A Trip to Texas - January 1886 - March 1886

A Trip to Texas - January 1886 - March 1886

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Biographical Material
The Black Book
John Jay Johns Journal
Notes on Families:
Orrick Johns
Pen of John Jay Johns
Pioneer Families of MO
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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...

Oct. 1, 1885.
Wrote to Mary Pearce, John J. Walker and R. H. Miller on the Cousin Mary Rice will. We had a meeting of the session tonight to talk over the interests of the church, the best mode of conductin[g] prayer meeting, visitations, etc. I go[t] a letter from Miller of Mississippi about the will of Cousin Mary Rice. Shirley has been sick for two days, chills and fever.

Oct. 5, 1885.
Mr. and Mrs. Howison went over to the parsonage to begin housekeeping today. A man by the name of McElroy called to get him to conduct funeral services for his wife at 10 o'cl a.m. Rec'd letters from Fred and Annie and Dollie, Fred is taking a decided stand in religious matters, superintendent of Sunday School and leading prayer meeting.

Oct. 8, 1885.
The St. Louis Fair and Exposition drawing great crowds, weather good. Strike of the Street car drivers very inopportune. Vice President Henricks in St. Louis. I am reading a book by Reverend Timothy Flint sho came out here from Massachusetts in 1816 as a missionary, lived five years in the Point Prairie below town, traveled a great deal in this state, Arkansas and Louisiana. He is a fine writer and gives a very interesting account of this western country at that time.

Oct. 9, 1885.
The strikers are giving a great deal of trouble in St. Louis. It is an outrage when men refuse to work for certain wages to raise riots and prevent other men working and stop the street cars running in a big city at a time when thousands of strangers are in the city.

Oct. 11, 1885. Sabbath.
Mr. Howison preached in morning from the Command of Moses at Red Sea to go forward. The Christian must go forward in the path of duty no matter difficulties in the way. The officers of the church as leaders hav great responsibility -- forward is the watch-word for all Christians in all things. In afternoon a children's meeting. Mr. Howison preached to them on fearing the Lord, keeping the tongues from evil -- very good. Professor Campbell walked home with us, he is a Scotchman by birth, educated in Tngland at Rugby, spent some years in South Africa as missionary.

Oct. 12, 1885.
Received receipt from Shelby Walker and Shagrin, Huntsville, Ala., for $25.00 retainer fee in the Mrs. Rice case (will). A terrible murder was committed near Wentzville this County a few days ago by a farmer named May on a man named Webb, he shot Webb in ambush and then brained him with his gun because Webb wanted to marry his daughter. Completed reading Timothy Flint's book, Recollections of Mississipi [sic] Valley, he endured great hardships in traveling up and down the river in flat boats, and sickness with his family. He was a highly educated man and seems to have been a man of good spirit, trying to do good -- perhaps a little visionary.

Oct. 15, 1885.
I walked out Jefferson Street. John Atkinson is laying foundation for his house near Mrs. Ross'. Two houses building near Salveter's -- cottages. I went to the Creamery. Young Mr. Goebel was married today.

Oct. 16, 1885.
Wrote a letter this a.m. to Mary Johns about the pardon of Light Cunningham by the Governor of Texas. Received a letter from Mary Pearce today, they are doing well. Mrs. Fielding and Madge called to see us this afternoon.

Oct. 17, 1885.
A menagerie came to town today and the boys are greatly excited. Saw more drunken men in town than for a long time.

Oct 19, 1885.
Received a joyful letter from Fred giving account of his religious experiences of late. He has a new baptism of the Holy Spirit and a new consecratioin of himself to God's service. He is superintending the prayer-meeting and Sunday School. He and Annie are doing a good work in that new and destitute field.

Oct. 20, 1885.
Received a letter from Louisa Morgan today inclosing one from her Aunt Mary Thrall nee Woodruff. Mr. Ezra Overall is back from Kansas City, He thinks Sam Jones is a great preacher.

Oct. 22, 1885.
Received a letter from Claude Johns about the pardon of Light Cunningham. Called on Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Snyder near Mr. Salveter's and asked them to come to church. Called with Dr. Johnson at Mr. Sherman's and at his father's, old Mr. Johnson, now 93, still in good health and quite sound in mind for such age. Saw Bates Frayser today. Let Mr. McIlhenny have my buggy on trial. Went down to car shops to see Snyder and Miller to ask them to come to church.

