October 1, 1886 - December 31, 1886

October 1, 1886 - December 30, 1886

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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...

  July 1, 1886.
Aphra Martin was appointed teacher in the public schools today. We had great rejoicing here and among the Martin girls, and Eleanor has two offers, Lexington and Princeton, Kentucky. How a gracious God provides for the orphan children of Godly parents. Called at Wm Parksand Mrs. Ross'. After supper Mr. Howison and Dr. Charles of Fulton called. We went over and called on the Martins. Old Granger, colored, was buried today.

July 2, 1886.
I saw August Kruse today, one of my tenants, and agreed on rent for the next year, that is 1/3/ of corn and wheat and $8.00 per acre for 10 acres around house and $16.00 per acre for oat land. The agricultural interest is greatly depressed, prices so low and short crops for 2 years. Shirley got a letter from Eugene Gauss. I wrote Prof. Blanton of Princeton, Ky., about Eleanor Martin. I met on the street, Mrs. Fergerson, Mrs. John Boal, who was Harriott Hughes, whom I knew fifty years ago in Oxford, Ohio.

July 4, 1886. Sabbath.
We had the usual church services. In afternoon they play baseball in Dick's Field in front of us. It is a nuisance and terrible desecration of the Sabbath -- yelling and shouting like savages.

July 5, 1886.
This day is celebrated as the 4th. We are 110 years old as a nation, an infant in age for a nation but a giant in size of territory, population and resources. While we are a Christian people and have elements of moral power, we also have tremendous forces for evil in our midst and God only can give the victory to his people and his cause. Oh, God, give us help. Amen.

July 7, 1886.
Wheat has risin some because of damaged crops in northwest from drought. received a letter from Louisa Morgan, her aunt is still with her. John Morgan has to go to Kansas City to live with his cousin in the grocery business. We all went out to Robert Parks to a picnic biven by the Ladies Sewing Society. it was a very pleasant affair.

July 9, 1886.
The Martin girls called aafter tea and also Miss Aurelia McDearmon, Mrs. Orme and Lucy McDearmon. received a letter from Mary Pearce and wrote to Louisa Morgan. Went with Shirley to the swimming school in afternoon.

July 12, 1886.
Mattie left on the early train and spends the day with George. She is in fine health, her visits are great treats to us. She is happily situated in Philadelphia.

July 14, 1886.
I borrowed $1500.00 today from Charles Wilson to pay a debit I owe Mr. Ezra Overall and gave him a deed of trust on two lots, 72 and 73 in lower bottom containing 40 acres. This is the only debt I have and this was incurred several years ago by security debts. We had our Sunday School picnic today in Robert Parks grove. The day very fine, cloudy and cool. We had a delightful time, great many happy children and fine dinner. Such things have a good social effect, bring people together that seldom meet otherwise and the children enjoy. Our pastor enters heartily into the children's play and in that way wins them. Postal from Mattie at Columbus, Ohio. Sam Jones is stumping the state in favor of prohibition. He wields a terrible battle axe, his bold, rough eloquence will make a strong impression. It is impossible to estimate the evils of whiskey and beer, nothing but a Divine Poser can destroy them. The great source of evil is the saloon, shut them up and more than half the evil will cease.

July 18, 1886. Sabbath.
Mr. Howison preached in morning on universal Human depravity, result of Adam's fall. In afternoon he preached to the children on the robe of Christ's righteousness. Bring forth the best robe and put it on Him. John 15:22.

July 22, 1886.
The last few days have scorched up vegetables greatly, no clouds to break the sun. I called at the publick School this morning where the Teachers Institute is held, about 40 teachers in attendance under Prof. Barton. Went to an ice cream festival at Clerk's office by Jefferson Street Church. Called on Mrs. Alf Stonebraker.

July 25, 1886. Sabbath.
Rode out with Reverend Mr. Trimble of Mexico, Mo., to Lindenwood yesterday. He conducted our communion service today and took dinner with us. He is a fine preacher and very pleasant man. The drought prevails extensive through the northwest, wes and southwest into Texas where it is terrible in places, people have to desert their home to get water and food.

