Louretta “Nettie” Johnson 1880 – 1964

Nettie Johnson was born 12 September 1880, probably in Elkhorn, in Dodge County, Nebraska.  Her parents were Thomas Merrill Johnson, who had come west from Vermont, with his parents, and Sarah Catherine “Kate” Dolan, from New York.  Nettie joined two older brothers, William Thomas born about 1876, and Franklyn Ed, born in 1878.  Nettie’s father was a carpenter.   Her parents and brothers were counted in the 1880 census in Elkhorn, which was a small community just west of Omaha, on Nebraska’s eastern border. 

Another brother, Charles, was born in 1883 in Nebraska.  Nettie’s mother died 17 September 1883 in Arlington, Nebraska, a small town about 15 miles northwest of Elkhorn.  Kate was buried at the Colby-Morley cemetery.  I do not have a cause of death for her, but considering the timing, it may have been related to Charles’ birth.  Family lore is that after Kate died, Thomas gave the four children to relatives of hers to raise.  When he remarried, he tried to get the children back, but couldn’t.  However, this did not happen immediately, as Thomas married Hattie Ellen Duggan about six months after Kate died.  Thomas and Hattie were counted in the 1885 Nebraska state census living in the Village of Arlington.  The household included his four children, plus Hattie’s first baby, Myra.  I don’t know for sure which of the children were raised by Kate’s relatives.  I was not able to find more information positively linked to William or Charles.  By the 1900 census, Frank was living in Peoria, Nebraska.   Nettie eventually had 9 half-siblings, the children of her father and step-mother Hattie.  I don’t know if she maintained any contact with that branch of her family.   

Nettie married Edward Spurgeon Dragoo in about 1895.  I have not yet found a marriage record for them.  Their first son, Edward, was born in 1897 with the 1900 census saying he was born in Missouri, while later records say Nebraska.  Based on that, it is likely that Nettie and Edward were married in one of those two states.  The next child, Milo Harold, was born in 1899 in Missouri. 

 The 1900 census lists the family as living in St. Louis, MO.  They lived in a rented house with number 2247 but I could not find the street name on the census sheets. Edward was a carpenter.  Louretta had 2 children, both still living.  The household included Edward’s uncle Joseph Fouts (or maybe Forts), and all the adults could read and write.  The 1900 city directory said that Edward was a carpenter for Hammond Packing Co, and they lived in South St. Joseph.    

By 1910, the family had moved to Tarkio, MO, Edward’s home town, and they lived on Fourth Street.  Edward was working as a well borer.  Nettie reported that she had given birth to four children, all living. Actually, the census lists five children. The youngest were Johnny born in 1904, Alice born in 1907 and Earl born in 1909.  The uncle was still part of the household.   Another child, Christopher Clyde, was born in 1912. The Tarkio town website at http://www.tarkiomo.com/history.htm has a nice collection of historic photographs of the era.  

The family moved to Pine River, MN, and daughter Loretta Blanche was born there in 1915.  Nettie then had a son, Carroll, born in 1918.  The family was counted in the 1920 census living in nearby Wilson, MN, a small town in the central part of the state.  Edward was a farmer, and the two oldest sons, Edward and Harold were farm laborers.  Nettie’s last child, Margaret, was born in 1924 in Minnesota.  

In 1930, Nettie was listed as a widow.  There is an Edward S Dragoo whose headstone says 1864-1928 buried at the Alliance Cemetery in Alliance, Nebraska, and this is likely her husband. Alliance is in the western part of the state.  At this point, Nettie may have still had four children under the age of 18.  I haven’t found any records after the 1920 census connected to her son Carroll, so I don’t know if he was still living.  In 1930, Nettie was living in Sharp, Nebraska, working as a servant for Ruby Hammond and her household.  Blanche and Margaret lived with their mother in the same household.  

Some time after 1930, Nettie married a widower, Samuel W McKeehan, a farmer.  The 1940 census lists them living in Elm, in northeastern Nebraska.  The census says that she was in the same house in 1935.  This could mean that she was married by 1935, or that she worked in his household, or that the census taker assumed that she was in the same household, since she was the wife.  Her daughter Margaret lived with them.  

I do not have a death date for Samuel, but the 1948 Omaha city directory lists Nettie McKeehan as widow of SW McKeehan.  She lived at 3108 Davenport, apartment 103.  It appears that this appartment complex is still in use. Nettie’s son Milo died in 1941 in Aberdeen, WA.  Her son Edward died in 1952 in Hot Springs, SD.  I have no records for Alice after the 1920 census.  Her daughters Loretta “Blanche” and Margaret died after 1940.  John died in 1990 in Georgia.  Earl died in 1992 in Tilden, Nebraska.  Christopher “Clyde” died in 1989 in Billings, MT.   

Nettie died in September, 1964, in Nebraska.