Oct. 25, 1885.
Mr. Howison preached on the institution of the Sabbath, its perpetuity and the universal moral obligation to observe, man and beast need it. Regular Indian Summer weather.

Oct. 27, 1885.
Mrs. Durfee went to St. Louis on early train with Mr. Howison to visit George. Received a letter from Mattie. She and Mr. Borden were to take a trip this week to Gettysburg, Pa., thence Harrisburg, to Luray's Cave in Virginia and to old Point Comfort.

Oct. 29, 1885.
Mrs. Durfee returned from St. Louis last night. George and Minnie taken up with the great Thomas concerts. I called on Dr. Thomas in afternoon.

Oct. 30, 1885.
I went with Mr. Alderson to see the Box Factory, they are making a great many boxes, gobacco boxes and hominy boxes. Eleanor Martin called late in afternoon, she goes to St. Louis tomorrow to hear the Thomas concert matinee. Papers report great floods in Virginia.

Nov. 2, 1885.
A letter from Blanche Gauss today, all well. Received a letter from Shelby Walker and Shagrin Attorneys in Hunsville, Alabama, saying that the former will of Cousin Mary Rice was all right and if this one was broken, that would stand and therefore useless to proceed further. Wrote to them to stop and to Cousin Lou W. Patton. Received a postal from Mattie at Luray's cave in Va., They are having a delightful trip. The street car strikers, Knights of Labor, arrested for dynamiting cars.

Nov. 8, 1885. Sabbath.
Mr. Howison preached on the duties of ruling elders in the church and what qualifications for the office. A song service for the children in afternoon.

Nov. 9, 1885.
Eugene Gauss in here removing some things to their new home in Boone County. We called on the Martins after tea. Eugene Gauss called to see us and bit us farewell.

Nov. 10, 1885.
Mrs. Allen called after dinner. I rode with Mr. Alderson in afternoon down the bottom where they are sawing logs for Box Factory. Mrs. Glenday went with Mrs. Gauss and Sis Gauss to St. Louis.

Nov. 12, 1885.
Long letter from Mattie giving an account of trip through Virginia, Luray's Cave, Natural Bridge, Richmond and old Point Comfort. A Postal from Lizzie saying all had had Dengue Fever, all well again. Spent the afternoon at Mr. Gauss'.

Nov. 13, 1885.
Mercury 30°, this is the coldest morning we have had. Had a good deal of pain in back of my neck and head -- took electric shock and relieved me -- rheumatism. Mr. and Mrs. Howison came to tea and we afterwards went to Reverend William Parks on a session visitation.

Mov. 14, 1885.
Great fire in Galveston, Texas yesterday. George and Minnie came to supper, it has been two months since they were here, they are very well.

Nov. 15, 1885.
The yesterday evening papers report that war is decared between Servia [sic] and Bulgaria. Wrote to Tom Johns at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, called on Mrs. Watson in afternoon.

Nov. 19, 1885.
Called at Mr. Gauss in afternoon. Session of church met at Mr. J. H. Alexander's tonight. His daughter Emily and children and husband, Jack Martin, go to Florida next week. Met Prof. Meyers this afternoon and he showed me quite a number of letters giving Mr. Campbell a very bad character.

Nov. 23, 1885.
Received a letter from Fred today, all well, religious matters take up a great deal of it. I met Mr. Wilson, a brother of Mrs. Frayser today, he is 72 years old, from West Virginia and going to Texas to find a home.

Nov. 24, 1885.
Sam Jones, the Georgia Evangelist, is preaching in St. Louis. He is a rough man, full of earnest zeal, bold and fearless in denouncing all forms of sin in the church and out of it. He makes a deep impressioin wherever he goes. His labors are blessed greatly.

Nov. 25, 1885.
Daisy Martin called in the morning. Dierker sold Mrs. Durfee's corn at 30¢ per bushel. That is cheaper than corn has sold for years. Wheat is still down too. Eleanor Martin came to tea. The Misses Goebel came from St. Louis for Thanksgiving, were at Prayer Meeting last night.

