A Short History of My Life

A Short History of My Life

Home ] Statement Of Business,  March 1846 ] Recollection Of The Departed  --  In Memory of Catherine Woodruff Johns ] A Short History of My Life ]

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, 1889.
This is a clear, cool and beautiful New Year's Day, mercury 16°. It is time for serious reflection when we cross the line from the old to the new year. It is time  for retrospection [sic] and prospection. How much of goodness and mercy from God has followed us the past year and all the past years and for our part how little gratitude, love and service to Him from us. Lord help me to love and serve thee better in the future for Jesus Sake. Lord, bless my dear wife, all my children and grand children. Make them all thine and bless all my dear kindred, bless all my friends. Oh, Lord bless our old church in St, Charles, bless all the preachers and all the people of God all over the world for Jesus' Sake, Amen and Amen. Called on Mrs. Salveter in forenoon and the Martins in afternoon. Partial eclipse of sun at 4 o'cl p.m. Went to sociable at parsonage. Mrs Durfee still in bed but better. Received a letter from Mattie and a postal from Ellen Cowen. Received an over-coat and hat from George by express. Wrote to Mattie and George.

Jan, 3, 1889.
Eugene Gauss left for his grandfather Gauss' near Columbia Mo. Eleanor Martin left too for Lexington Mo. to her school. Mr. Spencer borrowed my buggy to go to Charlesworths to spend the day, I wrote to Ellen Cowan and Dr. Farris.

Jan. 5, 1889.
Mrs. Glenday got into a hysterical fit yesterday about Mrs. Durfee, she is easily upset. Mrs. Durfee is better, we have Clara Kenedy to nurse her. Received a postal from Ellen Cowan, she has done nothing yet. Received letter from Dr. Farris. I have been busy today getting signers to a petition to the city council, asking them to raise the tax on saloons to $500.00, it is now only $100.00 and there are 20 saloons in the city. I am in favor of abolishing them entirely but as we can't do that I am in favor of restricting them as much as possible. A good many citizens are in favor of it but afraid of the saloon influence.

Jan. 6, 1889.
Mr. Spencer preached a very good sermon from that grand saying of Paul: "I know whom I have believed and that he is able to keep that I have committed to him against that day".  Ellen Cowan came last night, she thinks of going to St. Louis County near Creve Coeur  Lake. Tonight begins the week of prayer service in the Jefferson St Church and is observed each night in different churches. It has been observed for some years by all evangelical churches with great benefit.

Jan. 8, 1889.
Mrs. Durfee is better. John Tanner, Miss Annie Shore and Mrs. (Dr) Johnson called yesterday afternoon. Mr. Spencer and I called on a Mrs. Johnson in Frenchtown and on Mrs. Bacon and found her sisters with her. She has no Bible though she has been a member of the church six years. Called on Fitzgeralds. Ellen Cowan and her aunt leave for St. Louis tomorrow. Dr. Irwin talked on social reforms at home and church missions. This is a great work for the church and the great evil to overcome in imense foreign immigration, intemperance, sabbath breaking and the negro problem.

Jan 12, 1889.
Received a letter from George saying that Will Cowan has sent Ellen $15.00 and would send that every month. Called in afternoon on Mrs. Ross, she is quite unwell. Wrote postal to Lizzie and Mattie. Mrs Durfee improving slowly.  Tomorrow we have installation of Mr. Spencer in our church. It is about 18 years since Dr. Ed Martin was installed pastor of our church--singular coincidence--both from Virginia. Dr. Farris is to be here and he was here and took part in Dr. Martin's installation. I went to the depot for Dr. Farris and took him to Mr. Spencer's where we took supper. We shall also have Dr. Peyton Walton, Colonel Carr, an elder in Dr. Brank's church in St. Louis.

Jan. 17, 1889.
This is a splendid winter day. My wife, yesterday and today suffering with face neuralgia. I called on Mrs. Gallaher and Mrs. Watkins. Wrote to Mattie and Fred. Mrs. Durfee is very weak but has a good appetite.  Received a letter from Louisa Morgan and Mary Pearce, all well.

