Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet - British Superintendent of Indian Affairs

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Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet (born around 1715, died on 11 July 1774) was one of the most famous pioneers in the Mohawk Valley, New York, owner of land, British military officer, royalist and supporter of the crown, Indian trader, diplomat and important political figure that played large role in the events leading up to American Revolution. Using his good connections with the Iroquois Indian people, he managed to secure their support during the wars against French, and calm their hostilities during several of their rebelling against European settlers.

William Johnson was born in the Kingdom of Ireland, in County Meath, around 1715. He was the oldest son of Christopher Johnson and Anne Warren, and he spent his youth living in a modest and comfortable lifestyle. After trying unsuccessfully to secure good posting within British Empire, William Johnson decided to try to finding better luck in the New World. With the help of his uncle Peter Warren, Johnson was given the permission to lead the 12 Irish families to the large tract of undeveloped land along the Mohawk River in the province of New York. He arrived there around 1738 and immediately started his trade efforts with American Indians. He purchased additional land that brought him closer to the trade routes, started supplying Indians with trade goods, buying their animal skins, and cutting out the middlemen between him and New Your City merchants. Between 1738 and 1742 William Johnson became accepted by the Iroquois Indians, especially Mohawks who were his most regular customers in trade business. He tried his best to help Mohawks who were suffering from dangerous infectious diseases introduced by Europeans and losses from the warfare with other tribes. He gave them help that he secured form the British Empire, for which they repaid him by adopting him as honorary civil chief (sachem) and giving him the Indian name Warraghiyagey ("A Man who undertakes great Things"). This friendship was even more solidified with the Johnson’s successive marriage to two Mohawk women after the death of his first wife. His last wife was Molly Brant, sister of the famous Indian leader Joseph Brant.

After he established his diplomatic influence of the Iroquois Indians (collection of six Indian tribes, with Mohawks as one of their most prominent members), spreading the peace and gathering valuable information for the British crown, William Johnson received military post of Colonel of Iroquois Confederacy, which was given to him by the Gov. George Clinton in 1746. As the buildup to the 1756 British and Indian war against French came, Johnson (now bearing the title of Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northern Department) organized raiding parties, leading them into several famous battles, most notably 1755 Battle of Lake George (for which he was bestowed with a baronetcy), 1759 capture of Fr. Niagara and 1760 assault on Montreal.

After the war he continued serving as Superintendent of Indian Affairs until his death in 1774, continually working on opening frontiers to trade and expansion. He died as one of the largest land owners in North America of that time.