Putman-Johnson House // 1827

This 1827 home on Boston’s Beacon Hill was likely built for George Putman (also Putnam), an African American hairdresser after he purchased land on the North Slope of the hill, just a minute walk from the Abiel Smith School, Boston’s first Black school building, and the African Meetinghouse. As an abolitionist and supporter of William Lloyd Garrison, Putman held meetings at his home, where he may have also hosted a gathering to discuss the founding of a college for African Americans, as Putnam valued education and advocated to integrate Boston’s schools. In 1853, Putnam sold the house to Robert Johnson, a freedom-seeker who escaped to Canada from Virginia, before settling in Boston in the 1830s. Based on his activism and associates, Johnson likely assisted freedom seekers; he served as a deacon at Twelfth Baptist Church, also known as the “Fugitives’ Slaves Church.” After Robert Johnson’s death in 1880, the building remained the family home until 1904.

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