Six Bachelor Janis Brothers


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Through the general average of things as established by events in life for the average man and woman, an average which is so accurate as to apply to the great majority of human lives is obtained. This average may be written around certain well established periods of life such as birth, childhood, schooling, maturity, marriage, parenthood, old age and death. There are, of course, many cross currents which vary the flow of the stream of life for each human being to such an extent that each life is an individual experience, but these changes, as a usual thing, merely force us to travel slightly different routes to the same average run of events.

Here and there, however, we find the confirmed bachelor, or bachelor girl, who cut loose from the main channel of life before it reaches the marriage landing, and who live all of their years without matrimony. These exceptions to the general rule are not rare in any sense of the word. On the contrary, it might be said that the community which does not have its small quota of bachelors and spinsters is rather the exception than the rule.

But it is rare to find six healthy, normal sons of the same household who grow to manhood and pass on down through life without any of them becoming more than casually interested in any member of the fair sex. When these six brothers continue to live together in the old family home throughout their lives, and spend twenty-one years there without a woman about the place, the record is even more extraordinary. Yet this is exactly what has happened in the case of the Janis brothers, who live on a well kept farm east of Bonne Terre, near the intersection of Terre Blue Creek and Big River.

Andrew, 75; William, 73; Peter, 69; Adolph, 65; Joseph, 63; and John, 60; were all born in St. Francois County, on a farm near East Bonne Terre, as also was their only sister, Emily. They were children of the late Francis and Mary Janis, and continued to live on the farm where they were born until 1876, when they moved to a farm in the Hazel Run neighborhood. From Hazel Run they moved to their present farm home in 1895, and for the past thirty-five years they have resided there. Their only sister was the only member of the family who ever married, and she became the wife of E. J. Jones, living in the Hazel Run community until her death. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Aurora Asbridge, East Bonne Terre; Mrs. Lottie McVicker, who lives in Oklahoma, and Mrs. Etta Wilson, who resides in the Hazel Run district. Since the death of this sister, in 1924, the six brothers have no female relatives aside from these three nieces and several grand-nieces.

Following the marriage of their sister they continued to live at home with their parents, their mother being the only woman about the place, and in assisting her with the work about the house they became familiar with common household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, etc. She passed away in 1909, and the regular order of things in the Janis home continued. They divided the duties of house and farm between them, and kept everything in first class condition, caring for their father until he, too, passed away two years later.

The six brothers do not consider that theirs has been an unusual lot. They are perfectly happy and contented, and would very likely follow the same course if they were given the chance to relive their lives. They are pleasant, congenial and hospitable without exception, and visitors at their home are made welcome in a whole hearted manner which is based upon genuine friendliness and sincerity. However, they do not relish undue notoriety, and mere curiosity seekers are not to their particular liking.

They enjoy the companionship of each other, and that of their friends who live nearby and in other places. They are not woman haters, in any sense of the word, and when any of their nieces visit them they are warmly welcomed. However, these visits are just that, as any of the three ladies will inform you, for they invariably find the household in perfect order, with no special need for their services.

They still keep to a regular division of work, with certain ones doing certain things. In this manner they have kept their house for 21 years, and have tended their own farm, consisting of 198 and one-half acres, with considerable leased acreage each year. During the past year or so the leased acreage has been greatly diminished, for they feel that they no longer care to attempt very much extra work. The youngest in the group is now sixty years of age, and while all are active and in good health, they admit that the heavier farm tasks are not as easily handled as they were some years ago.

Their farm is well kept and orderly, as much so as their house. Well fenced throughout, fence rows are clean trimmed and smooth, and fields show the effects of constant attention and care. Live stock on the place is well fed and healthy, showing a business like attention to detail which is essential to successful farming. The topography of their land is gradually rolling, and from the top of the highest knoll, near as pretty a cedar grove as one will find in this section of the state, practically the entire farm is visible as it stretches away in all directions, its straight fences showing clean-cut lines which accent the loveliness of as beautiful a piece of landscape as you will find in a day's journey.

