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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John Henry Wagner

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 524-525 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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John Henry Wagner, president of the Wagner Furniture Company of Herkimer, New York, was born in Hessen, Germany, on January 20, 1870, and came to America with his parents at the age of fourteen. He is the son of George W. and Ann Elizabeth (Schaub) Wagner. George W. Wagner was born in Germany, on March 13, 1837, and died in Utica, New York, on March 1, 1923. He was a carpenter and builder by trade, but for the last twenty years had been associated with his son in the furniture manufacturing business. His wife was also born in Germany, and died in Utica in 1907. George W. Wagner was the son of Martin and Elizabeth (Gerlach) Wagner, who spent their lives in Germany.

John Henry Wagner attended the common schools in Germany and soon after reaching America was employed for a time as a machine tender for the Globe Woolen Company, later becoming an apprentice cabinetmaker with Lord & Latimer of Utica, New York, and remained for six years. He then entered the employ of the Butler Manufacturing Company, of Syracuse, New York, and was three three years doing cabinet work, after which he returned to Utica and formed a partnership with his brother George, under the firm name of the Wagner Brothers, for the repairing and manufacturing of furniture. In 1904 they removed to Herkimer, where they incorporated the business under the name of Wagner Furniture Company, taking in Mr. F. A. Fagan as a member of the firm, John Henry Wagner being president and Mr. Fagan vice president. The plant has now been enlarged, owing to the increasing business, which is confined to the eastern section of the country.

On October 12, 1897, at Utica, New York, Mr. Wagner was united in marriage to Miss Emma H. Voll, who was born in Utica, on January 29, 1878, and died there on August 9, 1910. Her parents were Albert and Catherine (Looft) Voll, both of whom were born in Germany and died in Utica. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner were the parents of five children: Mabel Margaret, who was born on April 15, 1899, in Utica, and died in Herkimer, on June 16, 1922; Arthur A., who was born on December 1, 1901, in Canastota, New York, and graduated from the Herkimer high school in 1920. He is now taking a course in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; George R., who was born in Canastota, on March 21, 1903, graduated from Herkimer high school in 1922, and is now taking a course in business administration at Syracuse University; Sylvia A., who was born on October 6, 1905, at Herkimer, and graduated from the high school at that place in 1923, afterward taking a year's course at Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute, where she was graduated in 1924; and John H. Wagner, Jr., who was born on January 10, 1908, and is now a student in the high school in Herkimer.

Mr. Wagner is a thirty-second degree Mason and a member of Mohawk Valley Consistory, the Ziyara Temple of Utica, and the blue lodge of Herkimer. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed church of Herkimer and in politics is a republican. In whatsoever relation of life Mr. Wagner is found he is always the same honored gentleman whose worth well merits the high regard which is uniformly given him.

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