July 1, 1887 - September 30, 1887

July 1, 1887 - September 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...

Apr. 1, 1887.
Dr. Wells preached a great sermon last night on the General Judgment. A great many people attend from all classes -- Germans too. Two young men called to see Dr. Wells in afternoon to tlk on religion. There is a good deal of interest on the subject.

Apr. 4, 1887.
Dr. Wells preached a great sermon last night on the way made plain. He preaches with power and is mighty in the scriptures. The meetings are good and greatly to the edification of Christian.

Apr. 7, 1887.
Dr. Gurgerson and wife and Mr. Alderson called to see Dr. Wells. Saw Colonel Hutton today. Mr. and Mrs. Howison took dinner with us today. Dr. Well is getting ready to leave tomorrow. I gave him a sprout from the wild olive tree of Syria to send home.

Apr. 9, 1887.
Dr. Wells closed his series of mettings last night, large audiences -- everybody parted with great reluctance, he made friends of everybody that heard him -- his sermons made a powerful impression on all who heard him. A great and lasting impression was made on Christians. He is the most thoroughly equipped, most conservative and the wisest Evangelist I ever saw, he is a warm-hearted, general man. Dr. Wells left us this morning for Ketesville, Missouri. There is a scheme talked of and urged by Dr. Wells that the two churches employ one pastor -- worship together alternately in the two churches. Some oppose it -- it might do well if fairly tried. The two congregations are small and it would save the labor of one minister.

Apr. 12, 1887.
Received letters from Mary Johns at Waco, Texas, and Louisa Morgan. Morgan is thinking of selling out and going to Howell County, Southeast, Missouri. John is still in Indian Nation and is better. William Johns and his wife are in Mississippi.

Apr. 15, 1887.
Received a letter from Mary Pearce. In afternoon rode out to Mrs. Durfee's farm. The Wheat looks fine but the ground is dry as powder. Dierker has made a good bit of wire fence on the place this spring. Called at John Lindsay's, saw Mrs. James Lindsay and Mary Lindsay rode in with me. The papers report good rains in Texas, great relief to drought sticken state. Letters from Mattie and Henry Gauss saying that Lizzie had a fine boy. Married expect to start home next Monday, and probably stop over at Austin a day and night. Cleaning house yesterday and today. Had some cinders and sand put on the walk in front yard.

Apr. 19, 1887.
Some white frost and some thin ice in low places, mercury 40°. John Pearce came about 2 o'cl p.m., he looks very well and gives a very favorable account of things at home -- oats up, 30 acres sowed and a good deal of corn land plowed, horses in good condition. Called on Mrs. Bacon today.

Apr. 25, 1887.
Old Mrs. Sheppard and Miss Lizzie Kirkpatrick called. Having wood shed covered today by Mr. Bates, John Lon mending fences. Received a letter from Henry Gauss saying that Lizzie and baby getting along very well and named the baby Mathew after Mattie. Wrote Rutherford Douglas asking him to come on when the Assembly meets in St. Louis next month.

May 1, 1887. Sabbath.
We had communion in our church today in which the Jefferson Street Church joined. Mrs. Bacon's child baptized and several members received on profession. The little pigs I got of John Lindsay got out of the pen yesterday evening, recovered three of them this afternoon, one missing yet.

May 2, 1887.
In afternoon I put my horse in the buggy for the first time and he worked finely. Had scraped the old paper off the kitchen walls so as to whitewash them and Kertendolf whitewashed it today.

May. 7, 1887.
My wife and I called at Mrs. Salveter, our horse and buggy is a great comfort to us. Attended the sociable at Mrs. Alexander's tonight. George came up and brought his little boy, George, with him on early train. He is a bright little fellow, good natured, just as friendly with us all as if he knew us intimately, only about 15 months old. He slept with his Aunt Mattie as quietly as with his mother.

May 10, 1887.
Went to Lindenwood last night to hear a lecture by Reverend J. Addison Smith on trip half way round the world -- England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the Holy Land and Egypt and pyramids. He has a great deal of imagination and verbosity, a wonderful memory and very nervous manner.

May 12, 1887.
My wife, Shirley, Mattie and Mrs. Glenday went to St. Louis this morning on early train to do some shopping. I rode out to Mrs. Durfee's place and then down to my place on Marias Croche. Our golks didn't get back till 9:30 o'cl train, they were detained by Dr. Spencer who examined my wife's ears -- says she has catarrh and he can help her. George is in Jefferson City reporting the proceedings of the call session of Legislature to make laws to regulate railroads in the state.

May 15, 1887. Sabbath.
Mr. Howison preached a missionary sermon -- showing the duty Christ's command -- the great success of modern missions, the great number offering to go and the backwardness of the church to furnish the means.

May 16, 1887.
My wife and mattie went to St. Louis on 11 o'cl train to see Dr. Spencer. Received letters from Fred, Arthur -- they report fine rains in that region, a great blessing to them. My wife and Mattie returned on evening train. They took lunch at George's.

