John Family Papers, 1775-1951

(8 boxes (4 linear ft.) plus photographs)

RG5/077


©Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
The John family was a Quaker family of Uwchlan and Shamokin Valley in Pennsylvania. The collection contains family correspondence, diaries, business and legal documents, memorabilia, pictures, and miscellaneous papers of the Reuben John family. Correspondents include Joanna Griffith, Phebe John, Ann Haines, Sarah H. Janney, Reuben John, Abia and Patty John, Pamela Brenholts, and their descendents. Also contains genealogical files of Don D. John which includes original family correspondence, transcriptions, legal documents, as well as extensive genealogical correspondence. Of particular note is the 1863 Civil War diary of Kimber L. John (Co. M, 8th Regiment, Ill. Cavalry) and a transcript of the Eliza John diary from 1839 to 1863.

Background note:
The John family is a Quaker family of Uwchlan and Shamokin Valley in Pennsylvania. Reuben John, the twelfth child of Griffith and Ann John, was born in Uwchlan in 1743. He married Lydia Townsend ca. 1768. After the death of the latter in 1798, he married second a widow, Jane Yocum. Reuben and Lydia had nine children, viz. Martha (Patty) who married Abia John, Phebe, Townsend, Israel, Pamela (Maly) who married George Brenholtz, Robert, Joanna who married Abraham Griffith, Sarah (Sally), who married George F. Janney, and Ann (Nancy) who married Ezra Haines.

Abia John (1761-1838) was the son of Griffith John, the older brother of Reuben John. Abia and Martha (John) John moved from Chester County, Pa., to Shamokin Township in Northumberland County. Abia and Martha were both birthright Quakers but were disowned when they married because they were first cousins. They had thirteen children: Asa; Hiram; Emily; Griffith (1795-1856); Reuben; Lydia; Sarah; Jesse J. who married Eliza Hicks; Elida (1805-1883); Samuel; Jehu; Eliza; and Perry.

The third son of Abia and Martha (John) John was Griffith John (1795-1856), who moved to Allen County, Ohio, in 1816 and became a Methodist, founding the town of Elida which was named for his brother. Don D. John, the family genealogist, was descended from Martha and Abia John through their third son, Griffith and his wife who had eighteen children, including Jesse J. John who was the grandfather of Don D. John. Jesse J. John had fourteen children, including Jesse Clinton John who was Don D. John’s father.

Elida John (1805-1883) married Sarah Hughes and took over the family farm, and they lived in Shamokin until 1868 when they moved to Illinois to join their children who had moved there. He and Sarah raised ten children and joined the Society of Friends at Roaring Creek MM in 1831. He and his brother, Perry, established a meeting at Shamokin, Pa., later known as Bear Gap Meeting. When he moved to Illinois, he was active in establishing Illinois Yearly Meeting.

Mary John Heritage (the donor, died 1954, member Mullica Hill MM) was descended from Martha and Abia John through Perry John (1815-1895) who was a Quaker minister.

Dr. Abia C. John (1831-1899) was a son of Elida John and Sarah Hughes. He served in the Civil War and later was a physician, one of the first to practice in Whiteside County, Illinois.

Kimber L. John (1838-1870) was the son of Jehu (1809-1863) and Patience (Houseweart) John, the second to the youngest child of Abia and Martha (John) John. Jehu’s family moved to Illinois, and Kimber John served in the Civil War, Company 8th Reg. Illinois Cavalry. He moved to California after he mustered out and never married.

Scope and content
The collection contains family correspondence, diaries, business and legal documents, memorabilia, pictures, and miscellaneous papers of the Reuben John family. Correspondents include Joanna Griffith, Phebe John, Ann Haines, Sarah H. Janney, Reuben John, Abia and Patty John, Pamela Brenholts, and their descendents. Also contains genealogical files of Don D. John which includes some original correspondence, transcriptions, legal documents, etc. Of particular note is the 1863 Civil War diary of Kimber L. John (Co. M, 8th Regiment, Ill. Cavalry) and a transcript of the Eliza John diary from 1839 to 1863.

Organization: Organized in seven series: 1. Genealogical; 2. Correspondence; 3. Diaries; 4. Mary J. Heritage miscellaneous papers; 5. Donald D. John genealogical and related papers; 6. Donald D. John collected papers; 7. Donald D. John Memorabilia. Photographs have been removed to PA


Administrative and Other Descriptive Information

Restrictions
Collection is open for research.

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the individual Meeting or its successor. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Repositories as the holder(s) of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Acquisition Information
Deposit. Donated by Mary John Heritage, 1948, and by Helen Droup John, 1965.

