I’ve been trying to pin down exactly when John left the gang for a year. I’ve looked in the wiki, Wikipedia, searched through YouTube and Google, and the games themselves and I can’t seem to get an exact point of when he left or came back.
Arthur mentions in his journal a fire that happened before the gang moved down to Blackwater. Later on, he states he doesn’t know why he came back and I think even asks John himself, but a timeline isn’t established. At least none I picked up on.
He must have come back before the fire, seeing as Arthur never says “John came back recently” in his new journal, leading me to believe that it was written down in the old journal, which was destroyed. But it still has to be relatively recent, seeing as Arthur is still hung up on it.
If I’ve missed something, I’d love to hear about it, or if there really is no clear cut recollection of this then I’d like to hear other’s speculation.