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

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