Jefferson County Historical Society

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J. E. Waggener, merchant at Rush Tower, and farmer, was born in Plattin
Township, December 23, 1847, and was educated in the common country 
school by his own efforts.  At the age of eighteen he assumed charge of
the Oakland school, near where he was reared, and taught two terms with
excellent success.  In 1868 he began clerking in the store of B. F. &
J. M. England.  In a few years the firm had undergone several changes,
but he was retained as clerk, and in 1871 became a partner, the firm
title being J. E. Waggener & Co.  In 1876 he married Miss Florence,
daughter of Thomas L. and Mary Donnell, who are among the esteemed 
pioneers of Jefferson County, where Mrs. Waggener was born in 1855.  
She is an accomplished lady, and by her union to Mr. Waggener became 
the mother of four children, three now living: Oliver M., Thomas D., 
and Lillie Lee.  In 1879 Mr. Waggener abandoned mercantile life, and 
removed to his farm of 170 acres, situated four miles southwest of Rush
Tower, and known as the "Parker Farm."  After living there three years 
his health became impaired, and he removed to Hematite, and again engaged 
in merchandising in partnership with B. C. Berry.  In the spring of 1886 
he returned to his farm, and soon after formed a partnership with J. S. 
Shannon, and has since been engaged in merchandising at Rush Tower, but 
lives on the farm, four miles away.  He also has 120 acres two miles 
west of Rush Tower, which he holds for sale.  All his property is the 
fruit of his own exertions.  Mr. Waggener is a Democrat, and his first 
presidential vote was for Horatio Seymour in 1868.  He and wife are 
members of the Methodist Episcopal church South. He is the son of R. G. 
Waggener, a native of Culpeper County, Va., born July, 1797, and of 
Scotch descent.  He was in the War of 1812, serving six months in the 
United States army.  In 1816 or 1817 he went to Kentucky, and for 
twenty-five years was a pilot on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  He 
was pilot on the first line of steamers that ran from Louisville to New 
Orleans.  In 1835 he married Mary Moore, in Louisville, Ky., and in 1839 
came to Jefferson County, where he settled near Rush Tower, and where he 
passed the remainder of his days as an enterprising citizen.  He died 
January, 1885.  The mother is still living on the old farm, and of the 
twelve children born to her marriage, nine are now living, and our 
subject is the sixth.