Nov. 26, 1885.
This is Thanksgiving Day all over the land. This is a recognition by all the state and national governments of our dependence on God for all our blessings, temporal and spiritual. We have a great deal to be thankful for as individuals, by society as a people, health, abundance and liverty, civil and religious. Vice-President Hendricks died suddenly yesterday evening. This is a shock to the Democrat party and the whole country. How often death takes the men in Presidency and Vice-Presidency. We had a pleasant Thanksgiving Day, a good sermon by Mr. Howison in the Methodist Church, they took dinner with us and then at 4 o'cl we went to the Barton and Mamie Fielding wedding at the Methodist Church and after supper Shirley and went to an entertainment at Lindenwood. Received a letter from Mattie today.

Nov. 30, 1885.
Called in morning on Mrs. Ross and to see Mrs. Hudson. The Elders and wives took tea with Mr. and Mrs. Howison this evening. I called on Mrs. Kramer and Mrs. Sidie. Received a letter from Tom Johns today, he gives an account of the death of his daughter, Alice.

Dec. 2, 1885.
Had my chimney cleaned out in afternoon. Mrs. Gauss and Mrs. Custer called and Miss Lucy McDearmon and Mrs. Orme called in afternoon. Eleanor Martin called a few minutes.

Dec. 3, 1885.
Shirley and I went to St. Louis today. We saw George at the office of the Post Dispatch a few minutes. Spent an hour with Dr. Farris and went to Centenary Church at 10:30 o'cl to hear Sam JOnes by Sam Small preached. He is one of Sam Jones's converts and has been preaching a very short time. He is a cultured man and a graceful and forcible speaker. Heard a talk from Sam Jones at 2:30 o'cl at the St. John M. E. Church. Recieved a letter from Mattie and Louisa Morgan. Her two sons, John and Rob, have recently been converted and joined the Methodist Church near them. She considered it best to join the same church as her church, Presbyteian is too far off to attend. I praise the Lord that these two boys have been brought into the church.

Dec. 8, 1885.
Shirley had his foot cut a little with an axe and he is kept from school today. Saw Theo Gauss today. The evening papers report death suddenly of W. H. Vanderbilt in New York. The Liberal party have carried the election in England.

Dec. 9, 1885.
Killed my hogs today, four of them, and cut them up this evening. Eleanor Martin and Miss Overstreet took tea with us. A box of articles came today from Mattie for the Christmas market.

Dec. 11, 1885.
The Gausses are packing up finally. Old Winnie Lindsay called this noon, she is a colored woman we have known for years. The Elders and Minister will meet here tonight. Eleanor Martin came over with a picture she has painted for Mattie.

Dec. 12, 1885.
Mr. and Mrs. Gauss came over to bid us farewell. It was a sad parting after living side by side in the most intimate and friendly relations for nearly forty years, all our children raised together and some intermarried. Take them all in all they are the best family I ever knew, the most sincere, the most kindly and liberal in Christitan causes. It will be but a few years till we all make our last journey to the Heavenly Home. May the blessings of God go with them to their new near Columbia, Missouri. Sis Gauss took dinner with us. Charlotte Shaw called. Shirley went to the Marias Croche lake to skate. Doug Martin has returned.

Dec. 15, 1885.
We received a postal from Mattie saying she had sent a dress to Eleanor Martin. I called at Martin's in afternoon. Wrote Mary Pearce and sent some books to children by McRoberts.

Dec. 17, 1885.
Tonight the ladies Sewing Society of our church have a Christmas market at the Opera House.

Dec. 19, 1885.
The Christmas Market was a great success, made about $170.00, a great many things were sold and a good many people present. Called on Mr. McDearmon in afternoon.

Dec. 21, 1885.
Mattie sent by Express today some books for Shirley's Christmas and a presant to Doug Martin and Madge Fielding's wedding. Attended the funeral of old Mrs. Yosti today, aged 79.

Dec. 22, 1885.
George came up in forenoon to attend the wedding of Doug Martin and Madge Fielding this afternoon. My wife, Mrs. Glenday, George and I went to the wedding at 3 o'cl p.m. Good many present, pleasant affair. I hope it will be a happy marriage. George came home with us and stayed till 8 o'cl.

