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Henry Shafer
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Birth: Dec. 26, 1754, Germany
Death: Jul. 11, 1849
Marion County
Ohio, USA

Special thanks to Cheryl Shaw for creating this memorial page and for transferring management.

HENRY SHAFFER (1754-1849)

I am still researching Henry Shaffer - he was my 5th great grandfather.

Available records say that he was born in Germany, on or about December 26, 1754, that he immigrated to America in 1771, arriving in Philadelphia on the Ship Minerva (from Rotterdam/Cowes) September 17, 1771. At that time he swore allegiance to the American colonies.

I have seen reports that Henry was sold into servitude to a Baltimore Tanner to pay for his trip to America. This may have come from "History of Marion County" (page 1009) which says, in part, " 1825 there was not a settler west of the present gravel road. In 1830, there was only Henry Schaffer, who had come from Germany and been sold in Baltimore for his passage, which he paid for in work." I have not been able to find any official documents to support that this is where he learned tanner skills, and attempts to contact researchers who reported this have not been answered. According to the 1886 Album of Knox IL, Henry learned his tannery skills in NJ, where he lived for several years before he moved to Lycoming County.

His first wife, according to available records, was Mary Miller, and they had at least 6 children:

William T Shaffer b. 1787 or 1789 d.(sometime before 1880; possibly 1856)
JAMES SHAFFER (my ancestor) b. 1788 d. 1872
Catherine Shaffer b. 1789
John M Shaffer b. 1791
Phillip Shaffer b. 1798
Mariah Shaffer (Staley) b. 1809-

Records indicate that Henry moved to Lycoming County PA around 1800, and moved to Delaware County Ohio about 1815-1816. It appears that his home was in that part of Delaware County that later became Marion County. Lycoming County, PA, was also split over the years, with the part he lived in becoming Clinton and later Cameron County.

In Delaware (later Marion) County, Ohio, Henry is reported to have built the first mill, a water saw mill. The history of his mill is detailed on page 1009 of the History of Marion County as well.

A biographic profile of Henry's grandson Benjamin Brooks Shaffer, found on page 379-380 of the 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County IL, tells us this about Henry:

"Our subject's grandfather, Henry Shaffer, was a native of Germany. He was in his 17th year, when, unaccompanied with his parents, he came to America and settled in New Jersey. There he learned the trade of a tanner, which he followed for a number of years, removing to Lycoming County, Pa, about 1800, renting land and engaging in farming. Previous to the War of 1812, he visited the State of Ohio, where he bought a tract of land in Delaware County, and as it posessed a stream which promised abundant water power, he erected a grist-mill on it, which was one of the first in that section. His sons had made the first improvements previous to the war of 1812, but he did not move with his family until after it's close. Accumulating a large property, which he modernized and improved, he made it his home until called away by death. He was twice married, his first wife, grandmother of our subject being Mary Miller, of German descent and American birth. She died in Lycoming County, Pa, prior to the removal to Ohio."

Henry Shaffer was 94 years old when he died in 1849. He is buried in Wyatt Cemetery in Waldo Ohio, along with wife Mary Shaffer (this is reportedly NOT Mary Miller Shaffer, but a second wife also named Mary). At this point, I have not found any official records that would confirm either the death of Mary Miller Shaffer, or a later marriage to another wife named Mary, so this is based entirely on the information given in 1886 the Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County IL (quoted above).

Any additional documented evidence on the life of Henry Shaffer, the death or parentage of Mary Miller Shaffer, or marriage to another woman named Mary, would be greatly appreciated.


Henry MAY also have served in the Revolutionary War. He is listed in the the DAR's Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Vol.4, p. Serial: 11756; Volume: 6, but I have not yet found information on what units or battles he participated in. The only Henry Shaffer I have found confirmed to have had Revolutionary Service (by pension records) was from NY. (so far)

Researchers will find several variations of his name and that of his descendants, being Schaffer, Shaffer, Shaver, Shafer and possibly others. Henry himself first recorded his name in Philadelphia on his arrival to US as Henrich Schaffer. He signed his Citizenship as Shaffer, and his headstone reads Henry Shafer. His children generally used Shafer or Shaffer.

7-25-2012: NOTE FROM DEE ZITO: I received this note from Dee Shaffer Zito today & have deleted the photo of the naturalization papers that were attached:

"Hi Lorraine,

Just wanted to let you know that the naturalization paper on here is not for "our" Henry Shaffer. It states that he resided in Pennsylvania for "1 year and upwards" on February 19, 1789. Our Henry Shaffer and his wife Mary Miller were still living in New Jersey. Their son, Philip, was born in New Jersey on July 27, 1798. Also, James Shaffer's obituary states that they did not come to Lycoming Co, Pennsylvania until 1802.



- Passenger and Immigration Lists Index,
1500s-1900s about Henrich Schaffer:

-Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, with the Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808 - page 495

-US Census records 1790-1850 (1850 record has wife Mary living with daughter Mariah Staley in Waldo, Marion Ohio)

-THE HISTORY OF MARION COUNTY OHIO, containing a history of the county; its townships, towns, churches, schools, etc; general and local statistics; military record; portraits of early settlers and prominent men; history of the Northwest Territory; history of Ohio (1883), published at Chicago by Leggett, Conaway & CO in 1883 - this book is out of copyright and is published online at:

-Portrait and biographical album of Knox county, Illinois, published in Chicago by the Biographical Publishing Company, 1886 (pg 379-380) - book is out of copyright and published online at:

-Headstone (photo found online)

-Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Vol.4, p. Serial: 11756; Volume: 6

-online family tree "The Siegel's" - information about Henry Shaffer which includes references to Will and Probate records (efforts to locate/contact publisher Marilyn-J-Godwin have been unsuccessful to date):

Family links: 
  James Shaffer (1787 - 1872)*
  Mariah Stailey (1808 - 1881)*
*Calculated relationship
Wyatt Cemetery
Marion County
Ohio, USA
Maintained by: Lorraine Butler
Originally Created by: C Shaw
Record added: Mar 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35103427
Henry Shafer
Added by: Elaine Berkowitz
Henry Shafer
Added by: Sharon Surber
Henry Shafer
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Linda Heckerthorn
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