John Wagner (1825-1908)
was born in the village Kriegsfeld, Rhein Pfalz, Bayern, joining three older sisters in his
family. Two younger brothers were born later. About 1848, John left Germany for the United States, as two of his sisters had previously done. The next year, the rest of his family also came to the US, settling on a farm near Ragersville, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. John appeared on the 1850 census there, with his parents.
By the 1860 census, 33-year-old John was in Carson City, before the state of Nevada had been established. He lived with three other single men, all brewers. The head-of-household was 29-year-old Jacob Klein. The National Park Service credits John Wagner with founding the Carson Brewing Company in 1860. It became "Nevada's longest-operating brewery." Other sources name Jacob Klein as John's partner.
The 1870 census indicates that John and his wife Philippina lived in Hamilton, White Pine County, Nevada. In 1900, they were back in Carson City, having been married 59 years but never having had children.
When John Wagner died in 1908, the Carson City Daily Appeal newspaper called him "one of the sturdy pioneers of the state" and "one of the oldest and best known residents of Carson City." His estate was estimated "to be worth in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars."
The contributor of the photo identifies the subject as John Wagner wearing his Masonic uniform in the 1880's.