Claude Wagoner and Myrtle Ford

Story by Fred Gahimer

Claude Lester Wagoner and Myrtle Ford were married on January 17, 1904 in Milroy in Orange Township of Rush County, Indiana.

For more information about Claude’s younger years, see this story. For more information about Myrtle’s younger years, see this story.

Claude was sort in height and medium build, with grey eyes and light brown hair.

They first rented a very small T-shaped house in Orange Township, Rush County, on the south side of CR550S between CR650W and CR725W and just east of the jog in the road. This is between Homer and Moscow near Gowdy.

On June 20, 1904, Huson Earl Wagoner was born.

On November 2, 1905, Herbert Garl Huson was born.

On December 7, 1908 Mabel Deloris Wagoner was born.

In the 1910 census, Claude Wagoner (27) was farming in Orange Township. His household consisted of his wife Myrtle (24), sons Huston (5) and Herbert (4), and daughter Mabel (1). Myrtle’s sister Mabel (26) and her husband Charles McFatridge (28) were listed in the census on the same page, so they were either living very near Claude and Myrtle, or were living with them.

On July 29, 1910, Basel Tolbert Wagoner was born.
Gowdy grade school. Front row, 5th from right: Mabel Wagoner (between man’s legs)
Mabel Wagoner

Mabel loved school, and resented when her mother made her stop school after eight grade to stay at home and help raise the younger siblings.

In July 1915, a bad storm blew several of Claude’s fruit trees down. Some large limbs blew into Clyde Wagoner’s home nearby.

In 1916, Lester Ephraim Wagoner was born.

L-R: Huson Wagoner, Herbert Wagoner.
Mabel Wagoner (far left) with her school friends
Mabel Wagoner (left)
Mabel Wagoner

In August 1919, Claude had 100 chickens stolen by robbers. He and some neighbors tracked the vehicle to a nearby house and found the two high schooler robbers. The two boys eventually admitted to the crime.

Birthplace of Mabel Wagoner. Photo taken in the 1970’s shortly before the building was torn down.

They then moved to a farm near the town of Carthage in Ripley Township, where Mabel went to school in Carthage and met her life-long friend, Valetta. They lived in a big house at the end of a long straight lane that went up a hill. In the 1920 census, Claude (37) was farming in Ripley Township, with a household consisting of his wife Myrtle (32), and children Huson E. (15) working as a farm laborer, Herbert G. (13), Mabel D. (11), Basil G. (9), and Lester E. (4 1/2).

Mary Rose was born April 26, 1924.

L – R: Mabel Wagoner, ?, ?
Waldron 1925 eigth grade graduation. Mabel Wagoner (front standing row, 4th from left)

Norman Lloyd Wagoner was born February 2, 1926.

On August 20, 1926, Huson Earl Wagoner married Ruth L. Gardner.

On February 11, 1928, Herbert Garl Huson married Ruth Maxine Miller.
Mabel Wagoner at Camp Mack state camp for girls, August 1928 (back row, from the right with checked pattern tie)
Mabel Wagoner at Camp Mack state camp for girls, August 1928 (back row, from the right with checked pattern tie)
L _ R: Valeta Carmony?, Mabel Wagoner, ?
Mabel Wagoner (center)

On August 24, 1929 Mabel Deloris Wagoner married Carl Fredrick Gahimer.

Claude and Myrtle were active members of the Methodist Church in Gowdy.

Norman and Mary Rose Wagoner


Herbert Wagoner and Mabel Wagoner. Herbert died in a tractor accident in 1945. Herbert and Mabel were close siblings, and he was about 3 years older than Mabel.
Mabel Wagoner

On Valentine’s Day (February 14) 1941, Mary Rosalie Wagoner married William Bern Percell.

On November 25, 1945, Herbert, died in a tractor accident. It is believed he fell asleep while driving the tractor, and fell off, and was then further injured by the rolling tractor and wagons.

Rushville Republican
Monday, November 26, 1945

Tractor Accident Proves Fatal to Herbert Wagoner

Herbert Carl Wagoner, 40, Orange township farmer, expired Sunday night at 11:50 in the Major hospital at Shelbyville where he was removed earlier in the day following an accident.

Mr. Wagoner was injured in a tractor accident while pulling two loads of corn at his home, west of Moscow. He was unconscious when found about noon and never regained consciousness.

He was born in Orange township where he resided all his life. He was a son of Claude and Myrtle Ford Wagoner and was born November 2, 1905. Mr. Wagoner was a member of the Homer Christian church.

Survivors are: the widow, Mrs. Ruth Miller Wagoner, and three daughters, Marjorie May, Evelyn Maxine and Marilyn Ann, all at home; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Wagoner of Orange township; four brothers. Huson and Bacel of Rush county. Lester of Shelby county and Norman with the army at Luzon; two sisters, Mrs. Carl Gahimer of Shelby county and Mrs. William Purcell of near Rushville.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock in the Moscow Christian church. The Rev. C. B. Wraith of Homer Christian church will officiate. Burial will be made in the East Hill cemetery here. Friends may call at the home beginning Tuesday noon.

Claude then moved back to Orange Township and rented a farm in the southern end of Walker Township, on the west side of CR650W and less than a mile north of the first house on CR550S. The farm had a very large house, a nice barn with milk cow stalls, and a hickory woods to the south. It was owned by a Mull, who also owned the bank.