Processing information
The collection was given by two descendents of the John family. The original papers were given in 1948 by Mary John Heritage. She was the daughter of William John and Ruth (Roberts) John, who was descended from Reuben and Lydia John. According to a letter from Griffith John, the letters were preserved by Eliza and Sarah John, the unmarried daughters of Martha and Abia John. The genealogical papers were given by Helen Droup John, who was the widow of Donald D. John, in 1965. The genealogical and related papers were compiled by Donald D. John (1894-1957) who intended to write a John family genealogy. He died before he could complete the project. His widow remarried (to his brother Ralph) and gave his research to Friends Historical Library. This material was arranged by Donald D. John, and the organization of genealogical material has been retained. Transcripts were typed by his wife, Helen Droup. This material was used by Marijane (John) Zerphey when she compiled the material for the book Griffith John, His Ancestors and Descendents in 1995.

In 2002, a new finding aid was created. The series were renumbered to be integrated and consecutive, with the diaries and the diary transcripts combined in a single series. Meeting house photos removed to FHL General Meeting House collection and the other photographs removed to PA 116. A typed manuscript entitled “Quaker Sketches Historical and Biographical” by Donald H. Yoder, also a John descendent, was removed from Donald D. John Memorabilia and catalogued as a Miscellaneous Manuscript.

Separated material
Meeting house pictures stored in PA 110, FHL Meeting house, North America. Family photographs stored in PA 116, John Family Pictures.

“Quaker Sketches Historical and Biographical” by Donald H. Yoder removed to Miscellaneous Manuscripts.

Related material
The diary of Eliza John : an historical and genealogical record of the early Quakers in Northumberland County, Penna., and what befell them. A paper read before the Northumberland County Historical Society on May 12, 1950 / by Don D. John . Catalogued in the FHL book collection. Typescript.


Added entries

Subjects
  • John family
  • John, Eliza, 1812-1863
  • Quakers -- Pennsylvania
  • Quakers -- Genealogy
  • Quakers -- Social life and customs
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Uwchlan (Pa.)

    Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Brenholts, Pamela, 1775-1844
  • Griffith, Joanna, 1773-1815
  • Haines, Ann, 1776-1834
  • Janney, Sarah H, 1778-1837
  • John, Abia, 1761-1838
  • John, Don D., d. 1957
  • John, Eliza, 1812-1863
  • John, Kimber L. (Kimber LeRoy), 1838-1870
  • John, Martha, 1769-1840
  • John, Phebe, 1780-1855
  • John, Reuben, 1744-1822

    Contact information

    Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

     


    Collection inventory

    Note to Researchers: These records may only be consulted at Swarthmore, and are not available through inter-Library loan.


    Series 1: Genealogical Papers, ca. 1945

    "The John Line"
    ca.1945
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Genealogical notes on the Reuben John family line.

    Series 2: Family Correspondence, 1790-1828 & n.d.

    Correspondence of John sisters
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Includes letter in which Sally plans to go to Westtown

    Family Correspondence
    1790-1828 & n.d.
    (21 folders)

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Includes correspondence of Reuben to children.

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1790-91
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1975
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1796
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1797
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1798
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1799
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1800
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1803-1807
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1808-1809
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1812-13
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1815-17
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1818-22
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1823-24
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence
    1825-28
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Includes a letter of Sarah Janney to Martha John describing division in the Society of Friends.

    Family Correspondence
    1830-31, 1842, 1855, 1858
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Series 3: Mary Heritage Papers, 1775 & n.d.

    Business papers
    1775
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Business papers of William Craig. Stored with Deeds.

    Miscellaneous writings
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Series 4: Diaries, 1831-75 & n.d.

    Kimber L. John's Civil War diary
    1863
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Civil war diary of Abia Comly John (1831-1899)
    1864
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Written in shorthand that has not yet been deciphered.

    Abia Comly John account book
    1875
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Includes some diary entries and physician visiting lists.

    Reference material, family Bible
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Reference material, family Bible concerning Abia Comly John and family, including his account of his father’s reaction to his serving in the Civil War.

    Eliza John diary
    1841-1863
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Typed transcript of diary, with index.

    Notes on Eliza John diary.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2



    Elida John diary
    1831-1868
    (1 folder)
    Box 2



    Reference material concerning Elida John
    ca. 1851
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Includes an ALS, 1851, of Elida John to his wife Sarah.

