Migrations of the Gregg and Johnson Families


View Migra­tions of the Gregg and John­son Fam­ily in a larger map

I am plot­ting the migra­tion path of three gen­er­a­tions of my fam­ily on the attached Google map. This map will help me visu­al­ize the migra­tions. (I have allowed Google to use cur­rent road data, so the rout­ing is based on today’s roads, and not the rivers, canals, rail­roads, and wagon roads of the past.)


Accord­ing to fam­ily sto­ries, my great great grand­fa­ther Robert Wash­ing­ton Gregg was nick­named “Gypsy” because he moved so much. He was born in Ohio County, Vir­ginia (now West Vir­ginia) in 1843.

By 1860, his par­ents had moved to Des Moines County, Iowa. As his fam­ily grew, he started to move west in search of land and oppor­tu­nity. He moved as far west as Box Butte County, Nebraska where he farmed and ran a rural post office. Nebraska suf­fered a drought in those years,1 and his health was suf­fer­ing. He moved into the vet­er­ans home in Mar­ion County, Illi­nois, and lived nearby for the rest of his life.

I pre­sume that his move from Vir­ginia was on boats down the Ohio and then up the Mis­sis­sippi. The other moves were likely over land, though I have no spe­cific data.

His daugh­ter, Alice Mar­garet Gregg met her hus­band Nels John­son in Nance County, Nebraska. They mar­ried, and after their sec­ond child was born, estab­lished their own farm in Val­ley County, Nebraska, two coun­ties over.

Robert’s grand daugh­ter, Helen Kjer­stne John­son, lived with her par­ents and then her first hus­band, in cen­tral Nebraska. In 1941, a widow, she mar­ried her wid­ower brother-in-law and moved with him to Sheri­dan County, Wyoming. After the war, she divorced her sec­ond hus­band and moved back to Nebraska to care for her ail­ing father. When he died, she moved to Cal­i­for­nia to join her brother.

She lived in Glen­dale, and worked as a house­keeper in the hos­pi­tal. After her ini­tial move with her fam­ily to Val­ley County, Nebraska, the rest of her moves were via auto­mo­bile.
The fam­ily has moved to where they felt most able to make a liv­ing, to where they had other fam­ily mem­bers, or ― as in the case of the ini­tal moves to Iowa and the move to Cal­i­for­nia ― where jobs and fam­ily both beckoned.

Once com­pleted, the map will demon­strate the fol­low­ing migrations:

Robert Wash­ing­ton Gregg (1843−1910)

  • Ohio County, VA (now WV), 1843–1850 — birth date and place as listed in Civil War pen­sion appli­ca­tion file. 1850 census.
  • Des Moines County, IA 1860–1867 — 1860 cen­sus. Mar­riage to Helen Edwina Arnold in 1867.
  • Adams County IA 1870–1880 — 1870 and 1880 US cen­sus records
  • Nance County, NE 1883–1885 — 1883 list of pen­sion­ers; 1885, Nebraska state census
  • Box Butte County, NE 1890–1893 — 1890 cen­sus (veteran’s sched­ule); 1893, clos­ing of Gregg Post Office
  • Mar­ion County, IL 1899 — Sol­diers’ Home hospital
  • Fayette County, IL 1900 — 1900 US census
  • Mar­ion County, IL 1910 — Pro­bate file

Alice Mar­garet Gregg (1870−1919) (Robert Wash­ing­ton Gregg’s daughter)

  • Adams County, IA 1870–1883 — birth date and places as listed in Robert Wash­ing­ton Gregg’s pen­sion appli­ca­tion file
  • Nance County, NE 1883–1900 — 1883 list of pen­sion­ers; 1900 US census
  • Val­ley County, NE 1910–1919 — 1910 US cen­sus; 1919 death

Helen Kjer­stne John­son (1894−1976) (Alice Mar­garet Gregg’s daughter)

  • Nance County, NE 1894–1900 — delayed birth cer­tifi­cate; 1900 US census
  • Val­ley County, NE 1910–1930 — 1910–1930 US census
  • Sheri­dan County, WY 1941 — uniden­ti­fied paper, news clipping
  • Adams County, NE 1946 — death cer­tifi­cate of father
  • Los Ange­les County, CA 1949–1974 — per­sonal knowl­edge of the author
  • Ven­tura County, CA 1974–1976 — per­sonal knowl­edge of the author
    • Drought and Depres­sion in 1890s Nebraska,” Nebraska Time­line: Brief Glimpses from Nebraska’s Past (Lin­coln, Nebraska: Nebraska State His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, 2010), web­site: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/timeline/drought-depression.htm : Accessed 25 June 2010

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