Robert M. Wagnon & Elizabeth Matilda Bates Wagnon

I found the following in The Lone Star State—History of Texas, 1896, p. 516.

“Robert M. Wagnon is the owner of one of the fine farms of Comanche County and has made his home thereon since 1882. The place comprises three hundred and twenty acres of rich land. The harvests have brought to him a good return for his labor and he is recognized as one of the substantial and progressive agriculturalists of the community.

Back:  Harvey, William, Dovia, Julia, Rosa Front:  Robert M., holding Cyrus and Robert Jefferson, Seth, Elizabeth, holding Noah, and Ruth Wagnon

Back: Harvey, William, Dovia, Julia, Rosa
Front: Robert M., holding Cyrus and Robert Jefferson, Seth, Elizabeth, holding Noah, and Ruth Wagnon

“The owner of these desirable properties came to Comanche County in November, 1870. He was born in Washington County, Arkansas, near the mouth of the War Eagle River, on August 4, 1848. His father, Perry Wagnon, was also a native of Arkansas, and a son of Beryl Wagnon, an early settler of that state. Beryl Wagnon was a native of Indiana and a descendent of Colonel George Wagnon, one of the honored heroes of the Revolutionary War. Colonel Wagnon was of Welsh and German extraction.

“Robert M. Wagnon spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native state and acquired his education in the public schools. After his father’s death after the Civil War, the responsibility of caring for the six younger members of the family devolved upon his mother, Elizabeth Easley Wagnon, and him and he proved his mother a very able assistant. He was only fourteen years of age at the time. He was also a valiant soldier boy, entering the army as a member of Captain Ingram’s company and also worked in the employ of others, caring for stock until 1870. He then came to Comanche County, where for more than a quarter of a century he has made his home, successfully engage in land cultivation and in stock-raising.

“In 1873, in Comanche County, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Wagnon and Miss Elizabeth Matilda Bates, an esteemed and cultured lady, a native of Georgia of William and R.C. Bates, who came to Texas from Georgia. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Wagnon numbers twelve children (1896), W. Perry, Dovey J., Harvey G., Julia Ann, Rosa M., Ruth N., Seth, Custer, Robert J.., Cyrus Buell, Noah Webster, and Beryl.”

The following was told to me by Dovia Cox of Waxahachie, Texas and Patricia Andrews of San Antonio.

Other children born later to this union were Samuel Dow and Lota May.

One family story about Robert M. Wagnon “Bob” was that he kept his money in holes bored into the logs of his cabin or buried in cans in the yard. One day, Bob was in the bank talking to Tom Homsley, his cousin who was part owner of the bank. Homsley told Bob that the bank was in real trouble and could stay in business only a week or two longer. The problem was that the bank could not get any more money by that time.

“How much do you need? Would $800.00 help you?” asked Bob Wagnon. Homsley said that $800.00 would “tide the bank over just fine.” Bob went to this home and looked in cans buried in his yard and in holes in the logs of his house. He took out $800.00, brought it back to Tom Homsley at the Comanche National Bank, and saved the bank.

Another family story is about Robert’s wife, Elizabeth (Bates) Wagnon. She was left alone with a baby and a small child when her husband went to court in Waco. He had prepared a place under the floor of the cabin for his family to hide in if Indians came on a raid. The Indians did raid, and Elizabeth and the children hid under the floor. She nursed the baby and got the other child to sleep by giving him a rag soaked in sugar water on which to suck.

The Indians went all over the cabin, taking food and pouring syrup all over everything. They also took all of the feather pillows and shot arrows into them. As they left, the Indians also drove off most of the stock.*

Robert M. Wagnon and his wife, Elizabeth M. (Bates) Wagnon, and two of their sons, Noah W. (4-14-1892; 8-13-1929) and Dow (9-15-1897; 4-27-1914, WW I) are buried in the Stag Creek Cemetery, Comanche County.

*This was not a common happening in Comanche County in the 1870’s. The last person killed by Indians in this county was Bob Lesley in 1874. The second Wagnon child was born in 1877, which makes this event happen in 1877 or slightly later. These types of attacks were not common this late, but certainly could have happened at the hands of roving bands passing through the county.

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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