Skip to main content
Archives & Manuscripts

John Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-077

Scope and Contents

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

Dates

  • 1775-1951

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

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.

Biographical / Historical

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.

Extent

4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

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.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Libraries' online catalog: http://tripod.brynmawr.edu

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit. Donated by Mary John Heritage, 1948, and by Helen Doup John, 1965.

Related Materials

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.

Separated Materials

Meeting house pictures stored in PA 110, FHL Meeting house, North America. Family photographs stored in PA 102, John Family Pictures.

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

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 Doup 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 Doup. 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.

Creator

Title
John Family Papers, 1775-1951
Date
2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA