May 1, 1887 - June 30,

May 1, 1887 - June 30, 1887

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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, 1887.
Here begins another stage in the journey of life and with me past 67 it is a down grade. And here I raise another memorial and say "Hitherto hath the Lord helped me, Forever blessed be His Name of the goodness and mercy to me all the time. During the past year the Lord has been exceedingly kind to us as a family. We have had almost uninterrupted health and a bountiful supply of all our wants. The only regrets is our own ingratitude and unprofitableness in His service. Our children are scattered far away, have been kept in good health and comfortable. The Lord's name be praised. May the Lord give us grace in the coming year to honor, love and serve Him more faithfully. And may it be a year of great prosperity for his cause and kingdom in the earth. Called in afternoon on Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Ross and the Martins.

Jan. 2, 1887. Sabbath.
Shirley returned from Wentzville. I fear the peaches are killed again as they have been for four winters past. It is so unusual to have so many sever winters in succession. Fortunately, the wheat is well protected by the heavy snow. Another good thing for our town there is suffering among the poor, as the car shops give full employment to all that want work. May this first Sabbath be the beginning of good things to all God's people in this and all lands. We had a good sermon from Mr. Howison today on God the bearer of prayer. Today begins the week of prayer by all Christians in all lands. John Douglas called on us this p.m. greatly improved and they are doing well in St. Louis. Eleanor Martin came over and took tea with us.

Jan. 3, 1887.
Eleanor Martin came over in afternoon to bid us goodbye, she leaves on the 9 p.m. train for Lexington, Mo. Shirley and I attended the union prayer meeting at Methodist Church this evening, good meeting. My wife has been a good deal troubled with rheumatism in right writst for several days. Received a letter from Mr. Gauss today and mattie and Calvert Johns. Old Dr. Pen, long an elder in Mispah Church, St. Louis, Co., was buried today, 78 years old.

Jan. 8, 1887.
Jim Pourie and Lawrence Davis stayed all night with Shirley. Intense cold in northwest.

Jan. 11, 1887.
Old Mr. Charles Johnson died this morning at 5 o'cl. aged 95 years. His mind, health and strength was wonderfully good until the last few months. He was an honest, high-minded, worthy man. My wife and I called at his house this p.m. and at Mr. William Parks. Mrs. Glenday has eczema.

Jan. 13, 1887.
Attended the funeral of old Mr. Charles Johnson. I have known him for 40 years. Mr. and Mrs. Howison, Daisy and Aphra Martin took tea with us. Mrs. Wm. Parks called in afternoon.

Jan.15, 1887.
We attended a church sociable this evening at Mr. Snyder's. At night attended a meeting of the Literary and Scientific Association at the St. Charles College. They propose a public library for the town and Mr. Alexander read an essay on the origin of written language.

Jan. 19, 1887.
Received a letter from Louisa Morgan and Mattie. John Morgan has gone to the Indian Nation to stay till spring hoping the milder climate will help him. Called on Mrs. Alf Stonebraker in forenoon, called on Mrs. Frayser in afternoon. Tome Barron came on 6 o'cl train, he and Mr. Howison and myself were appointed a committee by the Presbytery to consider the Shotwell case.

Jan. 21, 1887.
Received a letter from Mary Pearce, she has great trouble with Tom and Anna. The old horse in bad condition. Called on Mrs. Ross and Reverend Mr. Woods, Learned that Judge Barwise died yesterday morning at 2 o'cl, 96 years old od cancer - also that Wilson Fergerson died a few days ago in Arizona of consumption.

Jan. 25, 1887.
Old Mr. Haigler died last night, aged 79. Had my pork jung up in smoke house. Went to the funeral of Mr. Haigler in afternoon. He has been a member of the Meghodist Church nearly 60 years. Shirley went over to the Martins to tea with Lawrence Davis who goes to Virginia tomorrow. We received a letter from Mattie today, she expects to go to Tezas 1st of March. We commenced buying milk of Sturmer yesterday evening, something new for us.

Jan. 27, 1887.
This afternoon I went out to Lindenwood to attend a religious service in the order of prayer for schools and colleges. Reverend Dr. Martin of St. Louis made an address on christian growth. This is a matter of vital concern to the future of church and nation that our schools and colleges should be pervaded by a strong healthy religious influence. It is a happy thing that most of the colleges are religious institutions, even our state universitys are manned by chirstian men. Ober Kutter died, he has been very feeble for years. I have dealt with him as shoemaker for forty-on years, an honest man.

Jan 29, 1887.
Attended the funeral of Mrs. Lock this afternoon. Shirley and some boys cut down an elm tree in the front meadow.

Feb. 1, 1887.
Saw Lelia Garvin at church Sunday. Received letter from Eleanor Martin and Ellen Cowan. This is a dark cold morning, mercury 14°, before day it commenced sleeting a small white sleet and still continued, ground is covered -- 2 inches, fine for wheat. Papers full of war rumors in Europe. all the great nations arming to the teeth, each fearing the other -- the burden of supporting great armies equal to war itself. Mrs. Durfee sent by mail 2 pairs of shoes for Fred's little girls.

