Johnson, Sir William

Johnson, Sir William (1715-1774) British Official: Johnson was born in Ireland and emigrated to America in 1738. He managed his uncle's estates in New York and began trading with Native Americans and making frontier land investments. His business became so lucrative that the Iroquois name him Warraghiyagey, or "he who does big business." During the French and Indian War, he commanded troops to victory at Crown Point and Niagara. He was made a baron, commissioned "Colonel of the Six Nations," and eventually appointed British Indian Superintendent for the Northern Department. In these position, he spoke to colonial assemblies, imperial offices, and Native American councils, seeking the power for the Iroquois Confederacy and himself in frontier matters, from New England to the Ohio country. Johnson was an ambitious man and, although his achievements did not rival his aspirations, he played a key role as a negotiator in Iroquois affairs and as a shaper of royal policies dealing with Native Americans. He died in his home, in the middle of a Native American conference.