Reverend John Johns
John Johns was (in my opinion) the most colorful politician to rise to his own "form
of power" from Webster County, Ia.
The good Reverend was born in Kentucky, at the turn of the nineteenth century, in
He left Kentucky and migrated first to Ohio and then moved on to Indiana. He longed
for life in the wilderness which kept pushing him westward. Johns arrived in Iowa
around 1850. He was the first white man to cultivate in Webster County on the west
side of the Des Moines River, one mile north of Lehigh, Iowa. In the 1856 State
Census his years in Iowa is stated as seven, and in 1856 he was 53 years of age.
He brought with him, his wife Rachel and daughters Maryann, Tabitha and Lucinda.
He was a commanding sight to behold if you came across him for the first time in
the woods. He measured over six foot tall, weighed 225 pounds, and sported a heavily
bearded face. His attire was the standard for a man of the forests, coonskin cap
and deer skin clothes. He proudly wore this attire, no matter the occasion. He hunted
and trapped during the day. Was a preacher and the area Justice of the Peace.
He attended the Republican State Convention, and ridiculed by his peers for his
attire. He quickly gain the respect of the convention with his brilliant and "from
the pulpit" oratory. He was selected as Delegate-at-Large to the National Convention.
John Johns walked most of the way to Chicago to attend the convention. The man the
convention nominated as their candidate for president, was a lawyer from Illinois,
Johns believed slavery was an immoral and an unforgivable trespass against a fellow
human being and became an avid abolitionist.
In July of 1860, The Reverend John Johns held a revival meeting, one mile east of
the river in a heavily wooded tract. He advised all who planned to attend to bring
their tents and provisions.
He was layed to rest in 1865. Johns was buried at the Border Plains Cemetery, west
Copyright 1998, Kandus Barland