |latm = 0 |lats = 26 |latNS = N
longd = 74 |longm = 22 |longs = 20 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 12095
area_code = 518
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-38781
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0954147
website =
footnotes =

Johnstown, surrounded by the Town of Johnstown, is the county seat of Fulton County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had population of 8,511. Recent estimates put the figure closer to 8,100.Fact|date=October 2007 The city was named by its founder, Sir William Johnson, a baronet and officer in the British army.

The City of Johnstown and the adjacent City of Gloversville are together known as the "Glove Cities." Johnstown is located approximately 45 miles west of Albany, situated about one-third of the way between Albany and the Finger Lakes region to the west.


Early colonial history

Johnstown is located in a region of New York State once known as "Kingsborough."Fact|date=May 2007 The city, originally John's Town, was founded in 1762 by Sir William Johnson, a Baronet who named it after his son, John Johnson. [Decker, back cover] William Johnson came to the British colony of New York from Ireland in 1732. [Decker, p.7] He was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, as well as a Major General in the British forces during the French and Indian War. Johnson received, as a reward for his services, large tracts of land in what is now Hamilton and Fulton counties, where he established Johnstown and became one of New York's most prosperous and influential citizens. Having begun as an Indian trader, his business interests came to include various enterprises including a lumber business and a flour mill. Johnson, the largest slaveholder in the county and perhaps in the state of New York, had some sixty slaves working these businesses. [Williams-Myers, p. 24; 29-30] In acknowledgement of Johnson's successful business endeavors, the local Native American inhabitants dubbed him "Warragghivagey," or "he who does much business." [Decker, p. 29]

As the area initially owned and settled by Johnson grew, he convinced the Governor, Lord William Tryon to establish a new county in upstate New York, west of Albany County. This new county was named Tryon, after the governor, and took Johnstown as its county seat. [Decker, p.7] The county courthouse, built by William Johnson in Johnstown in 1772, partly at his own expense, still stands today. [Decker, p.8] Sir William Johnson died in 1774 before the American colonies declared their independence from Britain.

Revolutionary War and aftermath

Although the majority of the fighting during the American Revolution raged elsewhere, Johnstown did see its share of fighting late in the war. With area residents not knowing of Cornwallis' defeat and surrender at the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia, about 1400 soldiers fought at the Battle of Johnstown, one of the last battles of the American Revolution, on October 25, 1781. The Continental forces, led by Col. Marinus Willett of Johnstown, ultimately put the British to flight. [ [ Historic Johnstown, New York (Battle of Johnstown)] ] During that time, many British loyalists fled both Johnstown and the surrounding area for Canada, and Sir William Johnson's home suffered vandalism at the hands of Continental soldiers quartered there. [Decker pp 32-33; 116]

After the American Revolution, Johnstown became part of Montgomery County when the name of Tryon County was changed to honor the Continental General Richard Montgomery, who died at the Battle of Quebec during the American Revolution. All of the Johnson property was forfeit because of the family's Loyalist sentiments and support for the British cause. Sir William Johnson's manor house and estate were subsequently purchased by Silas Talbot, a naval officer and hero of the American Revolution.

The community of Johnstown set itself apart from the town in 1803 by incorporating as a village. The Village of Johnstown became a city in 1895.

Formation of Fulton County

Some forty years later, in 1838, Johnstown's county affiliation changed yet again when what by then remained of Mongomery County was divided into two separate counties: Montgomery and Fulton. While the Village of Fonda became the new county seat of Montgomery County, Johnstown became the county seat of Fulton County.

Historically Important Residents of Johnstown

ilas Talbot

Silas Talbot moved with his family to Johnstown, where he purchased Sir William Johnson's estate and manor house. A hero of the American Revolution, he later served as a member of the New York Assembly (1792-1793) and as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives (1793-1794) from that district. He later supervised the building of the USS Constitution ("Old Iron Sides") in 1797 at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts. [ [ Mystic Seaport Library (Silas Talbot)] ; Decker p. 31] Talbot commanded the USS Constitution, largely in the West Indies, from 1799 to 1801, when he retired from the U.S. Navy. [ [ Mystic Seaport Library (Silas Talbot)] ]

Daniel Cady

One of the men instrumental in shaping Fulton County was Judge Daniel Cady, a prominent Johnstown resident. Sometimes called "the father of Fulton County," Cady named the new county after Robert Fulton who was related by marriage to Cady's wife, Margaret Livingston. Robert Fulton, an inventor, is perhaps best known for devising the improvements that made steamboats commercially viable. [Decker, p 33]

Judge Daniel Cady was one of Johnstown's most important citizens. With indirect connections by marriage to John Jacob Astor and that family's lucrative business interests, Daniel Cady, adept at managing these connections and his own business interests, joined the ranks of the weathiest landowners in New York. After moving to Johnstown in 1799, he married Margaret Livingston, whose father, Col. James Livingston, fought in the Continental Army at the battles of Quebec and Saratoga during the American Revolution. Col. Livingston is credited with frustrating Benedict Arnold's attempted treason by firing on "the Vulture", the boat intended to carry Arnold to safety. [Griffith, p 4] A public servant as well as astute lawyer and businessman, Judge Cady served in the New York state legislature from 1808 until 1814. In 1814 he was elected, as a Federalist, to one term in the United States House of Representatives. In 1816, he returned to Johnstown from Washington and resumed his legal practice. He later served as a judge on the New York Supreme Court, Fourth District, from 1847 until 1855. Cady died in Johnstown 1859 and is buried in the cemetery there. [Griffith, p 5]

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

While of great interest in his own right, Daniel Cady is today perhaps best known as the father of the prominent women's rights activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was born in Johnstown in 1815. Stanton, who later worked in partnership with Susan B. Anthony and served for many years as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), spent her childhood in Johnstown, where she studied at the Johnstown Academy, one of the first schools to receive a teaching certificate issued by the newly formed New York state education system in the later 1800s. [Decker] After leaving to continue her education in Troy, NY, Stanton returned to Johnstown with her husband Henry Brewster Stanton, a lawyer and abolitionist who studied law under her father, Daniel Cady. [Griffith] Because of this, Johnstown, together with Seneca Falls, NY, where Elizabth Cady Stanton helped organize the first Women's Rights Convention held in 1848, lays claim to being the birthplace of the Women's Rights Movement in the United States. [Decker, pp 16 & 33] Stanton's speech, "The Declaration of Sentiments", given at the Seneca Falls convention and modeled on the Declaration of Independence, is generally credited with instigating the women's suffrage movement in the United States.

Industry in Johnstown

Glove industry and related enterprise

With plentiful forests and the wood bark they produced, Johnstown became a center for tanning of leather during the late 1800’s. By the early 1900’s Johnstown, along with its neighboring city of Gloversville, became known as the glove making capital of the world. The two cities were nicknamed and are still referred to today as the "Glove Cities." [Decker] Many fringe businesses once existed to support the glove and leather industries around Johnstown. Box manufacturers, thread dealers, sewing machine repairmen, chemical companies and many others made a living helping to supply and service the industry. [Decker]

Throughout most of the history of the glove industry in Johnstown, most companies used home workers to sew the gloves. Men cut the gloves from leather in factories and women would hand sew the gloves at home. Later when the sewing machine came into play many women moved to the factories to work, however, right up until the last years of the 20th century home workers could still be found around the area.Fact|date=May 2007

The glove making industry, together with its related businesses, had its ups and downs. They were directly affected by tax and tariff laws.Fact|date=May 2007 The tanneries and glove shops flourished during World War II when most of the “Military Black” leather gloves worn by American servicemen were produced in Fulton County, New York.Fact|date=May 2007 During the last half of the 20th century, however, they steadily declined as business was lost to low wage manufacturing jobs available overseas. Countries like China and The Philippines produce most of the world’s gloves today.Fact|date=May 2007 While some companies still remain in the Glove Cities, just a few manufacture their product in America.Fact|date=May 2007 They use overseas labor to sew gloves.Fact|date=May 2007 Today only one glove manufacturer calls Johnstown home, while Gloversville still has a few.Fact|date=May 2007

