April 1, 1885 - June 30, 1885

April 1, 1885 - June 30, 1885

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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, 1885. Here begins another year. I say to all my friends and dear ones a Happy New Year in the Lord. May God's richest blessings rest on you through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen. Called on Mrs. Ross with my wife in afternoon.

Jan. 2, 1885.
Dr. Johnson told me yesterday that he thought Mr. Martin's lungs were seriously diseased and fears for the worst. He seems to have a complication of diseases and looks badly. I fear he will not be able to preach much more. I called at Mrs. Frayser's in afternoon, room full of young ladies. Mrs. Glenday and my wife called on Mrs. Tanner and Naomi Barron, Mrs. Tanner in very poor health.

Jan. 3, 1885.
John Pearce returned home this morning. Joe Parks and Shirley went down to Marias Croche Lake to skate. I called in afternoon on Col. Cunningham, 85 years old and very vigorous and then with William Parks called on Mr. Charles Johnson who is 93 years old. It is our duty to do all we can to comfort and cheer the aged. Mr. Johnson showed us the cane that was made and used by old Daniel Boon. It is black haw wood. It was given to Mr. Johnson by Boone's wife. Mr. Johnson bought and lived many years in the house that Boone and his son built (a large stone house) in Femme Osage in St. Charles County.

Jan. 4, 1885. Sabbath.
Brother William Parks preached for us this morning, Mr. Martin is very poorly. children's Missionary meeting this afternoon. This little society is now more than 30 years old, they raise from $2.00 to $4.00 at each meeting for foreign missions.

Jan. 5, 1885.
The old people are dropping off. Old man Cut is buried today, 80 years old. Mrs. Kramme died Saturday night. Eleanor Martin came out in afternoon and brought us some Florida oranges just received from Mr. Alexander.

Jan. 6, 1885.
Sent for Sunday School papers, quarterlies, hymnals and catechisms. I have a bad cold. I called at Mr. Martin today, he looks very pale and thin.

Jan. 7, 1885.
Have a very severe cold in head with some neuralgia, I have suffered a great deal today with my head. A letter from Annie dated 26 December, Fred was sick.

Jan. 8, 1885.
I suffered a great deal with my head last night, very unwell today, confined to the house. This is the anniversary of a great event in the history of this country, the great victory under General Jacson at New Orleans. How soon sickness and pain brings us down and shows us our weaknesses and need of help from the Lord. I am a great deal better this afternoon. My wife has a spell of rheumatism in the hand.

Jan. 9, 1885.
Mrs. John K. McDearmon and Mrs. Orme called. Mr. Crenshaw died last night and Mrs. Tanner is very ill. We had letter from Arthur today and one from Mattie. I am reading Kiekte's [see notes] "Hours with the Bible". It is a rich and valuable book, his sketch of Abraham's life and character are a delight.

Jan. 10, 1885.
Called to see Mr. Martin this morning, he has had fever every afternoon for several days. The doctor fears it is his lungs. He is in a very precarious codition. We had a letter from Fred today, he is a great deal better. Called at William Parks and had a pleasant hour with him. Saw his daughter, Mrs. Boal, who lives in Kansas. She says it is impossible to keep houses warm there in cold weather, the winds blow so strong. Minnie sent a letter by Doug Martin.

Jan. 12, 1885.
Wheat and corn have advanced in price lately, it was discovered that the amount on hand in Europe was much less than at this time last year.

Jan. 13, 1885.
Mrs. Durfee not so well this morning. A letter from Dollie yesterday - all well. Mrs. Alderson, Sis Gauss called in afternoon. William Parks and wife and Joe spent the evening and took tea with us. They are immenently good Christian people and the Lord wonderfully provides for them and their large family.

Jan. 15, 1885.
I still have remains of cold in head, some catarrh. Eleanor Martin came out in afternoon in snow, her father is no better. Papers report sever cold all over Texas, a great destruction among cattle and stock, a disastrous year in Texas with drought in summer and cold in winter.

Jan. 17, 1885.
About 7 o'cl p.m. George and Minnie came very unexpectedly, they had written but we didn't get the letter. How often surprises come to us, either pleasure or otherwise, - they are doing fine.

Jan. 20, 1885.
The Kankakee, Illinois Insane Asylum burned up Monday morning -- 17 lives lost. All such institutions ought to be fire proof. Had a letter from Mattie yesterday. The ice men are getting ice from Marias Crochi lake - nine inches thick. My wife and Mrs. Glenday went out in afternoon, called on Mr. Martin, he is about the same, some fever every day - no appetite.