Mr. Mull fell on hard times financially, and borrowed $3,000 from Claude. Mr. Mull lost the money at the bank, and never repaid Claude. The farm went into receivership, and was bought by a Mr. Parker. Claude and Mr. Parker had a disagreement and Claude decided to move.

The Mull place rented by Claude and Myrtle just before it was torn down.

They rented a two story house in the nearby town of Manilla on the north side of the main street, and Claude farmed about 100 acres of farmland immediately north of the house. After about two years, Mr. Parker asked Claude to rent the Mull/Parker Place again.

The last farm they had was the Scull place on SR 244, on the south side of the highway, and stretching between the Flat Rock River bridge on the west to about 1/4 mile of CR500W on the east. They lived there for a number of years until Claude retired.

In 1950, Claude and J. T. Scull auctioned off livestock, equipment, and household goods from the Scull farm.

L – R: Claude Wagoner, Norman Wagoner, Fritz (dog of Martha), Martha Gahimer Skillman, Myrtle Ford Wagoner, Patty Percell, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, Beth Ann Percell Doddridge in front of Carl Gahimer farm house

Claude and Myrtle then purchased a nice little bungalo a few miles southwest of the SR 9 bridge over the Flat Rock River.

Claude and Myrtle at their house near Flat Rock Cave.
L – R: Anna May Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, William “Junior” Percell, Fred Gahimer, Claude Wagoner, Mary Rose Wagoner Percell, Martha Gahimer, Patti Percell, Beth Ann Percell Doddridge, Mabel Ford McFatridge, Huson Wagoner, Myrtle Ford Wagoner, Marjorie Wagoner, baby, Ruth Wagoner (Huson’s wife)

In the photo above, Claude is holding Fred Gahimer, his grandson. Claude was a soft-spoken, kind-hearted man who Fred enjoyed visiting.

In November 1943, Claude was elected to be the local representative to the county Farm Bureau convention.

Claude and Myrtle bought a house in Manilla.

Claude and Myrtle’s house in Manilla. Photo taken in the 1990’s.
You are cordially invited to an OPEN HOUSE honoring Mr. & Mrs. Claude Wagoner at their home, January 17, 1954 on their Golden Wedding Anniversary Hours 2-5 


Claude and Myrtle Wagoner  Standing L-R: Nora (Lang) Shore, Mabel (Wagoner) Gahimer, Claude Wagoner, Myrtle (Ford) Wagoner, Herbert Wagoner, Martha “Matt” (Ford) Rooker, Frances “Fannie” (Ford) Lang, John Shore. In front L-R: Mary Rose and Norman Wagoner, John Shore’s daughter by a previous wife. 
L – R: William “Junior” Percell, ? child, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, Claude Wagoner, Mary Rose Wagoner Percell, Patti Purcell?, Myrtle Ford Wagoner

Claude died in his home in Manilla on June 28, 1960 of cerebro-vascular accident (i.e. stroke) as a result of arteriosclerosis.

Rushville Republican
Tuesday, June 28, 1960

Retired FarmerDies At Manilla After An Illness

Claude Wagoner, 77, retired farmer, died at his home in Manilla at 5:08 a.m. today following a series of strokes. In failing health two years, his condition had been serious since Christmas.

He was born September 28, 1882, in Orange Township, the son of Bracken and Lewie Peck Wagoner, and was married on January 17, 1904, to Myrtle Ford, who survives.

Mr. Wagoner spent most of his life in the Gowdy community where he was a well-known farmer. He lived south of Shelbyville for seven years before moving to Manilla.

In addition to the widow he is survived by four sons, Huson Wagoner, R. R. 5, Rushville; Bacel and Lester Wagoner of Homer and Norman Wagoner of New Augusta: two daughters, Mrs. Carl Gahimer near Manilla and Mrs. William Percell of Homer; two brothers, Clyde Wagoner near Manilla and Constant Wagoner of Waldron: three sisters, Mrs. Edith Greenwell of Spiceland, Mrs. Eva Kirk of Gowdy and Mrs. Bessie Bennett, R. R. 5, Rushville, 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

One son and two sisters preceded him in death.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Carmony Funeral Home in Manilla, with the Rev. E. E. Young of Glenwood officiating, and burial will follow in the Moscow Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home afternoon Wednesday.


Front L- R: Lester Wagoner, Mary Rose Wagoner Percell, Myrtle Ford Wagoner, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer. Back L – R: Huson Wagoner, Norman Wagoner, Bacel Wagoner


Myrtle surrounded by her great-grandchildren (Mabel’s grandchildren).


Myrtle and her daughter Mabel at Carl and Mabel Gahimer’s farm (c. 1972)

On March 1, 1971, Huson Earl Wagoner died.

On January 3, 1979, Basel Tolbert Wagoner died.

On January 20, 1980, Myrtle died in a nursing home in Morristown.

Claude and Myrtle are buried in the Moscow Cemetery in Rush County.


In April 5, 1989, Mabel Deloris Wagoner died.

On June 4, 1992, Mary Rosalie Wagoner died.

On July 20, 2000, Norman Loyd Wagoner died.