Waggoner Family History

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Our Swiss Immigrant Ancestors

Hans Jacob Waggoner (1732 - 1808)

Hans Jacob Waggoner was born in May of 1732 (baptised 1 June) in Runenberg in the canton of Basel Land in northern Switzerland. He was the son of Martin Wagner, (born the day after Christmas, 1702, to Jacob Wagner and Barbara Thommen) and Maria Greider. It is known that he had a sister Marins.

In the summer of 1740, when he was barely eight years old, Hansí life changed radically when his family decided to leave their native Switzerland and emigrate to the British colonies of North America, to William Pennís Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The reason for their leaving is not known but was, as likely as not, of an economic nature.

The Atlantic crossing in the 18th Century, in wooden ships under canvas sail, was always a risky venture, very much at the whim of wind and weather. For the Wagner family, crossing the North Atlantic in the summer of 1740 on board the ship "Friendship", bound for Philadelphia, the voyage turned deadly. A violent storm came upon the ship and when it had passed most of the provisions of food and fresh water were lost. The increasingly unsanitary conditions prevailing for the remainder of the voyage took their toll of the immigrant passengers. By the time the "Friendship" docked at Philadelphia on 23rd September Martin Wagner, his wife Maria, and daughter Marins were all dead from disease. Of the original family group which had left Switzerland, only Hans and his uncle Heini (known as Dumb Uncle Heini) remained. Hans Jacob Wagner had arrived in the New World , an eight-year-old, German-speaking, Swiss orphan. It was not an auspicious beginning.

In a 1963 family history M. Mae Waggoner wrote that Jacob, to pay for his passage, was bound out to a farmer with whom he remained until he was 19 years of age. He was cruelly treated and during the severe winter his feet were badly frozen from the lack of proper shoes. It was said that one could track him to school by the bloodstains in the snow. His feet never fully recovered. He learned the blacksmithing trade, however, and upon reaching his majority moved to Carlisle to establish a new life for himself.

Hans met and married Maria Catherine Bauer, also Swiss born, 15 February 1758, and together they had twelve children. Their daughter Maria Magdalena would marry Johan Jacob Wolf and, two generations farther along, Hans and Catherineís great-granddaughter Sarah Wolf would marry George Kipp, Jr., in Ashland, Ohio, 17 February 1848. Thus did the Swiss family Waggoner and the Pennsylvania Dutch (i.e., German) Wolfs become a part of our family tree.
  • Johan Jacob, born 1 January 1760
  • Johannes, born 11 May 1762
  • Catherine, born 2 August 1764
  • Johan Philip, born 30 January 1767
  • Maria Magdalena, born 26 March 1769
  • Johan Henry, born 1 August 1770, died 22 October 1777
  • Johan Martin, born 25 January 1773, died 6 October 1777
  • Johan George, born 18 November 1774
  • Margaretta, born 18 November 1778
  • Elizabeth, born 10 August 1780
  • Abraham, born 19 January 1784
  • From the Waggoner Family Bible, printed in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1743 and bought 23 September 1764, the children of Hans Jacob Waggoner and Maria Catherine Bauer. 

    A twelfth child has been spoken of, a twin brother to Johan George named Benjamin whose name is not recorded in the family Bible. He likely died in infancy if not at birth.


    Last Updated 14 March, 2004