April 1881 - June 1881

April 1881 - June 1881

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The Journal of John Jay Johns ]

Biographical Material
The Black Book
John Jay Johns Journal
Notes on Families:
Orrick Johns
Pen of John Jay Johns
Pioneer Families of MO
St. Charles, MO
Tax Records

Carl Friedrich Gauss Page
Wilhelm Ahrens Speech
Scan of Letter from Gauss
G. Waldo Dunnington Article

Chambless, Sanderson, Simmons

Disclaimer:The opinions on these pages are those of the writers and don't necessarily reflect my own views. More...


Jan. 1, 1881.
How strange those figures look (1881) - two ones and two eights. Nineteen centuries of time have swept over this sinstained earth since the Son of God appeared on it and the angels sang the sweet song "Peace on earth and good will to men". What conflicts o£ truth and error, sin and holiness, what wailings of human woe, what shouts of joy have gone up from human voices to heaven. And even now, of twelve hundred millions of the race, nearly 2/3 are in ignorance, idolatry, and superstition. But to sum up the whole matter, there is a large advance in human happiness, in civilization, art, science, and religion. The Bible is translated into nearly every tongue. Missionaries are spreading the Gospel in all lands. The press is extending its power rapidly in all civilized lands. Human inventories have increased the power of thought and labor beyond computation. The means of comfort and happiness have multiplied a hundredfold in the last century. The progress of our own country has been the stride of a young giant from infancy to powerful manhood. The principles of free civil government as embodied in our immortal constitution are spreading rapidly among all the civilized nations and when the year 2000 dawns on earth, it may be the Jubilee year of freedom, peace and the triumph of true religion to all the nations and peoples on earth. So may it be. As a family we have enjoyed great prosperity during the past year, no serious sickness. We have had the pleasure of having all the children with us during the year. Glover and George will commence this week a new enterprise, that is conducting a newspaper, the Journal - which we hope will be a success. What a debt of gratitude we owe our Heavenly Father. The great desire we feel for our children is that they would love and honor the dear Savior and our Heavenly Father and lead, honest, honorable, and useful lives, This is a mild and beautiful day. Last night the Mittelburger building, containing his dry goods store, the Opera Hall, the Cosmos Office (Printing) all consumed. It is almost a miracle that many other houses were not burned too. It was a very quiet night and snow on the roofs. I called on a few persons today. Old Colonel Cunningham, 82 years old, looks well and retains his faculties, except for deafness. Has been here 51 years. Called on Mrs. Whitney who has been recently stricken with paralysis, all one side. She is better. Called also on Mrs. Robert Parks and old Mrs. Sheppard who is now over 80 years old, and was living here over 60 years ago. She is well preserved.

Jan. 2, 1881. Sabbath.
Weather mild and pleasant. I attended the Children's Missionary Meeting with Shirley at three o'clock. These little meetings are not large but something is done in raising money and giving missionary intelligence. We generally get from $1.50 to $2.00. Went to the Methodist Church and heard Mr. McMurry, the Presiding Elder, preach a plain, practical sermon on the life of Joseph.

Jan. 4, 1881
Called on Miss Naomi Barron and her sister, Cora Holke. They are very comfortably fixed. I also called on Mrs. Alf Stonebraker who has just returned from New York after an absence of four months. She has greatly improved in health and looks.

Jan. 5, 1881.
Will Castlio of Mechanicsville stayed all night with us. Glover and George are working very hard on their paper. The first number will be out day after tomorrow.

Jan.. 7, l881.
Glover and George did not get in till one o'clock at night, being busy at the office preparing the Journal for the mail this morning, the first issue. It is a large sheet and large type. It is a great improvement on the other papers published here. I hope they will make a success of it.

Jan. 10, 1881.
Received a letter today from my old lady cousin, Mrs. Mary Rice. I am reading the life of Reverend Dr, Charles Hodge -- delightful.

Jan. 11, 1881.
Reverend Mr. Martin and wife called to see Mrs. Durfee.

Jan 12, 1881.
Mrs. Durfee has suffered intensely all day with neuralgia. Dr. & Mrs. Ferguson called in afternoon.

Jan. 15, 1881.
Dr. Martin called in afternoon and the girls too.

Jan. 16, 1881 Sabbath.
Cloudy, not so cold, mercury 20°, Arthur came last night. Cleared during the night. Fred came by in the afternoon and Arthur went with him to the Asylum. Dr. Martin preached a good sermon. Text in Epistle of John, 1st Chapter, 8th and 9th verses. "If we say that we have no sin, deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Jan. 17, 1881,
Mercury 12°. Arthur left this morning for the city.

Jan. 18, 1881.
Cloudy and raw, light rain, freezing as it falls. The streets so slick that it is hard to walk. The City has adopted a system of waterworks and steam that will be a great thing for the city, in protection from fire, and facilities for manufacturing and heating public buildings with steam.

