My Grandma Mary’s paternal grandmother Anna F. Harman (daughter of Henry J. Harman, whose father was Mathias, whose father was Henry, Sr., whose father was the German immigrant, Heinrich Adam) is somewhat of a mystery woman—like her mother Famy Brown. Famy’s unknown parentage makes Anna’s maternal ancestry a mystery, too. Some of Anna’s descendants claim she was half Cherokee. Adamantly claim.
Soon after I learned about Anna’s Harman heritage, I learned about the controversy over Anna’s alleged Cherokee ancestry. Nancy Nash, who co-edited the Adam Waggoner book, wrote me that I was one of only two ancestors of Jacob and Ann who had ordered the book. She gave me contact information for the other person, Fred Cousin (not his real name) who had complained about mistakes in the book, and told me that I might learn more about the family from him. Fred is the only grandson of Anna’s fifth child, Hezekiah Hiram Waggoner, known as HH, which makes Fred a first cousin to my dad and his siblings—or first cousin once removed to me. If fact, I remember visiting Fred’s family in Liberty, Missouri, when I was a kid on one of my family’s summer trips from Nebraska to Virginia.
Fred very graciously responded to my letter by sending me copies of family photos and telling me this about Anna: "Regarding the Indian thing: Mom said her dad (HH), Willis, & George [HH’s brothers] all said AH [Anna Harman] was ½ Cherokee. Ottie, Willis’s [sic] widow told me AH was a legend years after her death. Ottie [neè Buchanan] said she heard lots of stories of AH’s meanness, ferocious temper & Indian Blood. This is from the Buchanans, not the Wagners. Ottie lived to 101, and was alert to the very end."
I’d love to hear the stories Ottie had heard about Anna. None of Anna’s siblings’ descendants have made claims about Cherokee ancestry, it seems, and there’s nothing in their records about it. Nash says there’s no evidence in the records that Anna was ½ Cherokee, and I’ve not found any, either, but my curiosity craves more information. I can’t easily dismiss the testimony of Anna’s three sons and a daughter-in-law. The key is Anna’s mother. Was Famy (neè Brown) Harman Cherokee? When Anna and her siblings were born prior to 1860, it wasn’t such a great thing for people to know you had Indian blood. Not until 1893 when the Dawes Commission formed and started officially enrolling people who could claim descent from one of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole) and get free land did many people want to claim Native American ancestry. Then many people seemed to remember, "Didn't Grandpa say his mother was Indian--or was it Grandma?" Any time I mention Anna’s possible Cherokee ancestry to other researchers, they rather patronizingly remind me of this.
|Anna F. Harman and Jacob Waggoner, possibly their marriage photo, taken about 1853.|
What I do know about Anna is that in the years following her marriage Jacob Waggoner on 6 July 1853, she bore nine children:
1. Elias Henry, born 4 October 1853 just three months after his parents married, likely named for Jacob’s father Elias and for Anna's father Henry;
2. Eli Pierce, born 25 October 1854, father of my Grandma Mary;
3. George W., born 27 January 1857, likely named for Anna’s brother who was later killed during the Civil War;
4. Maude Alice, born 16 August 1859;
5. Hezekiah Harman “Hiram," born 27 January 1861, likely named for Anna’s brother Hezekiah;
6. Ardelia Ibbie, born June 1864;
7. Amanda V., born February 1866;
8. Willis Grant, born 12 January 1869;
9. William Stewart, born 8 March 1871.
With all those children and a husband, who was busy farming, buying and selling land, going off to war, returning in ill health and obsessed with finding a cure for his ailments (more on this next week), perhaps we can imagine why Anna might have been in a nasty mood now and then.
At least, she had a mother’s helper. In 1860, 13-year-old Ellen Cameron served in the home, most likely helping Anna with her four young children. In 1870, 21-year-old Fanny Kirby served as needed. Less than a year later and all too soon, Anna died on 9 March 1871 after giving birth to her ninth child, William. The following December, Jacob married Fanny Kirby.
© 2014, Z. T. Noble
 Fred Cousin, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Liberty, Missouri, to Zola Noble, letter, 28 April 2003, information on Harman/Waggoner ancestry; Jacob Waggoner binder; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
 John Newton Harman, Sr., Harman Genealogy (Southern Branch) with Biographical Sketches and Historical Notes, 1700-1924 (Radford, Virginia: Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1925), 162.
 “Former Pierce Resident Dies in Missouri,” Pierce County Call, Pierce, Nebraska, May 23, 1935, p. 1.
 Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Births, Book 1: 71, entry for Eli P. Wagner; County Clerk’s Office, Marion.
 Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 May 2014), photograph, gravestone for George W. Wagner (1857-1939), Mount Olivet Christian Church Cemetery, Clay County, Missouri.
 1900 U. S. census, Olympia, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 86, p. 142 (stamped), sheet 7-A, dwelling 117, family 117, Maud A. Hubble; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 May 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728.
 Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 May 2014), memorial for Hezekiah Hiram Wagner (1857-1939), Fairview Cemetery, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri.
 1900 U. S. census, Sedden, Bland County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 3, p. 93 (stamped), sheet 2-A, dwelling 24, family 24, Tobie Gegring [Ibbie Gearing]; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 May 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1701.
 1900 U. S. census, Salem, Roanoke County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 77, p. 209 (stamped), sheet 8-B, dwelling 129, family 129, Amanda Wagoner, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 May 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1725.
[x] Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 May 2014), photograph, gravestone for Willis Wagner (1869-1956), Mount Olivet Christian Church Cemetery, Smithville, Clay County, Missouri.
 1860 U. S. census, District 58, Wythe County, Virginia, population schedule, p. 52 (penned), dwelling 401, family 333, Jacob Wagoner; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M653, roll 1385.
 1870 U. S. census, Bland County, Virginia, population schedule, Sharon post office, p. 7 (penned), dwelling 47, family 47, Jacob Wagoner; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M593, roll 1636.
 Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, Anna Waggoner, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2014).
 Bland County, Virginia, Marriage Records, Book 1:8, entry for Jacob Waggoner and Fanie J. Kirby; County Clerk’s Office, Bland.