John William Shaffer

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John William Shaffer
John W. Shaffer.jpg
John W. Shaffer
Born(1919-07-02)July 2, 1919
OccupationLaborer, Miner


Early Life and Family

Picture of mural of Smock from a picture taken in early 1920's.

John William Shaffer was born in the summer of 1919 to Henry D. Shaffer and Maude M. Stimmell, the second of three children. He spent his early childhood outside of Smock, a small town on the northeast corner of Redstone Township. Specifically, the family either lived in or near Royal, which was an even smaller town now known as Chestnut Ridge. In 1920, he is listed in Redstone Township on Smock Road with his family, directly adjacent to his uncle, Emanuel Shaffer.

By September 15th of 1922, John's parents had stopped living together and were already separated. Henry agreed to look after John and his brother Howard while Maude agreed to take Elma, John's sister. However, sometime before 1929, Maude had the two boys placed into her parent's custody, Mr. and Mrs. William Stimmell, who lived in Wickhaven, another small town slightly north of Smock. Henry argued in the courts that he was just in having possession of his sons, and he would go on to win the case against Maude. By 1930, John and Howard had moved to Morgan Township in nearby Greene County with their father. It would be another 7 years until Henry would be granted a divorce from Maude, and in 1943, only six years later, Henry would die from tuberculosis.

Newspaper Clippings

Image Transcription
Morning Herald (Uniontown) 27 July 1929 Morning Herald (Uniontown) 27 July 1929


Henry Shaffer, Wick Haven, Petitions Court; Mabel I. Wilson Asks For Divorce

Henry Shaffer, a resident of Wick Haven, Friday petitioned the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to grant him custody of his two children, John, aged 10, and Howard, 8, who have been staying with their mother, Mrs. Maud Shaffer, since the parents parted eight years ago by agreement. Shaffer declares he is entitled to the custody of the boys. Monday, July 29, at 10 o'clock was fixed as the time for a hearing.

The Daily Courier (Connellsville) 13 August 1929 The Daily Courier (Connellsville) 13 August 1929


Special to The Courier

UNIONTOWN, Aug. 13.-Mr. and Mrs. William C. Stimmell of Wick Haven, maternal grandparents of John and Howard Shaffer, 10 and nine years old, respectively, say that they disrespected an order of court because the children did not have (fit?) clothing to wear in court.

"Clothes or not, we want the children here. A court order cannot be overridden in this manner," stated the court.

The father, Henry Shaffer, wants to take the two boys to Rices Landing to live with him. He claims that their mother, Maude, has not settled down and prefers running around to taking care of the children.

The children were ordered to appear in court tomorrow morning. They had been left with the grandparents by the mother and the father objects to this, desiring to take them with him.

Daily News Standard (Uniontown) 14 August 1929 Daily News Standard (Uniontown) 14 August 1929


Two small boys were awarded to their father, Frank Shaffer [Sic] of Rices Landing this morning by Judge D.W. Henderson after a hearing into a habeas corpus action brought by Shaffer.

The father claimed that when he and Mrs. Maud Shaffer separated in 1923 at Royal, it was agreed that he was to support and keep the two boys while the mother took the girl.

Shaffer claims this agreement was not kept and that the two boys were placed in the custody of their maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William Stimmell, Wick Haven, with whom the mother made her home.

Mrs. Shaffer sought to have the husband support all of the children in a nonsupport action.

Testimony in court was to the effect: Mrs. Shaffer was a roamer and had not yet settled down and that the father, although a cripple with but one leg, had employment in Greene County and could keep the boys.

The mother can see her tots on the last Saturday of each month between 1 and 3 P.M., but she must conduct herself in a peaceful manner, the court stipulates.

The father was also granted permission to visit his daughter.

It was noted that within two years or at any other time when due cause can be proven, either party has the right to ask for a modification or revocation of the order.

The Daily Courier (Connellsville) 25 August 1937 The Daily Courier (Connellsville) 25 August 1937


WASHINGTON, Pa, Aug. 25 - Henry Shaffer of Clarksville was granted a divorce in the Washington County courts from Maude Shaffer of Mount Pleasant on a charge of desertion. They were married at Uniontown December 11, 1915, and lived together until September 15, 1922.

Marriage and Children

Divorce and Later Years


John W. Shaffer Census
Year Residence Occupation
1920 Smock Road, Redstone Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania N/A
1930 Morgan Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania None
1940 Church Street, Bridgeport, Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Laborer on Road Project