William Johnson House, Natchez

William Johnson House, Natchez – (1840-41) (National Register) The William Johnson House is a fairly typical Greek Revival townhouse in Natchez. Constructed between August 1840 and November 1841 by its African American owner, William Johnson, the house suffered inappropriate alterations and neglect; but was saved from destruction by the Natchez Garden Club in the 1970s, who acted as caretakers for 15 years before the National Park Service restored the house from 1990 to 2005. The house, since the restoration, is probably the best preserved Greek Revival townhouse in Natchez; but its importance lies with its builder, owner, and first resident, William Johnson. William Johnson (1809-1851) was born a slave, granted his freedom as a child, then lived as a free, slave-owning black in Natchez. Most importantly, he recorded his life as a free black in diary form, becoming, in the words of historian Allen Nevins, “one of the most remarkable and interesting American diarist[s].” William Johnson’s diary covers Natchez life from 1835-1851 and gives modern readers an insight into life for free blacks and Natchez culture during the antebellum period.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: