The son of an innkeeper, Johann Andreas Wagener, was born on June 21, 1816 in Sievern. His childhood home no longer exists, but the church where he was baptized and a stone marker, honoring his parents, can be found in the neighboring town of Debstedt.
Documents show that Wagener resided in New York in 1831 before he came to Charleston, SC and founded the town of "Walhalla." Many individuals followed in his footsteps to settle in the region. During the Civil War he fought for the Confederation and held the rank of brigadier general. In 1867 he worked as a regional representative for issues concerning immigration, before he was eventually rewarded the position of Mayor of Charleston, SC, in 1871. He died on August 27, 1876 in Walhalla and is buried in Charleston.
The Heritage Museum of Sievern (Lange Strasse 11) is called John A. Wagener Haus. The museum society retrieved Wagener's gravestone for display in Sievern. Not only can you see this piece of memorabilia but also browse numerous photographs, exhibits and genealogical records of the former German community in Charleston, SC. The museum also displays exhibits of rural culture and traditional labor practices, as well as workshops on spinning and weaving. A visit to the Heritage Museum in neighboring Debstedt is well worth the trip.