Hattie Ellen Duggan b 13 March 1869

Hattie Ellen Duggan was born 13 March 1869, in Norfolk, Nebraska, the daughter of Samuel Duggan and Mary ”Matilda” Hetrick.  This small family should have been easy to find in the 1870 census, but were not.  In 1870, Mary Hettrick is living with her parents, and no small baby is listed with them. It is possible that the family hid the existence of the baby from the census taker.  I have never found a record for Samuel Duggan.  He was supposedly from Ireland.

Samuel may have died, or Mary may have left him.  She married Abraham Miller in 1872, and Abraham raised Hattie and her 5 half-siblings.  Hattie sometimes used the name Miller on official documents – or that was the name provided by her children – for example on their marriage certificates.   

In 1880, Hattie is listed as Haddy Miller, with her mother, step-father, and Adam, Edgar, Jenny, and Leah.  Harry was born about 1878 but is not listed in the 1880 census, so may have died young.  The family lived in Bell Creek, which is now Arlington, Nebraska. 

Hattie married Thomas Merrill Johnson at the age of 14 in Fremont, Dodge, Nebraska, 28 November 1883.  Both lied about their ages – she claimed to be older, and he claimed to be much younger.  Thomas was a recent widower with four small children, so Hattie became an instant mother.  Hattie and Thomas started their own family with a daughter born in September 1884. 

The family was counted at Midway Borough, in Arlington, at the time of the 1885 state census.  The children from Thomas’ first wife eventually went to live with relatives of his first wife.  Meanwhile, Hattie eventually had nine children, born in Nebraska and Rock Falls IL.  Thomas and Hattie moved to Washington, but didn’t like the climate.  Two children were taken ill, and died on the way back to the Midwest. 

In 1900, the family was back in Rock Falls, where Thomas worked as a carpenter.  The relationship ended.  Thomas shot at Hattie – he missed her but was close enough to put a hole in her skirt.  Hattie divorced Thomas, and he went to prison for the assault. 

Family lore is that Hattie was living in Montana and became involved with Fredrick Newell Golden, who worked on the railroad.  His wife took the children and left. Although I have no paper trail for Hattie in Montana, her daughter Eugenia was married in Kalispell in 1904, so Hattie and family were probably here as well. Hattie married Fred, on 1 April 1905, in Rathdrum ID.  They had two sons and a daughter.    In 1910, Hattie was with Fred at Ione, WA with her two youngest Johnson daughters, and her three Golden children. 

Hattie died 21 April 1916 in Meadow Lake, near Spokane WA, and is buried at Greenwood Memorial Terrace.  She was 47.  I do not know her cause of death. The death record does name her father as Samuel Dugan.  Fred died 8 Sep 1917 in Tacoma, and their children lived with other relatives.   

(Thanks, Millie, for providing parts of the story!)

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1 Comment

  1. Gay Johnson said,

    May 9, 2016 at 19:47

    Hello Susan:
    I am descended from Hattie Miller through her second husband, Frederick Golden. I would like to provide you with a little information that I have figured out about her. Hattie has been somewhat of a mystery to me. However, I am sure that Samuel Dugan was not her father. I have a copy of the 1880 census of him, that shows his wife Mary (not Hetrick), along with several children including a daughter named Hattie. But this Hattie was only 2 years old in 1880. I would be happy to send you a copy of this census page. This census page also says that Samuel was from Kentucky. I have also seen the 1880 census page of Abraham Miller and Mary Hetrick. I have tried to do some more research on Hattie’s siblings.
    I really did enjoy reading your story about her. Some of these things I did not know about her. I have been working on my genealogy for years, on and off and when I found discrepancies surrounding her birth, I consider it one of my family history mysteries. I have a few others as well.
    I would like to hear back from you. I have quite a bit of information on her descendants through my generation and even further down, if you would have any interest.


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