Last updated: 1/27/2012
9845 N. Hardin Rd.
Piqua, OH 45356
9845 N. Hardin Rd.
Piqua, OH 45356
April, May and September, October
by appointment for groups.
|Monday - Friday||9 AM - 2 PM|
November – March - SITE CLOSED
|Thursday - Friday||10 AM - 5 PM|
|Sunday, Saturday||12 PM - 5 PM|
AAA and senior discounts are honored.
OHS Members: $6
Children (6-12): $4
Children under 5: Free
School Groups per student: $3
Andy Hite, Site Manager
Marla Fair, Lead Interpreter
Diana Jacobs, Interpreter/Museum Shop Manager
Sheri Barhorst, Lead Craft Person
The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency begins its story with some of the early contact between the Native and Euro Americans with economic activity at the Pickawillany village site, the story continues as the home and farm of early Ohio settler, Federal Indian Agent, and Ohio Canal Commissioner John Johnston. In his home his contributions, as well as deomstrating how a family would make a life for itself on the frontier. Lastly, the story of the construction, use, and eventual decline of Ohio's canal system is included in museum displays, as well as a ride on a replica, mule-drawn canal boat on a stretch of the Miami and Erie Canal.
Costumed staff and volunteers help the visitor step back to life in the early 1800's as Ohio was truly the American frontier.
The interpretive mission of the Piqua Historical Area State Memorial is four fold: 1) using the story of the Pickawillany village as a starting point, tell about the early interaction between Native Americans and Europeans; 2) using John Johnston's personal history to illustrate the early 19th century Ohioians and their relationship with Native Americans; 3) using John Johnston and his family's experience, illustrate life on the Ohio frontier; 4) illustrating broader changes in Ohio during the first half of the 19th century in trade and transportation, particularly as influenced by Ohio's canals.
John Johnston was born on March 25th, 1775 in County Fermanagh, Ireland. He came to America at age 11 and settled in Pennsylvania, where he remained until the age of 16 when he entered the mercantile trade and began to transport supplies to the various forts on the frontier. During these journies he first 'laid eyes' on the land known as Upper Piqua, near the Great Miami river in present day Piqua, Ohio. He 'determined' to have it for his own, and kept this promise to himself some 12 years later when, in 1804, he purchased the land. At the time Johnston was serving as an Indian Factor for the US Government, operating a trading post in Fort Wayne in the Indian Territory (now Fort Wayne, IN). Later Johnston became the Federal Indian Agent at the fort. He continued to serve in Indiana until 1811, when he retired to his beloved Upper Piqua farm to become a 'gentleman farmer'.
John Johnston's days of peace and quiet were short. Less than a year after he and his growing family moved into the Upper Piqua farm, in June of 1812, war broke out. The US government needed someone in Ohio with experience with both Indians and soldiers to act as their agent, and Johnston was the perfect candidate. John Johnston became the Indian Agent for the Shawnee in 1812, and for the Wyandot and Seneca tribes in 1816. He also handled the Lenape or Delaware during this time. Johnston's role in Ohio during the War of 1812 was crucial. By the strength of his character he earned the trust of the various Indian tribes, and this trust allowed him to keep the peace during this turbulent time.
After the war ended, the Upper Piqua agency continued until 1829. At that time there wa a change of administration in Washington. As Andrew Jackson's Democrats took charge, those - like John Johnston - who were of the Whig party lost their jobs. By 1830 the Upper Piqua Indian Agency had ended, though Native Americans continued for years to come to the farm for aid and the company of their old friend.
John Johnston had many other interests, including farming, education, and the advancement of the state of Ohio, Miami County in particular. In 1825 he became one of Ohio's Canal Commissioners, and was responsible along with the others on the commission for choosing the route the Miami & Erie Canal would take through Ohio. He was on the traveling board of West Point Military Academy, and was one of the founding members of Kenyon College. Johnston was also a president and contributing member of the Cincinnati Historical and Philosophical Society.
The site was opened in the fall of 1972 as a part of the Ohio Historical Society.
Native American, Early Euro settlement, Ohio canal
The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency has developed student tours that address Ohio Dept. of Education standards and hosts primarily 4th grade students as well as other youth and adult groups.
The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is a part of the Ohio Histoircal Society and partially supported by the Johnston Farm Friends Council.
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