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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