Oklahoma Genealogical Society
From Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly Vol. 12, Nos. 1 & 2; For March & June 1967
Transcribed to Electronic form by Jo White
Contributed by Mrs. Howard W. Woodruff (Audrey Lee Wagner), Kansas City, Missouri
Henry Wagner, my great grandfather, was born in Harrison Co., Ohio in 1831 and died in Kansas City, Mo. in 1913. He was the son of Levi and Elizabeth (Feltenberger) Wagner. Henry married three times: first to Elizabeth Jane Keeton in Gallia Co., Ohio, in 1852; second to Lydia Sechrist in Miami Co., Kansas in 1859; and third to Margaret “Maggie” Bailey Miller in Moultrie Co., Ill. in 1876. Henry served as a Corporal in the Civil War in Co. G., 47th Reg. of Ill. He was a farmer, hauled-reight (freight?), and was a lay-preacher in the Christian Church.
Henry homesteaded in Kansas prior to 1860, and following the Civil War, he returned to Kansas. In his late 50’s he headed out for Oklahoma to participate in the 1889 land rush. His claim was near the town of Hallett, Oklahoma. Walter Wagner, son of Henry, born in 1880 in Johnson Co., Kansas, moved to Oklahoma as a child and recalls living for several years in a sod house. When he was in his early teens, a tornado swept across Oklahoma, destroying everything in its path. Maggie and the children were alone at the time and saw it moving toward their newly built home. Maggie cried out in despair, “Pray, Walter, pray!” This son of a layman preacher dropped to his knees and started to pray aloud. The tornado came rushing toward them with a mighty roar, suddenly lifted and passed over the house, then dropped to the earth and continued on its path of destruction. Walter was not a religious man, but like “Jacob at Bethel,” at this one place God heard his prayer. When he died in August 1955, he was brought at his request, from his home in Shidler, Oklahoma to the cemetery at Hallett, which was once a part of the original Wagner homestead.
Hiram Steffy Wagner, “Steff,” my grandfather, was the oldest son of the above Henry and Elizabeth Jane (Keeton) Wagner. He was born in 1854 in Gallia Co., Ohio and died in Independence, Mo. in 1918. He married Laura Lindsey Hudson, daughter of Benjamin Christopher Brookins Hudson. Henry and Steff lost tract (sic) of one another through the years, and unbeknown to the other, they both moved to Oklahoma and participated in the famous 89er land rush. Steff was the first sheriff of Blackwell, Oklahoma. His wife, Laura, baked bread and sold it to the over-populated town of Blackwell. A brother-in-law, Frank Brewer, who married Jessie Adelaid Hudson, was also in the land run. In the spring of 1895 the men sold their claims and returned to Kansas. They hired out one of their teams and returned home in the same wagon, leaving my father, Glenn H. Wagner, a boy just turned 13, to stay on for a few weeks to care for them. Later he made the trip alone, from Blackwell, Oklahoma to Olathe, Kansas riding one horse and leading the other, sleeping out nights and camping along the way. Some members of the Hudson family remained in Oklahoma and live in the area of Kingfisher today.
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