Jan. 21, 1889.
We had communion in our church yesterday. Gene Lemon joined the church on profession of faith. Mr. Spencer preached on David's utterance "As the hart panteth after the water brook so panteth my soul after thee" My wife's neuralgia very severe. There was a large attendance at our shops yesterday afternoon to hear Mr. Spencer preach. Called in afternoon with Mr. Spencer on Mrs. Udstad at Dr. Buckner's house and at Mr. Robt Parks on Mrs. Bennett. Their oldest boy is sick with pneumonia.

Jan. 23, 1889.
Wrote postals to George and Arthur, a letter to Mary. Called in afternoon on Mr. and Mrs. Wickersham, they are Methodists. We observed the day of prayer for colleges and seminaries in our church tonight, we had a good meeting, very many remarkable  results in the conversion of students in college. Wrote Mary Johns at Clarksville, Texas. Little George is here today. Mrs. Orrick is at McDearmon's. Called on Mrs. Watson. Mr. Sturmer and two men helped fix my cistern pump, the chain broke.

Jan. 28, 1889.
The Dr. called to see Mrs. Durfee yesterday afternoon, he thinks there may be some lung trouble that may be serious, she has good appetite but weak. Received a letter from George. I called at our shops to see Mr. Salveter about getting something for Shirley to do. He proposed his going into the drawing room department with Mr. Udstad. Great excitement over the election of Boulanger in Paris by 80,000 majority, he is supposed to be opposed to the republic. Work on the Cleveland, Kansas City and St. Louis Central railroad has commenced near the ferry landing outside the car shops. Mr. Alderson was here this p.m.

Jan. 31, 1889.
I brought little George over with me before dinner. Called on Mr. Wm Parks in forenoon. Went to Lindenwood in afternoon to attend meeting of prayer for colleges and schools. Dr. Nichols preached a fine sermon--saving faith. Miss Aurelia McDearmon rode out with me. Mrs. Salveter and Miss C. Shaw called. Shirley commenced work in car shops. Received a letter from Mattie at Fall River. Called with Mr. Spencer on Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Ross. Mrs. (Dr.) Bruere called in afternoon.

Feb. 2, 1889.
This is a beautiful day, real Texas weather in winter. mercury up to 45° at noon. My wife and I went to the meeting of the ladies sewing society at Mrs. Salveter's, they had an elegant lunch. Mr. Robert Parks is broken up entirely and is bankrupt in his old age. I called to see Mrs. Barron on 2d and Washington Streets, he is a lawyer and shorthand reporter in St. Louis. They are English and Episcopalians. The Crown Prince of Austria is dead or rather shot himself. Professor Mayers lectured last night in our church on English history, the crusades, Bloody Mary and Sir Walter Raleigh. Mr. Spencer and I called at Mrs. Hoelke, little girl sick. Received letter from Fred, Lizzie, and Virginia Wooldridge.

Feb. 6, 1889.
Wrote to Fred and Eugene Gauss, Jr. My wife wrote to Mattie and Lizzie. Many hands and teams at work on the railroad on the river front behind the car shops, cutting down the high bluffs on 2d St. to fill in. Wrote George, Shirley taking drawing lessons at car shops from Udstad. The town is lively with the railroad men and teams. Called at Wm Parks in afternoon. He had gone to St. Louis, talked with Mrs. Parks about ladies society painting parsonage. Monthly concert tonight on foreign missions-China, the country. They are a deceitful lying cheating people, some of them highly cultivated. When they become Christians they  are very decided and devoted, showing the power of christianity in changing the hearts of men. Colored man, Syd, who has consumption was supposed to be dying, he sent for me, he is very low, can't speak  but in his senses seems to be trusting in Christ and ready to go.

Feb. 9, 1889.
I called on Reverand Mr. Lewis in forenoon. Received a letter from Mattie and a letter from Mary Pearce. In afternoon wife and I rode out to the Alexanders to call. Thorton and his wife were there. We rode past Mrs. Parker's new home and down through French town below the bridge where they are working on the railroad. There is a little town of tents for the laborers.