Jan. 22, 1885.
My Franklin stove pipe burned out today. Charles Walker and Pendleton of Wentzville made assignments yesterday, a most unexpected thing as to Walker as he was thought to be prosperous. The uncertainty of riches. Snow upon snow. The citizens are taking steps to supply the poor milk needed in this long extreme winter. Letter from Minnie today. I went out with Shirley to College exhibition at Opera House, great crowd, the boys did very well, walking bad, snow soft and slippery. My wife and Mrs. Glenday went out to the Society in afternoon.

Jan. 25, 1885. Sabbath.
Last night's papers report an attempt to blow up the British Parliament by dynamite. Good mahy people injured, terrible crime.

Jan. 26, 1885.
Received a letter from Mary Johns at Austin, Texas, very cold there. Mr. Martin not so well, had fever yesterday. I called at Mrs. Frayser's - Mrs. Rufner from West Virginia and Mrs. (Dr.) Bates of St. Louis and Mrs. Samuel Watson are there. Good deal of suffering among the poor especially the negroes -- they are so improvident. The people are supplying their wants. Mercury below zero.

Jan. 29, 1885.
Met Mr. Alderson's brother today, an old gentleman from Maryland. This day is observed by many churches as a day of prayer for schools and colleges. In the afternoon, my wife, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Parks and I and others went out to Lindenwood to attend a religions meeting conducted by Reverent Mr. Martin of the 1st Church, St. Louis. It was an interesting meeting, Christian colleges are a blessing, many of our best men and women have been converted in our colleges.\

Jan. 31, 1885.
No letter from our Texas folks for 3 weeks. Old Mrs. Kisinger died today, happy release from much suffering. she was an humble, devoted Christian woman, Mr. Kisinger is distracted greatly, they have been married 54 years.

Feb. 1, 1885. Sabbath.
Dr. Irwin preached for us this morning. "Good words and good deeds live forever."

Feb. 3, 1885.
Letters from Arthur and Lizzie, all well - they had a long rainy spell and cold. Mrs. Kisinger was buried today, she was a very good woman, always at church when able and always gave some out of her poverty. A very sad thing occurred in the Prairie yesterday. Mrs. Mary Vincent was shot accidently by her son. Her knee was completely shattered and had to be amputated, she is a good woman, I have known her from a child. Mr. Martin much worse today. Weather still freezing.

Feb. 4, 1885.
Reverend Mr. Wilkie came up from St. Louis yesterday to see Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin was so unwell and nervous he saw him only a few minutes. Eleanor Martin was out in afternoon to see us. She talked about her father's condition and wept freely. Monthly concert tonight but walking bad.

Feb. 5, 1885.
Dr. Irwin told me today that he had a talk with Mr. Martin today and that he was fully aware of his condition and entirely reconciled to it. My wife and Mrs. Glenday called there this afternoon, he had a fainting spell about noon that alarmed them very much.

Feb. 6, 1885.
Kartum was reported in the evening papers in the hands of the rebels and Gordon either killed or a prisoner.

Feb. 7, 1885.
I wrote to Miss Kate Myers today. My wife and Mrs. Glenday went out to Mr. Alexander's. I called on Mrs. Sidie.

Feb. 8, 1885. Sabbath.
President Meyers preached for us today. George and Minnie came to the McDearmon's last night and to dinner with us. They returned to the McDearmon's and went back to St. Louis this morning. Children's Missionary meeting this p.m. The last evening papers report General Gordon killed by the rebels at Kartum. His death will be mourned by all civilized people, he has had a great career. All the world is looking to the English army in Egypt and anxious for the fate of Gordon.

Feb. 11, 1885.
Mr. Alderson called after tea to tell about a Dr. Lawton who cures cancer and rheumatism. Went out with Mr. Alderson to French town to see Dr. Lawton about Julia Martin's case. He professes to cure severe cases of cancer and rheumatism. Saw Mr. Martin this afternoon, is growing worse.

Feb. 14, 1885.
I had a long talk with Mr. Gauss about his going away from this place. He thinks all things considered it is best for him to move with his family to some place else and settle on a farm with his boys or family, he is too old and blind to continue in business longer. His boys want to farm and raise stock. His removal will be a great loss to us and the church here.

