Biography of Isaac Shafer

ISAAC SHAFER. – The venerable pioneer and estimable citizen of whom we now have the privilege to speak, is eminently worthy of a place in this volume of chronicles of Union county, since he has always maintained a high sense of honor, displaying stanch qualities of worth and courage, and since he gave himself to assist in establishing firmer the government in the times of dark fratricidal strife, and since he has wrought with a strong hand and good wisdom in these regions for the opening of the country and the development of the same, being untarnished in reputation and upright and worthy in character.

Mr. Shafer was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, December 4, 1836, being the son of John B. Shafer, the latter being born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The farm was the home of our subject, and he attended the county schools in his native place until he was twelve years of age, and then was taken by his father to Washington county, Wisconsin, the year being 1848. There the son finished his education in the public schools and remained a member of the parental household until he was twenty years of age. At that age he started in life for himself, going first to Janesville, Wisconsin, and taking up the stone mason’s trade, together with plastering. Two years were spent there and then he repaired to St. Joe, working there at his trade for three years. In 1861, when the call came for men, stanch and true, to stand for the Union and assist in putting down rebellion’s minions as well as to assist in protecting our western frontiers, our subject went to Omaha, Nebraska, and enrolled his name on the list. He accepted in Captain Crofford’s company and was one of the first escorts that came across the plains to Walla Walla. Arriving here, the Indians not being as bad as was expected, he received honorable discharge, and his attention was then turned to the pursuits of private life. Florence was then in her palmy days and thither went our subject searching for treasures of the soil; not being successful, however, he went to teaming, continuing at this remunerative employment until 1868. In that year he was in shape to purchase land and secured a quarter section from the state and went at once to subduing it. He gave some attention to raising stock, and soon after purchased another one hundred and sixty acres of land. This last place is where he now resides, being three-fourths of a mile north from Island City. He handles his estate in a manner becoming good husbandry, and abundant crops are annually his reward. He has a fine orchard, and ships several hundred boxes each season. His buildings are commodious and comfortable.

In 1874 Mr. Shafer married Miss Emma J. Hotchkiss, whose parents, Corless F. and Rebecca (Miles) Hotchkiss, reside in Carthage, Missouri. To our subject and his estimable wife, there have been born seven children, as follows: Allie M., wife of William Pearson, of Wallowa valley; Frederick C., married to Vena Booth and living in Wallowa; Minnie A., wife of Barney Oldenburg, living in Lagrande; Margaret A.; Isaac M.,; Clara J.; Oscar, deceased. Mr. Shafer is a man that has always stood for progression and advancement and has toiled faithfully for that end, giving proper attention to the matters of politics and demeaning himself in a becoming manner to an intelligent, upright and capable citizen.


An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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