SHAFFER, WILLIAM H. - There is a tendency to specialize in every direction, for men have realized by long experience that the most money is made in this way. Especially is this true of farming in such regions as Sangamon County, where land values have increased to such an extent that each square inch of ground must be made to produce to its fullest extent. For this reason a number of the most progressive farmers are operating small tracts as fruit and truck farms, with splendid results. One of the representatives of the new order of things, is William H. Shaffer. He was born in Morgan County, Ill., August 10, 1842, a son of Henry and Emeline (Tracy) Shaffer, born in Washington County, Md., the former born March 10, 1798, and the latter June 14, 1794.
Henry Shaffer came to Illinois, locating near Jacksonville in the early thirties, where for twenty-four years he operated a farm, but later sold it to come to Sangamon County. Upon arrival there, he located on the old Cross farm, in 1854, but three years later moved to the old Jake Miller farm on Sand Prairie. After four years more he moved to the vicinity of Mount Auburn, buying eighty acres of land. At the expiration of two years, he returned to Sangamon County, where his death occurred, May 10, 1891. His widow survived him until November 18th of the same year.
William H. Shaffer was educated in the primitive log schoolhouse of the period, remaining with his parents until their deaths. At that time, he began farming on the Ed North farm, but after a year there went to the Phil Michler farm. The next year he operated the Kane farm, and continued on it for ten years, when in 1906 he purchased twenty acres in Springfield township, which has continued to be his home. This is a valuable piece of property, and his home and buildings show what kind of a farmer he is.
On September 24, 1862, Mr. Shaffer was married three miles south of Mechanicsburg, to Martha A. Staglen, born December 14, 1844. Her parents, Simpson and Margaret Staglen, born in Kentucky in 1794 and 1827, came to Sangamon County in the fall of 1860. The following year Mr. Staglen died on February 4th, but his widow survived until August 14, 1878. The former is buried in Morton Cemetery, and the latter in Cooper Cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Staglen had seven children, all born in Kentucky, four of whom survive. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer: Henry lives in Springfield; Frank is a farmer of Clear Lake Township; Mary L. married James Colburn, of Christian County, and died in 1899, leaving a daughter, Pearl Colburn, born February 27, 1890. There is also a grandson in the family, Edward Shaffer, born September 6, 1898, who lives with his grandfather.
Mr. Shaffer is a consistent member of the Methodist church, in whose good work he is much interested. For many years he has given his vote to the candidates of the Democratic party. Earnest, steadfast and hardworking, never shirking a duty, no matter how unpleasant Mr. Shaffer sets an example to his children and his neighbors, which they would do well to follow. He is a true Christian, striving to model his life according to the teachings of his Master.