Duncan & Patchen – Part 3 Nettie

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.

Part One of the Duncan – Patchen story is here, Part Two is here.

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.

duncan family

Duncans: L-R back: Albie, Harriet, Thomas, Florence Zoller, James Edgar, Helen Mercer, Nettie.
Front: Mary, Helen, and Dorothy Duncan. About 1916

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.

nettie roy girls abt 1928

Duncans, L-R: Harriet, Nettie, Barbara, Helen, Thomas (Roy). About 1928, after Albie had died.

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.

3 girls nettie florence 2

Barbara, Helen, Nettie, Harriet, and Florence (Huckins). This was probably taken about 1932 when Florence married Roy.

back florence lillian mercer front had nettie jdc tdc helen joliet 1

Standing: Florence Duncan, Lillian Mercer.
Sitting: Harriet Duncan Claycomb, Nettie Duncan, Jean Claycomb, Tom Claycomb, and Helen Duncan. Taken about 1944.

6 Nettie 40sNettie 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).

jc duncan stone det

Duncan Oakland Wiswall reunion 1948a

I am the small girl just to the right of my sister and brother in their lovely striped outfits. Nettie is the tall white haired lady behind me.

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.

2 thoughts on “Duncan & Patchen – Part 3 Nettie

  1. Pingback: Duncan & Patchen – Part 1 (& English) | This I Leave

  2. Pingback: Duncan & Patchen – Part 2 Family Life | This I Leave


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