The Wagner (also Wägner) surname is German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): an occupational name for a carter or cartwright, from an agent derivative of Middle High German wagen (‘cart’, or ‘wagon’), or the German Wagen. The German surname is also well established in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, eastern Europe, and elsewhere as well as in German-speaking countries.
   The Wagner name was first found in Saxony, where this family became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times. The German Coat of Arms is or (gold) and vert (green), which signifies hope and loyalty in love. The gold shield armed with a griffin, a greyhound, two fleur-de-lis and a catherine wheel (which stands for someone willing to endure anything for Christian faith). The Crest over the helmet displays another griffin. (The griffin is a mythical creature, with the head, wings and talons of an eagle and the body and hind legs of a lion. It signifies valor, death-defying bravery, strength, vigilance, and perseverance.)

   Some of the first American settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Andreas Wagner, who immigrated to America with his wife and two children in 1709; Abraham Wagner came to Philadelphia in 1737; as did Christoph Wagner in 1747.
   We are related to the Wagner family through two different lines, one through the Grieb family, and one through the Brunner family. Both lines emigrated to the US in the 1800's from Würtemberg (Germany), but it is unclear if they were related. Würtemberg, located east of the Upper Rhine, Except for the Rhine plain, it's a mountainous and hilly region that includes the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest, drained by the Neckar River. It had been a Duchy (state) within the Holy Roman Empire, and then in 1806 it became a Kingdom with the break-up of the empire.¹
   The Wagner line in our Wenk genealogy runs back to JOSEPH WAGNER, born some time in the early 1700's. He married CATHERINA STUBIN and they had a son, CASPAR "CASPER" WAGNER (22 Aug 1773 - 11 Apr 1850) in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. He married ELISABETHA "ELIZABETH:" WOLFF (15 Aug 1776 - 1831) in Möhringen, and they had the following children:


  • JACOB WAGNER was born on 25 Mar 1801 in MÁ©≤ingen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • DAVID WAGNER was born on 2 Nov 1804 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • JOHN WAGNER was born on 19 Mar 1807 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • ELISABETHA CHARLOTTA "CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH" MASTELLA WAGNER was born on 29 Oct 1809 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, and was baptized on 30 Oct 1809 (click on image at right). She married JOHANN MICHAEL GRIEB (1806-1860), and their children are listed below. After her husband died, she emigrated to the United States in March of 1861. She died on 6 Feb 1880 in Lima, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States. She is buried at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, 3050 South Fletcher Road, Chelsea, Washtenaw County, Michigan, 48118.
  • ROSSINA WAGNER was born on 15 May 1812 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • BARBARA WAGNER was born in 1815 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • WILHELM "WILLIAM" WAGNER was born on 5 Nov 1817 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. He emigrated to North America and married PRISCILLA ANTOINETTE MELLER (10 Mar 1831 - 24 Aug 1918) on 31 Mar 1856. They had the following children: Stella A. (b. 1859); Charles (10 Mar 1860 - 5 Jun 1951); Edward (b. 1862); Frank (b. 1865); Elizabeth Lizzie Wagner (b. 1868); and Ella L Wagner (b. 1874). Wilhelm died on 26 Oct 1911 in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw, Michigan, and is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, Plot: Block 81 Lot 12.
  • MICHAEL WAGNER was born on 11 Feb 1820 in Möhringen, Stuttgart, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  •    Their daughter, CHARLOTTE (ELIZABETH MASTELLA) WAGNER (1809 - 1880), married MICHAEL GRIEB, JR., on the On the eighth of September in 1833, in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Würtemberg (Germany). They had nine kids:


