Obituary
(from the Marshall County Republican Newspaper)
dated February 7, 1861:

The former wife of Peter W. Draggoo died January 23, 1861, aged 38 years, 9 months and 7 days.

Peter Dragoo & Janetta Welsh

Research of Marvin Baker, Del Osborn and Vi Parsons

Peter W. Dragoo was born April 30, 1819, the third child of William “Indian Billy” Dragoo and Rebecca Matheny. Peter married Janetta Welsh in Knox County, Ohio on October 22, 1840. [Marriage Record Book 1838-1951, page 72]. Deed and military records indicate that Peter and Janetta lived in Licking Co., Ohio from 1845 to 1847.

Peter Dragoo was in the Mexican War 1847-1848. Peter entered the service on August 12, 1847, as a Private, age 29. The Roster of Ohio Troops, states that Co. B mustered in September 9, 1847 at Cincinnati, Ohio by Lieutenant Colonel Erving and mustered out July 25, 1848.

Newark, Licking County, Ohio[Licking Co., OH newspaper article provided by Marvin Baker]

“At the commencement of the Mexican War, a company of Infantry was raised in this county, which before they marched for the seat of war, in the Rio Grande, was extensively paraded through our streets. On these parades the men were graded according to size, the tallest invariably leading the column, and the smallest bringing up the rear. It may be with recollection of some that the leader of the celebrated company who always led the column in those memorable parades, was familiarly called by his acquaintances ‘Pete Dragoo’ – in politer circles it would have been Mr. Peter Dragoo. Peter was the stalwart son of William Dragoo, who after his return to Virginia had formed a second matrimonial alliance, this time with a white woman, and raised a family of six white children, Peter being one of them.”

Janetta Draggoo filed for Divorce from Peter W. Draggoo July 23, 1860 in Marshall County, Indiana

By August 1850, Peter, age 32, a shoemaker and wife Janetta, age 29, were in Concord Township, DeKalb County, Indiana. There children were Rebecca, Margaret, John E. and James Albert. In 1860, Peter and Janetta were in Plymouth, Center Township of Marshall County., Indiana. He is shown as P.W., age 50, [40?] physician, born in Virginia, with property value of $1,000. Janetta is age 37, a housekeeper, born in Maryland. Children were Becky Ann [Rebecca],18, Margaret J., 16, James R., 11, Sarah M., 7, & Jacob M., age 1.

As family researchers, we think of our ancestors as kind, dependable and wonderful people. We look for information and documentation about their education, good deeds and community efforts. History and documents reveal that our ancestors had problems, too.

Not every marriage was perfect. Women did file for divorce in the mid to late 1800’s, but it was often dismissed. From the statements in the divorce records, it appears that all was not well with this family.

Janetta stated that they had lived in Indiana for four years. For the past five years, Peter was a habitual drunkard, had failed to provide for her and their children and that he had cruelly treated her by striking and hitting her and threatening to injure her. She declared that in July 1860 he abandoned her and the children without any just cause, leaving them with no means of support. Janetta requested custody of the children and $500., which was half of the value of their property. She was destitute and requested that Peter pay the court costs. The oldest daughter Rebecca and several other witnesses were subpoenaed to testify.

On August 15, 1860 Peter W. Dragoo filed a rebuttal, stating that he is a practicing physician and at the time of the default in the case against him he was professionally employed and that it was ‘only yesterday afternoon that he learned of the cause against him.’ He could not attend and engaged counsel, but the divorce was granted.

Janetta Welsh Draggoo died January 23, 1861 Only six months after the divorce, Janetta died. A short entry in The Marshall County Republican newspaper dated February 7, 1861 stated: “The former wife of Peter W. Draggoo died January 23, 1861, aged 38 years, 9 months and 7 days.”

Vi Parsons, President
Dragoo Family Association (DFA)
Email Vi Parsons


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