Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grandma Mary's Siblings: Gorgeous Gordon

According to my dad, Gordon was Grandma Mary’s favorite brother. It may have had something to do with their mutual interest in education, so Dad said. It may also have had something to do with the fact that they were so close in age, only one year apart. It may have had something to do with personalities that simply clicked.

Looking at photos of the family, I’d say that Gordon was the best looking of Mary’s brothers. Dark hair, square jaw, light eyes, his photos, even the ones of him in his work clothes reveal his good looks.
James Gordon Waggoner, c1908
Apparently, Gordon went out west at about the same time as Emery; most likely they traveled together all the way by train. Although I couldn’t find Emery in the 1910 census, I did find Gordon living in Opportunity, Spokane County Washington and boarding with a family named Harrington. His occupation is farm laborer. The name of that town must have promised good things to him, and he looked for opportunities beyond the farm. I'm not sure what year this next photo was sent home, but here he is with a copper mining crew. He marked his shoes with Xs so his family members could find him. This fabulous photo shows such a variety of men and expressions and poses that it's a delight to study.

Gordon Waggoner is center front, the one with the X marks on his shoes.
Love the rakish angle of Gordon's hat in this close-up of him!

Close-up of Gordon Waggoner from the Copper Mining Crew photo.
On 26 April 1915, Gordon married Etheline Costello in Shoshone County, Idaho. Who was Etheline Costello? I had to know more. The search turned up some interesting and puzzling information.

In 1905, Ethelyn B. VanWert married William J. Costello. In 1910, William, age 37, and Ethelyn, age 29, were living in Sand Point, Bonner County, Idaho, with two sons named Earle W., age 2, and VanWert J., age 1. William and Ethelyn were both born in New York, as were Ethelyn's parents. Wiliam's parents were born in Ireland. He was a lawyer. The census says it's the first marriage for both of them. However, with a little more searching, I found William J. Costello (age 28, born New York, parents born in Ireland) in the 1900 census living in the home of Thomas J. Hamilton, head of household. William's relationship to head of household in son-in-law. Listed after his name is Teresa Costello, daughter of head of household, and three Costello children, grandchildren of head of household. Interesting. Is this the same William J. Costello? Name, age, birth place and parents' birth places indicate so. If that's true, what happened to his first family? More investigation ahead.

When did Etheline or Ethelyn and William Costello divorce? A 1914 City Directory for Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho, shows William J. Costello and Ethelyn living at 410 Antone, Sandpoint, Idaho. He is a prosecuting attorney at the Court House. A year later, Ethelyn married handsome Gordon Waggoner. There's more to the story. Stay tuned.
Bonner County Idaho directory, 1914, "Costello, Wm. J. (Ethelyn)"
Note about Gordon's name:
In an earlier blog, I sourced a birth record that I believed to be Gordon, even though the name on the record was James. Based on information provided to me at that time, I thought this brother's name was Gordon Grady. Since I wrote that blog, I have discovered strong evidence that Gordon’s name was James Gordon, not Gordon Grady. Maybe his full name was James Gordon Grady—I don’t know. Whatever the case, when I searched for the records using the name Gordon Grady, another name James G. Waggoner, kept popping up. James G. was born in Virginia at the same time as Gordon, so I looked at him closer. I’d been told that Gordon had a son named James Grady; this James G. Waggoner also had a son named James G. Also, I knew that Gordon had moved to the northwest, and the location of this man in Idaho fit our Gordon. With five pieces of the puzzle fitting our Gordon—birth date, birth place, location, middle initial, son’s name—I’m reasonably certain I’ve found the correct records.

For Gordon Wagner in the 1910 census: 1910 U.S. census, Opportunity, Spokane County, Washington, population schedule, p. 7851 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 135, sheet 1-B, dwelling 20, family 20, Cornelius Harrington; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1699.

For marriage of James G. Waggoner and Etheline Costello: "Western States Marriage Records Index," database BYU-Idaho (, accessed 27 August 2013), entry for  James G. Waggoner--Etheline Costello, 26 April 1915, citing Shoshone County Idaho Marriages, Vol. 7: 208.

For marriage of Ethelyn B. VanWert to William J. Costello: "Western States Marriage Records Index," database BYU-Idaho (, accessed 27 August 2013), entry for William J. Costello--Ethelyn B. VanWert, 02 November 1905, citing Kootenai County Idaho Marriages, vol. 3, p. 447.

For William J. and Ethelyn Costello in 1910 census: 1910 U.S. census, Sandpoint, Bonner County, Idaho, population schedule, Ward 3, p. 2992 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 88, sheet 7-B, dwelling 160, family 161, William J. Costello family; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 223.

For William J. Costello in 1900 census: 1900 U. S. census, New York, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 30, p. 859 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 555, sheet 17-B, dwelling 295, family 324, Thomas J. Hamilton family; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1068.

