Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #3: Teresa Mary Wagner

This week's chosen ancestor is Teresa Mary Wagner.  The prompt/topic is occupations.

Teresa Mary Wagner is my 2nd great grandmother in my father's maternal line.  Teresa was born to John Sebastian Wagner and Mary Teresa McGinnis on May 20, 1861 in Canada.  Her father emigrated from Baden-Wuerttemberg Germany and her mother emigrated from County Meade, Ireland.  Her mother died when she was only two years old and her father soon remarried to Elizabeth Cummin.  At some point after her mother died the family moved to the United States.  In the 1880 US Federal Census, it has her and her family living in Henderson, North Carolina.  She was almost 19 years old and it states that she was "at home" and her father was listed as a farmer.

Teresa did not stay in the US as she married Thomas King Robertson, son of Thomas King Robertson and Elizabeth Blake on June 13, 1890 in Wellington, Ontario Canada.  Thomas King Robertson was an emigrant from Scotland.  Thomas and Teresa had eight children, with two of them being twins.  In the census records and the birth records of their children it states that Thomas was a private gardener, but it appears that Teresa did not work out side of the home.  This makes Teresa's occupation a housewife and mother.  This was very common during this time period in Canada.

From what I can tell, based on the little and quick research I was able to do this week pertaining to the social history of housewives in Canada, during this time period many upper and middle class families had domestic servants to assist with the household chores/responsibilities. The inside of the home was the domain of the wife - she took care of it and made sure that it ran smoothly.  Those with money were able to hire help to assist with the many things that needed to be done.  From the three census that are released with information about Thomas and Teresa's family it does not appear that they had hired help.  Teresa would have been left to care for her children and the household all on her own.  There was a perception that women that worked were considered "unfortunates."  Widows, divorcees, deserted and separated women, single women and wives of the unemployed were the women in the workforce.  The women's role was homemaker and consumer.  Men were urged to give women a degree of financial independence; many were given an allowance for household expenses.

I haven't been able to prove this with records yet but I have been told that at some point Teresa's husband Thomas left the family and returned to Scotland where he later died.  In the 1921 Census, Thomas is no longer residing with the family.  Teresa is still not "working" and has two of her children living with her.  She is residing next door to one of her daughters.  It appears that Teresa may of never worked outside of the home but if she raised eight children she clearly worked in all senses of the word.

Teresa died in November of 1948 and is buried in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada in the Victoria Lawn Cemetery.


  1. Hi Marion, I live about 30 minutes from Henderson, NC! And my mother in law was a Wagner! This is as much of her father's line as I have gotten so far: Henry Waggoner (1678 - 1712)
    is your 6th great grandfather
    George Thomas Waggoner (1735 - 1807)
    son of Henry Waggoner
    William Waggoner (1755 - 1820)
    son of George Thomas Waggoner
    Phillip Wagoner (1783 - 1860)
    son of William Waggoner
    Simeon Wagoner (1820 - 1880)
    son of Phillip Wagoner
    William Alexander Wagner (1853 - 1932)
    son of Simeon Wagoner
    Charlie Wesley Wagner (1879 - 1977)
    son of William Alexander Wagner
    Helen Marie Wagner (1919 - 1989)
    daughter of Charlie Wesley Wagner
    Max Alexander Holshouser
    You are the son of Helen Marie Wagner - (not you?

  2. Hello, Teresa is my great-grandmother. I was looking for information on her father when this picture of her on your blog popped up on Google! She was running a boarding house at her home in St. Catharines when my grandmother, Rose, her daughter, met my grandfather, Harry Gleason, there. My grandfather and Teresa's son, John, worked together in a munitions factory nearby. Thomas, her husband, did return to Scotland to be with his family there.

    My grandmother told the story of Teresa's journey to North Carolina. The family was not making it in Canada and went to NC to be with some Wagner relations. Teresa walked all the way there. Things did not work out for them in NC, so the family made the trip back to Canada. Teresa also walked the whole way back.

    My grandmother said Teresa would talk of her feet hurting and wishing she could ride in the wagon.

    The house she lived in at 13 1/2 Haynes ST. still stands in St. Catharines. Two of our cousins went there a few years back and took a picture of it.