George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Mary Watts Johnson, 16 June 1776

From Mary Watts Johnson

Albany June 16th 1776


I take the Liberty of Complaining to you as it is from you I expect redress. I was Compell’d to leave home much against my inclination & am detained here by General Schuyler, who I am Convinced acts more out of ill nature to Sr John than from any reason that either he, or I have given him, as I am not allowed to return home & my situation here made as disagreeable as it Can be by repeated messages & Threats from General Schuyler, too indelicate & Cruel to be expected from a gentleman I shou’d wish to be with my friends at New York, & wou’d prefer my Captivity under your Excellencys protection to being in the power of General Schuyler who rules with more severity than Cou’d be wished by your Excellencys Humble Servant1

M. Johnson

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

1Lady Johnson had been removed from her home in the Mohawk Valley two or three weeks earlier and was being held at Albany in hopes that her detention would prevent her husband, Sir John Johnson, from attacking frontier settlements with his Loyalist followers or Indian allies (see Schuyler to GW, 26 May [first letter], n.4, and 10, 15 June 1776). For GW’s consistent refusal to intervene on behalf of Lady Johnson, see his letters to Schuyler of 10 and 20 June 1776, and to William Heath of 12 Jan. 1777. Lady Johnson received permission from the New York convention in December 1776 to live at Walkill in Ulster County, N.Y., and she moved there the following month with three children, an unmarried sister, a nurse, and two servants (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:761). A short time later Lady Johnson escaped in disguise to New York City where she rejoined her husband.

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