John C. Wagner is proprietor of the Wagner Hotel of Racine, in connection with which he conducts what is known as the best restaurant of the city. He was born March 27, 1858, in Racine, a son of Jacob and Mary (Gracely) Wagner, the former a native of Prussia and the latter of Württemberg, Germany. In the early ’40s they arrived in Racine and were married in this city. The father was a tanner by trade and long followed that line of business.
After acquiring a public school education John C. Wagner learned the wire-weaver’s trade, to which he devoted ten years, but since 1883 has been continuously engaged in the hotel business and is one of the best known hotel proprietors in southern Wisconsin, his activity in this field covering a third of a century. It was in 1883 that he opened a hotel at No. 416 Main Street, where he carried on business until 1897. He then conducted the Palm Garden for two years and in 1900 he opened the Wagner hotel on Sixth and Wisconsin streets, starting in a small way. He now has a fine hostelry of twenty rooms in connection with which he conducts a splendid restaurant that is most liberally patronized, it being known as the best eating place in Racine. The hotel is a stag establishment.
On the 9th of August, 1886, Mr. Wagner was married to Miss Ida Derrick, of Racine, whose father came to this city about 1865 and died during the early girlhood of his daughter Mrs. Wagner, who passed away in January, 1916. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Wagner are: Irene, now the wife of Calvin Peck of Racine, by whom she has one son, Calvin H.; Jessie; and Harry, who married Margaret Bowles and is engaged in business with his father.
Fraternally Mr. Wagner is connected with several organizations, including the Eagles, the Moose and the Elks. In politics he is a stalwart republican and an active worker. For five terms he served as supervisor, and for one term filled the position of sheriff of the County. In 1898 he was elected to represent his district in the state legislature and during his connection with the house gave careful consideration to every question which came up for settlement. In 1902 he was elected alderman of Racine, first ward, and in 1903 was appointed emigration inspector but declined to occupy the last named position. He now concentrates his energies upon his hotel business and in that connection is meeting with substantial and well deserved success.