Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This photo from the Mearns Family Album is identified as Minnie Johns. I don’t recall seeing this name among the many relations that Iggy has found, but it’s entirely possible I am just not remembering well. The photo can be dated to the 1890s because of the scalloped edges of the card. You can also see the puffed sleeves of her dress and the high collar that were both popular in the 1890s. The photographer was W. C. Bell at 6 West Market Street, York, PA.

UPDATE: Iggy found that Minnie Johns, daughter of Rev. John Henry Johns of the Presbyterian Church of Zion, married Robert Grove on February 5, 1890. In August 1890, Robert passed away after an illness and Minnie was suffering from a bout of typhoid. Minnie’s father and husband are buried next to each other in the Zion cemetery that Iggy visited earlier this year, and the graves are not far from William L. Mearns. Rutledge Gifford was an usher at Minnie & Robert’s wedding. Happily, Minnie survived the typhoid fever and went on to remarry W. R. Stephens on February 5, 1893. What an odd coincidence that she selected the same date for her second wedding as her first! The same minister preceded over both wedding services as well. Check the comments for more detailed information and excerpts from newspapers. Thank you Iggy!!

8 thoughts on “Minnie Johns

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    In an item from the Cecil Whig, dated Saturday, February 4, 1890:

    Zion Items.
    – The wedding of Mr. Robert T. Groves and Miss Minnie Johns will take place February 5th at 8.30 o’clock in the Presbyterian Chruch, ceremony by Rev. J. R. Milligan. A reception immediately after ceremony. Ushers, Mr. Rutledge Gifford and Edward Gilespie. John will be on hand to take care of the teams

    Definitely a friend of the Mearns – Giffords, and tragically, an item dated, Saturday, Agust 30, 1890:

    Colora Items.
    – Robert Groves, residing on the farm of Robert N. Hindman, died on Sunday night after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Groves was a young man highly esteemed and beloved by a large circle of warm friends. In February last he was married to Miss Minnie Johns, a very popular young lady of Zion. Mrs. Groves has also been very ill of typhoid fever, but strong hopes are now entertained of her recovery. The funeral of Mr. Groves occurred on Thursday, interment at Zion. The services were conducted by Rev. J. R. Milligan, to whose church deceased and his wife belonged.

    So I saw his headstone too and may have a photograph of it. I wonder if Minnie recovered – I’m afraid to look.


  2. Interesting but sad..I wonder if she recovered. I hope Iggy finds out something! :)


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    Minnie’s father was the Rev. John Henry Johns of the Presbyterian Church of Zion. He was born October 18, 1831 and died May 8, 1889 and is buried in the church cemetery not far from William L. Mearns. Robert Grove is buried next to him, born August 28, 1861 and died August 25, 1890. There is no stone there for Minnie, who lost her father and her new husband in such a short time.

    Item from Cecil Whig:

    Saturday, May 11, 1889 – Death of Rev. J. H. Johns

    Rev. John Henry Johns died at his home in Zion on Tuesday about midnight aged
    about 60 years. Mr. Johns became pastor of Rock and Zion Presbyterian
    Churches in 1859 and continued in that relation for twenty-four years. In
    the fall of 1884 he was stricken with paralysis and has been speechless and
    helpless since. He appeared to comprehend what was going on around him but
    could not express his thoughts. He suffered a second attack of paralysis on
    Tuesday night and died about an hour later. Mr. Johns was a native of
    Baltimore, but came to Cecil County when a lad and lived for many years with
    the Armstrong family near Rock Church. He was a graduate of Princeton
    College and Theological Seminary. His wife, Ann E. was a daughter of the late
    Caleb C. Brokaw, survives him with their only daughter, a young unmarried
    lady.Mr. Johns was an earnest and forcible preacher and led an exemplary
    Christian life.

    Minnie’s proper name was Mary and she born in 1864. I still do not know what became of her – the 1900 US census shows her mother living with only Emma Brokaw who was her sister.


  4. IntenseGuy says:

    Delta Herald (York county Pa) Friday Feb 3 1893

    W. R. Stephens and bride Minnie J. Grove are residing in Trenton NJ. They were married at the same time of the brides mother Mrs A. E Johns on the 5th by Rev J. R. Milligan.



    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Huh I wonder now who her mother married? :-)


  5. IntenseGuy says:

    He didn’t live long, whoever he was…

    Waters R. Stephens (b. abt. Nov 1851) and Minnie had two daughters, Ruth Stevens (b. abt 1896) and Elizabeth Johns Stevens (b. abt 1897) and living in Lawrence, Mercer, New Jersey in 1910. Lawrence is a northern suburb of Trenton and is near Princeton, NJ. Waters was a bookkeeper.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Wonder if Minnie was a black widow, ha ha


  6. IntenseGuy says:

    Perhaps she selected the same date for her wedding to symbolize “a fresh start” and a new beginning? Minnie had a rough couple years there to say the least.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: