The John Family


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The first information I found concerning the John Family is of Antonius Ioannides who was a Greek businessman who arrived in Agra, India from the Levant, around 1800. 
Levant refers to a geographical region of the eastern Mediterranean, countries such as  Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. Syria was known to have had a large greek community at the time.  
Agra also already had a thriving Greek community when Antonius Ioannides arrived and there are records of other unrelated families in Agra who were also of Greek origin who had also anglicised their surnames to John.

In 1975, The Indian 'STATESMAN' newspaper wrote an article  about Antonius Ioannides, stating that he came to Agra from the Levant in 1801,  he would then have been about 26 years old.
The article goes on to say that he had anglicised his name to Anthony John and that he fought for the British Indian Army and had been decorated following the 'Siege of Bharatpur'  during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. 
This was fought between the Maratha's and the British East India Company's Bengal Army,  from 2nd January 1805 to 22nd Februray 1805.
The british were repulsed 4 times by the Marathas but in the end a treaty was signed in british favour on 17th April 1805 by Ranjit Singh of Bharatpur, the leader of the Jats.

Anthony John 1775 - 13/06/1855 was married about 1820 to  Rossanah  She was born 27/04/1796 and died age 53 on 15/07/1849
They lived in Muttra, where their first 3 children were born, before moving to Agra.
The family would spend the hottest months of the year in Landour, a hill station in the foothills of the Himalaya's near Simla, built originally by and for the British Indian Army as a hill station where soldiers could recover from their wounds.

Anthony started his business as a diamond merchant, jeweller and silversmith, originally in Muttra, a town about 50km north of Agra. 
He is listed in the Bengal Directories 1834-1842 and also in Wynyard Wilkinson's book ' The Makers of Indian Colonial Silver '. 

The John family became a prominent Catholic family in Agra, they were instrumental in financing several buildings there, including St Mary's Church and the John Public Library.
In the new Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1848, the marble high altar is dedicated to Nicholas Anthony John,  funded by his widow and family and consecrated in 1898. There are a number of Tablets and Memorials for the family at the Cathedral, and in the Cantonment Cemetery, there is a large marble tomb dedicated to Anthony and Rosannah, with these inscriptions.

to the memory of
of the firm of A  John & Co.

ON THE 13TH June 1855
Agra tomb
Born  27TH April 1796
Died 15TH July 1849 
Aged 53 Years 2 Months & 15 Days

leaving a disconsolate husband and 5 children

Anthony and Rossanah  had 6 children:

            1/ Catherine, born 1821 in Muttra. She was married on 26/01/1838 in Agra to Frederick Palmer, a cutler in the Agra Medical Depot.
                She died age 22 in 1843 and is buried with her parents.
            2/ Ann, born 1822 in Muttra. She was married in 1837 to Nicholas Kallonas, he was a surveyor and a member of another prominent greek family in Agra.
            3/ James Anthony, born in Muttra, 1825 - 26/12/1865   He was married in 1848 to Anna Potter  [ 23/12/1829 - 31/05/1860 ]  They had 5 children:

                                    1/ Luis Anthony, 02/12/1848 -17/03/1851.    
                                    2/ Catherine, 12/03/1850 - 16/04/1851.     
                                    3/ John John, 06/07/1854 - 25/07/1854.    
                                    4/ Mary Magdalene b.13/10/1855.    
                                    5/ Joseph Anthony, 15/06/1857 - 01/04/1893
   There are graves for this family in the Cathedral Cemetery.
   The gravestone for Ann Potter John is memorialised with the words 'wife of John Anthony John, Greek Merchant of Agra'

            4/ Christopher Anthony, born 1827.  On 07/07/1856 he married Rosa Mary Ann Dick, born in 1842, the daughter of James Dick. 
                They had a daughter, Rose Eliza born 06/04/1857.
                Christopher died age 63 on 17/01/1900 at Stainton Cottage, Landour.  Rosa Mary Ann died in Lucknow on 16/07/1899.

            5/ Elizabeth, born in 1831, died 01/05/1832, she is buried in a single grave in Agra Cantonment Cemetery.
            6/ Nicholas Anthony born 15/07/1834,  died 24/06/1891
During the Indian Mutiny of 1857 - 1858, over 6,000 civilians were housed in Agra Fort, the siege of Agra lasted for 3 months.
There was a census taken in Agra Fort on 18/07/1857, Nicholas Anthony John is listed there as a Merchant, along with his wife and 3 children, Charles Angelo, Mary Adelaide, and Nicholas James.
Also listed are James Anthony John, Watchmaker along with his wife and 2 surviving children, Mary Magdalene age 2 and Joseph Anthony age 1 month.
There was plenty of food but there was overcrowding along with poor sanitation and lack of medical facilities.

