Captain John Wagley


Our ggUncle, Captain John Wagley is reported to have "led the mob that kicked the Mormons off Beaver Island".   Captain John was a brother to our gggrandfather Jacob David Wagley.   Both men were Civil War Veterans, very strong & colorful individuals, and were among the first white settlers of Cross village.

This page is still under development... There are several sources of interesting stories about Captain John Wagley... and over time I will locate, scan, and incorporate these stories on this page.   According to one story, Captain John had a run-in with Mormon leader James J. Strang on Mackinac Island in the middle 1840's... with Strang causing Captain John's ship (at that time) to sink, drowning his young son.   A blood feud with the Mormons had begun... that ended in 1856 when Strang had been assasinated by a couple of his followers, and Captain John's "mob" had cleared Beaver island of Strang's Mormon followers.


Here is an excerpt from the "History of Emmet County" dated 1884:

CAPTAIN JOHN WAGLEY is a pioneer of northern Michigan and one of the oldest settlers of Emmet County. He was born near Pittsburgh, Pa., June 16, 1822. In the summer of 1843, being then twenty-one years of age he removed to Michigan, coming by the lakes and landed of the island of Mackinac. For three years he was engaged in fishing and sailing. Feb. 5, 1846, he was married by Judge Shurtleff to Miss Margaret Valier. The same year he bought his first vessel, the schooner William which he sailed three years. He followed sailing and fishing on the north shore until 1855, when he moved to Green Bay and kept hotel a year. In 1856 he moved back to Mackinac and went to Buffalo, where he bought the schooner Abel. About the first work done by the schooner Abel was to carry eighty armed men to drive the Mormons from Beaver Island. With the Abel, Captain Wagley had a very successful business until 1859, when he sold her and bought the Industry. During 1863 and 1864 he sailed for Mackinac from and in the fall of 1865 came to Cross Village and bought out William Stoddard, who had started a small store. In 1867 he began the construction of the first dock at this point. It was finished in 1869 at a cost of $8,000, and was carried away by the water, together with thirty cords of wood, before it was used. In 1870 he built another dock which stood several years. He was also one of the builders of the present dock, and afterward sold his interest to Mr. Bovee, the present owner. He has a wife and eight children. Two sons are engaged in business at Cross Village, as elsewhere mentioned. Captain Wagley is a veritable pioneer in all the business interests at Cross village, and has expended a comfortable fortune in trying to build up the place. There are but few pioneer experiences in which he has not shared.

More to come on this fascinating story!