The family of this name, long and favorably known in Rush and Shelby counties, is of Southern origin. Milton L. Wagoner, who was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, in 1809, came with his parents to Indiana when he was seventeen years old. His father entered land in Rush county, near Moscow, when the whole region was covered with primeval forest and entirely destitute of the appliances of civilization. The nearest cabin was seven miles away, the mill so distant that the trip for meal or grain was quite an undertaking, and little to console the incomer, except the abundance of game and the fine fish that wriggled in the clear, pure water of the unpolluted streams. The older Wagoner, assisted by his boys, had to cut a trail through the forest from St. Omer back to his newly entered land. After he had reached his majority, Milton L. Wagoner began branching out for himself and soon displayed talents of a high order, in different pursuits. Being devoutly religious from youth he figured conspicuously for years in all matters of church government and development. He was instrumental in establishing the Ebenezer church of the Methodist Episcopal denomination in Orange township, Rush county, and for forty-two years was superintendent of the Sunday school. Having a good education and a natural talent for oratory, he gained local fame as a public speaker and was always in demand when an address was needed. As an exhorter, the Methodist church could show few equals to this backwoods master of eloquence. He was also successful as a school teacher and followed this profession for twenty-three years. He was fond of out-of-door life, an excellent shot with a rifle and a game hunter that ranked with the best of his time. September 8, 1831, he married Lavina M. McDuffee, who was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, June 29, 1813, and came with her people to Rush county in company with the Wagoners. The families located in a mile or two of each other, the children grew up together and there was always the greatest intimacy and neighborly exchange between them during all the years that followed their settlement. To Miller[sic] L. and Lavina Wagoner the following children were born: Cinderilla, deceased; Ruhama (Busby, of Illinois; Catherine, deceased, as are Peter and Anna, also; Robert, a resident of Rush county; Sarah Ann and Venila (Simpson) live in Blue Ridge, and James is a resident of Rush county.
Hayden Hayes Wagoner, the ninth child, was born in Rush county, June 16, 1849. His father being a teacher, he had the benefit of his instruction for several terms and also attended private school in old Ebenezer church. This, in connection with much hard study at night, made him in time an unusually well educated young man and he utilized his advantages by teaching eight years in Liberty township. After completing these terms, he spent some time in Greensburg, but eventually settled down again to residence on his farm. His father died at the advanced age of ninety-three years, and his mother closed her earthly experiences on January 24, 1892. She was highly respected as an exemplar of what a good Christian mother should be and her religious inclinations came naturally, as she was the daughter of a pioneer preacher of the Methodist church.
October 6, 1870, Mr. Wagoner married Elizabeth, daughter of William and Helen (Boring) Boys, natives of Ohio and among the early settlers in the Milroy neighborhood of Rush county. They have three children: Otto, born February 24, 1872, married Nannie, daughter of Doctor Shrout, at Waldron, has one child, Floyd Earl, and resides in Rush county; Alto, born April 23, 1874, married Delbert Norris, of Liberty township, and has two children, Marie and Stanley; Bessie, born December 14, 1877, married Dora Hungerford, resides in Noble township and has one child, Vanch. Mr. Wagoner keeps up with the procession as a progressive farmer and is quite prominent in th affairs of Liberty township. Instead of joining in the cry against the "red devils," Mr. Wagoner purchased an automobile for his own use, taking the view that these machines were more useful to farmers than any other class. His home is supplied with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of modern life, and it is only necessary to glance over the place to see that there is a man in charge who likes to see things kept in good order. The rural mail delivery, telephone and fine pike roads and nearby electric trolley line leave nothing to be desired in the way of conveniences and give evidence that the Wagoner home, like thousands of others in our great country, is enjoying the best that can be accorded by twentieth century civilization.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well
known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, pages 686-687.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming