A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


Thomas Shafer, who is engaged in dealing in lumber and plastering materials in Girard, belongs to that class of substantial citizens who constitute the main strength of a community. They do not seek to figure prominently in public affairs, but in business are energetic and reliable and in citizenship are alert to all that stands for progress and improvement. Mr. Shafer has made for himself an enviable reputation in trade circles in Girard, and as a member of the firm of Thomas Shafer & Son is conducting a business which is now extensive and profitable.

A native of Knox county, Ohio, he was born on the 31st of October, 1832, and is a son of Philip and Rebecca (Platt) Shafer, the father of Pennsylvania and the mother of New Jersey. The father was a farmer by occupation and reached the advanced age of eighty-one years, passing away in 1894. He had long survived his wife, who died in 1846 when about fifty years of age. Their son Thomas, as a student in the public schools of Ohio, had mastered the common branches of learning, and he lived upon the old homestead farm until twenty-two years of age, giving his father the benefit of his services in the work of field and meadow. In 1854 he removed to Illinois, settling in Champaign, where he worked as a farm hand for a year. On the expiration of that period he returned to his home in Ohio, but after a short time went to Ogle county, Illinois, where he purchased eighty acres of land, continuing its cultivation and improvement until 1862.

Aroused by a spirit of patriotism, Mr. Shafer in that year offered his services to the government, donned the blue uniform and became a member of Company H, Ninety-second Illinois Infantry. With his command he went to the front and participated in the battles of Nashville, Fort Blakeley and Mobile. He was mustered out on the 6th of May, 1863, and then returned to his farm in Illinois, but in December of the same year he once more enlisted, this time becoming a member of a battery in the Second Illinois Light Artillery, with which he served until the close Of hostilities. He then received an honorable discharge at Springfield, Illinois, in August, 1865. He had been a most loyal soldier, unfaltering in his performance of any duty assigned him and following the old flag wherever it led.

In 1866 Mr. Shafer sold his farm property in Illinois and removed to Madison county, Iowa, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, making his home thereon for about three years. In 1869 he came to Crawford county and secured a claim, but afterward gave this to his brother, while he turned his attention to the business of buying, feeding and shipping stock. He followed that pursuit for eight years and then purchased a farm on which he engaged in the cultivation of grain as well as in stock-raising. He had at one time four hundred acres of land, but has since sold one hundred and eighty acres of this. In October, 1885, he removed to Girard, became identified with its commercial interests as a lumber merchant, forming a partnership with J. Q. Bell. After three years he sold his interest to Mr. Bell, and soon afterward became proprietor of a lumber yard at Farlington, Kansas, but when two years had passed he disposed of that business and returned to Girard, where he opened the lumber yard which is now conducted under the firm style of Thomas Shafer & Son. They have the largest yard in the city and are doing an extensive business, having secured a patronage which is very gratifying. Their business methods will bear the closest investigation and scrutiny, and their success has been based upon untiring diligence and honorable dealing.

Mr. Shafer is a member of General Bailey Post No. 49, G. A. R., and he gives his political allegiance to the Democracy and has served as alderman of Girard from the third ward. He was married December 6, 1876, to Miss Mary E. Neet, a daughter of Jacob Neet, one of the honored pioneer settlers of the county. They have two children, Harry L., who is his father's partner and is married and lives across the street from the paternal home; and Minnie, the wife of John Whalin, of St. James, Missouri. In 1902 Mr. Shafer erected a nice modern residence, which he and his wife now occupy, and in social circles of the town they are accorded a place of prominence in recognition of their sterling worth.