July 27, 1886.
This has been a dry, burning day, not a speck of clouds, they sky like brass. To show the effect of good cultivation in drought I have a patch of corn now just in tassel which plowed throughly after the last rain whis is as green as if it had rained last week and very thick, too. I received $96,50 rent from John Gran today for lot in bottom, he owes me $10.00 for oat land and 1/3 of the corn growing on about 7 acres. I rode with Shirley down through the bottom and then across the bridge by my farm. I rented my bottom land to Charles Flick, the german that lives on Carter's place adjoining mine. He is to give me 1/3 of the crops, will sow about 25 acres in wheat, the corn on my place as well as others in suffering seriously with the drought. Got a letter from mary Pearce today giving sad news of John Morgan's insanity and Anna's ill-health, some lung trouble that the doctor thinks will be fatal ultimately. Old Mr. Klinger died suddenly yesterday, he is 75 years old, lives 4 miles in country. He has had a large flour mill in town for many years and I have dealt with him all that time.

July 30, 1886.
Rode out with Mr. Alderson to Klinger's funeral, the family have no religion. I got a sad letter from Lou Morgan today giving an account of John's mental derangement, he has been showing some signs of mental depression for a year or two. It all comes from nervous derangement, it is a terrible blow to his father and mother. God help them. Clouds from south gave us a good rain.

July 31, 1886.
The heat is oppressive because it is damp, the rain yesterday did not reach the prairie below. Old Colonel Cunningham died yesterday evening, 86 years old. He had been quite active up to two months ago, his mind was clear to the last. He came here fifty years ago. He was many years a member of the Methodist church and I believe was christian man. He was prominent as a lawyer and as a citizen here for many years. Our old men are passing away rapidly. Clinton McKnight's barn, hay, corn and harness and several horses and mules was burned up last night.

Aug. 3, 1886.
Wrote Mary Johns and Tom Johns. Got an Austin paper reporting the death of Major Johns. They gave him a very exalted character as a man and citizen. He was 70 years old and prominent in Texas for many years. Received postal from Ellen Cowan.

Aug. 5, 1886.
Papers report the death of Samuel Tilden, the greatest and purest statesman in this country. He was elected president of United States but was defrauded out of it, by the Republican party. Naomi Barron, Daisy, Eleanor and Aphra Martin spent the day with us. Mattie goes to Fall River.

August 8, 1886. Sabbath.
William Parks preached for us this morning on Baptism. He contends that Baptism came down from Old Testament times, that washing or baptisms were part of the Jewish ceremonials, cleansing or purification from uncleanness, not immersion but sprinkling and washing. When we came home from church we found George and Minnie here. They came up last night to McDearmon's. They are well and the baby is very well and bright. They went over to McDearmon's after dinner.

Aug. 10, 1886.
Letter to Shirley from Eugene Gauss. Received letter from Arthur and Mary Johns. She sent us a likeness of Major Johns, strong resemblance to Glover. Arthur says the hottest summer known in Texas and very dry now, injuring the cotton crop. Called on William Parks and gave him $25.00 the contribution of this church to him as Presbyterian Evangelist. Rec'd card from Mattie in Hew H.

Aug, 13, 1886.
Received a letter from Lou Morgan, John is no better and has to go to the Asylum. Anna returned home, has oseous tumor.

Aug. 14, 1886.
Received a letter from Mattie today from New Hampshire. Mr. Enoch came today and took the home from Mrs. Durfee's hives. It is a very difficult thing to do, the hive is badly constructed. she got 5 gallons.

Aug. 15, 1886.
We had some rain in the night and more this morning, good showers, with one light shower two weeks ago, this is the first for 7 weeks. Heard a sermon from Prof. Moyers in Jefferson St. Church.

Aug. 16, 1886.
This is the hottest day we have had, the mercury reached 104° in town and in St. Louis. My wife and I called on Mrs. Ross after tea.

Aug. 18, 1886.
Thank the Lord the long desired rain came last night. We had two thunder showers during the night, the last one at 2:30 o'cl was terrific for the continual thunder and lightning. We received a letter from Fred today, he has moved his house to a lot near old Mr. Leakey's near the river. The water in his well was bad. He had trees where he is now. He had thought of moving to Uvalde but concluded it was not safe for his health to leave the mountains.

Aug. 21, 1886.
There was a railroad meeting at the court house at 7 o'cl p.m. to aid in getting the right of way for a railroad from Alton by this place to Kansas City, R. H. Parks, chariman. Colonel Hayward who represents the railroad stated the advantages of the road to this city and county, cheapness of freight and coal, level grade, great advantage, protectioin of low lands below her from the river a great consideration. Dr. Johnson came and examined Anna Pearce who is here and says she has no tumor of any kind, perhaps some derangement of the heart.

