B A C K G R O U N D O F T H E W A G G Y
A N D K I S E R F A M I L I E S
The Waggy and Kiser families, with whom this report deals, were from the Palatinate region of Germany--in the Rhine River Valley. The name Waggy is said to be well known in Switzerland. The pioneer of each family had arrived in America early enough to have a part in the Revolutionary War; however the exact year of their arrival and the names of the boats on which they came to America have not yet been established.New information available
These pioneers may have lived for a time either in Maryland or Pennsylvania--most likely in the latter. This is said to have been true of the many German families who moved on to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia after the war ended. Both families spoke German and the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect. As the children of the families learned English, use of German in the homes and churches gradually waned--but the skills and folklore of the Pennsylvania Germans persisted.
WAGGY COUNTRY--Both the Waggy and Kiser families lived in what is now Rockingham County, Virginia. This county was created out of Augusta County in 1777. Harrisonburg is the county-seat. It is located in the heart of the beautiful and fertile Shenandoah Valley, which has been called "The Garden Spot of The World." Pendleton County, in which all the children of Adam and Susan Kiser Waggy were born, was formed out of Rockingham Co. on May 1, 1788. Franklin is the county-seat. In 1863 the State of West Virginia came into being and Pendleton County was included. This means that the children of Adam and Susan born prior to 1863 were born in Virginia; the others born in West Virginia.
The Shenandoah Mountain range runs north and south and forms a natural state boundary between the two counties. These compose the "Waggy Country" in which we are interested here.
THE GREAT GRANDFATHER OF ADAM WAGGY--We would like to know much more than we do about the Waggys in America prior to Adam, but we are grateful for that which we do know. All descendants of Adam Waggy are deeply indebted to Miss Ollie Wagy . . . and to Mrs. Goldie Hill (Wm. E.) . . . for their findings in THE WAGGY-WAGY FAMILY (1968). They discovered that all Waggys or Wagys in this country had the same ancestor - PHILIP WAGGY, SR. - who was the great grandfather of ADAM.
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Courts today strive to be accurate with the spelling of names but in pioneer times there was much carelessness, due undoubtedly to the lack of education. In ABSTRACT OF LAND GRANT SURVEYS 1761-1791 by Peter C. Kaylor we have the earliest mention yet found concerning Philip Waggy, Sr. It reads as follows: "Phillip Waggy, 220 acres, Howel Branch of Beaver Creek. . . ." (p.107)
In J.W. Wayland's VIRGINIA VALLEY RECORDS there is a list of landowners in the year 1789. It includes "Philip Wagey, 80 acres of militia district #1." (p. 45).
It was a pleasant surprise to learn recently that there is a branch of Beaver Creek flowing through a beautiful little valley which is known as WAGGY CREEK. Undoubtedly there is the stream referred to as Howel Branch. As far as is known, no one has tried to pin point the exact location of Philip Waggy's land along this stream. As he lived here around twenty-nine years and had a large family, it is understandable that he became a well known resident. Beaver Creek is southwest of Harrisonburg and west of the town of Bridgewater, Virginia.
Philip, Sr. made his will because of being frail by old age. It was proved at March court, 1812, at Harrisonburg. Unfortunately it was later partially destroyed in a Court House fire. It mentions his wife Susannah and two sons Abraham and Isaac Waggy. The brothers were named as the executors--(VIRGINIA VALLEY RECORDS, p. 436). These same brothers remained in Virginia and continued to spell the family name WAGGY. The other children moved to Licking, Fairfield and Ross Counties in Ohio and gradually went westward to Illinois and elsewhere. They changed the name to WAGY. . . .
ABRAHAM WAGGY, GRANDFATHER OF ADAM - In this record we are concerned with only one of Philip, Sr's. children--his son ABRAHAM - who became the father of JOHN, who in turn became the father of ADAM. According to Morton in A HISTORY OF PENDLETON COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, the Waggys settled on the South Branch of the Potomac River, some eight miles above Franklin in what is now Pendleton Co., West Virginia. He gives the year 1796 as the approximate time. This made Abraham a pioneer in the Sugar Grove area. Here he married. [His third child of nine was JOHN]. . . .
JOHN WAGGY, FATHER OF ADAM was born Mar. 16 1807, near Sugar Grove. He was one of the children of Abraham. He married Alice (Allie) Propst, member of one of Pendleton's most prominent families. They became the parents of eight children, among whom was ADAM. . . .
THE KISER FAMILY (German-Keiser) settled at Mt. Crawford, Rockingham County, Virginia. The year is unknown . . . On Sept. 26, 1732, the ship MARY OF LONDON arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam, Holland. All the passengers were German, including 69 males above 16, 122 women and children. Total 183. The list included one--CHRISTOPHER KISER. (See Rupp's Collection of Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants in Pennsylvania--From 1727-1776). To our knowledge, the identity of this man has not been established. He could be the original pioneer of the family.New information available
N O T E S A B O U T M E M B E R S O F
T H E A D A M W A G G Y F A M I L Y
ADAM WAGGY was an outdoor man and physically strong. As such he was a cunning woodsman with special interest in trees and animals, particularly horses. He is reported to have always had fat horses--perhaps being overly protective of them. Once the family had a bear cub as a pet. They kept it until it matured and was no longer safe to have around. Handsome specimens of trees were preserved to be enjoyed by others. His sons were taught to do all kinds of farm and construction work. According to an old expression, "there was not a lazy bone in their bodies." Moreover it can be said that he was more indulgent with his daughters than with his sons. For recreation, Adam made the trip down to the general store or to John Kiser's (his brother-in-law) flour mill. He and many neighbors made and enjoyed a drink called metheglin--made of fermented wild honey and water. Religiously Adam was evidently ecumenically minded for he helped to make a Union Church building possible at Sugar Grove. Because of his opposition to African slavery, he was glad when West Virginia became a separate state. He kept himself informed about what was going on by subscribing to THE WHEELING INTELLIGENCER. Wheeling was the center of agitation for the new state and became its first capital.
SUSAN WAGGY was born in Rockingham County, Jan. 19, 1831. Her parents, WILLIAM (1793-1858) and BARBARA WISE (WEISS) KISER, moved to Pendleton Co. when she was a child. They were sturdy, frugal, self-sufficing people--like other Germans in or from The Valley. Life was not easy for Susan after she took on the responsibilities of a young bride living in primitive conditions. She had to muster every talent and resource to measure up to the need. . . . Susan Waggy was a neat, clean woman and exemplified the qualities and abilities for which the "Pennsylvania Germans" are known today. She was a German Baptist--a deeply spiritual woman. Attendance by the family at the Crummet's Run Church of The Brethren was limited to the transportation available. Special gatherings at the church and "singing schools" were eagerly anticipated. She loved to sing Christian hymns such as "How Firm A Foundation" and Gospel Songs such as "There's Sunshine In My Soul Today."
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MARTHA JANE [ADAM and SUSAN'S daughter] became the mother of a large family, the last of whom was born in 1900. Her husband died the following year. This created quite a crisis but with the older boys working together they succeeded in staying together and continued to live on their place near Sugar Grove.
*Note: The source of these excerpts is The Family of Adam and Susan Kiser Waggy of Sugar Grove, Pendleton Co., W. Va. compliled by Clarence D. Mulkin, 1969, and sent to my grandmother Hazel Eckard Fisher 2 January 1970. The excerpts were included with all the other linking information of this family tree by James Arthur Johnson, grandson of Hazel Jane Eckard, the granddaughter of Martha Jane Waggy.