Johnson Foundry history resouces

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    • #294

      New to the society with a particular interest in the Johnson Foundry as my 2x great grandfather worked there as a moulder from 1868 until the earlier 1900s before he passed in 1906. Do others know of any good resources about the history of the foundry? I have William Tieck’s book with his excellent chapter on The Johnson Foundry, but looking to continue my research. Thanks in advance for any tips.

    • #297


      I bet you’ve probably already seen Cole Thompson’s article:

      Another resource is Thomas Henry Edsall’s History of the Town of Kingsbridge. It is the first history written about the area and is full of interesting information that is hard to find anywhere else. It was written in the 1880’s and includes a page on the foundry.

      Other than that and the Tieck book, I don’t know of anything else. Good luck and please let us know if you find any other resources.

    • #2222

      Just came across this nice view of the Foundry and Spuyten Duyvil Creek mislabeled as Harlem River

    • #2223

      Thanks for sharing that one–I hadn’t seen it.  Coincidentally, I just came across one a couple of days ago as well (click to zoom):

      This one has to be about 20 years after the one you posted because the peninsula that the foundry sat on was blasted away before this photo was taken (except for the island in the middle of the canal, which became part of Manhattan).

      As for your note about Harlem River vs. Spuyten Duyvil Creek…

      I never saw it defined exactly where one began and the other one ended.  I always just assumed it was the Spuyten Duyvil Creek west of the Kingsbridge and the Harlem River east of the Kingsbridge.  And then after the Harlem River Ship Canal was built in 1893, the creek really wasn’t a creek anymore.

      It is still the Spuyten Duyvil Creek according to Google though:

      Here is a handy creek/canal reference drawn by John Forsyth, who I believe was an early KHS member that drew a few maps for us:

    • #2897

      Years ago I went to Lehman college and was able to study Tieck’s notes that he kept when writing the books. They are archived there. My g-g-grandfather was also an Iron Moulder in the 1850’s and 1860’s at the Johnson foundry. He seems to have left around the time that they started giving work to the prisoners at Sing Sing for reduced wages. You will find more information on the Johnsons in these notes.

    • #2901

      I read that elsewhere–that prison labor was used at the foundry–and was surprised by it.  I wonder if any documentation can be found about that.  I would not imagine locals were too happy about it.

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