Aug. 22, 1886. Sabbath.
I went to the Baptist Church and heard a very good sermon by Mr. William on "the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin." A German minister who lives near Waco, Texas and who is here on his way to the Evangelical German Synod and spending the Sabbath with Sr. John's church is to preach in our church in English tonight. He was a member of the German Methodist Church at one time and an evangelist in St. Louis with Moody. His name is Slembach.

Aug. 23, 1886.
Papers give particulars of the great storm in Texas extending from Galveston to Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast and back in the interior. San Antonio and many other places suffered greatly -- destruction of property and crops. Rode out to John Cunningham's with Mr. Ezra Overall. Called at Mrs. Frayser's, and saw Mrs. Lewis and her daughters from Charleston, West Virginia. They are appealing for aid for the sufferers from the storm in Texas, as well as those in drought areas.

Aug. 25, 1886.
I called at William Parks this afternoon, met Mrs. Ches Birch who is a good cornetist. He labors with the Reverend Mr. Claggett, the evangelist. He is here resting. Anna Pearce went home this afternoon, the doctors after a second examination say nothing the matter with her. Received a letter from Dollie, she had suffered greatly from breaking out in her feet and legs. The Martin Girls and Ed Parks's girls and ches Birch came out in evening.

Aug. 28, 1886.
Ed Martin came from Minneapolis yesterday, he has settled there in business. Jack Martin returned from Florida yesterday. Received letter from Mattie in the mountains and lakes of Maine. Mr. and Mrs. Howison came home last night, he is greatly improved in health but she looks badly.

Aug. 30, 1886.
Received a letter from Fred, settled in their new home, Annie quite unwell. This drought has been very serious on their crops. They have concluded best to connect themselves with the Methodist Church as there is no prospect of any Presbyterian church in that region. I went out to John Cunningham's, called on Mrs. Rector who lives in one of his houses with her brother. I attended the young people's prayer metting tonight, lead by Chess Birch, good meeting, fine music -- music has wonderfrul power. I wrote to Fred today. Paid a note of $204.00 in the Union Savings Bank which Mrs. Durfee and I endorsed for Fred.

Sept. 1, 1886.
The papers report the severest earth quake ever known in this country last night, about 9 o'cl from Charleston, S.C., north to Washington City and west to St. Louis. Great destruction at Charleston and the region -- many houses thrown down and many lives lost -- many millions in damage to property. The Lord reigns and his judgements are abroad in the land -- will the people learn wisdom.

Sept. 3, 1886.
Circus in town today. Jane and Naomi Barron invited to spend the day with Mrs. Watson. When they were young girls they used to be at Mrs. Watson's together. Robert Pouri very ill today with congestive fever or chill. Called to see him in afternoon, he was better. Called on Mr. Ezra Overall who has been sick. Met Jack Martin, he goes to work for Boyd and Co., St. Louis next week.

Sept. 5, 1886. Sabbath.
Eleanor Martin took dinner with us. Minnie wants to have her baby baptized in the Episcopal Church this afternoon at 4 o'cl. This is not according to our Presbyterian notions. We all went over to the church. He preached a good sermon on the religious training of children. They lay little too much stress on church ordination as administered by prelatic hands. It is unfortunate for a man to marry out side of his own church. We bid Eleanor Martin good-bye tonight. She goes to Lexington tomorrow. May the Lord bless her.

Sept. 6, 1886.
George spends the day here and goes to Peoria and Chicago tonight. Received a letter from my niece Virginia Wooldrige (Cowan) living in Manchester, Va. Called at Mr. Howison's, she is slowly improving. He and I talked about his call as Pastor to this church. He has served a year as stated pastor. He prefers the pastorial relation. The church likes him and his wife. They are very good, pious people and he is a good sound preacher. I read a history of the Mormon Bible in the Princeton Review. Joe Smith pretended he had a revelation from heaven in the person of an angel telling him where certain gold plates were to be found. These he pretended he translated. It is imitation of scripture style and language, giving an account of two Jewish families Tihi and Laman who came to the American continent across the Pacific Ocean 600 years before Christ. One of these families are the ancestors of the Indians. The doctrines are the same mainly as taught in our Bible. Polygamy was introduced some years later by Brigham Young and the original (Joe Smith) Mormons separated from them on that doctrine and live in Iowa. Received a postal from Tom. John is better at the asylum. Wrote Mary Pearce.

