These facts are just as they were told by Mother and Father and as I remember them.
Frida Wagner Guscott
April 29, 1934
Father (John Gottlieb Wagner) was born in Dundenheim, Amt Lahr Baden, Germany.
He was the oldest of three children; Nicholas, Marie and himself. His father (our grandfather)
owned a small place, which he worked after the manner of that day and time - i.e. they raised tobacco,
wheat, potatoes and turnips and made a very meager living. In 1849 during one of their frequent smallpox
epidemics he was taken down and died in a few days, leaving the widow and three small children to make a
living as well as they could. Our father was hired out to a farmer at a very early age.
At the proper age he was enrolled for three years of military service. This was about at the same time as our Civil War.
At the end of that term he entered the house of Pastor Carl Daniel Justus Rein
as manager of the land which was given to the Pastor by the government to use.
(The church was owned by the Government.) Here he met his future wife and later emigrated
to America to establish a home for both. His destination was the home of a cousin,
Michael Roth, DeKalb, Illinois, but he never reached there. When stopping over
in Cleveland he attended a German church and heard Rev. Julius H. Ruetenik preach.
This seemed to influence him to stay in Cleveland and here he set up a home,
at first working the Calvin College gardens and later entering the employ of Henry Rehburg,
a hardware merchant. He learned the tinsmith trade there.
However, the panic of 1873 threw him with many others out of a job, and after many attempts
to get work he finally rented a small farm in Parma, Ohio on the State Rd., a swampy wet,
low piece of land which he left four years later (1880) to purchase a small place of 22 1/2 acres
one mile north of where he began. This place was not much better, but the family managed
to exist by means of a milk peddling business..
After 12 years of hard work and only a bare living it was decided to leave this
place and rent a truck farm on School Rd. In 1893 the family which now numbered ten (eight children and parents)
moved into the Hinckley place where they lived for seven years and from there moved
to the John Gehring farm and lived there for five years. CORRECTION - Father moved
from Cleveland at Bahrer Ave. to School Rd and lived there two years, during that
time he peddled milk, and then moved on Mr. Browns farm of ten acres. We lived there
four years and then bought farm no. 2 of 22 1/2 acres.
It was here that mother's health failed and in March the 26th 1904 she died.
In 1905 the family consisting now of father and five daughters moved back to the
home on State Rd. where six years later father died in the new house he had erected.
Two girls had married before his death and six months later Lydia was married.
The farm had been sold to Gottlieb Wagner three years prior to fathers death.
There seemed to be a curse on that farm. Surely it brought only trouble to those who owned it.
At the time of this writing I do not know whether father's only brother Nicholas is still living.
There are two sons in Germany, one of whom had stayed with us several years.
But we have lost all connections. The sister, Marie, died some years before father.
I think she was older.