Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson was my great-great-grandmother. One of her daughters, Florence, had a daughter named Phyllis, who had my mother Wanda. has a feature on the profile page of everyone in a family tree; when you add an event with a date attached, it automatically displays the age the person was when that event occurred. I noticed today that Rebecca Johnson's profile listed her marriage in 1888 - when she was just fourteen years old. This is indicated by the 1900 U.S. Federal Census (click to enlarge):

There is the family living in Bradley Beach, NJ in 1900. The third-to-last column on the right is "number of years married;" Rebecca and George reported 12 years. Their oldest child, Helen, was eleven in 1900, and was therefore born the year following their marriage. The last two columns are "Mother of how many children" and "Number of these children living." As you can see, by the age of 26 Rebecca had already given birth to five children and lost one. This snapshot of her life is very meaningful to me, at twenty-two. I'm not married nor do I have children, and I cannot imagine the struggles and joys of this woman without whom I would never have been born.

Rebecca's maiden name and married name are the same. I don't know her parents' names but have been assured by family members that she was a Johnson before she married George Washington Johnson, who was eighteen at the time of their marriage. He died at the age of 56 in 1926. Rebecca at least matched his age; I don't know when she died but the 1930 Federal Census shows her living with her son Walter in Belmar, NJ.

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