Sept. 9, 1886.
Martin girls had a letter from Eleanor yesterday, she got to Lexington safely, is pleased with the President, Prof. Blanton and others so far. Got a letter from Ellen Cowan today, one from Mattie in Maine. She is now in Fall River, Mass. I received the August number of the Texas Review edited by G. R. Johns and S. G. Sneed, Austin, Texas. It had a likeness of old Major Johns who died July 30th and a sketch of his life. He has been a very prominent man in Texas for 50 years, active in military affairs, member of Texas Congress, Comptroller of State three terms and agent, an honorable, honest, faithful man and officer.

Sept. 11, 1886.
I went up to Wentzville today, found Mary and all the family well, John has been troubled with boils on his neck. Walked over the corn field with Tom, it is very fine corn, the best I have seen. They made a poor crop of wheat. Mary is very much dissatisfied with the way they get along and wants to change and go to some town and try to do something. It is hard to tell what to do with them. Tom is no account and Anna too. May the Lord help them.

Sept. 12, 1886. Sabbath.
Reverend Mr. Wilson of Arkansas preached for us today. He is an old college friend of Dr. Irwin. He was born in India, his father being a missionary there. He has brought two daughters to Lindenwood. He gave us a fine sermon on the parable of the wheat and tares.

Sept. 15, 1886.
Letters from Eleanor Martin very discouraging, no art scholars and she is greatly troubled. I wrote to Dr. Layburn about her. Mr. Joel Carr of Wentzville called just after dinner to tell me that Mary Pearce had told him that she didn't want the place and he sold it to Dierker. I sold him my interest in the Pearce land for $400.00. Now, Mary and her folks are adrift again. I wish they had held on there. It is hard to tell what to do with them. Tom is so utterly no account and Mary and her girls very inefficient. The Lord direct. Letter from Mattie to Fall River, Mary Johns at Clarksville and Mary Pearce. Hauling brick bats an mortar for my walk.

Sept. 17, 1886.
Tom Pearce came at noon, they are troubled about what to do, he wants to go to Texas -- a wild goose chase. He goes up to Mechanicsville to see Dunlap, his brother-in-law and to look for a good farm to rent. Daisy and Aphra anc Jule came over with a letter from Eleanor saying she had a good class and all bright.

Sept. 20, 1886.
This is to be a grand week in St. Louis aside from the Exposition, the Grand Conclave of Knights Templars from the whole United States is there, grand procession day and night. The largest band of music that ever gathered before in any place, thousands of instruments.

Sept. 23, 1886.
Presbytery in session most of the day. Mr. and Mrs. Addison Smith with us. He preaches tonight. Dr. Brandt went to St. Louis in evening. The County Fair and races begin today here. The children are all very much excited over it, tonight a great parade. Everey business house closed.

Sept. 27, 1886
Tom Pearce came about 2 o'cl, had been up to see the Hoffman land. He went up to Lincoln County last week and found a farm for rent near Judge Martin's, he and Mary will go to see it Thursday. Received a letter from Lou Morgan, John is no better yet.


Tom and Mary Pearce were JJJ's daughter & her husband. John Pearce was their son.

Lou Morgan was JJJ's daughter, nee Louisa Johns.

Mrs. Glenday was Mary Thom, married to James Glenday, brother of JJJ's mother-in-law, Anne Glenday Durfee. She lived with JJJ in her later years, and was probably living with them at this time. She was born in Scotland.

Mrs. Mary Rice and Lou Patton were JJJ's cousins, on his mother's side (Jones/Walker).

Fred Johns was JJJ's son, Annie (Meyers) was his wife.



  • I suspect that the Eugene Gauss that is sending letters to Shirley (JJJ's son) is the son of Charles Henry Gauss and Charlotte Elizabeth Johns (JJJ's daughter). He was close in age to Shirley.
  • Arthur and Glover were JJJ's sons.
  • Mary Johns was JJJ's sister-in-law.
  • Lou Morgan was JJJ's daughter from his first marriage to Catherine Woodruff.
  • Mattie was JJJ's daughter
  • Mrs. Durfee was JJJ's mother-in-law.
  • Fred was JJJ's son. Annie (Meyers) was his wife.
  • Dollie was Laura Tutt, the wife of JJJ's son, Arthur.



Source: Location of handwritten original unknown.  Transcription and excerption by Florence Johns.   Transcribed to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, 2000.

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