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Sol. E. Waggoner, president of the Masonic Home of St. Louis, has long been a recognized leader in the Masonic fraternity of Missouri and has contributed much to the growth and success of the order in the state. A native of Ohio he was born March 8, 1851, and is justly proud to trace his descent from General Waggoner of Revolutionary war fame who was a resident of Virginia. His father, William Waggoner, lived for some time in Ohio and in 1858 established his home in Macon, Missouri. He was one of only eight in the entire county who supported Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860 and the political antagonism which he thus engendered rendered it so uncomfortable for him that he removed to Iowa in 1861, where he later engaged in the contracting business. He married Malinda Small, a native of Pennsylvania, and she, too, came of Revolutionary war ancestry. Her death occurred in 1874, while William Waggoner long survived his wife and had reached the venerable age of ninety-two years when he passed away in 1902.
Reared in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sol. E. Waggoner there attended the public schools and after leaving the high school became a student in Oskaloosa College, from which he was graduated in due course of time. He was early identified with the Western Union Telegraph Company as circuit manager on the old overland route, accepting that position in 1867. He assisted in the transfer of the old line from Julesburg to Salt Lake City, which was completed in 1869, and as a result thereof the rail route supplanted the stage route of the earlier days.
Later Mr. Waggoner returned to Macon, Missouri, to see if it were possible to recover the estate which was abandoned by his father when he was forced to remove to Iowa on account of the trouble incident to the slavery question and the Civil war. The estate had been sold for taxes, but the people who held it at this time were very glad to settle up the matter in a way satisfactory to the rightful heirs. Believing that Macon offered a fruitful field for the conduct of a fire insurance business Mr. Waggoner accordingly established an agency in the town, where he remained until 1886.
He became state agent for the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company in 1876 and for many years continued one of the most prominent representatives of insurance in Missouri, making steady progress in that field of business until he became manager of the Citizen’s Insurance Company at St. Louis, where he took up his abode in 1888 after a two years’ residence in Kansas City. With his removal to St. Louis he was made resident secretary of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company and in 1895 he became secretary of the Citizen’s Fire Insurance Company in St. Louis, while in 1898 he was elected to the presidency and so continued until 1907, when he resigned for the purpose of retiring from business. However, on the solicitation of the Citizen’s Insurance Company and the Hartford Insurance Company he took the position of manager of the St. Louis department of the two companies and remained in the business until 1911, winning notable success and gaining a prominent position in insurance circles in the state.
On the 2d of April, 1872, was celebrated the marriage of Sol. E. Waggoner and Miss Catherine White, a native of England, who was graduted from the Edinburgh Seminary of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her father, Thomas White, was a barrister at law in Leicestershire, England, and died in 1869, while her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth White, passed away in 1891, while visiting her daughter in Kansas. The death of Mrs. Waggoner occurred April 4, 1892. There were two daughters and one son of that marriage: Zella M., the wife of F. G. Myers, who is manager of the A. D. T. System, residing at Webster, Missouri; Martha L., the wife of Louis E. Smith of Oskaloosa, Iowa, owner of one of the finest jewelry stores in the west; and William C. Waggoner, who is in the St. Louis office of Hathaway & Company of New York, dealers in commercial paper.
“Mr. Waggoner,” writes a contemporary biographer, “is deeply interested in all that works for welfare of mankind and the Union Methodist Episcopal church finds in him a helpful member and generous supporter. He is serving as one of its trustees and is also one of the directors of the Epworth Evangelical Institute. He belongs to the Mercantile Club and is one of the well known Masons of the state, few men having labored so effectively and earnestly to advance the interests of the craft. He has passed all the chairs in Masonry, is past grand commander of the state and belongs to nearly all of the Masonic clubs. He assisted in founding the Masonic Home in 1889, has continuously served as one of its directors, is now a member of the finance committee and chairman of the trustees of the endowment fund.” Since this was written Mr. Waggoner has been called to the office of president of the Masonic Home, in which connection he is still serving. Thus his valuable work in behalf of Masonry with all of its high purposes and its broad fields of usefulness is being carried on. To know Sol. E. Waggoner is to know a man worthy of the highest esteem, the deepest confidence and the warmest regard. There are few men who show more unfaltering loyalty to all that is best and most worth while in life, or who have labored more consistently, earnestly and effectively to bring about justice, kindliness, helpfulness and right.