Jury duty anecdotes…

FW John out in the woods.

While perusing the newspapers of Oconto County, (by the way thanks for the heads up on this Ron), I came across an amusing little story regarding F.W. John I thought I would share:

When Postmaster Frederick William John of Gillett visited Oconto a few weeks ago he was greeted by a bunch of old residents gathered at the Beyer House with:

“Frederick William John, by J____s!”

Many who heard the expression were astonished, but those who were present and who had lived here when Mr. John was a young man knew the full meaning of the greeting.

Mr. John is one of the pioneers of Oconto county, and a great many years ago was prominent among the then young men of the vicinity. He scarcely failed to be drawn on the jury at every term of the circuit court, and one time, as usual, he was summoned to appear at the county seat as a juror. He entered the court room, dressed in the garb of a lumberman, wearing a red sash tied around his waist, which in those days was considered essential to the efficient vocation of a lumberjack. He was in his shirt sleeves and wore high boots, and being tall, broad shouldered and as straight as an arrow, he presented a find specimen of physical manhood. On entering the court room he took a seat at the rear, and soon Richard Hall, who was then clerk of the court, began calling the roll.

Soon the clerk called, “Bill John.”

There was no response. Again the clark called:

“Bill John.”

And again there was no response. For the third time the clerk called in a loud voice:

“Bill John!”

Still there was no response, and Judge Cotton, who at that time presided in this circuit, inquired of Clerk Hall whether Bill John was in the court room.

“Yes, your honor,” replied Mr. Hall, “there he sits in the rear of the hall–that big fellow wearing a red sash.”

“Is your name Bill John?’ thundered the judge, pointing straight at him with his finger.

“No, sir,” replied Mr. John indignantly, “my name is not Bill John. My name is Frederick William John, by J___s!”

“Well Mr. Frederick William John by J___s, you will take your seat in front with the rest of the jurors.” commanded the judge, suppressing a smile.

Some of the old residents were reminded of the incident when Mr. John entered the hotel.1

A lumberjack in dress most similar to what FW John would have been wearing.

Now if only there were more stories about Johanna that were to be found.

1 The Lena Enterprise, volume1, issue 21, page 1 column 4, 1903-10-30.


Enjoying living relatives…

One of the fun results of researching ones ancestors is finding living relatives that you never knew existed and then meeting them and sharing stories, pictures, research, or just plain having fun.

This last weekend Dale and I decided to take the time to visit, and catch up with, my John side cousin Ron and his wife Nancy down in southern Wisconsin. The day was almost perfect (I can always do with a little bit warmer). It was warmish, sunnyish and downright nice. So we had good food, lots of laughs and even got to feed a crane. Well I did. Our next visit will not be 9 years in the future.

Nancy shared her abundance of rhubarb with us and I made some of my luscious rhubarb muffins.

We will be seeing them again this September in Gillett, when the Gillett Area Historical Society has their cemetery walk, two of our ancestors will be represented, FW John and Cal John. Ron will be pretending to be Cal, with the aid of a high platform. Cal was 6’6 or so. Ron, not so much : )

Jen feeding the crane.
Jen feeding the crane.
Dale scaring the crane.
Dale scaring the crane.
Jen, Dale, and Nancy. Where's Ron?
Jen, Dale, and Nancy. Where’s Ron?
Here's a pic of FW John I hadn't seen before. Ron shared it with me.
Here’s a pic of FW John I hadn’t seen before. Ron shared it with me. I’ll be adding this to my flickr site.
Ummm! Tasty goodness. Lots in the freezer too!
Ummm! Tasty goodness. Lots in the freezer too!

August(us) Cl. Johns, or, the things you learn from newspapers…

3272969592_2e033c7c83_o August, who has used the name Augustus at times, was the younger brother of my great great grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Jahn. August went by the surname Johns after arriving in the United States. As I have mentioned before, regarding his military service during the Civil War, he married Mary Schaal shortly after his arrival.

The family lived in Dodge County, Wisconsin until sometime between 1880 and 1885 when they packed up the household and family of 4 girls and moved to Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa.

While living in Algona the family ran a hotel and eatery in association with the Milwaukee Railroad depot in town. Not all of their customers were of upstanding quality1:


August was mentioned in an article in an Iowa paper because of their hotel and eatery business. Judge Conklin of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin was taking Bowe’s Excursion through Iowa on the railway in 1887, he stopped in for breakfast with August “the erstwhile cooper at Josh Large’s Oakfield mills.”2

In 1890 his son-in-law George Adams came down from Minneapolis to pick up his wife and visit with the in-laws.3


When the Civil War Veterans had their 30th encampment in St. Paul, in 1896, August and Mary thought it would be a good time to visit their daughter in Minneapolis.4


Due to August’s ill health, from what I believe was an injury caused by being kicked by a horse, August and Mary headed up to Minneapolis to spend their later years, so that they could be around their daughter and her family. He died July 26, 1917 and his body was transported back to Iowa for burial.5


1 The Upper Des Moines: Algona, Iowa, Wednesday, August 4, 1886, no page, col. 2

2 The Spirit Lake Beacon, Vol. XVII, No. 17, Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, Iowa, Friday, March 18, 1887, page 1, col. 3.

3 The Upper Des Moines: Algona, Iowa, Wednesday Dec. 10, 1890, no page, col. 3.

4 The Republican, Algona, Iowa, Wednesday, September 2, 1896, no page, col. 4.

5 Upper Des Moines Republican Algona, Iowa, Wednesday, August 1, 1917, Vol 16, No. 5, page 1 col. 5.