Thursday, February 6, 2014

Eli and Rachel Waggoner: Later Years

The trail of Grandma Mary’s parents, Eli and Rachel Waggoner, is a little difficult to follow after they left Missouri. They lived in Nebraska and Minnesota, but the time frame is fuzzy.

This photo shows their house in Missouri with my grandmother Mary and great-grandmother Rachel Waggoner standing in front. It was apparently sent to relatives in Virginia who may have given it back to someone in our family. Written on the back of the photo is this inscription:            
                        Aunt Rachel Wagner—sister to Grandpa Havens
                        Mary Wagner Troutman
Mary and Rachel Waggoner, at home in Missouri, (c) 1909.
The Waggoner family moved to Nebraska in 1912.1 They may have moved to Lyon County, Minnesota about 1915 when their son Emery moved there. Their daughter Ida married in Lyon County in 1916. Mary’s daughter Virginia remembers going to see them on the train: “When I was probably 2 and Verne [the blogger's dad] was 4 [that would have been 1918], Mother took us with her on the train from Nebr. to Minn. to visit Grandma and Grandpa. All I remember is looking out of the train window as we crossed the Mississippi River and being terribly frightened. But Mother told us that when we went to bed that night . . . Verne looked up to her with his big blue eyes and said, “Mama, the kids don’t know we have a good bed, do they?”2 

By 1920, Eli and Rachel had returned to Nebraska and lived with Jake at Brenna Precinct, Wayne County.3  Virginia remembers more about those days: “Grandma and Grandpa [Waggoner] lived close to us for a few years before I went to school. I remember mother sending me . . . to return Grandma’s little aluminum pan. She had sent us sausage. It was only down the hill from us but up a long lane. As I got close to the house Grandma’s flock of geese came after me. I was so frightened and screamed to the top of my voice. And I was so happy to see Grandpa coming out of the double corn crib . . . to my rescue. Grandpa loved to hunt rabbits and squirrels for meat for the table. He also caught turtles and removed the meat from the shell. One time at Grandma's house she showed me this pretty white turtle meat soaking in salt water. She touched it and the whole piece of meat quivered. It was scary to me.”4 
About 1922, Eli and Rachel returned to Mexico, Missouri, where they lived with their daughter Alice Ellington until Eli died 16 February 1925. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.5
E. P. and Rachel Waggoner tombstone, Elmwood Cemetery, Mexico, Audrain County, Missouri.
After Eli's death, Rachel went back to Nebraska where, in 1930, she was keeping house for Jake again.6 Virginia remembers Rachel’s account of her trip back to Nebraska: “Her youngest son Leo brought her. He was a rascal. . . . I remember her quietly telling me and showing Mother that she had hidden most of her money in a little bag in her bra, because she didn’t want Uncle Leo to have it.”7
Rachel lived long enough to see the birth of great-grandchildren, one of whom was Gary Eugene Troutman, first grandchild of Grandma Mary. Gary was born 7 May 1933 in Wayne, Nebraska to Mary’s son, Carl and his wife Dorothy (Fleer) Troutman. This four-generation photo shows Grandma Mary with Carl, Rachel, and Gary:
4 generations: Mary Waggoner Troutman, Carl Troutman, Rachel Havens Waggoner, Gary Troutman, 1933.
The Waggoner cousin who sent me the next photo said it’s Rachel and Eli,8 but even though the man has Eli’s prominent cheek bones and deep-set eyes, I question that he is Eli. For one, Eli was eight years older than Rachel, and the family photo taken about 1909 shows him bald with white mustache. Did Eli dye his hair and add a hairpiece for this later photo? I don’t think so. His ears are the wrong shape, too. Even so, I suspect the man is a Waggoner because he looks so much like pictures I’ve seen of the Waggoner men. Maybe he is one of Eli’s younger brothers.
Rachel Waggoner and unknown, late 1920s, perhaps.
 Compare to Eli and Rachel Waggoner below, clipped from the family photo, c. 1909. If that’s Eli in the photo above, he grew younger as Rachel grew older.
Eli Pierce Waggoner pictured in the family portrait, c. 1909.
Rachel Havens Waggoner pictured in the family portrait, c. 1909.
 Two more photos of Rachel must be included:  with her pet sheep in Nebraska.
Rachel and pet sheep in Nebraska in front of Clint Troutman home.
On back of the photo, Virginia wrote this note:
Virginia Troutman Nelsen's note on the back of the photo of Rachel and her pet sheep.

 Another photo of Rachel and the pet sheep:
Rachel Waggoner and her pet sheep in Nebraska.
Virginia also remembers a common saying from her grandmother Rachel: “Dreading to do a job is worse than doing it.” And once when she asked her grandmother if she ever wanted to go back to Virginia, Rachel replied, “There was nothing for me in Virginia but rocks.”9
One more story from Aunt Virginia: “I do want to tell you my greatest story of a time when I spent a week with Grandma Waggoner and Uncle Jake. On Saturday evening the three of us went to Pilger to sell eggs and cream and buy groceries. Before Grandma went to Pilger’s grocery store, she took me to a tent revival. I wondered how she knew it was there. I remember it as a very touching service.  I felt the presence of God and when the evangelist gave the altar call, I went forward and gave my life to God. The next morning I awakened on the leather sofa, a beautiful day with a breeze blowing in the window. As soon as I wakened, I felt an unexplainable joy in my heart—a bursting joy. And then I remembered that our Lord had reached down and claimed me as his child. Praise God!”10
Rachel died 13 March 1939 in Wayne County, Nebraska, and was buried beside Eli in Mexico, Missouri.11

1 “Waggoner Rites Held,” unknown Nebraska newspaper, date unknown; posted by dangleyze, 11 June 2010 to Poteat Family Tree on ( : accessed 6 February 2014).
2 Nelsen, Virginia, Ballwin, Missouri, to Zola Noble, letter, 4 August 2002, information on Eli and Rachel Waggoner; Letters from Aunt Virginia box; privately held, Zola Troutman Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
31920 U. S. census, Brenna Precinct, Wayne County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 218, p. 5-A (penned), family 87, Jake Waggoner; digital image ( : accessed 5 October 2013); NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2268.
4 Nelsen, Virginia.
5 “Eli P. Waggoner,” obituary, Mexico [Missouri] Weekly Ledger, 19 February 1925, p. 3, col. 6.
6 1930 U. S. census, Brenna Precinct, Wayne County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 90-1, p. 4-A, dwelling 69, family 69, Jacob Waggoner; digital image ( : accessed 5 October 2013); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1295.
7 Nelsen, Virginia.
8 Mitchell, Jacquie, Seattle, Washington, to Zola Noble, letter, 7 September 2002, information on  Waggoner family; Waggoner, Eli & Rachel binder, Waggoner family; privately held, Zola Troutman Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
9 Nelsen, Virginia.
10 Ibid.
11 “Waggoner Rites Held.”

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