Dec. 23, 1885.
I sent Mary Pearce some calico and and stockings, candy and money today by Mr. Grantham. Eleanor Martin came over this afternoon. I am troubled a good deal with rheumatism in should[er] and neck.

Dec. 25, 1885.
This is a clear bright Christmas Day. All that is good and bright and happy in our lives and our homes comes to us through that blessed Redeemer whose birth the Angels sang about on the plains of Galillee nearly 1900 years ago. I have seen now six and three score Christmas Days. I blessed the Lord for all his goodness to me and mine. Letters from Arthur and Mattie today. A Postal from Ellen Cowan. Mr. Howison dined with us. I went over to Wm Parks in afternoon.

Dec. 27, 1885. Sabbath.
This is the last Sunday of 1885. How faster than a weaver's shuttle does time fly. In the morning Mr. Howison preached on the Birth of Christ and at night on the 2d coming of Christ.

Dec. 29, 1885.
Took electricity for rheumatism today, I have been troubled a good deal lately with theumatism in my shoulders and back of my neck. Resalted my pork this morning. Saw Mr. Garvin today.

Dec. 30, 1885.
Wrote to my cousin Tom Johns, Appomattox Court House, Va. Eleanor Martin and Madge Overstreet took tea with us.

Dec. 31, 1885.
This is the last day of 1885. This year like most others has been filled up with births and deaths and marriages, with accidents to life and property, many deaths among distinguished men. The land has been prosperous, health and large abundance of provision for man and beast, some stringency in money matters and want of employment by laborers. Religious matters have made marked progress in the foreign missions and in revivals at home. The Lord has been good. Received a letter from Mary Johns at Austin, Texas, says Claude is not well. Great excitement there on account of the numerous murders committed in last months and no clue to them. Saw old brother Vardeman and John McDowell, a former citizen, now of Lincoln County. Daisy and Aphra Martin called. It is now nearly 10 o'cl p.m. and we bid farewell to the good year 1885, the Lord be praised for his goodness to us during days, weeks and months.

Jan. 1, 1886.
We begin the stage on the journey of life, the desire of every Christian on a New Year's day is to live a more earnest, devoted christian life. I made some calls this p.m. on the old people, Colonel Cunningham in his 87th year, joyfully waiting for the end, how delightful to see such a things in a person. I called on old Mr. Charles Johnson in his 93d year, he is bright and cheerful for such age. But life at such age is a burden at best. A grateful heart with strong faith in Christ is the secret of a happy life.

Jan. 2, 1886...
Received a good letter from Fred today. They had great Christmas celebration for the Sunday School and a large crowd of people. John Pearce came down today to attend school.

Jan. 4, 1886.
Yesterday was a disagreeble day and the congregation was not large at Church. Mr. Howison preached on the text "So teach us to number our days that may apply our hearts unto wisdom". On the proper use of time and opportunities to glorify God and do good. He took dinner with us. Old Mrs. Brigham, my wife's aunt, died a few days ago in Massachusetts, aged 90. Mrs. Howison away.

Jan. 7, 1886.
I went to see Mr. E. C. Cunningham who is sick with pneumonia. Rode out with Mr. Ezra Overall. Prayer-meeting tonight was in Jefferson Street Church, Subject: The family, Church and Schools. The paper tonight reports a blizzard come from northwest. How trying such storms are on the poor.

Jan. 9, 1886.
Mercury 15° below zero last night, it was terrible with the wind and cold, milk and water froze in the house. This kills our peaches again the 3d year. I remained at home all day, rare for me.

Jan. 10, 1886. Sabbath.
We had services in the lecture room today, too cold for the audience room. We had communion. It was so cold that I suffered in coming home from church. Mr. Garvin came to dinner with us. William Parks called in the afternoon, he is a very good - pious young man. Cold all over the country.

Jan. 12, 1886.
Received a letter from George and bundle from Mattie, dress and bonnet for her mother. She is very generous.

Jan. 14, 1886.
Had some pine boards 5-feet long hauled from Car Shops to make wire fences in Spring. Received letters from Mattie and wrote Mary Johns at Austin. Wheat took a heavy tumble yesterday against all expectations wheat goes down - no European demand. Received a box of collars, handerchiefs [sic] and other things from Mattie and a letter. I received a letter from Mr. Washington Gill at Kansas City.