Feb. 16, 1885.
Reverend Mr. Barrett preached for us last night, we had better congregation than expected and a good sermon on Christian life and hope, the foundation of joy and peace. He left this morning. Mr. Alderson and Reverend Mr. Luther called on Mrs. Durfee this morning.

Feb. 17, 1885.
Henry, a negro man, that I raised, brother to Cely and Syd, came to see us today. He lives in Illinois near Chicago, is a blacksmith, is well off.

Feb. 19, 1885.
Mr. Martin is growing worse and weaker, has been in bed two days. Great deal of suffering among the negroes because of the extreme cold winter.

Feb. 20, 1885.
Drs. Farris, Brank and Hollifield came up today to Mrs. Martin's. They spent half hour with him before noon, came with me to dinner and in afternoon called to see him again. Their visits were gratifying to him. He has not been out of bed for 3 days, is very weak. Grace triumphs in his case.

Feb. 22, 1885.
This is the most memorable day in our national annuals - Washington's birthday. The completion of the Washington monument celebrated yesterday. Our kitchen chimney burned out this morning. It is always alarming. Miss Laura Watkins was very sick last night and was to be married this afternoon. A great many railroad accidents reported -- caused by the severe cold and many fires occur through the country. Reports from Egypt very discouraging to England.

Feb. 24, 1885.
I called on old Mrs. Custer at Mrs. Watkins. Miss Laura Watkins is still sick. Mrs. Lindsay has a sale of all her personal property today.

Feb. 26, 1885.
My wife stayed all day at Mr. Martin's. They sent for Afra and Ed. They came in morning.

Feb. 27, 1885.
Mr. Martin died last night at 8:45 p.m. My wife and I were there and witnessed the final scene. It lasted only about 30 minutes, no struggle, but past off easily. He leaves five girls at home. Eleanor and Daisy have nursed him with great tenderness. They bear the loss with great fortitude. They are left utterly penniless but the covenant keeping God will provide for them. They have a great many warm friends here. Douglas is getting a good salary and can help them. Dr. Martin is 58 years old, has been in the ministry 36 years and has been pastor of our church over 14 years. He was a good preacher, helf [sic]forth the great doctrines of the Gospel with great clearness and force and commanded the respect of all classes in the community. A life well spent and his reward is on high.

Feb. 28, 1885.
Doug Martin came down today. Reverend Thomas Watson came to preach Mr. Martin's funeral sermon. The ladies are draping the church today. Called to see Mr. Watson at Mr. Gauss's this afternoon, he has been in poor health for weeks.

Mar. 1, 1885. Sabbath.
This is a solemn and memorable day in our church. The pastor who has preached the gospel so faithfully for more than 14 years is to be buried from the church at the hour he was accustomed to preach to us -- this is his last sermon to us from the grave. There was a great crowd of people at funeral today, all classes and denominations. Mr. Watson preached a very able sermon on the interview of our Saviour with Martha on the resurrection. The Christian has a new life, given him by God, a spiritual and eternal life. Dr. Irwin, Mrs. Wm Parks and Reverend Mr. T. C. Smith took part in the services. Mr. Smith and Mr. Parks took dinner with us.

Mar. 2, 1885.
Had a talk with Douglas about what would be done with their family. He is determined to keep them together here. They will remain in the parsonage until the church needs it. What a happy thing for them that he can do it. We had meeting of the session in church tonight to take action on Mr. Martin's death. Jack and Doug Martin are making catalogue of their father's books today. I collected money to pay his funeral expenses.

Mar. 4, 1885.
This is memorable day in our history. President Cleveland is to be inaugurated today -- the first democratic president in 24 years. He has not been a politician and was elected because of his honesty and firmness in his official capacity as governor of New York.

Mar. 5, 1885.
Dr. Irwin came to the church last night after prayer meeting to help put a price on Mr. Martin's books. Read President Cleveland's inaugural address this morning. It is admirable in tone and matter, has the clear, strong democratic Jeffersonian ring -- honesty, economy, and faithfulness -- the government belongs to the people and must be administered for the people. Had a new front gate hung today by Mr. Bates.

Mar. 8, 1885. Sabbath.
Dr. Reasor of St. Louis preached in our church in exchange with Dr. Irwin. Had a congregational meeting - a paper adopted by the session on Dr. Martin's life and death was read by Reverend Will Parks, the church to continue with their regular church contributions. In afternoon went to William Parks where he baptized his two grandchildren - William and Lizzie Boal's children.

