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About the Author

William Findley Wagenseller
(1817-1876)

William Findley Wagenseller, merchant and legislator, was born on November 15, 1817, in Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pa.  The eighth of ten children, and the youngest to survive to maturity, he was the son of Peter Wagenseller of Philadelphia and Susanna Longaker of Coventry Township, Pa.  In 1834 he moved with his father to Columbus, Ohio, but quickly returned to Pennsylvania to Selinsgrove.  His father died the next year. 

At a time when most products came into the area on the Susquehanna River and through Selingsgrove, William Wagenseller opened a stand by a canal with his brother Jacob, a doctor.  They specialized primarily in the sale of grain.  He quickly became a leading businessman of the time and area. 

Known as Col. Wagenseller, he played an active role in local politics, holding a number of positions throughout his years in Snyder County.  In 1843 he served as the Inspector of Penns Township, in 1846 as school director, and in 1847 as supervisor.  Both Jacob and William represented Snyder County in the state legislature at different times.  W.F. Wagenseller, aligned with the Whig party, took a position as a member of the Pennsylvania state legislature and served in 1858 and 1859.

He played important parts in the establishment of the Missionary Institute and Female College at Selinsgrove.  He was a member of the board of directors at the Missionary Institute until his death in 1876, when he was succeeded by his son Martin Luther Wagenseller.  He also served as a member of the board of the Susquehanna Female College and vice president in the late 1860s. 

His wife, Amelia Bergstresser (1816-1911) outlived him by a number of years.  Together they had five children: William Jeremiah (b. 1839), who served as a Union Army Sergeant at the end of the Civil War, Martin Luther (b.1840), Ada E. (b.1842), Benjamin Newton (1846-1863), who died of tetanus at seventeen, and Alice Laura (b.1849).   On August 10, 1876, William F. Wagenseller died in Selinsgrove, PA.

Please visit the following link for materials authored by William Findley Wagenseller maintained in the Their Own Words database:

Wagenseller, William Findley, 1817-1876

Researched, authored, and edited by Margaret Browndorf.


Page created: April 23, 2009                                            close window