Irish fur trader John Johnston and his Ojibwe wife, Oshahguscodaywayquay, established their home and business in Sault Ste. Marie in 1793. Johnston built a substantial log home facing the St. Marys River at the lower end of the rapids.
Johnston furnished his home with the aristocratic comforts he had known in Ireland, and the dwelling became a favorite stop for dignitaries who were traveling through the region. Over the next twenty years the Johnstons prospered.
Disaster struck in 1814 when Johnston, an English loyalist, was defending Fort Mackinac against the Americans. American troops attacked Johnston's property at the Sault, destroying his home and confiscating his trade goods. A new, smaller home was hastily built on the site of the old.
In 1822 Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the newly assigned territorial Indian agent, came to the Sault with Colonel Hugh Brady and his American troops. The Johnston family befriended Schoolcraft, and in 1823 Schoolcraft married the Johnstons' eldest daughter, Jane. That same year, an addition was built onto the Johnston home for the newlyweds. The 1823 addition is the only part of the home that has survived.
Visit Other Historic Homes on Water Street:
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft House
Kemp Coal Dock Office and Industrial Museum
Bishop Baraga House
Rates for the Historic Homes can be found at this link.