Feb. 4, 1887.
Valentine Becker died today, he was an old citizen about 72 years old, wealthy but has been in decline for several years, mind affected.

Feb. 5, 1887.
Received postals from George and Mattie and a letter from Henry Gauss about the troubles in the church with Dr. Niel's drinking. Mattie expects to be here on 13th of this month on her way to Texas. Franklin Becker called to ask me to act as pallberer for his father's funeral tomorrow at 10 o'cl. Called on Mrs. Watson in afternoon, she is a lonely old lady - nobody to live with her and cannot keep a servant for any length of time, she is so peculiar - plenty of money but don't know how to enjoy it. Mrs. Glenday thinks she felt an earthquake in the night.

Feb. 7, 1887.
Received a delightful letter from Arthur today, he was elected Deacon in the church at San Antonio recently. Their business has been good last year, they cleared $5,000.00. Dr. Neil is giving the church trouble. Received a letter from Tom Morgan, Will Morgan left John in the Indian Nation with his uncles. He has greatly improved. Mrs. Luther Robinson died yesterday.

Feb. 10, 1887.
In afternoon I went to appraise the personal property of Charles Johns with others. Mrs. Shore will return to Wentzville. The Ladies Sewing Society met here this p.m. They accomplish a great deal for the church. My wife and Shirley went to the Mite Society at Mr. Wm. Parks' tonight. Called in afternoon on some poor families who children come to our Sunday School.

Feb. 13, 1887. Sabbath.
We gave up services at our church this morning and went to the Jefferson Street Church to hear Dr. Brookes and in the evening he preached in our church. His morning sermon was based on the conduct of Queen Estehr in her interposition with the king to save her people, the Jews from destruction. He drew from the great doctrine of grace in the death of Christ for his people. It was a very powerful sermon. The sermon at night was drawn from an incident in the life of King Ahab "He was busy here and there and he was gone". It was grand. George and Minnie came to McDearmon's. George came home with us to dinner from church and spent afternoon. Minnis is to remain all week and he will come up occasionally.

Feb. 15, 1887.
Received letters from Mattie and Lizzie, Lizzie's folks have made up their minds not to come to Missouri next summeer on account of the expense. I was appointed Curator of Mary Pearce's children by Probate Court and have an order of sale of their interest in the Pearce land. Mr. John Redmon is quite sick with a carbunckle on back of neck. William Parks is sick with fever. Called at Mr. Alderson's in afternoon, he has written a paper on the liquor laws of the state -- the high license laws, its effects in reducing dram shops and in increasing the revenue. Mrs. Shore and daughter called here in afternoon.

Feb. 19, 1887.
Mattie came this forenoon, George came on the early train.

Feb. 22, 1887.
This is a memorable day in the national annals -- the birthday of Washington, a name preeminently above all other earthly names. The Martin girls called, also Minnie Bruere. Called on Mrs. Ross. The German elections reported favorable to the government which means Bismark's measure to increase the army and is considered to mean peace with France. Mattie and Mary Pearce left, Mattie goes to San Antonio, Texas. She is a little body, but so full of life and energy -- Mary's is an unhappy life, such a poor trifling, lazy, ill-tempered husband. How different the lot of the same family.

Feb. 25, 1887.
I am reading "Creoles of New Orleans" by Cable. The creoles are the descendants of old French settlers of New Orleans. New Orleans and that part of Louisiana was first settled about 1685 by French from Canada and France and some Spanish. They had great difficulties to encounter with Indians, floods and the changes of government from France to Spain and back and then England. This continued for 80 years. Wrote to John Pearce and Mr. Ezra Overall.

Feb. 28, 1887.
I went to the Methodist Church wher Reverend Mysonhiemer is conducting a meeting. He is quite young and certainly the most nervous and excitable man I ever saw. He does everything to create excitement. Received a postal from Mary Pearce, they expect to move tomorrow.

Mar. 2, 1887.
Helped to appraise the personal property of Mr. Jesse Haigler's extate. Received a letter from Mattie and postal from Arthur who met her at the same place he met us, 50 miles this side of San Antonio. Mrs. Capt. Woodson, sister of Mrs. Frayser, was buried yesterday, 80 yrs, he is 90. Received a postal from Mary Johns, they saw Mattie as she passed through Austin, Texas.

Mar. 7, 1887.
Court is in session today. Mrs. Ross and C. Shaw called in afternoon. I called at Mrs. Frayser's in afternoon. Henry Ward Beecher reported dying of apoplexy. He has been a very prominent man for 30 years in this country, somewhat erratic as a theologian, some clouds over his moral character -- but great power as an orator. We attended the funeral of Mamie Overall, a daughter of Dr. Overall, aged 19 -- she died in Kansas City, was buried here. Reverend John Robinson, her uncle, conducted the services. It was a very solemn and impressive service, she was raised here. Received a letter from Mary Pearce, they are at their new home in Lincoln County.