    Series 5: Don John Genealogical Correspondence and Related Papers, ca. 1952

    John family charts
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    John family Bible transcription and other miscellany
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Allen County, Ohio
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    "B" - "C"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Baxter, James and Mary John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Bear Gap meeting house
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Catawissa Friends Meeting
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Chester County, Pa.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Cloud, Edna
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Eastern genealogical trip
    1950
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    "E"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Elida, Ohio, founded by Griffith John in 1832
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Ellis, Rhea John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    "G"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    "H-J"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Heritage, Mary John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    History (Quaker)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Huff, Myrtle E.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    "I"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    "J"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John miscellaneous
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Don D., miscellaneous
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John family miscellaneous correspondence
    n.d.
    (2 folders)
    Box 3

    John family numbering index
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Unsorted correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Abia. Notes.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Notes describing John family letters (in Series 2) preserved by Sally and Eliza John and descended to Mary John Heritage.

    John ap John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Asa family
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Barclay family
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Edwin (son of Elida John)
    1893
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Emily family (sister of Eliza John)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Ethan
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, George Dillwyn (1840-1928)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Griffith (I)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Griffith (1729-1811), son of Griffith (I)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    John, Griffith, son of Perry John.
    1916-1925 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Includes transcripts of correspondence (1916-1925) and description of Bear Gap Meeting, Pa.

    John family notes, etc.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Helen
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Helen B.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Hiram
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Hollie
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Dr. J. J.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Jehu (1810-1863), son of Abia and Martha
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Includes family births and deaths recorded 1835-1937.

    John, Jesse J. (grandfather of Don D. John)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    File includes pages from family Bible.

    John, M. Eva
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Marius
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Martha Ann (1820-1913)
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Daughter of Elida. She became a teacher.
    Included is a published book of her verses, 1902 (2 versions).

    John, Mellie
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Perry
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Reuben
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Samuel
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Samuel
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Tamsey
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    John, Thomas
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Kirby, Nellie
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Lloyd will
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Lancaster County, Pa.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    "M"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Mills family
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Transcripts of John family letters
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Includes Reuben John to Martha John (Abia's wife), Mary Ann Jeffers to Eliza John, etc.

    "P"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Phillips, John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Quakers
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    "N-R"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Northumberland County Historical Society
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Reunion in Pa.
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Ohio Miscellaneous
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    "S"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Shamokin
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Sunbury
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Notes for manuscript.

    Strawbridge
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Steele, Estelle
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    "T"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    "W-Z"
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Wales
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Whiteside County, Illinois
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Winnebago County, Illinois
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Woodson, Alma John
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Yoder
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    John family card index, Box 1
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    John family card index, Box 2-6
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Series 6: Don D. John Collected Miscellaneous Papers

    Includes original correspondence, most with transcripts. Arranged according to number assigned in genealogy rather than alphabetically.

    Griffith John
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    2 mss. copies

    Joanna John Griffith
    (1 folder)
    Box 5



    Reuben John
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Letters to cousins Abia and Martha John

    Ann John Haines (1776-1834)
    (1 folder)
    Box 5



    Sarah H. John Janney (1778-1837)
    (1 folder)
    Box 5



    Abia John (1761-1838)
    (1 folder)
    Box 5



    Griffith John, son of Abia
    (3 folders)
    Box 6

    Three folders including deeds, etc. from Elida, Ohio.

    Griffith John, son of Perry.
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Copybook.

    Mary Ann Janney Jeffers
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    From Mary John Heritage to Don D. John

    Georgianna Janney
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Phebe John (1780-1855)
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Wesley John of Winnebago, Illinois
    (1 folder)
    Box 6



    Abia John, son of Hiram John
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Martha A. (Thomas) Kester
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Jesse Jones John of Elida, Ohio
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Melinda John Washburn
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Amos Yarnall
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Sarah Ann (Yarnall) Bloomer
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Jesse Jones John (1803-1829)
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Married Eliza V. Hicks.

    Dr. Jesse J. John (1829-)
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Elida John (1805-1883)
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    With transcript and photocopy.

    Hannah Brenholtz
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Martha Ann John (1830-1913)
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Daughter of Elida and Sarah John.

    Sarah John Huff
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    George Dillwyn John
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    E.M. Fuller to Eliza John
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Lucille Jeffers
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Lydia Jeffers
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Hiram John
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Kimber L. John (1838-1870), letter
    1861
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Lorenzo Thornton John
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Rehemy John
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Catawissa Meeting
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Roaring Creek Meeting
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Miscellaneous MSS
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Deed, George Goss and wife
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Map, Pa. coal fields
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Maps, Shamokin Valley
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Deeds
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Series 7: Don D. John Memorabilia

    Memorabilia
    1838
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Includes store journal believed to have belonged to Samuel John, Shamokin.