Nicholas Anthony married Mary  she was born in Delhi on 03/05/1839,  she
They lived in Agra where he took over the 'Agra Spinning and Weaving Mills' which had been established in 1837.
There were 3 spinning mills and 1 flour mill all on the banks of the Yamuna River.

Mary died in Richmond Surrey on 19/09/1918 age 79,  her body was repatriated to Agra where she was buried on 06/03/1920.
Her death was reported in the 'Times of India' newspaper,  'Mary beloved wife of N A John of A John & Co.'
Nicholas died in Landour in 1891.  The probate record shows that on his death the estate was valued at 41.000 rupees, about 810.000.00 in 2020

          They had 18 children, only 9 of them living to adulthood.

                1/ Charles Angelo  31/08/1854 - 04/05/1859  memorial in Agra Cathedral
                2/ Mary Adelaide  19/01/1854 - 24/12/1858         "                    "                        newspaper announcement   ' Mary A,  daughter of N A John of Agra '
                3/ Nicholas James  01/08/1855 - 23/12/1858        "                     "                                   "              "                'Nicholas James son of N A John of Agra'
                4/ Edwin Anthony  03/08/1856 – 02/02/1935   He married Mary Sykes.
                    They lived in Agra and in London where they had a home in Gloucester Terrace, Regents Park.  They had 2 children:
                                        1/ Ethel Mary born 09/11/1880 in Agra,
                                        2/ Kenneth Edwin, born in Agra about 1890, he was married on 7/03/1934 in Alahabad to Gillian Aman [ 10/09/1894 - 29/07/1972 ]
                                            He died in Hampshire 15/02/1975.
                    Edwin was knighted in 1922 for 'Services to Colonial India'.
                    He was also embroiled in a casino gambling debt in France [ see news article on page 2 ]
                    He retired to Gwalior where he died from heart failure on 02/02/1935  and was buried in Agra on  04/02/1935.
                5/ James Anthony born 1859 - 19/09/1872  died age 13.
                6/ George Anthony 04/08/1860 – 11/09/1937.  He studied medicine at Edinburgh University before returning to live in India.
                    He was married in Agra Cathedral on 18/01/1898 to Mary Alice Eleanor Chopin. [ born in Lucknow 29/04/1877,  died in Agra on 17/02/1958.
                    They had 7 children. [ see page 2 ]
               7/  Henry Celestine Robert born at 2pm on 26/05/1862 and baptised in Agra on 28/06/1862.  He married Mabel Shield

Henry Bap 

                8/ Opessanah Helen born in Landour, 21/06/1863.  She was married on 21/11/1894 in Agra Cathedral, to David St John Robb a chemist from Poona.
                    She died in 1895 [ newspaper announcement ] 23rd October 1895 at Agra from heart disease Opessanah Helen dearly beloved wife of David St John Robb of Poona 
                9/ [ unnamed boy]  'Times of India'  1864  'June 21st at Agra the wife of N.A. John esq a son.'                         
              10/  [unnamed boy] 'Times of India 1865  'At 2pm Monday 26th May 1865 Agra a son to wife of N A John.'              
              11/ Anthony William Ulysses b.10/05/1866 in Landour,  he died 08/05/1943 in Agra.  He was a witness at Henry and Mabel's wedding in 1900.
                    He was married in 1921 in London to Adriana Jesse Lachlan [ 20/01/1893 - 05/06/1970 ]  they had a son,
                                             1/ Anthony Seymour Lachlan born in Kensington  23/01/1923 - 16/08/2010
              12/ James Angelicus b. 12/02/1868.  age 21 he was married in Agra Cathedral on 16/10/1899  to Dulcie Mabert  [  born1882  daughter of Alfred Mabert.]
                    He died 10 days later on 25/ 10/1899 from pneumonia. and is buried beside Opessanah Helen in the Cathedral. 

              13/ Lilian Mary born in 1870.  In the UK 1901 census she was living in Aberdare Gardens Hampstead with her mother.  
                    She married Nicholas Socrates Jordanides in Hampstead in 1904. They lived in Smyrna, Turkey and also at 10 Hanover House, Regents Park, London.
                    She was a witness at Henry and Mabel's wedding.  She died in a plane crash in Smyrna 16/06/1920.

