Johnstown Painting – News from Grant Recipient, Ruth DeWilde Major

Ruth DeWilde Major was a grant recipient in 2013 and 2012

I just found out from 5th Cousin Bill VanVoast up in Johnstown who ran into Town Historian Noel Levee that my painting of Johnstown will be unveiled at 7 PM New Year’s Eve at the Court House in Johnstown, the same court house our 5th great Grandfather Robert Adems ran his trading post next to back late 1750s to 1793. His house is the yellow house, one of severalĀ  but by sir William. Robert’sĀ  brother lived next door for a time in the brick house and was Sir William Johnson’s surgeon.

Robert managed the baronet’s books and trading enterprises for 27 years until Sir William’s death in 1764. This town was built as Sir William’s retirement town, though he didn’t have long to enjoy it. He left Robert the house, store and potash factory in his will as well as some farm land and a gold friendship ring. Robert Adem’s daughter Mary married John Van Vorst, a boat builder from Schenectady Stockade District, but they both died young and left 5 of their 7 children to be brought up by Grandfather Robert and “Aunt Katy” in Johnstown. We descend from daughter Susannah Van Vorst who married Rev. John Urquhart. Cousin Bill descends from her brother William Van Vorst and his descendants still live in Johnstown, so our ties to this place are still very strong.Bill and his family and grand children will be there to see the painting unveiled at the old Johnstown Court House seen in the painting at left above.

I understand from cousin Bill Van Voast that the painting will now travel to a hotel, 5 Johnstown banks and the Library before returning in August to the Johnstown Court House depicted in the painting and still standing!!

Johnstown has the history because of your grant allowing me to paint what my daughter Paris and I unearthed about the towns history.

Ruth DeWilde-Major

“William Street, John’s Towne, Winter, 1762”


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