Jeremiah Johnston


Family-based resources tell us that Jeremiah Johnston was born in June 1749 in County Antrim Ireland. We move forward mindful of a number of similarly named contemporaries at risk. Perhaps he previously lived in New Jersey.

His wife was Sarah Ward or Diamond (daughter/descendant/kin of Albany resident Thomas Smith Diamond). We seek documentation on the children of that marriage.

In June 1777, he was among those apprehended and ordered to be confined by the Albany Committee for "drinking the king's health." However, he subsequently released due to a lack of proof.

However, his actual wartime service for the Revolutionary cause appears in an online summary of an application for a pension later made by his widow. Those notes claim that he served in the Albany militia from 1776 to 1780.

In June 1779, he applied to the Albany Commissioners for a pass to go to New Jersey. The pass was granted the next day. However, the following day (June 20), he was arrested for drinking to the King's health. By August he was being charged with concealing an escaped prisoner. Despite those incidents, after the war he was among those granted a land bounty right in conjunction with the city militia regiment.

In October 1779 (but not in March), his property was valued on the Albany assessment roll. In 1788, his personal property was valued under the house of George Klinck in the first ward. In 1799, Johnston's first ward house, lot, and holdings were taxed modestly.

In 1788 and 1791, he was listed as a fireman on the roster of Engine #2 for the first ward.

In 1790, his first ward household included a boy and three females, in addition to Johnston. A decade later, two boys, two adolescent girls, and an older girl shared the house with the middle-aged Johnston and his wife. The city census for 1810 accounted for their subsequent aging.

A Jeremiah Johnson was a harness maker who lived on the Southside of Albany. The second city directory in 1814 and the three subsequent editions as well (but not afterwards) listed him as a harness maker at 51 Liberty Street.

Jeremiah Johnston is said to have died in Albany in December 1817.

Much later (the report was published during the early 1850s), widow, Sarah's application for a Revolutionary War pension was suspended for insufficient proof. Summary notes from his pension files do not appear to confirm either position on the case.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Jeremiah Johnston (only occasionally called Johnson) has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
      Subsequent (but undated) pension application references note his wartime service and begin to describe his widow's course of action.

first posted 5/10/14