Feb. 10, 1889 Sabbath.
No preaching at our church, Mr. Spencer  at Troy. I went to the Jefferson Street Church. Dr. Irwin preached. His grandchild, Jim McDearmon died this morning. I went to the car shops at 3 o'cl, large audience. Mr. Alexander read a very good sermon. No preaching in any church tonight but the Baptist and I go there. They hold their meeting in the ladies temperance room in Odd Fellows Hall. Mr. Reid preached a good sermon on the Romans "All things work together for good"

Feb. 12, 1889.
I wrote to Mr. Spencer at Troy. Mrs. Durfee in bed most of the time, has a good appetite but gains strength very slowly. Mrs. Chap Luckett buried today, she was  Lizzie McDonald. Received a letter from Ellen Cowan, they are living in Creve Coeur neighborhood, St Louis County, Mo. I received a letter from Colonel Woolfork of Troy saying that they were having a precious revival in their church under the preaching of Mr. Spencer and are for him to remain over next Sunday. I called in afternoon on the Vreelands and Mrs. Renno.

Feb. 15, 1889.
I called in afternoon on Mrs. Lemon and Mrs. Watson. I received a postal from Mary Pearce at Troy. Mr. Spencer came back yesterday a.m., good many accessions to church at Troy. Called at Wm Parks and Mr. Spencer in p.m. and at Vreeland's. Received a letter from Mary Johns, Bonnie is to be married a man who is a druggest at Hot Springs, Ark. Wrote postal to Mary. I called on Mrs. Nicholson, they subscribe to the St Louis Presbyterian. Mr Spencer and I called at Mr. Alexanders to see Thorton and his wife and at Mr. Robt Parks and Mrs. Ross. I wrote a postal to Dr Farris requesting him to send his paper to Mr. Nicholson.

Feb. 18, 1889.
Mrs. Durfee came down to breakfast this morning, first time in six weeks, she is in bed most of the time. My wife and I went to the car shops Sunday afternoon service yesterday. It was snowing. John received a letter from his mother today. Met Mr. Wm G. Clark in town today. A large fly wheel cast iron flew to pieces today in car shops, injured the building, nobody hurt. I called on Mrs. Salveter in afternoon.  I notice in the papers the death of Col. Isaac Tate of Calloway County. Received letter from George.  Baby Horace has whooping cough. Papers report that Blaine is to be head of Harrison's cabinet, a very talented and dangerous man. My wife wrote to George.

Feb. 22, 1889.
Received a letter from Mattie--old Dr. Reed is dead, aged 74, pastor of Spruce Street Church in Philidelphia for 30 years. Received a letter from Dollie, old Kitty is near her end, she is a good old Irish woman--nursed Dollie when a child. Arthur's health very good.  I called on William Parks. Wrote to Mary Pearce and a postal to Tom Johns, Appomattox, Va. In afternoon, my wife and I called on Mrs. Ross. Had a large oak tree cut down today, it showed signs of decay last fall--a large oak tree is a great loss in a yard, they are the grandest of all trees.

Feb. 24, 1889.
Mr. Spencer preached on the Savior's agony in the garden. George came in the morning, he is very fleshy. He paid me $30.00 he owed me. Received letter from Mattie. I wrote a letter to my old friend, Chauncy N. Olds of Columbus, Ohio on seeing an obituary of his wife's death in the New York Observer.

Feb. 28, 1889.
Wrote to Mattie. Received a postal from Lou Morgan. Called at Parsonage in afternoon. We discussed the new plan of preaching by the pictures of the Bible scenes now used by young Spurgeon  of London, by  Mr. Hershey of Washington City with such good effects. The idea is that Bible truths can be so much more clearly to uncultivated minds by illustrated pictures than by mere description. It is pastel painting.

