Floyd  Wagoner

The  Shelbyville  Republican
Monday September 1, 1947
Page 4 column 3
By Avonelle Lewis
            There have been a lot of changes in the feed and grain business in the past two decades, according to Floyd Wagoner.  And he should know.  For almost 19 years he’s been a manager of the  Nading Grain & Supply Company  elevator at Waldron and he has had two vacations during that time - and has never been off work a day because of illness.
            ‘Wag” got an early start in becoming acquainted with work around an elevator since his father,  Otto Wagoner, who died three years ago, owned one in Waldron for many years and he started as sort of an errand boy around 1910.  He began in his present capacity with the Nading Company when the elder Mr. Wagoner sold his establishment to the firm in 1928.  The job of manager, he says, includes coal hauling, corn shoveling, weighing and such tasks as well as hiring of personnel and purchasing.
            There are seven Nading elevators now.  The main office is at Greensburg and other plants with the one at Waldron are at St. Paul, Adams, Fenns Station, Lewis Creek and Prescott.  That the elevators were a land mark as early as 1900 is evidenced in a hand bill which Wagoner found at the Waldron plant and now has under glass for preservation.  It announced the opening of a “New Produce House” in March, 1900, at a place located “near the water mill and Nading elevator at 94 North Harrison Street, Shelbyville.
            In the intervening years of running errands for his Dad and his present job, “Wag” worked at three different times for the  Stephen Brothers Shoe  store and also was a co-operator of the first cafeteria style restaurant in Shelbyville.  This was located where the present  Cover Café  is on South Harrison Street, and was known as the  “B & W Restaurant.”  Named for Wagoner and Carl Brown, the co-owner.
            Probably the biggest advancement in the business during the years is in the method of feeding stock, chickens, etc., Mr. Wagoner says.  When he first began working at the elevator they sold only four types of feed, Bran, shorts (which most farmers call middlings today), tankage and a little prepared baby chick feed.  The last item was in its infancy then however, and very little was known about mixing feeds.  The mixing and grinding experiments were such a new thing that officials of the company debated if it would “pay” to purchase a hammer mill with which to grind the grains.  Today that machine is one of the necessities of the game.  Twenty-eight varieties of feed are carried at the elevator today as well as a complete line of vitamins and high protein concentrates.  The latter two products are stressed above all others these days and as an example of their value in feeding “Wag” points out that in former years a farmer expected to produce a 250-pound hog in a year and now an animal can reach that weight in five and one-half months.
            The coal department of the business has undergone some radical changes too.  In days before the present conveyors it took a full day to unload a carload of coal and now the job easily can be don in two hours.  Way back when too, Mr. Wagoner says. 90 per cent of the purchasers brought their own vehicles to get their coal but now it all is delivered from the elevator.  He recalls that the Waldron elevator supplied all the coal for the locomotive, which tore up the old traction line.  Each evening at 6:00 o’clock the engine chugged in for a refill.  He says too that back in those days the coal men looked for business in supplying fuel for threshing machine engines.  And today his 14-year-old son, Karl, probably wouldn’t know a threshing machine if he saw one!
            The change in working hours came in for comment too.  Eighteen years ago “Wag” and the one other man employed at the elevator (there are five with the manager today) went to work at 6:00 a.m. and worked until 6:00 p.m., six days a week.  Today the place opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. with Saturday afternoon off.
            So far this would seem to mostly a history of the elevator business instead of a “personality.”  So now for the man that makes the Waldron plant tick.  “Wag” has an attractive wife (the former  Mildred Mitchell) and three children of whom he’s pretty proud.  Five years ago their Waldron home was destroyed by fire and while a portion of their furniture was saved all their little personal mementoes were destroyed and they escaped with only the clothing “on their backs.”  After that they moved into another Waldron residence, which boasts a full hedged-in lot as a side yards where steak fries and other such gatherings are frequent affairs.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wagoner take an active part in the Waldron Methodist Church.  She also is an active Eastern Star member and he is a past president of the Waldron Community Club.  Their children are 17-year-old  Patricia,  Karl and two-year-old  Michael.  Pat, who in 1944 got herself written up in an article in The Woman’s Home Companion for being a typical “Hoosier girl” and for her extensive 4-H Club work, now is attending the state Home Economics school at Indianapolis.  Karl isn’t sure if he’ll follow in Dad’s footsteps in the elevator or not.
Contributed by Barb Huff

Biography Index       Main Page