Mar. 11, 1887.
Mrs. Howison returned from Arkansas. John Cunningham and I sold 46 acres of E. C. Cunningham's land to Max Lang for $4,300.00. Professor Meyers came out to see Mrs. Durfee to talk with her about old Mrs. Collier, the founder of St. Charles College. I planted a small patch of early Ohio potatoes in garden, I put a little ashed in the hill and then put mixed straw and manure on top with some earth over it. Plowed the patch behind stable and planted it in early Ohio potatoes, put some straw on part of them. These are raised on shares with colored man, Curtis -- give him one-third. Bads, the great engineer is reported dead. Went to Lindenwood to an entertainment of music, recitations and essays.

Mar. 14, 1887.
Received a letter from Mattie, she had a note from Fred saying his baby, Eleanor, was dangerously ill. The San Antonio people all well. Mrs. Howison took tea with us. Mrs. Alderson quite sick again. Called on William Parks in afternoon.

Mar. 17, 1887.
Mrs. Alderson is much worse today and the doctors think she is dangerously ill. I attended a meeting at St. Charles College this afternoon to celebrate the birthday of George Collier who aided liberally in endowing the college, - his mother founded the college first. The calisthenics drill of the boys was fine. Saw Dr. John Pitman today, his mother is dying.

Mar. 19, 1887.
Mrs. Alderson better this morning. Mrs. David K. Pitman died this morning at O'Fallen;

Mar. 21, 1887.
Mr. Howison preached on the values and influence of the Bible yesterday. St. Charles County Bible Society met last night. Received a letter from Leakey from Mattie, she and Arthur went out there last Tuesday. Fred's Baby very ill with braonchial pneumonia. I sent $25.00 today to J. B. Gabaniss, Huntsville, Ala., Register in Chancery, as costs in the Mary P. Rice will case which we are contesting in the Chancery Court. Called on Mrs. Frayser in forenoon.

Mar. 22, 1887.
I attended a meeting of the Literary and Scientific Society at St. Charles College this evening. Mr. Alexander read his paper on the origin of the Cherokee Indian Alphabet. It was invented by an untutored Indian. Syllables instead of letters -- 86 of them, and is so simple that a boy can learn to read in two days. We received letters from Arthur, Mary and Eugene Gauss. Arthur wrote the day after he returned from Fred's, says the baby was better -- very dry there. In afternoon I called on Mrs. Salveter and Mrs. Ross, and Mrs. Watkins.

Mar. 25, 1887.
In afternoon I distributed some cards for Dr. Wells' evangelistic work in our church to begin Sunday Night. Called on Mrs. Alf Stonebraker.

Mar. 26, 1887.
We expect Dr. Wells, our synodical evangelist tonight. I walked with Shirley through the car shops this afternoon. It is a big thing, especially since the addition of passengers car building. A letter from Mattie today, the baby was decidedly better.

Mar. 27, 1887. Sunday.
Dr. Wells came last night at 10 o'cl. He preached at night, Mr. Howison in morning. Had a large audience, he is a clear strong preacher and very conservative in his methods, no excitement.

Mar. 30, 1887.
Dr. Wells is preaching very able and powerful sermons to large audiences. May the Lord save the people. Commenced snowing in the morning and continued all day and in the evening the snow was 4 inches deep -- something rare for this season. Getting to church was difficult but the audiences were good under the circumstances. Madge Martin and Shirley stood up, expressing concern for their souls. May the Lord enable them to accept the Savior.


  • JJJ is my short-cut for my great great grandfather, John Jay Johns, who kept this journal for more than 40 years (18?? to 1899). He lived in St. Charles, Missouri. This is one page of a typed transcription done by his granddaughter, Florence Johns of San Antonio, Texas in the 1960s.
  • Mr. Gauss is Eugene Gauss, father of JJJ's son-in-law, Charles Henry Gauss, and a long time neighbor. He had a son, also named Eugene
  • Mattie was a daughter of JJJ and Jane Amanda Durfee. Shirley was a son of the same.
  • Calvert Johns is JJJ's nephew, son of his brother, Alfred Johns
  • Mrs. Glenday was the wife of Jane Amanda Durfee Johns' uncle, James Glenday. She was from Forfar, Angus, Scotland, and her birth name was Mary Thom.
  • Louisa Morgan was the daughter of JJJ and Catherine Woodruff.
  • Arthur was JJJ's son. His wife was Laura (Dolly) Tutt.
  • Mary Pearce was JJJ's daughter. Her husband was Tom Pearce.
  • Mary Johns was the wife (widow at this time) of JJJ's brother, Alfred Johns.
  • Fred was JJJ's son.
  • George and Mattie were JJJ's children, Henry Gauss was his son-in-law, husband of JJJ's daughter Charlotte Elizabeth (Lizzie).


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

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Last modified:Sunday, 09-Nov-2003 16:35:23 MST