Mar. 9, 1885.
Received a letter from Lizzie today, they have fine health. Eleanor Martin gave me two books of her father's -- The Two Parsons and Life of John Randolph of Roanoak. Wheat in bad condition.

Mar. 11, 1885.
Tom Pearce came down today to get pay for the sheep that dogs killed 1st day of March. He looks very well. Mary is expected home from Carrollton Saturday.

Mar. 13, 1885.
Frank Kirkpatrick, and old citizen, died suddenly this morning, James Towers, another citizen died yesterday, 5 miles west of town.

Mar. 16, 1885.
Mrs. Glenday sick this morning. The eclipse of the sun apparent when clouds part occasionally about noon. Received a letter from Fred, everything prosperous and one from Minnie, no house yet.

Mar. 17, 1885.
Mrs. Glenday in bed and I am still suffering with cold. I have remained in the house all day. Not well and so cold out. My wife is suffering a good deal with face-ache from cold. Miss Julia and Maggie Frayser called in afternoon and also Mrs. Allen and Annie.

Mar. 18, 1885.
Mrs. Ross, Eleanor Martin and Sis Gauss called in afternoon. My wife quite sick, cold and pain.

Mar. 20, 1885.
I testified on the affair of the dyke at the eastern pier of the bridge on the current of the river washing the St. Charles bottom lands. Mrs. Pourie called.

Mar. 22, 1885. Sabbath.
The Reverend Dr. Monfort, the editor of the Presbyter and Herald, preached in our church morning and evening, took Dr. Irwin;s place. He has been on a visit to California and New Orleans and went up last week to Fulton to see Dr. Robinson, his old classmate. He is 74 and Dr. Robinson is 77. I used to see Dr. Montfort when I was at college at Oxford 45 years ago. He preaced two very good sermons. George and Minnie took diner [sic] with us, they have rented a house.

Mar. 23, 1885.
Called to see Mr. Alexander who is sick, in afternoon called to see Ellen Johnson, colored, about her pension papers and then stopped to see Reverend Mr. Turner, Methodist minister, colored. He is a large, fine looking copper colored man.

Mar. 24, 1885.
Saw August Cruse yesterday, he thinks most of the wheat is killed. The farmers are very much perplexed what to do - whether to get spring wheat to sow. Some think the winter wheat may yet come out and they are afraid of spring wheat - hard to get the right seed and then it is very uncertain in this latitude, the prospect is very gloom, the weather is so dry and cold. In the year 1864 we had something similar and a very fine crop of wheat was raised. Rhaker also thinks wheat gone.

Mar. 25, 1885.
This day, forty-one years ago I came to this place. Forty years brings a great many vicissitudes to most families. The Lord brought me to good land and has greatly prospered me in the main. My blessings have been very great, temporal and spiritual. Death has taken six dear ones to the Heavenly Home and ten of us yet live though many of them are scattered far away. When I came to Missouri I had very poor health and for some years after but for a long time I have been stronger and health generally good. I would raise a memorial to say hitherto hath the Lord helped me. And I must say that me dear wife has been a great help and comfort to me. I have a severe attack of neuralgia in head today. I wrote to my cousin, Tom Johns, today.

Mar. 27, 1885.
Wrote Rutherford Douglas today. Had several orders for Mr. Martin's books today. Douglas Martin and I sent off several packages of books this afternoon, Eleanor Martin was out to see us.


  • Cunningham Geike wrote a great many religious works in the 1880s, 90s and later, including a multivolume work entitled "Hours with the Bible". The first several volumes were published in 1881. John Jay Johns' handwriting was pretty bad and worsened with his failing vision, and Florence didn't have the Internet for instant research. In her letters to Minna Reeves, written while she was doing this work, she mentions using maps and various other reference works.
  • Mrs. Durfee was Anne Glenday Durfee, mother of John Jay Johns' wife, Jane Amanda Durfee.
  • Dollie (Tutt) is the wife of Arthur Johns.
  • Sis Gauss is the Virginia Gauss, daughter of Eugene Gauss and Henrietta Fawcett, and sister to John Jay Johns' son-in-law, Henry Gauss.
  • Eleanor Martin was engaged to JJJ's son Glover at the time of his death.
  • Lizzie is JJJ's daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Johns, wife of Henry Gauss, my great grandmother.



Source: Location of handwritten original unknown.  Transcription and excerption by Florence Johns.   Transcribed to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, April 21, 2001.

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