Jan. 16, 1886.
The large barn owned by Antoine Dolaque just below town was burned last night. Wrote to George, Arthur and Ellen Cown [sic] today. Met two young McCluers and Mr. Conant who was here teaching in the public school 13 years ago.

Jan. 17, 1886. Sabbath.
We had service in lecture room, very good audience and a very fine sermon on the sinfulness of man, the Bible is full of this terrible fact and the Gospel is based on this and its plan for the restoration of men from their condition of guilt and misery, the great mass of men are guilty of flagrant sins but those who outwardly immoral are Godless, the best men deplore their own sinfulness.

Jan. 19, 1886.
Hung up my pork today. I called to see Mr. E. C. Cunningham in afternoon, he has been sick for nearly two weeks, is better now but his health is precarious. I have known him intimately for 45 years, he is an honest, generous, pious man. Making my arrangements to leave for Texas tomorrow. Card from George today, he got our tickets very cheap, $30.00 each to go and comeback and $15.00 for Shirley. We are preparing to leave next Wednesday on a visit to our children at San Antonio, Texas and also at Leakey, Texas. My wife and myself felt that it would be good for our health to spend a couple of months in that climate and see, at the same time, our children who have been there several years. It is a long expensive journey but we feel that it is a proper thing to do and pray that God's blessing may be with us and our children there. We are getting old and our children there with their families can hardly be able to visit us again. It is a strange Providence that they scattered them so far from the old family roof tree. But we rejoice that God's good hand is in it. God has a work for them there and we rejoice that they have heart to engage in the Lord's work in that new and growing country. I started to that country 43 years ago but was hindered. Now I go to see my children there. We received letters from Mattie and Fred and postal from Lizzie and a letter from Mary Pearce. Tom fell from wagon and hurt his back and is laid up. Mr. Salveter called this afternoon and Miss Charlotte Shaw and Mr. and Mrs. Howison and the Martin girls. Mr. Cunningham sent for me to ask me to visit his son, Light, who is in the Penitenary [sic] at Rusk, Texas, while I am in Austin. We expect to start tomorrow on visit to Texas if the Lord wills.

Jan. 20, 1886.
This morning we leave for Texas. May the Lord be with us and prosper us in our journey and may he abide with those who remain, for Jesus' Sake. Amen.



  • Shirley is JJJ's son. He probably had malaria, at least at a later date. See his letters.
  • Fred is JJJ's son, living at this time in Uvalde, Texas. Annie is his wife.
  • Dollie is Laura Tutt, wife of JJJ's son, Arthur.
  • Mrs. Mary (Wharton) Johns. I think this is JJJ's sister-in-law, wife of his brother, Alfred Johns.
  • Mary Pearce is JJJ's daughter by his first marriage.
  • Louisa Morgan is JJJ's daughter by his first marriage to Catherine Woodruff.
  • Claude Johns is JJJ's nephew, son of his brother, Alfred Johns.
  • Mrs. Durfee is JJJ's wife's mother, Anne Glenday Durfee. She lived with them in her later years.
  • Mattie is JJJ's daughter. His wife's sister, Margaret Durfee, married Edmond Borden (Mr. Borden), and they had a son, Shirley. Margaret died when Shirley was quite young and Mattie moved to Philadelphia to care for him.
  • George and Minnie were JJJ's son and daughter-in-law. George was editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for many years.
  • Blanche Guauss was the eldest daughter of JJJ's daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Johns (Lizzie) & her husband, Charles Henry Gauss.
  • Eugene Gauss was the father of the above-mentioned Charles Henry Gauss. While the Gausses were in St. Charles, they lived only a couple of doors down from the Johns family on Tompkins Street.
  • Mrs. Gauss was the wife of Eugene Gauss. Her maiden name was Henrietta Fawcett. Sis Gauss was Virginia Gauss, their daughter; Theo Gauss is their son.
  • Eleanor Martin was engaged to JJJ's son, Glover, at the time of his death.
  • Ellen Cowan & Tom Johns are JJJ's cousins.


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

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