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Updated April 25, 2003

Walter Shepherd Waggoner

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The history of the Waggoner family is a microcosm of the history of our nation. Waggoners settled in tidewater Virginia and became planters in colonial times. They followed the Great Wagon Road south through Virginia and into the Carolinas. From early times, Waggoners were in the vanguard of the Westward movement of American history, and they were pioneers well into the latter half of the 19th century. The Oregon Trail took Waggoners west where they settled in California. Later, among other places, they settled in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Waggoners fought in the major wars of this nation including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and on both sides in the Civil War. In more recent times, Waggoners fought in World Wars I and II and in the Viet Nam War.

If one is interested in looking for Governors and Senators, famous leaders in business and industry or other people who have achieved great worldly and material fame, then he would do better to look elsewhere. The Waggoner family has made real contributions to the establishment and the continuing strength of our nation. They have worked hard, raised families, and pretty much been ordinary, God-fearing people. One will search hard to find black sheep in the family.

One Waggoner who achieved a degree of fame was Samuel Waggoner, a leader of the backwoods Regulator movement of 1771 in North Carolina. Thomas Waggoner of Virginia served with General Lafayette and was present at the British surrender at Yorktown. Milly Waggoner Marshall was killed by a slave in North Carolina in pre-Civil War days. James Riley Waggoner was killed in a gunfight in Oregon in 1896. There are many fascinating stories from the Waggoner family history.

Famous figures of American history have crossed paths with Waggoners over the past two and a half centuries. They include Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.



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Family Photos

    Stephen Douglas Waggoner was born in Pike County, Illinois in 1859, only one year after the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. He is shown here on his farm outside of Elsberry in Lincoln County, Missouri. The photo is undated and is courtesy of his daughter Grace Turner.
    The photo shows Green Caston Waggoner of Martinsburg, Illinois, his second wife Mary, and some of the children of both of his marriages. Green was born in Grainger County, Tennessee in 1819. He was married first to Caroline Doak who was the mother of Missouri, William Jackson and John Green. The photo was taken in Pittsfield, four miles north of Martinsburg in Pike County, Illinois. It was taken in 1882 when Green's daughter Missouri (Reynolds) returned from Stockton, California for a family visit.
    Green C. Waggoner left Pike County, Illinois and went to California in the Gold Rush of 1850. After returning to Illinois, he married Mary A. Foster. Mary had two sisters that married Green's brothers. An interesting story has been passed down in the family. When Mary and Green would finish a meal at the nome of their son Thomas, Mary would say to Jolie, Thomas's wife, "Now, honey, you just put those dishes aside. As soon as I am finished with my pipe, we will do them together."
    In May of 1887 young Laura Waggoner was struck by lightning near Pittsfield, Illinois. She was riding in a spring wagon with her father and other family members when lightning struck her umbrella, traveled down the braids of her hair and rendered her unconscious. For the rest of her life, Laura was afraid of electrical storms. The photo was probably taken before the lightning strike. Photo courtesy of Marie Winans.
    Martha E. Waggoner, daughter of Green and Mary, married Robert Robinson. The photo of the Robinsons is not dated. According to newspaper accounts, Martha died in 1904 of "a long and painful illness."
    Amanda Caroline Goodin was the daughter of Green and Mary Waggoner. She was born in 1856 and died in 1942. Though childless, Caroline raised Alpha and Dean Robinson, children of her deceased sister Martha. In this undated photo, Caroline is shown with her husband Sebastian (Bas).
    Flora Tobiatha Waggoner, called Byath, married David Zumwalt. Byath was the daughter of Green and Mary Waggoner. She was born in 1864 and died in 1934.

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