Elias H. Johns

Elias H. Johns, one of the honored retired residents
of Lima, was for a great many years prominently identified with the
city's business interests and public affairs. Mr. Johns was born in
Fauquier County, Virginia, June 11, 1834, and is a son of Elias and
Adaline (Otley) Johns.
The Johns family were among the pioneers of Washington township,
Union County, Ohio, removing there from Charlestown, Virginia. The
father of our subject was a man of enterprising spirit. When he located
in Washington township, in 1852, he erected the first hewed-log house
there, When his life approached middle age, he removed from the farm to
the village of Essex and there engaged in mercantile business.
Elias H. Johns obtained is education in Virginia prior to the
removal of the family to Ohio and from the age of 18 years until his
enlistment in the Union Army he followed school teaching. Mr. Johns was
one of the first patriotic young men of his neighborhood to respond to
the call for troops in 1861, becoming a member of Company B, Second
Battalion, 18th Reg., United States Infantry. With all the loyal
enthusiasm of the time he entered the service and nobly performed a
soldier's duty and almost gave up his life for his country. On the
terrible battle-ground of Stone River, he with scores of his comrades
fell, and such were the prevailing conditions that he was left to suffer
without surgical care for a number of hours. His life was in the
balance when he was taken to a hospital. From December until the
following September he was under treatment in army hospitals at
Murfreesboro, Nashville, Louisville and Camp Dennison. From the effects
of that dreadful day of battle, Mr. Johns never fully recovered,
although the day came when he was able to take a position in the
recruiting service, in which he spent the remainder of his term of
enlistment, being honorably discharged in 1864. In spite of the
injuries suffered when just in the flower of his manhood, Mr. Johns has
survived many of his comrades and, approaching the evening of life, he is
still vigorous of mind and body, and in most entertaining manner can
recall those days which must always possess vital interest for every
true American.
After his return from his army service, Mr. Johns came in the same
year to Lima and entered into business, opening up a grocery which he
continued to operate until 1879, when he became associated with Townsend
&Moser for four years, and later with the late Judge Hughes, in the
manufacture of furniture. Close attention to business and careful
investments have provided Mr. Johns with ample competency, which his
leisure permits him to enjoy. He owns considerable property here,
including his pleasant home at No. 222 South Pierce street.
In 1857 Mr. Johns was married to Elizabeth Cheney, of Union County,
Ohio, a daughter of William Cheney, who was a farmer all his life. Of
the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Johns, two are now living, namely:
Silas H., who is assistant superintendent of the Prudential Life
Insurance Company's agency at Lima; and Septa J., who is a wife of W. A.
Hall, a journalist, of Racine, Wisconsin.
Mr. Johns has always been an active and interested citizen and for a
number of years was a valuable member of the City Council. His advice
was always considered as he was known to be a practical, reliable
public-spirited man. He is a member of Mart Armstrong Post, No. 202, G.
A. R., and of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. He has for many years
been prominent in the York rite bodies of the Masonic order and at
present is secretary of Garett Wykoff Lodge, No. 585, F. & A. M. He is
past master of the Blue Lodge, past high priest of the Chapter, past
thrice illustrious master of the Council and past eminent commander of
the Commandery.