Eugenia Pearl Johnson d 4 January 1951

Eugenia Pearl Johnson was born 31 Jan 1886, the second of nine children of Thomas Merrill and Hattie Ellen (Dugan) Johnson, in Arlington, Nebraska.  The 1885 Nebraska census lists the family – Thomas and Hattie and the four children from his first marriage, plus Myra, Hattie’s first child.  Eugenia would be born the next year. 

In 1900, the family was living in Rock Falls, Illinois.  A few years later, Eugenia’s father shot at her mother.  He went to jail, they divorced.  [See prior posting on Thomas Merrill Johnson.]  Hattie moved the family to Montana.  On 1 Sep 1904, in Kalispell, MT, Eugenia married John Joseph Mullenax. [See prior posting on John Mullenax.] They had two daughters.  Nellie was born in Montana.  The family moved to Colorado and Frances was born in Del Norte. 

In 1910, Eugenia and her family lived with her in-laws, in Brownlee, ID.  [See prior posting on George and Mary Mullenax.]  John and George homesteaded and had ranches in the area of Sweet, ID.

In divorce papers filed October 7, 1914, in Walla Walla, Eugenia listed the date of her marriage and the dates of birth for Nellie and Florence.  She stated that soon after Florence was born (but apparently after the 1910 census) John “willfully deserted this plaintiff, went to the state of Georgia, where he contracted a loathsome venereal disease, and has ever since willfully failed and neglected to make suitable or any provision for his said family.”  At that point, Eugenia stated that she had been a resident of Walla Walla for about four years.  John was served the papers in Boise County, Idaho.  He made no appearance and did not answer the summons for action for divorce, and Eugenia was granted a divorce, with sole custody and care of the daughters.  Neither was allowed to marry for six months, according to the decree, which was filed December 4, 1914, in Walla Walla.

In 1915, Eugenia’s mother was helping care for the two girls.  Hattie was already ill (she would die the next year) and wasn’t able to help much, but kept Frances while Nellie stayed with her mother.   

On 30 November 1915 Eugenia married and Roby H Tolliver.  He was a farmer, born in North Carolina, son of Andy Tolliver b Virginia and possibly Lois Lewis. Eugenia listed herself as a widow, when in fact she was divorced.  She listed her age as 29, occupation housework, father Thomas born in Vermont, and Hattie Miller (her adoptive last name) born in Nebraska.  The certificate does list her previous married name as Mullennax.  They were married by A. J. Breed, Minister of the Gospel, of College Place.  Witness was Mrs. W. H. Keen (her sister Alice). 

In 1920, Eugenia and Roby lived with his parents in Ashe Co, North Carolina.  She and Roby had two daughters, Laura and Lois.  Neither Nellie nor Frances are with Eugenia, nor are they married, but I have not been able to locate them in 1920. 

Eugenia and Roby moved back to the Walla Walla WA area.  Eugenia cooked on a ranch near Prescott, WA. 

In papers filed May 5, 1925, Eugenia requested a divorce from R. H. Tolliver.  The papers list the date of marriage, and the birth of Laura and Lois.  The complaint says that Tolliver had not provided any support for over a year, even though he was an able-bodied man who was earning $60/month, and $15 during harvest season, as a “skilled and experienced combine harvester thrasher mechanic.”  They had separated in September 1923.  Eugenia had to work in the harvest as a cook and support her children by her own labors.  When Eugenia signed the petition, she spelled her name “Eugeania Toliver”.  Her attorney filed an affidavit saying that Tolliver was no longer in state and he was served papers by mailing them to his address which was a post-office box in Deer Lodge, Montana. In August, her attorney filed an affidavit that Tolliver had been personally served in Walla Walla, in June, but did not respond or answer the summons.  There was also a publishing in the Waitsburg  Times, for five consecutive weeks.  Tolliver did not appear or answer the summons.  On September 9th, the court ordered the “dissolving the bonds of matrimony”, care custody and control of Laura and Lois to Eugenia, $30 per month maintenance, attorney’s fees, and $300 as half the value of the car they owned.  The final paperwork was filed March 13, 1926.

