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 George Washington Wagenseller

George Washington Wagenseller

Snyder County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 13 Oct 1951 (aged 83)
Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Acacia section, Lot # 3356, Space # 3
Memorial ID 67715857 · View Source
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Mr. Wagenseller is the icon of Snyder County, Pennsylvania genealogy and burials by virtue of having recorded marriages, tombstones and local history in books he wrote and published. It struck me as highly ironic that the man whose work and care documented thousands of burials did not have his own burial recorded. I have used his research on many occasions, so I simply wanted to find and respectfully record his burial here with thanks. It has blossomed far beyond that, as one piece of data led to another, and led to quite a wild ride. George left Pennsylvania in the 1920's and did no more work on Pennsylvania history, so what could be found had to be pieced together.

For the life of me, for the longest time, I couldn't find his place of rest. No one, nada, zip, not a single book or database, or person or their genealogy had this information online. Now it will start showing up as people cop it from here, and that's ok, because Mr. Wagenseller was a man who appreciated the value of grave documentation and would probably be glad to know his own has not been lost to posterity. He may be less happy about some of what is discussed here, as it doesn't seem he included it in his own writings, and indeed, there's no evidence yet found that anyone else has put it together. If you use this info, I don't care about credit for myself, but it would be appreciated if you cited his memorial on FindAGrave.

While we're clearing up info, let's bluntly state that the genealogies posted by others online on Mr. Wagenseller and his family are largely wrong. Genealogist that he was, he must be spinning in his heretofore unknown grave. Most all accounts claim that he and his wife Miriam had a bunch of kids - usually six to eight are listed. It's probably a case of one person posting something and everyone else copying it while not doing research. It appears no one paid attention to censuses: 1910, George and Miriam report having had 2 kids, Esther and Doris, both of whom are alive. By 1920, George is still listed as married but is raising the youngest daughter, Doris with a housekeeper.

So here's a bombshell - his daughter Esther Orwig Wagenseller died young in 1914; as of 1917-1919 there was going to be a park named for her in Middleburgh, Est-Ma Park, commemorating her and Mary Shambach, who died in 1917, the deceased daughter of one of George's partners, Professor T. F. Shambach.

And here's yet another bombshell - his wife Miriam was, at least for a time, a resident of what was then called Danville State Hospital for the Insane. See her memorial for more information, but in a nutshell, she lost one daughter in 1914, lost her parents in 1911 and 1915, and her husband instituted divorce proceedings in 1918. That's a lot of trauma for any human to weather.

Below you'll see George had an interest in the Snyder County colony for epileptics. It is unknown at this time if either his wife or daughter had epilepsy, which sadly was sometimes equated with mental illness.

George later married again on February 19, 1924 in Twin Falls, Idaho, and below you'll see his second wife was Elizabeth. No one has this information anywhere online, but her maiden name was Hislop. And no- the other numerous children attributed to George's first wife Miriam are not Elizabeth's either- all of them have birthdates before little Esther and Doris. The birthdates shown are usually April 1870, May 1871, November 1873, June 1876, December 1877, September 1881. Begging everyone's pardon, but no matter how accomplished Mr. Wagenseller was, it is doubtful he was fathering children when he was age two... or even age 13 for the last of these alleged children. Finally I compared the ridiculous data to information George had in his book, "The history of the Wagenseller family in America: with kindred branches" from 1904, and it turns out one or more people seem to have copied from the book, not realizing they were listing George's siblings as his children.

We can track some of George's movement over his life; a December 1946 edition of a Bucknell alumnus magazine states that he had recently moved to California after living almost 2 decades in Idaho. This means he must have left Pennsylvania about 1926, but his 1924 Idaho marriage license (which shows him as a Pocatello resident) tells us he must have been there earlier. He had been prominent in Idaho affairs and was offered the nomination for governor by the Progressive Party when he'd been a resident for only two years. By 1927, he'd published "Pocatello, the Pacific Northwest Gateway" (Pocatello Tribune, 1927).

The last look we get of George on currently available censuses shows him in 1940 in Los Angeles living with his second wife and father-in-law, T George Hislop (age 90 born in England) and mother-in-law Nettie B Hislop (age 75, born in Michigan).

The info below as well as the bio to the right tell a great deal about the man. Mr. Wagenseller graduated from the Selinsgrove Missionary Institute, which would become Susquehanna University. In fact, there's a special endowment there in his name. The George W. and Elizabeth H. Wagenseller Academic Program Endowment was established in 1981 by a bequest from George W. Wagenseller of Los Angeles, California. The income is to be used by the dean of the university for such special projects and purposes that may not be covered by the operating budget and which will benefit the academic program of the university.

