Marsena St. John

MARSENA ST. JOHN. A residence in Kansas of sixty years is in itself a distinction. In the case of the venerable Marsena St. John of Ottawa those years have been filled with honorable accomplishment and in all this time he has been one of the mainstays in Franklin County.

He was born at Linden, New York, April 20, 1831, and has already passed his eighty-fifth birthday. His parents were Jasper and Julia Ann (Reynolds) St. John, who lived near Saratoga Springs, New York. From New York the family went to Huron County, Ohio, where the father was for ten years a tanner. In 1859 the parents came to Franklin County, Kansas, and settled on a farm six miles west of Centropolis. Jasper St. John was born in 1805, and died in 1886 in Franklin County, Kansas. He was a devout Baptist and was one of the charter members of the Ottawa Baptist Church, and also of the Appanoose and Centropolis churches, and was affiliated with the Masonic order. His widow, who was born in 1812, died in her eighty-sixth year. They were the parents of nine children, and three are now living. The oldest of this family, Marsena St. John, grew up in New York and Ohio, and came to Franklin County, Kansas, when Kansas was a territory. He lived for a time near Centropolis, and from there went back to East Townsend in Huron County, Ohio, where in 1856 he married Miss Viola Staunton. Mr. and Mrs. St. John have five children, and the two now living are: Hattie O., born August 24, 1860; and Anna Alina, born June 28, 1867.

After his marriage Mr. St. John located on a farm six miles from Centropolis, and was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years, and he also made shoes during the winter months. In 1884 he moved to Ottawa. He spent two years in a dental office and with that practical experience took up the profession and for thirty years was one of the leading dental practitioners of Ottawa. In 1910 he retired from the profession and has since lived in comfort in one of the attractive homes of that city.

For sixty-five years Doctor St. John has been an active member of the Baptist Church. He has held the various church offices and for many years has superintended the Sunday school. He has been a strong advocate of temperance, and for a number of years was connected with the Good Templars. Politically he has always been a stanch republican.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 12-16-98.

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