Mary Matilda Hetrick 1849 – 1885

Mary Matilda Hetrick was born about 1849, first child of Adam Hetrick and Maria J Hetrick, who were probably distant cousins, and of German descent.  Matilda was listed with her parents in the 1850 census in Warsaw, in Jefferson County, PA, so she was probably born there.  Adam was a farmer, with his farm valued at $150. 

The family was in the 1860 census in Polk, Jefferson County PA, at Schoffner’s Corner.  Adam was still listed as a farmer.  The census recorded no real estate value, and $231 of personal property.  Mary eventually had seven brothers and sisters. 

The Hetricks moved west, and in 1869 in Norfolk, Nebraska, Mary had a daughter named Hattie Ellen Duggan.  Family lore is that Mary had married an Irishman named Samuel Duggan, but as far as I know, no marriage record has been born.  Posted family trees estimate the marriage as having occurred in 1868, but that, it seems, is simply because of the daughter born in 1869.  I have not been able to find any record for Samuel  – not in the 1870 census, not in homestead records.  Family lore is that he died, or she left him because of abusive behavior.  There is a Samuel Dugan listed in 1900 in Lancaster, Nebraska.  He was born in Ireland, and is 50, the same age as Mary.  But there is just too little information to link him to Mary 30 years earlier.

Mary Matilda was counted in the 1870 census with her parents, with her maiden name, and without her daughter Hattie. They lived at Fort Calhoun postal area near Lincoln, Nebraska.  I’m not sure of the source for Hattie’s birth date.  It is possible that she wasn’t born until after the 1870 census, which would make her even younger than when she married Thomas Merrill Johnson.  (Hattie was 14 ½, Thomas was 34.) It is also possible that for some reason (perhaps as a child born out of wedlock) the family hid Hattie’s existence.  In 1870, Mary’s father’s farm was valued at $1600, with personal property valued at $950. 

On 30 November 1872, Mary married Abraham Miller, in Fremont, Nebraska.  He was the son of William Miller and Abigail Hetrick, and was Mary’s cousin once removed.   He was about 25 years older than Mary, but I don’t know if he was previously married.  In 1880, they lived at Bell Creek, in Washington County, Nebraska, where Abraham was a laborer.  They had at least five children:  Adam, Edgar (Edwin), Jennie, Leah, and Harry. 

Abe Miller was counted in the 1885 Nebraska state census, on Eagle street in Arlington, Nebraska.  The image lists Abe, age 68, Adam son age 12, and what looks like Schuyler, age 10.  Abraham did have a son Adam, who would have been 12, and a son Edwin/Edgar, who would have been 10.  Abe was listed as a carpenter, and the information that he was born in Pennsylvania with father and mother born in NY and PA matches what we know about Abraham.  The sons were both born in Nebraska with parents born PA, which matches as well.   Abe is listed as single (not married, divorced, or widowed).  His wife Mary is not with him. Nor are his younger children, Jennie, Leah, or Harry.  It is presumed that Mary died between 1880 and 1885. 

I searched the 1885 Nebraska state census for the missing children, and found Jenny Miller, age 8, and Harry Miller, age 2 months, called adopted daughter and adopted son living in the household of Aleck Mock and his mother Susannah, in Arlington.  Mary’s next younger brother Philip married Evanna Mock, so perhaps Aleck is her brother.  That would keep the children more or less in the family. 

The census date was 19 June 1885, so if Harry was two months old, his mother could not be more than two months dead, or about April 1885.  One posted query on the Internet says that Mary died of cholera.  I have not found any other records for daughter Leah after the 1880 census, so perhaps she also died before the 1885 state census.   I do not have a death date for Abraham.


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