                14/ Charles Gabriel   25/03/1871 - 30/03/1871.       memorial in the Cathedral
                15/ Augustin May   29/08/1872  - 19/09/1872.             "        "        "
                16/ Catherine   13/09/1873 - 20/03/1874                      "        "        "
                17/ William Christopher born 07/03/1875. He studied Engineering at Coopers Hill College from 1892 - 1895.
                      He was married in 1898 to Adelina Jane Eagle  [13/03/1873 - 15/05/1959 ]
                      The 1911 UK census shows them living at 64 Carlton Hill, St John's Wood. William Christopher died in St Georges Hospital in London on 12/11/1934.
                      They had a son:
                                             1/ Robert Nicholas Haldane, born 21/10/1899 in Agra. He married in Kensington on 15/01/1941 Mafalda Maria Grixoni  [ 11/11/1902 - .. /03/1981] 
                                                 He died in Wandsworth  20/12/1981
                18/ Stanislaus Archimedes Lionel, born 20/07/1877 at Stainton Cottage, Landour. He died from typhoid fever in Gibralter age 24 on 23/04/1901 
                      There is a memorial tablet in his name in Agra Cathedral


The seven surviving sons of Nicholas and Mary John, were Edwin, George, Henry, Anthony, James, William and Stanislaus.
They were all educated at Stoneyhurst College, a Catholic boarding school in Clitheroe Lancashire.
According to the school magazine Henry and his brother George were two of the finest cricketers the school has ever produced.

A brief profile of  Henry written in 2003 by Don Ambrose the Lancashire cricket statistician states:-
  ''JOHN, Henry Celestine Robert. Amateur.  Born at Agra North West Province, India, 26th May 1862                                        
   Died at Oxford 24th June 1941   

   Educated at Stoneyhurst College, Lancashire, he played his only first-class match in this country at the age of 19 for Lancashire in 1881.
   He returned to India and in 1894 his address was given as c/o William Watson & co. Bunder Road, Karachi, India. 
   He played in five first-class matches for the Europeans in India.''

This picture was taken in Agra on the occasion of the sale of Messrs A John to United Agra Mills Ltd on 04/10/1920
George Anthony John, Sir Edwin Anthony John and Anthony Ulysses John,
John Co

When Henry left school he trained as a civil engineer at Coopers Hill College, Egham, Surrey from 1881 - 1884.
The College was for the sons of colonial families and closed down in 1904. 
 Initially after leaving Coopers Hill he was engaged on the building of the Forth Bridge, which was built between 1882 and 1890
Henry passed his exams for the Indian Public Service as assistant engineer 2nd grade and was posted to Bombay in 1887, by 1897 he was as an Executive Engineer.
From 1904 - 1907 he was Under Secretary for the Public Works Department in Bombay, after which he retired and moved to England.
On the 23/04/1900 he married Mabel Theresa Shield at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Hampstead.
The address given for Henry on his marriage certificate is 51, Aberdare Gardens Hampstead, the same address as that given for his mother and sister Lilian in the 1901 Census. 

Marr Cert

Henry and Mabel probably sailed for India on their honeymoon, their first child was born there in 1901, they returned to the UK on his retirement in 1907. 
They had 6 children:
             1/ Eric Louis, born 28/02/1901 in Satara Bombay.  He married Frances Evelyn Bingham in 1939.
                 They had a son
                                 1/Anthony Achilles Beardmore born in Kensington  06/04/1940 - 1974.

            2/ Basil Joseph, born 08/02/1902 in Satara Bombay, he died in Jamaica in 1984. He married Anita Burns in 22/08/1927, they had 6 children.
            3/ Enid Mary, born 19/09/1904 in Satara  Bombay Enid died in London in 17/01/1985
            4/ Alexander Anthony born on 18/04/1908 at 15 Wedderburn Road, Hampstead. Tony John died in Sussex 24/04/1987.
                He married Vera Mary Winckworth on 18/07/1936, they had 8 children.
            5/ Steven Robert [ known as Robin]  06/09/1910 – 09/07/1973.
            6/ Teresa Mary Louise,  15/02/1914 – 17/01/1996,  she married Bobby Walker in 1945, they had 2 children.
The 1911 census shows Henry and Mabel living at 15 Wedderburn Road, Hampstead, with their children, also 2 children's nurses and 3 domestic servants.
He is described on the census as the 'Retired Secretary to the Bombay Government Public Works Department'.
In 1909 Henry John made a patent application, number 170, for "An appliance fro preventing horse manure droppings on the surface of roads and streets."

Mabel John died age 56 in November 1930 in Hampstead.
Henry John
died aged 79 in Oxford on 24/06/1941   

  Sir Edwin Anthony John and George Anthony John