Although the leather industry has declined, some local companies have survived by developing leather products suited to niche markets.Fact|date=May 2007 The remaining businesses concentrate on one or two types of leather.Fact|date=May 2007 They remain ready to adapt to changes in trends. There are still two tanneries operating in Johnstown and a few more in Gloversville.Fact|date=May 2007 Another handful of state-of-the-art leather finishing facilities can be found there with another dozen or so leather dealers.Fact|date=May 2007

At one time Johnstown and Gloversville were home to hundreds of glove companies and dozens of leather tanners and finishers. Tens of thousands of people were employed by or affiliated with the glove and leather industries making it a large part of the history of Johnstown, New York.Fact|date=May 2007

Knox Gelatine

One of the early industries to establish itself in Johnstown was the Knox Gelatine plant built in 1890 by Charles Knox, a prominent Johnstown resident. Charles Knox developed the granulated, unflavored gelatin still used in food preparation today. When Knox died in 1908, his wife, Rose Knox, assumed management of the business. She became one of the earliest successful American businesswomen. The Knox family and its philanthropic foundation were very generous to the city, and examples of their philanthropy can still be found there today. The block of land known as Knox Field where the playgrounds, athletic fields, and bridle path are located was given to the city by the Knox family, and Knox Junior High School was named in honor of the family. The Knox Gelatin plant, once a major employer in Johnstown, closed in 1975 following the sale of the company to Lipton. [Decker, pp 53-66]


Johnstown has the following geographic coordinates: coor dms|43|0|26|N|74|22|19|W|city (43.00735, -74.372109).GR|1 According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.9 square miles (12.6 km²), of which, 4.9 square miles (12.6 km²) of it is land and 0.21% is water.

Johnstown lies in the picturesque Mohawk Valley of upstate New York. Located in what is now Fulton County, it is slightly north of the route once followed by the Erie Canal through what is now Montgomery County.

Although not a hilltown, Johnstown is close to the Adirondack Mountains that stretch across the northern portion of Fulton County. It is situated near the southern border of the Adirondack Park.

The Cayadutta Creek just south of the city provided water power needed to generate the electricity required by the various industries that grew up in Johnstown. [Decker, p. 66]

East-west highways, New York State Route 29 and New York State Route 67 intersect in the city and also cross north-south highway New York State Route 30A; Johnstown is located close to the New York Thruway.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 8,511 people, 3,579 households, and 2,208 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,751.1 people per square mile (676.2/km²). There were 3,979 housing units at an average density of 818.7/sq mi (316.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.57% White, 0.62% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.08% of the population.

There were 3,579 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,603, and the median income for a family was $39,909. Males had a median income of $30,636 versus $22,272 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,324. About 9.3% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


* Decker, Lewis G. "Images of America: Johnstown". Arcadia Publishing (an imprint of Tempus Publishing, Inc.); Charlestown, SC. 1999. ISBN 0-7385-0174-3.
*Griffith, Elizabeth. "In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton". Oxford University Press; New York, NY. 1984. ISBN 0-19-503729-4.
* [ Historic Johnstown, New York] accessed September 19, 2006.
* [| Mystic Seaport Library; Manuscripts Collection (Silas Talbot)] accessed September 19, 2006.
* Williams-Myers, A.J. "Long Hammering: Essays on the Forging of an African American Presence in the Hudson River Valley to the Early Twentieth Century". Africa World Press, Inc.; Trenton, NJ. 1994. ISBN 0-86543-303-8.


External links

* [ City of Johnstown (homepage)]
* [ Darci's Place (Biography of Charles Knox, founder of Knox Gelatin in Johnstown, NY)]
* [ Historic Johnstown, New York (Battle of Johnstown)]
* [ Historic Johnstown, New York (Rose Knox, First Lady of Johnstown)]
* [ Revolutionary Day (narrative and walking tour of historic sites of the American Revolutionary period in Johnstown, NY)]
* [ Sir William Johnson & Johnson Hall]
* [ University of Rochester; Steam Engine Library (biography of Robert Fulton)]

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