John W. Wagner

JOHN W. WAGNER, one of the leading and representative citizens of Cherokee County, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, February 12, 1853. The name so famous in musical composition is of German origin, but the subject of this sketch is of English descent on the maternal side.

The father, I. L. Wagner, was born in Davidson County, North Carolina, in 1815. Having few advantages as compared with the youth of to-day, he acquired only such education as the country schools afforded. Having been reared on the farm, he chose farming as a means of livelihood. To his marriage with Elizabeth Goodman, a daughter of Henry Goodman a well known Lutheran clergyman, 11 children were born, as follows: Albert L., a farmer and cotton-gin operator of Troutman, North Carolina; Charles M., who resides with his brother, Albert L.; John W., the subject of this review; Esther F., the wife of Homer Leonard, a farmer and the county assessor of Hancock County, Indiana; Susan E., the wife of William Johnson, a merchant of Troutmans, North Carolina; Daniel, who died in childhood; Henry, a carpenter of Iredell County, North Carolina; Mary V., the wife of William Kimball, a merchant of Statesville, North Carolina; Amanda, the wife of Scott Barkley, a farmer of the same place; S. Alice, deceased February 29, 1904, who was the wife of Luther Kimball; and David L., who is farming on the old homestead in Iredell County, North Carolina. The father, T. L. Wagner, died in 1894. The mother, at an advanced age, is still living, her home being at Troutmans, North Carolina.

At the age of 21, John W. Wagner had finished the common-school course, in the schools of Statesville and Taylorsville, North Carolina. For three years after leaving school, he was employed as a teacher and later as a traveling salesman. In the spring of 1880 he went to Texas, where he remained two years, engaged in grading on a railroad. A visit East then took him to Indiana for a few months and later, after spending several months at the old home in North Carolina, he returned West and located in Cherokee County, Kansas. After farming for a year in Salamanca township, and nearly two years in Neosho township, he moved to Neutral, Spring Valley township, where, with the exception of one year spent as a merchant in Galena, he has since resided. For a period of 13 years he was a merchant in Neutral and was also station agent.

On February 22, 1883, Mr. Wagner was to married to Fanny S. Herman, a daughter of Miles and Camilla Herman, farmers of Catawba County, North Carolina. Miles Herman enlisted in the Civil War and never returned to his home. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner have five children, as follows: Alexon, Leslie Herman, Mary Stella, Bertha Ida, and Marshall Ralph, all living at home.

The farm that is the family homestead consists of 120 acres of fine farm land, all under cultivation. It produces all the small grains besides hay, and some fruit is raised; the buildings are of a substantial and comfortable kind, the home being an unusually pleasant one, whose owners make all welcome with true Southern hospitality. Our subject and his wife are consistent members of the Lutheran Church, taking an active part in the church life of that organization. A lifelong Democrat, Mr. Wagner votes the ticket straight, and takes an active interest in politics. He was honored by election to the office of township trustee in 1900 and is at present treasurer of his township. The prosperity of the county lies in just such men as Mr. Wagner. He is a man of broad and liberal views and gives his earnest support to all measures tending toward the betterment and the prosperity of his township and county.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Rebecca Alderman, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 03-07-97.


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