Monday, May 25, 2015


John B. Wagner

[Warning: This Memorial Day post about my great-great-great-grandfather, John B. Wagner, will probably interest only members of my family.]

Debbi Lehr and Brenda Marble, Cass County, Missouri Cemeteries. Researched Edition (Harrisonville, 2003), Gunn City Cemetery section, p. 21:
WAGNER, JOHN B.........................................N/S
s/o Jacob C & Elizabeth A (Moore) Waggoner
@ 1820, Pike Co, IL
m1: Eliza Ann Hudson (03/13/1837, Greene Co, IL)
m2: Carthetly ____
*Stone missing (1999)
The last name of his second wife Carthetly was Kennedy. I don't think the stone is missing (see below).

Id., p. 7:
GILLELAND PLOT.........................................E4
(Cannot read names)
d. 08/17/1863, 43 yrs 4 m 15 d
These two entries, I think, refer to the same grave, that of John B. Wagner. If his date of death is August 17, 1862, subtract 43 years, 4 months, and 15 days, and his birth date is April 2, 1819. If his date of death is August 17, 1863, his birth date is April 2, 1820. In the census record of 1850 (Pike County, Illinois, enumeration on October 24), his age is 30. In the census record of 1860 (Cass County, Missouri, enumeration date left blank), his age is 40.

It makes sense for John B. Wagner to be buried in the Gilleland family plot, because two of his daughters are also buried there—Elizabeth A. (Wagner) Gilleland (1839-1857) and Emily M. (Wagner) Gilleland (1842-1913). These daughters were the wives of my great-great-grandfather Robert E. Gilleland (1832-1912), who married Emily the year after her sister Elizabeth (his first wife) died.

The headstone in question, located in the northwest corner of the Gilleland family plot, is weather-beaten and covered with lichen, to the point that the inscription is now practically illegible. I can, however, just barely read the letters "AG" (part of "WAGNER"), near the top, above the life span "43 Yrs. 4 Ms. 15 Ds." (click to enlarge):

John B. Wagner and his brother George T. Wagner both fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War, in the same regiment—10th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard. John was captain and regimental commissary; his younger brother George was a private in Company E. They enlisted on the same day (September 1, 1861) and were discharged on the same day (April 22, 1862).

If John B. Wagner died on August 17, 1862 (not 1863), then the date may reveal the cause of his death. August 17, 1862, was one day after the Battle of Lone Jack. The town of Lone Jack is located about ten miles north of the site of John B. Wagner's farm. I suspect that, despite his official discharge from the 10th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard, he fought in the Battle of Lone Jack, was wounded, and died the next day.

In the movie True Grit, Rooster Cogburn (played by John Wayne) tells Mattie Ross that he lost an eye at the Battle of Lone Jack, calling it "a scrap outside of Kansas City."

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