  • JAKOB GRIEB I was born on 07 Aug 1834 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 28 Aug 1834, in Moehringen.
  • JOHANN JOHN MICHAEL GRIEB was born on 14 Jul 1835 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. No further information.
  • JAKOB GRIEB II was born on 15 Jan 1837 in Moehringen Stuttgart, Wurtemberg Germany. He died on 30 Aug 1861 in Freedom Township Washtenaw Co., Michigan.
  • WILHELM (WILLIAM) GRIEB was born on 05 Jun 1838 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He married SALOMA MAMMEL on 14 Mar 1872 in Washtenaw County Michigan. They had 12 children, listed below. William died on 18 Nov 1901, in Lima Township, Washtenaw County, Chelsea, Michigan.
  • DAVID GRIEB was born on 11 Feb 1840 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died the next day, on 12 Feb 1840, in Moehringen.
  • JOHANNES GRIEB was born on 30 Apr 1841 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 09 May 1841 in Moehringen.
  • ROSINA ELIZABETHA GRIEB was born on 16 May 1843 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. She died on 23 May 1845 in Moehringen.
  • CARL FREDRICH CHARLES GRIEB was born on 04 Oct 1844 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg Germany. He came to America in 1861 and married CLARINTHA AMELIA "CLARA" BOWLES of Chelsea, Michigan, on 15 Feb 1872. They had four children: John Edward Lacey, Charles F., Alice Elizabeth, and William. Carl died on 24 Aug 1930 in Webberville, Ingham Co., Michigan.
  • JOHANN GOTTLOB GRIEB was born on 06 Oct 1847 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 9 Oct 1847 in Moehringen.
  •    In 1861, Charlotte sailed to America with sons Karl (Charles) and Jakob, and settled in the farming community of Lima, Washtenaw County, Michigan. Charlotte's other sons and brothers were living in the surrounding area working as tailors and farmers, including her brother William, who was working as a merchant in Ann Arbor, a few miles away.


    JOSEPH WAGNER married CATHERINA STUBIN and they begat...

    CASPER WAGNER (1773 - 1850) who married ELIZABETH WOLF (1776 - 1831) and begat...

    CHARLOTTE (ELIZABETH MASTELLA) WAGNER (1809 - 1880) who married MICHAEL GRIEB, JR. (1806 - 1860) and begat...

    WILHELM (WILLIAM) GRIEB (1838 - 1901) who married SALMA KATE MAMMEL (1848 - 1932) and begat...

    MARTHA CAROLINA GRIEB (1880 - 1937) who married MARTIN WENK (1876 - 1964) and begat...

    ERWIN WENK (1910 - 1982) who married DOROTHY PRITCHARD (b. 1918) and begat...

    MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) who married CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).

    TOP PHOTO: Graveyard at Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Chelsea, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA.


    ¹—Political unrest in Würtemberg from 1815 until 1819 had resulted in the issuance of a constitution by King William I (reigned 1816-64), establishing a bicameral legislature, making Würtemberg was a center of liberalism in 19th-century Germany. It joined the Zollverein (Customs Union) with Prussia in 1834, but King Charles (1864-91) sided with Austria in the Seven Weeks' War (1866) and was forced to pay an indemnity by the victorious Prussians. In 1918, Würtemberg became a republic called the Free People's State of Würtemberg. Under the Nazi regime a "Reichsstatthalter" (lieutenant governor) for Würtemberg was appointed in 1933, and the state's government was subordinated to that of the Reich in 1934, while the Landtag, or State Diet, was abolished. After World War II, Würtemberg was divided between the United States and French occupation zones and became part of two new states: Würtemberg-Baden and Würtemberg-Hohenzollern. After the Federal Republic of Germany was formed in 1949, these two states merged with Baden in 1952 to become the modern German state of Baden-Würtemberg.


  • Palatine Roots: The 1710 German Settlement in New York as Experienced by Johann Peter Wagner, by Nancy Wagoner Dixon. Picton Press, Camden ME, 1994.
  • Wagners Wagons Westward by Thelma Behimer Wagner
  • John Wagner and His Twelve Children of Harrison County, Ohio and Surrounding Counties, 1776-1984 by Audrey L. Wagner
  • The Descendants of Michael Wagoner, ca. 1774-1826 by Margaret M. Wagner.