Mar. 2, 1889.
August Kruse, my tennant, wants to buy that part of my land, 106 acres, that he cultivated. I asked him $150.00 per acre. After consulting with Mr. Overall and Mr. Stonebreaker I concluded not to sell at that. The interest on money is so low and the tax on money so high that it does not pay. My wife and I went to sewing society at Mrs. Ross'. Wrote to Lou Morgan and my wife wrote to Dollie.  I received a letter from George saying his baby had been very sick but was better. Saw Mr. Wm G. Clark  in town today. Mr. Spencer called late this evening and after supper  Aphraa and Louise Martin called

Mar. 4, 1889.
Received letter from Arthur and Lizzie and Chauncy N. Olds of Ohio. This is one of the great days in this country-Harrison is inaugurated President and Mr. Cleveland retires. Mr. Cleveland's administration was one of the wisest and purest we have had for 30 years. He was defeated on the Tariff question because the people unenlightened on that question. It needs reducing, yields too much revenue, gives a large surplus--a dangerous thing, takes money out of the pocket of the people to fill the pockets of the rich manufacturers and corporations. General Harrison is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and although his party is_______ in politics, I hope he will make an honest, faithful President. He is unfortunate in having Blaine at the head of his cabinet.

Mar. 5, 1889.
Received postals from George and Lizzie saying the children were better., a postal from my cousin Thomas Johns, of Appomattox Couthouse,  Va. He says they have discovered great mineral wealth in my old native County, Buckingham. Called on Wm. Parks afternoon. Received letters from Mattie and Lys Johns at Clinton, Miss. Mr. Robert Parks orchard farm 600 acres was sold under deed of trust today for $26,000. Wife and I rode down town in after-noon, called at the parsonage and on Wm Parks.

Mar. 7, 1889.
Wrote to Mattie. George's baby worse yesterday. Mrs. Gordon came up in evening. Mrs. McDearmon went down this a.m. Mr. Don McDonald died yesterday at his home in St. Louis County. He was raised here, son of Dennis McDonald and is about 60 years old. He was an elder in the Mispah Church, St. Louis Co. In afternoon I rode down to French Town amount the railroad tents. Called on the Barths, saw all the sisters. Mrs. Bacon is going on farm near O'Fallon. I gave her a Bible. Called on Mrs. Prayser, Attended a meeting of elders and deacons at night.

Mar. 7, 1889 [sic, dmw]
Received a letter from Mary Pearce, they expect to move in a few days to Troy. Called in afternoon at Wm Parks. Went to the Depot with Mr. Spencer to meet the funeral of Dr. Don McDonld. In afternoon I took Rev. Mr. Walton up to the Depot.

Mar. 11, 1889.
Mr. Spencer preached in the morning on the Resurrection of Christ, the great fundimental fact in the plan of redemption. If Christ be not raised then is our faith vain, there is no Saviour for lost man. The proof conclusive from enemies and friends.  It was a fine sermon and good audience. In afternoon he preached at our shops, "We are far from God by our sinfulness but can be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Robert Pourie called in afternoon. Mr. Spencer preached at night on the resurrection of the saints. It is sown in weakness and raised in power. It will be the same body in identity as the soul is the same but a spiritual body instead of a natural, the spirit instead of the blood. Received a letter from George, the baby is better. Mr. Spencer goes over to Mispah Church, Mr. Walton is in St. Louis to preach all week.

Mar. 13, 1889.
I started to go over to Mrs. Durfee's place but met Dierker and returned. Mrs. Glenday received a letter from Scotland saying her sister was dead. In afternoon I attended the funeral of old Mr. Gatwieler, he was nearly 80 years old, has been in this town 52 years. The family is infidel German nationalist. Dr. Irwin conducted the religious services, a very large crowd present. Received letters from Mattie, Eugene Gauss Jr, a postal from Lizzy saying Virginia is most well of Scarlet Fever but the other children have it. I wrote to Ellen Cowan. My wife and Daisy Martin called on the Udstads, Miss Remi, Mrs. J. E. Stonebraker and Mrs. Norris. We went to Prof Ober's lecture on Mexico, it was fine.