For William J. and Ethelyn Costello in 1914: Bonner County Directory, 1914-1915, Spokane, Washington: R. L. Polk and Company, 1915. U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013), "Costello, Wm. J. (Ethelyn)."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mary's Siblings: Emery, Part 2

My grandmother’s eldest brother, Emery Waggoner, seems to have struggled financially much of his life, especially during the years after his wife Dewey’s death. When Dewey died in 1926, his children ranged in age from 15 (John) to 2 (Ruby). What a struggle that must have been for him and them!

c1928, Emery Waggoner with John, James, Nannie, and Ruby.
The story Dad told me was that the Minnesota child welfare department took the children away from Emery. Later, he “stole” one or two of the younger ones back and took them to Nebraska to his sister, my Grandma Mary, and left Ruby with Mary and Clint for a time. Maybe he asked for help from his other Nebraska siblings, too. I’m not sure. I learned from one of Emery’s descendants that James was sent to Virginia to live with his uncle Silas Petty, Dewey’s eldest brother, who lived on a farm near Marion, Virginia. Indeed, the 1930 census shows James, age 12, living with the Silas Petty family.[1] 
Nannie and Lucille Waggoner in Minnesota
 The family was truly torn apart. As for Emery, the 1930 census shows him living in Minnesota and working as a farm laborer in “grain and stock” again. His marital status is “widowed,” and his children are not with him. He is boarding with a Norwegian family in Vallers Township, Lyons County.[2] 
Emery married a third time on 25 December 1932, to Julia Asbury or Asberry. I’m not sure where this marriage took place, and I can’t find anything to verify it. Julia was from Benton County, Missouri, and she and Emery lived in Warsaw in that county, so possibly this was the location of their marriage.

L. to R.: Ruby, Marie, Emery, Julia, Nannie holding her son Douglas. In front is Ruby's daughter Melinda
This time, his wife outlived him, but the strange thing is that she was buried at a different cemetery from Emery— Lincoln Cemetery ( Julia's memorial )—under her maiden name. Did they divorce? I don’t know.

Between his marriage to Julia and his death, I can’t seem to find a trace of Emery, not even in the 1940 census. According to his memorial on Find A Grave web site ( Emery's memorial ), he died on 10 October 1966, and he was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Warsaw.  

Photo of Emery's tombstone, courtesy of Barbara Blum.
His daughter Ruby also lived in Warsaw, and (we hope) contributed to his comfort in later years. Ruby is buried at Shawnee Cemetery in Warsaw, Missouri ( Ruby's memorial). She married at the young age of 17 to Arthur J. Fergerson, of Benton County, who was 58 at the time (big age span!). They had one daughter named Kathy. Apparently, as evidenced on her memorial, she remarried some one named Hensley after Arthur’s death in 1966, but I haven’t found that marriage record. 
I'm not sure how well Emery's children weathered their traumatic childhood. Through the, I've corresponded with two of Nannie's daughters who sent me the photos above, plus this lovely wedding photo of their parents. Nannie seems to have had a stable family.
 Wedding photo of Nannie Waggoner and Clarence O. Anderson, Minnesota.

This is Lucile with Nannie holding her daughter Bernetta, her firstborn, I think.
Also the sisters seem to have stayed in touch with each other. This photo shows all four of them: Lucile, Marie, Ruby, and Nannie. Looks like the 1950s.

Lucile, Marie , Ruby, Nannie

[1] 1930 U. S. census, Marion, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, supervisor’s district  8, p. 103 (stamped), enumeration district 87-7, sheet 4-A, dwelling 52, family 55, Silas Petty family; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2461.
[2] 1930 U. S. census, Vallers Township, Lyon County, Minnesota, population schedule, supervisor’s district 11, p. 895 (penned), enumeration district 42-29, sheet 2-B, dwelling 40, family 40, Emery Wagoner; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1105.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Grandma Mary's siblings: Emery Marco