As recorded in a license dated 17 April, 1926, in Walla Walla, Eugenia married William Eugene Brotherton.  Eugenia and William were living in Clyde.  Eugenia listed herself as divorced, third marriage, age forty, cook, born in Arlington Nebraska to Thomas M. Johnson (b Rutland VT) and Hattie Dugan (b Arlington Nebraska). They were married by a Justice of the Peace.

In 1930, the couple is living in Clyde WA.  The census taker listed them as William and Jean Johnson.  I don’t know if this was his error or if they reported their name incorrectly.  The ages, birth locations, and marriage dates all match Eugenia.  Also in the household is EM Jones, who was Eugenia’s son-in-law. 

Eugenia filed an initial divorce summons to Brotherton dated May 24th, 1933.  Eugenia alleged that for the previous year, he had failed to provide any support whatsoever even though he was a strong, able-bodied man capable of earning wages and supporting her.    She alleged that he treated her in a cruel and inhuman manner and heaped upon her personal indignities rendering her life burdensome, that he cursed and abused her, flew into fits of anger, and behaved in an unseemly and disgraceful manner.  He also treated his stepdaughters in a disgraceful manner.  Eugenia stated that they had a lot in East Walla Walla, and a 1930 Model Seventy-five Durant automobile worth $500 in Brotherton’s possession, and a small amount of household furniture worth less than $50 in her possession.  Eugenia wanted half interest in the property and car, and all of the household goods.  She also wanted her name restored to Tolliver.   At the same time, Eugenia filed for a restraining order saying that she was running a boarding house at 404 West Alder, and that Brotherton has threatened to enter the property, remove the furniture, and deprive her of her livelihood, as well as threatening her with bodily injury.  The request for the restraining order was granted on June 2.  Eugenia filed papers acknowledging that the property (lot) had been purchased by Brotherton prior to the marriage, but that she worked for wages to help pay the mortgage.   In December 1933, Eugenia filed a motion and affidavit stating that Brotherton had been violating the restraining order by coming into the residence on Alder, peeking in the windows in the daytime and at night, bothering other people in the household.  She stated Brotherton said he would come in whenever he pleased, refused to leave when told, and deliberately and openly refused the order.  On January 2, 1934, Brotherton filed an affidavit responding to these charges, saying that he did not intentionally violate the order, but that he visited with Eugenia with her permission, that she did his laundry and prepared meals for him.  Brotherton stated he felt that they would be able to reconcile except that third parties were interfering, and threatening to take her children away if she chose to live with him.  Brotherton also stated that a son-in-law (not named but by process of elimination either Dewey or Edgar) had threatened to forcibly eject him from the house.  On April 30, Brotherton filed an affidavit saying that they had effected a reconciliation, were cohabiting, and he wanted the divorce petition dismissed.  On May 7th, Eugenia filed an affidavit saying that she had not lived with Brotherton since the commencement of the divorce proceedings, and she desired that a date be set for the divorce trial.  On June 6th, Brotherton repeated his claim that they could reconcile if not for outside interference.  However, if the divorce went forward, he wanted to keep the car as he needed it to keep and seek jobs.  He also didn’t want Eugenia to have rights to the property as he bought it before the marriage.  The divorce finally went to court on October 9th, 1936.  By then, they had reached a property settlement.  The court found that Brotherton had treated her in a cruel manner and cursed her, and that he failed to support her.  The divorce was granted, including the return to the name Tolliver.  The final decree was filed April 9, 1937. 

On 2 March, 1947, Jean Tolliver purchased land in the Eastern Addition of Walla Walla. On 26 March, 1950, the Y-Debs (YWCA) held their spring dance.  About 50 couples attended.  Listed among the patronesses is Jean Tolliver.

Jean died 4 January 1951 in at the hospital in Walla Walla.  At the time, she had 17 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  She was a member of the Assembly of God Church.  She was buried at Mountain View Cemetery.


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