We enjoyed our brief visit with these substantial St. Francois countians on their old home place, and desire to thank them for the courtesy extended us while there.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. Dec. 26, 1930.


The Janis brothers, six stalwart bachelors, who have been farming on the Cook & Davis farm east of town left Wednesday for Bosco, La., where they have purchased 120 acres of land from Hopewell Farming Co., of which A. P. Mackley of Desloge is an officer. The Janis boys are descendants of one of the first Missouri families, their forebears having settled in Ste. Genevieve in the 18th century. They were born here in Bonne Terre and have always lived near here. They are conspicuous by being six of them, all big men, all unmarried and still living together. Their friends wish them success in their new undertaking.

Published by THE BONNE TERRE REGISTER, Bonne Terre, St. Francois Co. MO, Oct. 23, 1914.


The Janis Boys who left the Hazel Run country, the home of their childhood, some months ago to go to make their fortune in Louisiana, have returned looking fine.

They tell us that they sold out, lock, stock, and barrel, and that Old Missouri looks good to them.

These were the brothers, John, Joseph, Andrew, William, Peter and Adolph.

They sold to Jake Day, who has a 1400 acre farm at Bosco, La.

Published by THE BONNE TERRE STAR, Bonne Terre, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. April 14, 1916.

 Most of the following obituaries and the United Press article were provided to us by Gail Erickson who is a relative of the Janis family. 

(United Press Article)               


 (UPI) BONNE TERRE, MO. Brothers Say They've Missed Half of Life.

BONNE TERRE, MO. March 11.  Six brothers who have lived together in a glorified state of bachelorhood for more then a half century on a farm in the Ozark foothills near here admitted unanimously today that if they had their lives to live over again they all would marry .

They are Andrew, William , Peter, Adolph , Joseph and John Janis , rugged remnants of a picturesque Franc-American family reared by the late Francis and Mary Pratte Janis , pioneer residents of St. Genevieve and St. Francois counties in southeast Missouri .

Their respective ages are ( messed up in the copy here ) 74 , ? , 68, 63, 61, and 58.  We've missed half our  lives ? ? ? ---but it's too late said Peter as the self -appointed spokesman in an interview.

The other five brothers were grouped in chairs around the two huge box stoves in their immaculately kept farm house and now and then joined in the conversation . About every other minute one of them would walk to the stove , lift the lid and nearly quench the fire with tobacco juice.

"Yes, sir", mused William , clamping shut the stove lid , "a good woman is the next thing to God."

Five aged heads, adorned with long , frequently twisted French mustaches nodded approval of the remark , while Andrew , the eldest , added without any explanation: " Yes, and a bad woman is in league with the devil." 

Peter usurped the floor to say "But there's one thing about being a bachelor , you can stay out as late as you want to, come in and go to bed without any argument . There's no one waiting for you with a stick of cord wood ---- although a lot of men need to be met that way."

Perhaps a little bluntly , the interviewer asked: " Why didn't any of you ever get married?"

"It surely does look funny , doesn't it ?" Peter asked in reply . " We always had our girls , but I guess we just never found the right one."

John objected good-naturedly: "Perhaps it was because we never urged on the matter strong enough."

The bachelor sextet was asked its combined advice to young people today, and Peter, the spokesman, replied: "Get married as early as you can, at 21, settle down, raise a good family, and grow up with it."



Andrew Janis, aged 82 years 2 months and 1 day, passed away at the home place on Bonne Terre Route One, on July 8, 1937. Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, conducted by the Rev. G. W. Brinkmann. Interment was in the Catholic Cemetery. Benham in charge of funeral arrangements.

Andrew Janis, son of the late Francis and Mary Janis, nee Pratte, was born on Bonne Terre Route One May 7, 1885. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Mrs. Ellis Jones.

He is survived by five brothers with whom he made his home. They are: Wm., Peter, Adolph, Joseph, and John of Bonne Terre Route One.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. July 16, 1937.