Poverty and tragedy marred the adult life of Emery Marco Waggoner, my grandmother Mary’s eldest brother, but he seems to have persevered and perhaps attained a measure of peace in his later years. Perhaps.
The firstborn of Eli and Rachel Waggoner was born 30 May 1885 in Bland County Virginia and died 10 October 1966 in Warsaw, Missouri at the age of 81. Between those two locations and years, he rambled from place to place. Being the eldest son, Emery learned to assist his father with farm work very early in his life as evidenced in the 1900 census, which lists his occupation as farm laborer at age 15.[1]
So far, I cannot find him in the 1910 census; he is not listed with the family in Missouri[2] where they had moved about the year 1909. Evidence suggests that Emery migrated farther west to the state of Washington where he married Ida May Geist on 4 January 1911 in Spokane.[3] According to the marriage record, she was 29 and he was 24; he was employed as a fireman. Ida was descended from Pennsylvania Dutch,[4] so your guess is as good as mine how she ended up in Washington. By 30 September 1911, the date their first child John was born,[5] they resided in Ocanogan, Washington. Sad to say, only two years later on 14 September 1913 in the same county, Ida died the day after giving birth to their second child, a girl they named Ida Rachel Marie.[6]
Marriage Certificate of Emery Waggoner and Ida May Geist, Spokane, Washington
With two small children to care for alone, Emery moved back east, perhaps to be closer to family members, and evidence is strong that he even went back to Virginia. Although I cannot locate the marriage record, Emery’s descendants say he remarried on 30 September 1916, to Dewey Minti Petty, age 19, of Smyth County, Virginia. 
Dewey Petty and her sisters, Nannie and Martha, in Virginia. Not sure which is which.

Emery was, by then, age 31. Two years later when he registered for the WWI draft, he and Dewey were living in Cottonwood, Lyon County Minnesota.[7] 
World War I Draft Registration for Emry Marco Wagner. Note that he spelled it Waggoner when he signed it. Also note how he spelled his first name. It's spelled that way when he signed his marriage certificate, too--and on the birth record.

Another two years later when the 1920 census was taken, they were living in Normania township in Yellow Medicine county with their children: John, Marie, and two more children, James, age 3, and Nanny, age 1.[8] Emory was working as a farmer in the “grain and stock” industry, and he rented his home. Two additional children were born to Dewey and Emery: Lucille Virginia in 1921[9] and Ruby Irene in 1924.[10]

Emery and Dewey Waggoner and family. John and Marie, children of Emery's first wife Ida, are standing at back; l. to r. the children are James, Nannie, Lucile, and Ruby on Dewey's lap.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck again on 20 March 1926 when Dewey suddenly died as a result of a blood clot to the lung. This time they were living in Cheppewa County. According to one of Dewey's descendants, the family was very poor when she died. She was buried in Boyd Cemetery along a fence line with no marker, and there is no record of her burial. 
 Once again, Emery was left to care for children alone—six of them. He did not fare so well. More to come.

[1] 1900 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth County Virginia, population schedule (first enumeration), enumeration district (ED) 84, p. 3B (penned/stamped), dwelling 52, family 52, Emory Wagner; digital image, ( : accessed 9 August 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
[2] 1910 U. S. census, Audrain County, Missouri, population schedule, Salt River Township, p. 7B (penned/stamped), enumeration district  (ED) 11, sheet 7-B, dwelling 140, family 140, Eli Wagoner; database (, accessed 9 August 9, 2013; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 767.
[3] Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004, digital image (, accessed 11 August 2011), entry for Emery Michael Waggoner – Ida May Geist, 4 January 1911.
[4] Ibid.  1900 U. S. census, Ringgold, Jefferson County Pennsylvania, population schedule (first enumeration), enumeration district (ED) 77, page 3B, dwelling 63, family 57, Ida M. Geist; digital image, ( : accessed 9 August 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T623, roll 1417. Note: Ida May was living with grandparents Henry M. and Sarah Emhoff.
[5] Social Security Administration, “U. S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database (, accessed 13 August 2013), entry for John Waggoner, 1972, 475-28-3453. 
[6] Ibid, entry for Marie Fergusen, 1983, 468-84-7544.
[7] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 13 August 2013), card for Emry Marco Waggoner, serial number 0820, Local Draft Board, Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota.
[8] 1920 U. S. census, Normania, Yellow Medicine County Minnesota, population schedule, Normania Township, p. 1660 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 207, sheet 6-B, dwelling 107, family 113, Emery Waggoner; database (, accessed 13 August 2013), NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 867.
[9] Minnesota Department of Health, birth certificate 11669 (1921), Lucile Virginia Waggoner; Division of Vital Statistics, St. Paul; ordered from Minnesota Historical Society (, 13 August 2013).
[10] Ibid, birth certificate 38491 (1924), Ruby Irene Waggoner.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Babies and Land: The Eli Waggoner Family Expands

As the years passed, more babies quickly filled the home of Eli and Rachel Waggoner, my grandmother Mary’s parents. After Emery Marco was born 31 May 1885,[1] the next two consecutive months of May brought the arrival of another baby. On 22 May 1886, a second son they named Gordon Grady was born,[2] and the next 20 May 1887, a beautiful first daughter was born whom they named Mary Ann—thus my grandmother came into the world.
One baby per year the first three years must have kept Rachel hopping. After those first three, however, the rate of baby arrivals slowed down a bit; nonetheless, there were seven more in ten and a half years. Makes me tired just thinking about it! Jacob was born 13 March 1889,[3] followed by Alice on 8 October 1890[5]; next came an unnamed son in December 1891,[4] who apparently died within a short time, for there is no more record of him anywhere. After that came Leo Cleveland on  8 October 1893,[6] then Amanda, 20 March 1895,[7] and finally Ida, 20 April 1897.[8] Interestingly, Mary and her youngest sister Ida are the only ones for whom I cannot find a birth record. Another interesting little tidbit is that Mary helped her sister Ida obtain a delayed birth certificate many years later. Apparently, Ida couldn’t find a record of her own birth, either. 
Delayed birth certificate for Ida Waggoner, certified by Mrs. Clint Troutman. Note Grandma Mary's own signature.

