Nettie Patchen Duncan was widowed in 1901 at the age of 42. Her sons, Howard, 19, James Edgar, 16, and Thomas (Roy), 14, shared her home in DeKalb, Illinois that year.
In 1904 Howard married Margaret Crosby. In 1907 James married Florence Zollar. So by the 1910 Federal Census Nettie is living with only Roy. About the same time, in April 1910 her son Howard died, leaving a wife and daughter.
Roy married Albie Oakland in June 1911 leaving Nettie on her own. She has many years of life left.
After these bare bones of dates, I don’t have a lot of documentation for Nettie, but I know she was an important person in my mother’s life. Mom had a large family around her – both grandmothers and lots of extended family. When Mom’s mother (Nettie’s daughter-in-law) died in 1927, Nettie had a big part in raising the girls.
In the 1930 Federal Census, she is living with her son Roy and his three daughters. From Mom’s stories, Nettie lived with them until Roy remarried in 1932.
Nettie was a nurse. I don’t know of her formal training, but as a doctor’s wife in the late 19th century she was certainly exposed to the profession. She was also possibly a nurses’ supervisor at a local hospital. My memory is a little shaky on this.
Nettie died 11 January 1949 at the age of 90 years in Rockford, Illinois. Her stone has her birth year wrong – she was born in 1858 (and was in the 1860 census).
My life overlapped Nettie’s for almost three years. I have no memory of meeting her, but I just found this photo that has both of us in it. It’s difficult to express how happy I am to learn that we did meet. And it amazes me to know that I knew my great-grandmother who was born before the Civil War.