May 19, 1887.
Great number of hands and teams and tents and carts arrived here yesterday to begin work on the Central Railroad. My wife and I went to St. Louis this morning on early train. Went first to Dr. Spencer's and then to the opening of General Assembly. Sermon by former Moderator, Dr. Bryson of Alabama. Text: "When I am lifted up I will draw all men to Me." Dr. Strickler was elected moderator. I saw a good many old friends -- Dr. W. W. Robertson, Uncas McCluer, Mrs. Strother, Dr. Rutherford, Dr. Smoot, Dr. Logan and wife and Mrs. Cayes. We took dinner with Minnie.

May 22, 1887. Sabbath.
This morning, Reverend Mr. Moffet of Kentucky, a commisioner to the General Assembly preached for us, Text: "Now there is no condemation to them who are in Christ Jesus", a very fine sermon. At night, Reverend Mr. Shaw of Louisiana, A Commissioner to the Assembly preached a good sermon on text: "Whosoever keepth the whole law and affends in one point is guilty of all".

May 24, 1887.
My wife, Shirley and I went to St. Louis on the early train this morning, called at Dr. Spencer's who is treating my wife for catarrh. Shirley went on the George's with a basket of strawberries. We then went to the General Assembly at Grand Avenue Church. Dr. Smoot of Texas, commenced the discussion of the question of the organic union with the northern Assembly -- taking strong ground against it. The argument was that they construe the standards of the church differently from us. 2d-Boards unconstitutional and outside the church and dangerous. He spoke 2-1/2 hours ably. Took dinner at George's went to the Natatorium with Shirley.

May 25, 1887.
We returned home yesterday evening on the accommodation train. Heard part of Judge Livingston's reply to Dr. Smoot yesterday. Heard him with difficulty. The question is whether a commission whall be appointed to confer with a committee from the Norther church on organic union, the committee instructed to insist on our interpretation of the standards and the separation of the colored churches from the white churches. My wife and I called on Reverend Mr. Wilson and family at Mrs. Frayser's. He is Mrs. Frayser's brother.

May 27, 1887.
The General Assembly voted to send a committee to confer with a like committee of the Northern Assembly on organic or cooperative union, 81-59. They will discuss the standards, the Boards and the colored church matter. My wife and Mattie went to St. Louis today. Mrs. Durfee, Julia Martin and I went to see the Art Exhibition at Lindenwood in afternoon. My wife returned on early train.

May 29, 1887. Sabbath.
Our church people and the Methodist attended the Baccalaureate services of Lindenwood College at the Jefferson Street Church, Dr. Irwin. Twelve graduates, Reverend Mr. Wilson of Arkansas is here and will preach tonight. He has two daughters at Lindenwood. The Martin girls called after tea and also Mr. and Mrs. Howison.

June 1, 1887.
We went out to the commencement exercises at Lindenwood. The school is very flourishing as to numbers. Ellen and her Aunt Ellen Cowan came on early train. Dr. King of Waco, Texas, preached for us tonight. A most delightful sermon. "This night the Angel of Good whom I am and whom I serve stood by me. " 1 Romans. God always gives his people help in their time of need. Aunt Ellen is now 71 years old, it is 14 years since she was here. They return to St. Louis tomorrow.

June 3, 1887.
George's little boy, George, was brought up yesterday evening by the McDearmon's. Minnie was sick and George sent him up to stay with us, under the special care of Mattie. He is delighted here. Received a postal from George this a.m., saying Minnie had a boy at 7 o'cl p.m. yesterday and also a postal from Arthur reporting the arrival of a little girl in his house. This is four grandchildren in six months. Called on Mrs. Ross in afternoon. My wife went to St. Louis to see Dr. Spencer, returned on early train.

June 5, 1887. Sabbath.
The St. Charles College had their Baccalaureate sermon in our church today, sermon by Dr. Lewis. His text: Not by night, not by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord. It was a very able sermon, showing the spiritual nature of the church and no earthly powers, wealth, learning or political influences helped it without the Holy Spirit. In afternoon my wife had an attack of something like Cholera Morbus. Had Dr. Bruere to see her.

June 6, 1887.
Received a letter from Mary Johns in Mississippi. she is among her old friends in Jacson and at Alf's in Madison County. I attended the examination at the College this forenoon. My wife is better, rode out this morning. Received a letter from Ellen Cowan. Attended the St. Charles College Exhibition at the Opera House, some of the essays and declamations and orations were very good. This afternoon, by invitation, we went to take tea at Lindenwood with the elders and their wives of the two churches and Mr. Howison and wife.

June 11, 1887.
Received letters from Mary Pearce, Lizzie and George. My wife better after a slight attack. I saw Mr. John Booth of St. Louis, who when a boy, 34 years ago, was at my house with his grandfather, old Mr. Naylor. His mother was an intimate friend of Mrs. Durfee and Mr. Durfee married his father and mother.

June 13, 1887.
Received letters from Arthur and Fred, all well and report abundant rains which means prosperity for Texas. Mr. Borden and Shirley expect to reach here Friday morning. Attended the examination at Public School this forenoon, Moehlenchamp's room, where Shirley is very good.

June 14, 1887.
Shirley went out with a large party over to Creve Coeur Lake today. My wife goes to St. Louis to see Dr. Spencer. Shirley did not get back until 9 o'cl.

June 16, 1887.
Mr. Borden and Shirley came to breakfast, they look well, sunburnt. Shirley is large and inclined to flesh. They have been absent nearly four months in Sandwish Islands. The Islanders are not very promising, they do not take lead in anything -- foreigners control business. Great many Chinese and Portugese there as laborers. Islanders lack energy and on the decrease, not many children. They have their own separate congregatioins in religious matters and the whites have theirs, something like our negroes and whites in this country -- sugar is the principal production, some rice and bananas. We rode to Mrs. Durfee's and my farm in the forenoon.

June 17, 1887.
Spent most of the forenoon with Mr. Borden, he is very much concerned about getting a new pastor for his church in Philadelphia. Mattie has been with us two months, we will miss her very much. Wheat took a terrible tumble in Chicago a few days ago. It dropped 18 cents in one day, certain parties had been cornering it for 2 months and could not hold out any longer -- a crash came and broke a great many -- the ill effect of grain gambling. Shirley concluded to work in the cob-pipe factory for a while at 25¢ per day. He has to be there at 7 o'cl a.m., from 12 to 1 o'cl -- dinner and then till 6 o'cl p.m. I fear it will be too confining for the hot weather. The great New York World and Post-Dispatch balloon went up from St. Louis yesterday afternoon at 4:30 o'cl pm.m, -- thousands witnessed it. Four persons went in it. Lieutenant Macon of the Weather Bureau, one of them. They propose to move east to New England. The papers this a.m. report it going through Ohio, Michigan during the night. The balloon came down in Illinois.

June 21, 1887.
I rode out to John Cunningham's in afternoon, he is harvesting wheat. Robert Pourie came in afternoon. My wife went to St. Louis to see Dr. Spencer. We called on Mrs. Salveter on way to Depot. The old lady is very low and Mr. Salveter is suffering greatly with insomnia and his old head disease. Learned today that Mr. Vardeman of Wentzville is very low with kidney trouble. Received a postal from Mattie, arrived safely home, George is going to give up his house and board in the country near city.

June 26, 1887.
The Ladies Sewing Society had a picnic this afternoon at Mr. R. H. Parks. We had a delightful time, though confined to the house by rain.

June 27, 1887.
Had my hay put in barn in afternoon. Called at Mr. Howison in afternoon. Mrs. J. K. McDearmon and Mrs. Gorden called in afternoon. I am 68 years old today. I can truly say, goodness and mercy have followed ma all my days -- Jesus is all in all. George is here spending a week's vacation, he and Shirley went out to Cole's Creek to shoot frogs and got ten. My wife went to St. Louis to see Dr. Spencer. Mrs. Vardeman is better. Papers report the death of Mrs. Bredill of St. Louis.

June 29, 1887.
George and Shirley went with a party down to Wauch's Lake to fish. My tenants finished threshing wheat yesterday. Called to see Mr. Wm. Parks in afternoon. George and Shriley caught no fish.

June 30, 1887.
Letters from Dollie and Mattie. Saw Robert Gauss this morning, he will take tea with us this evening, he looks well, fleshy -- has been gone 7 years in Colorado. He is delighted with Denver, he is assistant editor of the Denver Republican. He spent a week with his father's family near Columbia.


  • 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. See the rest of the journal I have typed so far at:
    Thanks to Skip & Winston Johns, there are now photos of some of these folks on my web site. Look for "The Virginia Stash".
  • George and Mattie were JJJ's children, Henry Gauss was his son-in-law, husband of JJJ's daughter Charlotte Elizabeth (Lizzie). Little George would be George McDearmon 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.
  • Arthur was JJJ's son.
  • 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.
  • Mrs. Durfee was JJJ's mother-in-law, mother of his wife, Jane Amanda Durfee. Mr. Durfee was Thomas Russell Durfee, a Presbyterian minister from Massachusetts.
  • Louisa Morgan was JJJ's daughter from his first marriage to Catherine Woodruff.
  • At least some of the Lindsays may have been relatives; Jane's grandmother was Anne Lindsay.
  • Cholera Morbus - Acute gastroenteritis occurring in summer and autumn and marked by severe cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. No longer in scientific use. American Heritage Dictionary http://www.bartleby.com/am/
  • Mr. Borden was Edmund Borden. He had been married to Jane Amanda Durfee's sister, Margaret, who died rather young. Shirley Borden was their son. JJJ's daughter, Mattie, went to Philadelphia to care for Shirley, after his mother died


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

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Last modified:Sunday, 09-Nov-2003 16:35:28 MST