Mar. 15, 1889.
Wrote to Mattie. Mrs. Phelps called in morning. Received a postal from Rev. Peyton Walton, Mispah Church, desiring Mr. Spencer to remain over Sunday and have written to Dr. Farris to fill his place here. Good deal of interest in the church there, we are willing if our pulpit is filled. Saw Mr. Alex Garvin today. Saw Mr. Howison down town, he came last night, shipping his furniture to Potosi where he has settled. Wrote Arthur today. My wife and I called on Rev. Vincent and family.

Mar. 17, 1889.
We had no preaching in our church today. I attended the Jefferson Street Church. Mr. Vincent the minister preached on justification by faith. His voice is poor, great deal of nasal tone, his thoughts commonplace, no unction, no force. I take him to be a good man. I went to our shops meet in afternoon.  Mr. Alexander read a fine sermon of Talmadge.

Mar. 19, 1889.
Received a letter from Mary at Troy, they moved Friday. She is very much pleased with their new home, good house and good many fruit trees. Received an invitation to Prof. R.B. Bishop's golden wedding  at Oxford, Ohio, My old teacher at Miami. Received a letter from Tom Morgan. Wrote a letter of regret and congratulations to Prof Bishop on his 50th anniversary of his wedding. John Pearce and Shirley went to St. Louis this morning to buy spring clothes. Received letter from Mattie and Dollie, Mr. Borden still in Florida. Painting the parsonage. Rev. Mr. Vincent and wife, Mr. Spencer and wife took tea with us and the Martin girls came after tea.

Mar. 22, 1889.
Received a postal from Lizzie saying Annie D. had the Scarlet Fever. The other children getting well. Wrote to Mattie and George. Having our church lot joining the parsonage fenced. Tillie (our servant) took my horse and buggy and rode down to her father's.

Mar. 25, 1889.
Received a letter from Mary Johns at Claude's in country, They go to Austin and then to San Antonio where Bonnie is to be married to Mr. Lemly of Hot Springs, Ark. Wrote Lizzy and Minnie. My wife and I rode out to Robert Parks. I let Roberson (colored) have the piece of ground behind the stable and he plowed it and planted most of it in potatoes today. Called on Mr. Wm Parks in afternoon, he is a very good man but has some strange notions, thinks it is wrong to insure your house or your life as it implies distrust of Providence. Mr. Heiner who teached the Walnut Grove School and who is a candidate for school commissioner, called to see me this evening.

Mar. 27, 1889.
Shirley, little Ed Martin and I rode down to the bottom to my 40-acre tract to survey it. The railroad embankment is nearly completed. We crossed over by the bridge across Marias Croche Lake and stopped a little while at Rhaker's, my tenant. Got back to dinner.

Mar. 29, 1889.
Met Colonel Woolfork of Troy in town yesterday. This morning he came down to consult us about the troubles in his church with the pastor, Mr. Van Ansenberger. He has become very unacceceptable to the church and he persists in remaining. Mr. Wm Parks, Mr. Spencer and I had a conference with him at parsonage in afternoon. We advised him that the elders have a plain talk with him and let him know the facts that the whole church is dissatisfied with him and want a dissolution of the pastoral relationship and will ask Presbytery to act on it.  If he is wise he will acquiesce and save trouble. Went to Methodist District conference meeting at Methodist Church and heard Dr. McAnnally preach, he is an old man, has long been the editor of the Methodist Church Advocate, a man of decided ability. He gave a history of the Methodist Church in this country, it was the last of the Protestant churches that came to this country and has greatly surpassed them all in numbers. The Catholics were here at least 4 years before any others but the Protestant churches outnumber them three to one.

Mar. 31, 1889
Rev. Mr. Holland of the Methodist church preached for us, a fine sermon on faith. Mr. Gibson preached in our church tonight, he is a very good preacher for a young man. Mr. Rose of Rawls County, lay delegate to the Methodist conference, took tea with us.


Source: Location of handwritten original unknown.  Transcription and excerption by Florence Johns in 1960s. Transcribed to softcopy by David Willis, 1999.

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