Archiver > NJSUSSEX > 2002-09 > 1032918263

From: Joan Peterson <>
Subject: [NJSUSSEX-L] Shafer
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 21:44:23 -0400

Sussex County A history
By Warren D. Cummings
Our First Citizen
Casper Shafer came from Germany to Philadelphia. Here he bought, sight
unseen, a tract of land along the Paulin's Kill at a spot where
Stillwater is now. In 1742 he and his father-in-law set out from
Philadelphia to find their purchase. They made the whole trip by
following first the Delaware and then the Kill until they arrived. The
father-in-law soon died, but Caspar dug in with a will. Soon tiring of
transporting his grain out by packhorse to the nearest mill, many miles
away, he constructed his own mill. Although his first homemade makeshift
could grind only three to five bushels of wheat or rye a day, it was
ample for the simple needs of the Wintermutes, Snovers, Staleys, Snooks,
Couses, and other families, mostly of German origin, who followed him
into the section within a few years.
Later he built a larger mill which produced a flour surplus which Shafer
loaded onto flatboats and floated down the Paulinskill to the Delaware,
and down the Delaware to the Philadelphia market. It was a short-lived
experiment, however, for the Paulinskill was much more valuable as a mill
stream than it was for Shafer's primitive navigation. The country was
filling up, and other milldams soon appeared.
One of the mills was built, though not until after the Revolution, by
Caspar's son Peter, at what is now called Paulina, and even later Mark
Thompson built a mill still further upstream at a spot which came to be
known as Marksboro.
Incidentally, these dams ruined the Paulinskill for shad fishing. When
Shafer first came, there had been lots of shad every April.
Caspar (sometimes he spelled it Casper) also had his troubles with the
Indians. One night while he was alone a party of savages surrounded his
house, yelling and making noisy threats. Annoyed by the racket, Mr.
Shafer came out and started across the fields for help. An Indian pursued
him--evidently one who didn't know the miller's reputation as the
strongest man for miles around. Shafer lost his temper, grabbed and threw
the Indian, then took off his own garters and tied up the warrior.
Continuing on to his neighbor's house with drooping stockings, he
summoned the help which drove the marauders away.
There is one more Caspar Shafer story which should be told. When the
Revolution came, Sussex County, under the new constitution, was allowed
three members of the Assembly and one member of the Legislative Council.
John Cleves Symmes was the first Councillor, and the Assemblymen were
Abia Brown, Thomas Peterson, and Caspar Shafer. Thus he was one of the
first representatives of Sussex in the government of our new State. Here
is an anecdote of his political career from the address of Benjamin
Edsall at the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the
County's founding in 1853:
"He was a man of few words, but clear-headed and energetic, and wielded
much influence in the House. When matters appeared to him to be going
wrong, his usual mode of expressing dissent, as I am informed, was to
rise in his seat, and with considerable vehemence, and in a
strongly-marked German accent, exclaimed, "Tas is nicht recht! Tas is
nicht recht!" and then he would briefly give his views and explanations;
whereby attention of members would be arrested, and not infrequently the
current of the proceedings changed."
Transcribed by
Joan Peterson
Also looking for Shafer Family History
Paul Carl Shaffer Sr.
Birth Date: 1901
Spouse: Mary Elizabeth Sloane
Birth Date: 1912
Spouse Father: John Sloane
Spouse Mother: Unknown
Marriage Date: 1925
Children: Judith Carol
Anna Mae

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