Captain William Johnston
By Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus
Excerpts from
Buffalo: Good Neighbors, Great Architecture
, by Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus. Pub. by
Arcadia Publishing 2003

Although they did develop forts and trading posts, the French explorers did not build permanent residences in the area. Depending on the source you choose to believe, this honor fell to

These individuals may have been here prior to 1790

There is no dispute, however, that by 1795, when La Rochefoucault Liancourt visited Buffalo, there were already at least four houses belonging to Winney, Johnston, Lane, and Middaugh.

According to Joseph Landon, who was a member of a 1796 surveying party, Jesse Skinner and Hodge were also here.

Another source says that Asa Ransom was a resident by 1796, as were John Palmer and Sylvanus Maybee by 1798.


Captain William Johnston

William Johnston visited the area around 1780 as a lieutenant in the military and later returned, most speculate, around 1793. By that time he was called Captain Johnston.

He married a women from the Seneca village, bought land, built five buildings including a sawmill, and raised his family here.

He owned about 40 acres of land running from Seneca Street south to the Little Buffalo Creek and to a line east from Washington. His home was half log and half frame.

He established the first cemetery in Buffalo on his land near what is now Washington and Exchange.

He lived here until 1807, when he died and was buried in the family cemetery.

Text Copyright 2003 Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus


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