Lorette Proctor died 21 September 1885

Lorette Proctor was born 13 December 1824 in Rutland VT, the seventh of eight children of Philip Proctor and Dorcas Dimmick.  Philip was from Groton MA, and Dorcas from Sullivan NH.  They were married in Sullivan, and the first six children were born there.  Sometime after 1819, Philip moved the family to Rutland, where Lorette and Willard were born.  The family lived on a farm on Durgy Hill Road in West Rutland.  In 1831 Philip sold that farm and it became the town’s poor farm. 

On 7 February 1844, Lorette married William Johnson.  I have not identified his parents, except in later census records he reported that his parents were both born in VT.  William was born 26 December 1820 in Rockingham VT.             

The last record we have of Lorette’s father dates to 1845, where he signed papers relating to the sale of land.  History books about Sullivan say he went to Illinois. 

Lorette and William’s first son was born in 1845, but only lived about three weeks.  Lydia Ann was born in 1846, William Wallace in 1847, and Thomas Merrill in 1849 in Rutland. 

By 1850, Lorette and William had moved their family to Sandgate VT.  William was a farmer, and his farm was valued at $600.  Besides the above-listed children, the household included Jay Johnson age 8, and James Johnson age 7.  In 1850, the census did not list family relationships.  I suspect that they are not Lorette’s children because they were born before her marriage.  They might be William’s sons from a previously unidentified prior marriage, or they could be his younger brothers, or perhaps nephews.  Maybe researching these boys further will lead me to William’s parents, from another angle.  Antoinette Isabella was born in 1852.

In 1850, Lorette’s mother Dorcas was still living in the east, with her son Willard, in Rutland, and her father Philip’s location is not known.  It has been hypothesized that he might have helped facilitate a movement of Vermonters to Illinois.  A look at a map shows that Vermont town names were applied in Illinois.  At any rate, William and Lorette moved west to Illinois, and son James Philip was born there in 1855.    William Johnson is a common name, but I could not find one that felt was this family in the 1855 state census.

Lorette and her family were counted in the 1860 census in Lyndon, in Whiteside County, IL.  William was a farmer, with his real estate valued at $1200, and personal property at $225.  This was about average for the area.  Two more children were born – a son in 1863 who only lived a day, and the youngest, Lilly Gay, in 1866.

The Illinois state census of 1865 was designed similarly to early federal censuses, where only the head of household is named, and the rest of the family is counted by age/gender.  I did find a census record for Wm Johnson in Hahnaman, in Whiteside County, and the ages did correspond pretty well with the younger children, and Lorette and William. The value of livestock was $560, and the value of crops was $250.  There was another William Johnson in nearby Mount Pleasant, and the ages of his family members also corresponded to this family.

Lorette’s mother Dorcas died 15 December 1865 in Rutland, IL.  The state census listed Lorette’s younger brother Willard has having an older woman in the family, probably Dorcas as she was with his family in New Rutland IL in 1860.  A history written about the area mentioned Willard, and described his parents as being buried near their farm.  Dorcas was buried at Rutland IL, so it is presumed that Philip did die in Illinois, although that record has not yet been found. 

Lorette is next seen in the Hahnaman census in 1870, so I believe that the 1865 census for Hahnaman is the correct family in the state census.  In 1870  William was still a farmer, with his farm now valued at $2500, and personal property at $1050. 

In 1880, Lorette and William lived in Hahnaman.   William was still a farmer.  The only child still at home was Lillie G, age 14.  The household included Charles Black, their servant who worked on the farm. 

Other than the two sons who died as infants, all of Lorette’s children married and all but one had had children. 

  • Lydia married George Dir, and they had 13 children.  Lydia died in 1822.
  • William married Lavina Leota Colton, and had three children.
  • Thomas married Sarah Catherine Dolan and had four children, then Hattie Dugan and had nine, then Jennie Miller.
  • Antoinette married Charles Robinson, but died at age 20.
  • James married Catherine Thome and had four children.
  • Lilly Gay married Catherine’s brother Anthony Thome, and had six children. 

Lorette died 21 September 1885, at the age of 60.  She was buried in the IOOF section of the Coloma Township Cemetery, in Coloma IL.   

Last Will of Lorette Johnson

I Lorette Johnson, of Coloma, Whiteside Ill do make this my last will in manner following to wit.

First – I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid with convenient speed. 

I give and bequeath to my dear husband Wm Johnson all my estate both real and personal of every kind & character to be used for his own benefit during his lifetime with full power to sell and dispose of said estate for his maintenance and support as he may deem wise and prudent (except as hereinafter reserved and provided) and at his death I desire that whatever part or portion of said estate may remain be divided equally share and share alike among our children Lydia A Dir of Hahmaman Ills Wm Wallace Johnson of Grinnell Iowa, Thomas Merrill Johnson of Arlington, Neb. James P Johnson of Grafton Neb. and Lillie Gay Johnson of Rock Falls Ills, after first paying out of said remainder to Lillie Gay Johnson one dollar and one half per week for all the time she remained at home and assisted in household affairs after she arrived at the age of eighteen years.

I further direct that said Lillie Gay Johnson shall have my sewing machine – her choice of my beds including springs – ticking feter bed & suitable bedding for the same and the quilt her grandmother pieced.

I further direct that my daughter Lydia Ann Dir shall have the picture of her grand mother Proctor and that all other personal property including furniture, dishes, wearing apparel etc be equally divided between my two daughters above mentioned share and share alike or to their children in case of the death of either of them before my demise.

I further give to James P Johnson the two volumes of the cottage Bible once the property of his grandfather Proctor.

I constitute and appoint Augustus Allen of Sterling Ills to be executor of this will.  In witness whereof I the said Wm Johnson have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of April A D 1885.

Lorette Johnson ((Seal))

Then and there signed sealed, published and declared by the said Lorette Johnson as and for her last will and testament in presence of us who at her request, in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.   Isaac I Bush     Geo W Chamberlin, witnesses

State of Illinois, Whiteside County

I, E W Payne clerk of the county court of Whiteside county, do hereby certify that the foregoing last will and testament of the within named Lorette Johnson, was this day duly proved in open court and was admitted to probate herein and was ordered to be recorded in the record of wills in and for said county.  Witness my hand and the seal of said court at my office in Morrison this 7th day of September 1889.  E W Payne, Clerk, by W A Payne, Deputy

The will makes reference to a photograph of “her grandmother Proctor” who would have to be Dorcas, plus Philip’s bible.  I don’t know who has those family heirlooms now – I would love to see them!

William Johnson died 17 Feb 1903 in Rock Falls IL, and was buried with Lorette.



  1. Your cuz said,

    September 22, 2011 at 11:30

    I too would adore seeing the photo of Dorcas and/or Philip’s Bible!!!

    • Elaine Cannon said,

      February 24, 2015 at 13:50

      Has Philip’s Bible been located? Have you made contact with any of James P. Johnson’s descendants?

      • sooze471 said,

        February 24, 2015 at 14:44

        I don’t know the location of the bible, and I have not been in touch with James’ descendants.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: