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, 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