Sylvander Johnson

Sylvander Johnson was an influential figure across many facets of society--manufacturing, legislation, and local politics. Johnson was able to establish bills, banks, and had an everlasting presence on the town of North Adams.

Sylvander Johnson was an influential figure in North Adams during his lifetime. He was most prominent in the business world through his lucrative and long-lasting efforts in cotton warp production. Johnson's prowess in the cotton mill industry started when he was very young. At the age of 14 he got his first taste of the business at a mill in Chicopee. Later in his life, but not yet at the time of his long-running Cotton mill, which dominated the majority of the latter half of his life, Johnson moved to Copake, New York and gave a shot at the furnace industry. Within a year Johnson moved back to North Adams to resume his venture in cotton warps. Johnson owned a mill from 1850 until the mill eventually burned to the ground in 1872.

Beyond his business activities, Johnson was also active in the broader Berkshire community. Elected to multiple terms in the state legislature, in 1864 he influenced the passing of legislation for the provision of a water company to be placed in North Adams. He wanted to use a local reservoir for business purposes, however scarcely any of the necessary work was done on the reservoir for the business to really get off the ground. Also in 1864, he chartered a grant for the North Adams Gas-Light company. Johnson also served as the president of the North Adams Agricultural Society.

In addition to his influence on the passing of legislation and charter grants, Johnson also represented state legislature in the years: 1847, '57, '59, '64, and '66. Also, quite notably, Johnson was elected to the Governor's council in the years of 1869 and 1870. He also helped to establish the Hoosac Bank, and on April 19, 1871 he was proclaimed the trustee of the bank.

In his 67 years on this planet Johnson was an important figure in manufacturing of a major clothing material, influencing bills in the state legislature, and in shaping local politics. He now rests in Hillside Cemetery in North Adams.

Map Coordinates: 42.7002649, -73.1216016