I’m not sure where, exactly, Eli and Rachel and their growing family lived in Rich Valley, but all indications are that it was probably in the north central part of the county. The Eli Waggoner family owned at least two pieces of property during the time they lived in Virginia. One tract Rachel and Eli purchased and sold in 1897, and the other Rachel and her children purchased in 1898. Why Eli’s name is not on this deed is another mystery I’m trying to solve.

The map pictured below hangs on a wall in my home. It is a copy of an 1899 topographical map of Smyth County that also shows land owners, type of soil and industry. The green strip above the brown is Rich Valley, and if you look closely, you can see a small yellow arrow stuck to the glass left of center straddling the green and brown. It points to the location of Daniel and America Troutman’s property. I can’t find the Waggoner name on this map, but I think Eli and Rachel’s property was not far away, maybe a couple of miles north. They owned less than ten acres, so maybe that was too small an acreage to show on the map. Wish I could show you a blow-up of this map, but the glass has too much glare to get a closer, clearer picture. I think I’ll have the glass changed to non-glare.
1899 Topographical map of Smyth County Virginia. Copies of this map can be purchased from The Museum of the Middle Appalachians, Saltville, Viriginia:

In the 1900 Census, both families are enumerated in the Rich Valley magisterial district of Broadford Precinct.[9] The Troutman family is on page 110B and the Waggoner family is on page 112B, fairly close proximity, I’d say. This is the only census that shows all of the Waggoner children at home. You may notice that the birth dates for the first three children conflict with birth records and are inconsistent with the recorded ages. For example, Mary’s age is listed as 13, but the birth date is listed as 1893. That doesn’t compute. The ages are correct, but not the birth years for Emory, Gordon, and Mary. You may note also that this record says Rachel had given birth to nine children, but only eight are living. And, by the way, this census says Eli and Rachel can now read and write.
1900 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth County Virginia, Eli Wagner family.

Incidentally, you may have noticed that the Waggoner name is spelled various ways in the records. The original spelling when the family arrived from Germany was Waggoner, and that’s the way it is spelled on Eli and Rachel’s tombstone, so I’ve chosen to spell it that way, unless I’m dealing with a record that spells it differently. During my research, I’ve learned that names are not spelled wrongly, just differently. Most of Eli’s siblings adapted the Wagner spelling.
Transcription: Waggoner, E. P., 1853-1925 | Rachel, 1863-1940. Note that birth dates are off by one year: Eli's should be 1854 and Rachel's should be 1862. Elmwood Cemetery, Mexico, Audrain County Missouri.

[1] Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96, p. 87, Emry Waggoner, 31 May 1885; database ( : accessed 23 July 2013), extracted from Fridley, Beth, comp.. Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000; original records, Richmond, Virginia, USA: Library of Virginia, 1861.
[2] Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96, p. 92, James [Gordon Grady] Waggoner, 22 May 1886. Despite the fact that the name on this record is James, not Gordon, and that parents’ names are both recorded as E. and E., this is reasonably Gordon’s birth record because of the date and place. It was most likely transcribed incorrectly.
[3] Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96, p. 104, Not Legible [Jacob] Waggoner, 13 March 1889.
[4] Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96, p. 287, No Name Waggoner, December 1891.
[5] Bland County, Virginia Births: 1861-96, p. 108, Alice Waggoner, 8 October 1890.
[6] Smyth County, Virginia Births: 1885-96, p. 310, Lee [Leo] Waggoner, 8 October 1893; database ( : accessed 23 July 2013), extracted from Fridley, Beth. Smyth County, Virginia Births, 1885-96 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA.
[7] Smyth County, Virginia Births: 1885-96, p. 333, Amanda Waggoner, 20 March 1895.
[8] Smyth County Virginia, Delayed Birth Certificate, Ida Waggoner, copy sent to the author by wife of Harold Mitchell, Ida’s son.
[9] 1900 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth County Virginia, population schedule (first enumeration), enumeration disctict (ED) 84, p. 3B (penned/stamped), dwelling 52, family 52, Eli Wagner; digital image, ( : accessed 9 August 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.

(c) 2013 Z. T. Noble