GEORGE WASHINGTON WAGENSELLER, A. M., editor of the Middleburgh Post, is an enterprising and talented young man, whose abilities have found a congenial field for expression in journalistic work. He was born near Selins Grove, Penn., April 27, 1868, and his boyhood was spent upon his father's farm, much of his time being given to wholesome outdoor work. When he was fifteen years old his father became the manager of the Grangers' store at Selins Grove, and for several years George clerked there during the summer months, while attending the public schools in winter. In March, 1887, he entered Missionary Institute, now Susquehanna University, at Selins Grove, having secured
the necessary funds for his tuition and books through the diligent and careful saving of many small sums. On June 6, 1889, he was graduated, and during the following summer he became the principal of the public schools of Cowman, Union county, where he taught with marked success for one year, graduating five students on May 15, 1890. In September of the same year he matriculated as a student at Bucknell University at Lewisburg, Penn., entering the junior class. His summer vacations were devoted to canvassing, by which he earned enough money to pay the expense of his entire course, and on June 22, 1892, he was graduated from the classical course with the degree of A. B. Three years later he was granted the degree of A. M. from his Alma Mater.

During the summer of 1892 the Pennsylvania National Guard was called out to quell the riot at Homestead, Penn., and Mr. Wagenseller went with the Lewisburg company, spending eighteen days on duty. In August, 1892, he accepted the position of Professor of English and the Sciences in the Coatesville Academy, but in the following January, having learned that his salary was in jeopardy, he resigned. In April, 1893, he began work as Principal of the Teachers' Normal School at Kerrmoor, Clearfield county, Penn., the course being completed in June. During the following summer he was offered three positions within ten days, viz. : the presidency of Palatinate College at Myerstown, Penn. ; the assistant principalship of the public schools at Clearfield,
Penn., .and the principalship of the Bloomfield Academy at New Bloomfield, Perry Co., Penn. He accepted the latter, and held the position until the spring of 1894, when he resigned to engage in his present calling. On March 17,
1894, in partnership with A. E. Cooper, he purchased from Thomas H. Harter the Middleburgh Post, with the entire printing plant. On December 12, 1894, the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Wagenseller became the sole proprietor and the editor.

The history of the Post goes back to some time in the forties, when a German Whig paper was established at New Berlin, called the Union Demokrat. For many years it was published by Christian Moeser. In 1850 it was bought by Israel Gutelius, and in the spring of 1853 it was moved to Selins Grove. In 1861 it was changed from a German to an English paper, and the name changed to the Post. Until the latter part of 1866 it remained at Selins Grove, and prior to New Year, 1867, it was bought by Hon. Jeremiah Crouse. and moved to Middleburgh, and he continued its publication until December 1882, when Thomas H. Harter bought it, and retained it until the subject of this sketch secured it as
above stated. On February 3, 1898, the entire plant was moved into a large building built especially for the purpose, near the center of town. It is a strong Republican organ, free to expose wrong-doing in public life at all times, and it now has the largest circulation within the county, of any newspaper whatever. By his industry and vigilance he has greatly extended the influence of the paper, and he has added to the printing plant from time to time such modern devices as are required in an up-to-date office.

NOTE: Here we could include much of Mr. Wagenseller's ancestry and that of his first wife, but he has already done that in his writings, most of which are available online.

The following item about our subject appeared in "Susquehanna Alumnus (1947-1954)".

Sketch of 1889 Alumnus to Appear in "Who's Who In America"

George W. Wagenseller, former editor and publisher of the Middleburg Post, organizer of the Snyder County Historical Society and at present in the real estate and investment
business in California, has received a request from the editor "Who's Who in America" for a sketch of his life which is to appear in an early edition.

George W. Wagenseller

A permanent resident of California since 1942, Mr. Wagenseller has been engaged in the real estate and investment business in Los Angeles and also devotes considerable time to the writing of books and pamphlets. During the past year, the Alumni Office was the recipient of a pamphlet which is a resume of his life from the time he was a young lad in Selinsgrove.

He was graduated from Selinsgrove High School and received his degree from Missionary Institute in 1889. He and Mrs. Anne Chestnutt, of Morgan Hill. California, are the only two living members of this class. Referring to his college life in his pamphlet. Mr. Wagenseller wrote, "He came up the hard way. He provided the means, solely and entirely by his own efforts to acquire a complete college education and when he returned from graduation had only ten cents in his pocket, but had all his bills paid."

Mr. Wagenseller received the A.B. degree from Bucknell University in 1892 and the A.M. degree from there in 1895. His newspaper career began in 1894 when he purchased The Middleburg Post and extended for the next thirty-four years.

In 1913 he was elected the first president of the Pennsylvania Weekly Newspaper Association and later that year was elected president of the Pennsylvania State Editorial Association.

Public interest of Mr. Wagenseller includes the securing for Snyder County of assurance for the present epileptic hospital, the first effort in 1897 to organize a Snyder County Historical Society, and he was also one of the leading factors of the organization of the Middlecreek Valley Telephone Company of which he was a director and secretary.

Mr. Wagenseller is an interested and active member of the California Alumni Club. He and Mrs. Wagenseller reside at 1240 S. Burnside Avenue, Los Angeles, California.

On a personal note, I have to add with a smile that Mr. Wagenseller once noted in his family genealogy that none of the Wagensellers lived very long. He was dancing with age 83 when he died, so he seems happily to have done quite alright.

Family Members





  • Created by: sr/ks
  • Added: 31 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 67715857
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Washington Wagenseller (27 Apr 1868–13 Oct 1951), Find A Grave Memorial no. 67715857, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by sr/ks (contributor 46847659) .