Owen D. John

From the book
Portrait and Biographical Record
of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
Chapman Publishing Co., New York, 1897

Owen D. John. Since 1856 Mr. John has been a resident of America and during that entire period his home has been in Pennsylvania. He is well known among the citizens of Scranton and is especially prominent in the fourth ward, from which he was elected alderman in 1894. His office is at No. 105 North Main Avenue. Like many of the foremost citizens of Lackawanna County, he is of Welsh birth and lineage. He was born near St. Clair, which lies in the mountainous shire of Carmarthen, September 6, 1834, and is a son of Daniel and Frances (Davis) John, natives of Pembrokeshire. His father, who was a farmer by occupation, died at the age of eighty-six, and his mother, when fifty-six. Of their ten children Owen D. was the youngest, and the only one of the number who came to America.

At the age of thirteen, anxious to secure work, the subject of this sketch went from his home in the south of Wales to the rich and fertile shire of Glamorgan, in the southernmost part, and at Aberdare he worked for some time in the mines. In 1856 he took passage on a sailing vessel at Aberdare and proceeded to Swansea and Liverpool, where he boarded the sailer, John Bright," bound for America. After a pleasant voyage of thirty-five days he landed in New York, and from there went to St. Clair, Schuylkill County, Pa., securing work in the mines. Within a year he was engaged in mining on contract and carried on a jobbing business until October, 1859, when he came to Scranton, taking a position in the Hampton mines. Since then he has been engaged principally in mining, having been employed by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Company in the Diamond shaft for twenty-four years. In 1884 he retired from mining and has since devoted his attention to other interests.

Follow this link for an image of the front page of the John Bright's passenger list for the voyage that brought Owen D. John to America. The John Bright arrived in New York on 7 July 1856. Owen John is listed on page 3 of the manifest as a 20-year-old miner.

Several thousand dollars of bounty tax having accrued against the old borough of Hyde Park, Mr. John was in 1884 appointed by the council of that borough to act as collector, which he did in the fourth and fifteenth wards. It was a difficult tax to collect, but through his collections of 1884, 1885 and 1887 it was liquidated. Meantime Mr. John also served as assessor and collector of the county tax, continuing in the latter capacity until 1890. In 1868 he was elected from the fourth ward as a member of the common council, and served two years and six months. At intervals he also aided in compiling the city directories. In 1890 he was census enumerator for a portion of the fourth ward. In 1894 he was nominated on the Republican ticket as alderman from the fourth ward, the then incumbent (Democratic) of the office being the opponent, and was elected by a majority of two to one. He took the oath of office in May of that year and has since served with efficiency, representing the various interests of the people in a manner satisfactory to them and credible to himself.

The residence of Mr. John is situated at No. 322 Decker's Court, Scranton. In this city he married Miss Mary A. Pembridge, who was born in Monmouthshire, Wales, came thence with her parents to America at the age of eight years and settled near Scranton. They are the parents of four children now living, namely: Ellsworth E. and Horace G., who are machinists by trade; Alfred C., who is employed as a pressman on the "Tribune," and Gertrude, who is at home.

Since becoming a citizen of this country, Mr. John has always been active in the Republican party. He is a loyal patriot, and during the late war would have enlisted had not his wife's ill health rendered it impossible for him to leave home. Fraternally he is past grand of Silurian Lodge, I. O. O. F., and was delegate to the grand lodge in 1884. In 1862 he aided in organizing the True American Ivorites, calling the lodge No. 1, but learning of the existence of another, changed the number to two. In this he has held official position. Personally he is a man of genial and affable disposition, one whom it is a pleasure to meet and who holds a high place in the regard of his fellow citizens.

Note: In the 1880 census we find Owen John and family living on Hyde Park Avenue in Scranton's 4th ward. The John family included a son named Daniel, who is not mentioned in the biography. JLT

Owen D. JOHN, Self, M, WALES, Works In Coal Mine
Mary Ann JOHN, Wife, M, 41, WALES, Keeping House
Daniel JOHN, Son, S, 17, PA, At School
Ellsworth JOHN, Son, S, 9, PA
Horace JOHN, Son, S, 6, PA
Alfred JOHN, Son, S, 4, PA
Gertie JOHN, Dau, S, 1, PA

Return to the Prominent Welshmen of Scranton page
Read more about the connection between Scranton and Brynmawr, Wales
Read more about the history of Hyde Park
Return to the main page at the Thomas family website

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