Jan. 19, 1881.
I finished reading the life of Dr. Hodge --one of the most exalted characters I ever read of-- a great theologian, a great deal of strong common sense and a lovely Christian character. The Princeton Theological Seminary seems to have been specially favored of God in having such men as Alexander, Miller and Hodge as teachers. The hearts of David and Jonathan were not more closely knit together than were those of Hodge and Bishop Johns. Their love surpassed that of women.

Jan. 20, 1881.
Cloudy and damp, mercury 28 to 32, very difficult to walk, so slippery. Koenig sawing wood this afternoon.  I have commenced reading the Life of Christ by Cunningham Geikie, D. D., a Scotchman.

Jun. 21, 1881.
William Provines, son of old Dr. Provines, called to see us today. He has been absent from here 14 years and is now living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Territory. The third number of the Journal is out today. It is good. They are somewhat discouraged about subscribers. The News is in the way. Most new enterprises have some uphill work.

Jan. 22, 1881.
Mercury 24° above zero. Glover went to Portage today to get subscribers for his paper. Shirley fell on the ice this evening and hurt his shoulder badly. He cannot move his arm and suffers a good deal. No bones broken but some severe sprain.

Jan. 23, 1881. Sabbath.
Mercury 16°.  Dr. Martin preached a very good sermon today on the restraining influence of the gospel on society -- on men who are not Christians. Mrs. Gauss called in afternoon.

Jan. 25, 1881.
Clear, thawed a little today, Still quite cold, Such a winter as this is seldom seen in this climate. Such long continued cold, freezing weather, now three months. This extreme cold extends far south to Mobile.

Jan. 27, 1881.
Clear and colder, mercury 10° this morning. The icy hand of winter tightens. Glover goes up to Hannibal today with the Mayor and several other citizens at the request of Mr. Gray, the waterworks man, to see the waterworks at Hannibal, built by him. Called to see Mrs. Watkins in afternoon.

Jan. 28, 1881
Mercury down to 6° above zero. Glover returned this evening from Hannibal. The waterworks there a great success.

Jan. 29, l831.
Cloudy and much warmer, mercury 30° this morning. Melted a great deal during the day. Mercury 50°. Looks very much like a thaw-out.

Jan. 30, 1881 Sabbath.
Cloudy and warm, mercury 40° this morning. Funeral of Rufus Robbin's child in our church this morning,

Jan. 31, 1881.
Warm and raining, The ground is thawed about two inches and a hard rain would wash it off. It has been now nearly three months since the, ground froze up, the longest continued cold I ever saw in this country. A drizzling rain all day, cooler. Wind north and west, mercury 36°.

Feb. 2, 1881.
A great many people call this Ground Hog Day. They say if he comes out of' his hole and sees his shadow he will go back and stay six weeks-- that is, the weather will be bad for six weeks. He can see his shadow today, for the sun is out. We will see.

Feb. 3, 1881.
Hung up my meat today - 8 hams, 7 sides and one Shoulder.

Feb. 4, 1881.
I paid off my accounts in town and will try the cash system this year. Mrs. Mary Provines, 2103 Chestnut St., St, Louis, Mo.

Feb. 5, 1881.
Called to see my old friend, William Parks.

Feb. 8, 1881.
Mrs. Eaton died very suddenly this morning. Fred took dinner with us. We look for the ice in the river to break up tonight or in the morning, as a big rise is coming down.

Feb. 9, 1881.
Cloudy, foggy and drizzling, the frost comes out of the ground slowly, mercury 42°. Commenced raining about 9 o'clock the forenoon and has continued steadily all day. The ice gave away in the river last night about one o'clock. The river is rising and very full of ice today, - wind in west.

Feb. 12, 1881,
Stormy, stormy-- the wind roared all night, blew a gale and snowed too. This morning it is raging out-- wind and snow-- colder, mercury 20°. This is the most furious storm of the winter. The ground had nearly thawed out. Winter has returned with new vigor.

Feb. 13, 1881.
Still cold and windy this morning, 15°. Cleared up about noon. Delightful in afternoon. Arthur came last night. Fred took tea with us.

Feb. 14, 1881.
Clear early this morning-- cold-- mercury l0° above zero. Arthur went to city. Called on Colonel Cunningham this afternoon. He is 82, is quite bright, looks very young for that age. There was an election today in the city to determine whether a tax of 20¢ on the $100.00 should be levied to give fire protection and a system of waterworks which Mr. Gray proposes to build. Carried by an almost unanimous vote.

Feb. 18, 1881.
Everything covered with ice this morning - the trees bending with it-- rained most of the night and froze-- mercury 32° - dreary and wintry.

Feb. 15[sic], 1881. Saturday.
Clear and the ice on the trees glistens in the sun, mercury 20° above zero. George went to St. Louis this morning on the early train.