William Janis, 80 year old farmer of Route One, passed away suddenly about 7:30 o'clock last Sunday morning at his home eight miles east of Bonne Terre near the Terre Blue River. Four brothers survive, all of whom are unmarried and live on the farm east of town. Another brother, Andrew, who was also a member of the bachelor household passed away last year.

The deceased was born in Bonne Terre July 22, 1857, being at the time of his death 80 years, 10 months and 9 days old. His father and mother were Francis and Mary Janis. A brother and a sister, Mrs. Jones, preceded him in death. His surviving brothers are: Adolph, Peter, Joseph and John.

William was a member of the Catholic faith and was respected and well liked by all with whom he came in contact. Funeral services were conducted Tuesday afternoon at the local Catholic Church with the Rev. G. W. Brinkmann officiating. Interment was made in the St. Joseph's Cemetery. Benham service .

Source: newspaper clipping.


Joseph Janis of Bonne Terre Route One, died at the family home Monday following a lingering illness. The Janis family are pioneer residents of this community. There were six brothers, none married, who tended their home and farm. Two brothers preceded him in death. They were Andrew, who died in 1937, and William, who died in 1938. Their only sister, Mrs. Emily (Janis) Jones died in 1924.

Joseph Janis, son of the late Francis and Mary (Pratte) Janis, was born in Bonne Terre on April 22, 1867, and died at his home on Bonne Terre Route One, Sunday, January 23, 1949, at the age of 81 years 9 months and 1 day. He was preceded in death by two brothers and one sister.

The body lay in state at the Benham Funeral Parlors until funeral time, Tuesday, Jan. 25th, when it was taken to the St. Joseph's Catholic Church where Rev. G. W. Brinkman conducted services at nine o'clock. Interment was made in the St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery.

Source: undated newspaper clipping.

Adolph J. Janis

Adolph Janis died at the family home on Route One Monday after long illness. He was preceded in death two weeks ago by a brother, Joseph. His death leaves only two surviving brothers from a family of six brothers who were closely united and lived alone at their farm home.

Adolph John Janis, son of the late Francis and Mary ( Pratte) Janis, was born Sept. 9, 1865, and died Feb. 7, 1949 at the age of 83 years, 4 months and 29 days. Preceding him in death were three brothers, Andrew, William and Joseph Janis all of Route One; and one sister Mrs. Emily Jones. Left to mourn his passing are two brothers, Peter and John Janis of Bonne Terre Route One.

Funeral services were conducted Wednesday morning from the St. Joseph's Catholic Church by Rev. G. W. Brinkman and Rev. G. W. Hermes. Interment was made in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery with the Benham Undertaking Company in charge.

Source: undated newspaper clipping.


Peter Byron Janis was born near Bonne Terre on March 22, 1861 to the late Francis and Mary (Pratt) Janis, and passed away July 3, 1957, at the Sprott Nursing Home near Farmington, where he had resided for four years. He was aged 96 years 3 months 19 days.

Survivors are a brother, John, who also resides at the Sprott Home, two nieces, Etta, Mrs. Hines Wilson, and Aurora, Mrs. Justice Shelley, both of Bonne Terre.

The body was in state at the Boyer-Benham Funeral Home in Bonne Terre where funeral services were conducted Saturday morning by the Rev. Joseph Richter. Interment was in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. July 19, 1957.


John Janis was born in Bonne Terre, July 26, 1870, and departed this life in a nursing home at Doe Run, Wednesday, March 22, 1961, aged 90 years 7 months 24 days. He was the last of six sons of the late Francis and Mary (Pratt) Janis.

He was preceded in death by brothers: Andrew, Adolph, Joseph, Peter and William, and a sister. Surviving relatives are two nieces, Mrs. John Shelley and Mrs. Hines Wilson, both of Bonne Terre Route 1.

Funeral services were held Friday, March 24, at St. Joseph's Church in Bonne Terre, conducted by the Rev. Joseph Richter. Burial was in St. Joseph's Cemetery. C.Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Service of Bonne Terre.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Wed. March 29, 1961.