Feb. 21, 1881
Called at Robert Parks. Mamie Bennett is there. Called also at Mr. Goebel's on Miss Deis, Mrs. Goebel's sister, who is recently from Germany and who has spent many years in Brazil, South America, teaching. She speaks seven languages. She attends our church. She intends returning to Brazil. She is an intelligent and pious lady.

Feb. 22, 1881.
This is a memorable day in the history of the world. Washington's birthday. Clear and mild.  I am taking down the old log cabin, built 25 years ago by a man by name of Freeze, now living in Carroll County, Mo.(1) Everywhere water, mud and slush. Sent a barrel of potatoes to Mary today, with a few other things.

Feb. 24, 1881.
Clear, mercury 22° in morning. Having peach trees cut back and trimmed. The buds are dead. Brought the old clock back from Meyer's today, repaired and a new face. I bought it 29 years ago of old Mr. Meyer, the father of the men now doing business at the same place. It has marked every hour of health or sickness, joy or sorrow in our family for 29 years. It has marked the hour of the birth of eight of our children and of the death of four of them.

Mar. 2, 1881.
Heard Dr. Margins of St. Louis lecture at Lindenwood last night. Solid, sensible man, all the lectures I have heard there are too dry and heavy for young girls. In afternoon, very warm mercury 62° .

Mar. 3, 1881.
Old John Easterbrook died yesterday morning, a very short illness, too much whiskey-- kind-hearted, weak man. Has lived here for more than 40 years.

Mar. 4, 1881.
Cloudy, cold and very windy, mercury 20° . The wind blew a gale all night from the west. This is a great day at Washington, the inauguration day of President Garfield. Old Rahmoller, a blacksmith, died suddenly this morning. Good many cases of pneumonia. Fred has been going to the prairie every day. Terrible roads and very bad weather. Mrs. Whitney and Frank are both very low.

Mar, 9, 1881,
Clear, bright day but very muddy. The snow all gone. I went out to see Frank Whitney in the afternoon as he was said to be dying. When I got there I found him sensible and realizing his condition and earnestly engaged all the time in praying. It was a sad sight to see him and his mother, in the same room, she utterly helpless and without any mind, from paralysis. He died about 4 o'clock p.m. He has been a sufferer all his life from spinal affliction.

Mar. 11, 1881.
Glover sat up at Edwards with Frank Whitney's corpse all night. Funeral is at ten o'clock this morning.

Mar. 13, 1881 Sabbath.
Bible Society meeting at Jefferson Street Church.

Mar. 19, 1881.
Rained most of the night.  A furious snowstorm has raged all day, without abatement up to this time - 8 o'clock p.m.  Fred got a dispatch this morning that Mr. Meyers was very low with pneumonia and he and Annie left on evening train for Boonville.

Mar. 20, 1881.  Sabbath.
William Morgan came this morning about 6 o'clock from Carrollton.  Doug Martin stayed all night with our boys.  I am suffering a great deal all day, pain in the head from cold.  Could not go to church.

Mar. 21, 1881.
Mr. Bates is working on my fence today around the chicken yard.  A dispatch from Fred today saying William Meyers was better.

Mar. 22, 1881.
Clear and cold.  I suffered intensely with neuralgia all day.  Dr. Johnson gave me a hypodermic injection of morphine that relieved me.  I kept in bed all day, a rare thing in thirty years.  Dr. Martin and Mr. J. E. Stonebraker called on me.  What a blessing health is!  Sickness shows us how frail and helpless we are.  David said, "Before I was afflicted I went astray".

Mar. 24, 1881.
This has been a bright spring day.  I still suffer from neuralgia.  Mr. Martin called in morning and Mr. Stonebraker in evening.

Mar. 25, 1881.
Clear and mild in morning.  Fred returned this morning.  Was quite sick while in Boonville.  Mr. Meyers getting well.

Mar. 27, 1881.  Sabbath.
Clear and milder.  Suffered a great deal with my neuralgia.  William Parks called in the morning before church.  George is complaining of cold and neuralgia.  Mr. Alexander called in the afternoon.

Mar. 29, 1881.
Stormy night and ground covered with snow this morning, cold, windy.  Clear in afternoon.  Suffered severely all day with my neuralgia.  Mr. Martin called in morning and Mr. Alderson in afternoon.

Mar. 30, 1881.
George is a good deal better today and went to his office.  My neuralgia not so painful today.  Mrs. Ross called in afternoon.



  1. by email (6/6/03)The entry for 22 Feb 1881, "I am taking down the old log cabin built 25 yrs ago by a man named Freeze, now living in Carroll Co., MO." This was Silas M. Freeze, my ggg grandfather. He had a daughter Sarah who m. a John Watson and stayed there near St. Charles until she died somewhere 1880-1882. Can't find anything on her or what happened to her two sons and husband. I wish I knew where that cabin was. But, appreciate having the info. Faith Keahey.


Source: Location of handwritten original unknown.  Transcription and excerption by Florence Johns in 1960s.   Transcribed to softcopy by Allen Morgan and Susan D. Chambless, 1999.

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