Biography of William Shanafelt
Clarion County, PA Biographies





SHANAFELT, WILLIAM, was born in McConnellstown, Huntingdon county, Pa., March 4, His father, Nicholas Shanafelt, was born in Centre county, February 4, 1799. His grandfather, Nicholas Shanafelt, was of German ancestry. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War; was with Washington at Valley Forge, and while serving under General Wayne, near Wilmington, Del., was wounded in the neck, and reported on the army records as among the killed. He recovered, however, and lived in Centre county until 1820. His wife lived with one of her sons until her death at Edwardsburg, Mich., in 1846. He had six sons and several daughters. One of the daughters married Mr. Shough, and settled in the western part of Ohio. Three of the sons, William, John, and George, were soldiers during the War of 1812, and the first two were in the army of General Hull when he surrendered to the British General Brock.

Nicholas Shanafelt, the father of the subject of this sketch, was married March 30, 1823, to Keziah Greenland, in Trough Creek Valley, Huntingdon county, Pa. Their early home was at McConnellstown, where he labored industriously at his trade, that of gunsmith, and acquired considerable property. In 1835 he removed to what was then Redbank township, Armstrong county, and is now Porter township, Clarion county. The farm which he purchased is on Leatherwood Creek. Being among the early settlers, only a few acres were under cultivation. The land was cleared, and suitable buildings erected. While superintending the development of the farm he continued success fully his trade as gunsmith. In the spring of 1850 he removed to the village of Clarion, and erected and occupied until his death the residence now occupied by John Reid, esq. His wife, Keziah Shanafelt, died in Clarion, August 18, 1867, aged over sixty-six years. After this event he spent much of his time visiting his children in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa. Having lived a useful life he died at Clarion, October 13, 1871, aged nearly seventy three years. He was widely known and respected as a citizen. He had the confidence of all who knew him as a consistent Christian. In early life he became a Baptist, and for nearly forty years held the office of deacon.

The children of Nicholas and Keziah Shanafelt were five Sons and two daughters: William, born March 4, 1825; Ezra, born May 18, 1827; John R., born October 27, 1829; Andrew F., born March 10, 1832; Sarah A., born October 18, 1834; all at McConnellstown, Hnntingdon county, Pa.; Thomas M., born April 30, 1840; Mary J., born October 1, 1842; in Porter township Clarion county. Of these Ezra and Sarah A. died in 1839. Threeof the sons-John R., Andrew F., and Thomas M., having graduated at Bucknell University at Lewisburg, Pa., and Rochester and Crozer Theological Seminaries, entered the Baptist ministry, and have been successful pastors on important fields. Rev. John R. Shanafelt has been pastor at Berwick, Pittston, Shamokin, and Pittsburgh, in this State, and also in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. He is now living in Lawrence, Kansas. He married Miss Hannah Teressa Smith in Moreland, Montour county, Pa. They have six children. Rev. Andrew F. Shanafelt was until his death one of the leading Baptist ministers in this State. He was pastor at White Hall, Sabbath Rest, and Chester. He was president of the Knight Templars' excursion to Europe in 1873. Before returning he made an extended tour through Egypt and Palestine. He baptized his dragornan or guide in the River Jordan. He was married to Miss Eliza Potter, of this county. They have had five children; three are living-two daughters and a son, Newton, who is one of the leading attorneys of Chester. Andrew died while pastor at Chester, March 16, 1875. Rev. Thomas M. Shanafelt, D. D., was ordained at Muncy, Pa., in 1864; served during the war in the Twenty eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. Became pastor at White Pigeon, Mich., in 1867. Has been pastor at Monroe, Hudson, and East Saginaw; was for several years secretary and treasurer of the Michigan Baptist Education Society. Has been since 1874 Secretary of the Michigan Baptist State Convention. Has been sent by the Michigan Department of the G. A. R., to the National Encampment held at Minneapolis, Minn., Portland, Me., San Francisco, Cal., St. Louis, Mo. Was elected at Minneapolis in 1884 chaplain-in-chief of the national organization. He is a member of all the Masonic bodies in existencç, and is a thirty second degree member of the Scottish Rite. He is now pastor at Three Rivers, Mich.; was married October 23, 1866, to Miss Phebe Gilday, of Jersey Shore, Pa. They have had two children, one living, a son, William C., who is a stenographer. Mary J. was married in Clarion, to C. Jackson Rhea, of Clarion. They have four daughters and one son. Having served one term as sheriff of Clarion county; Mr. Rhea has been for a number of years superintendent of the construction department of the United Pipe Line Company; present residence, Oil City. William Shanafelt, the eldest of the family, a farmer by profession, owns and resides on the old homestead, purchased in 1835, of which he bore the principal part in clearing and bringing under cultivation. He was married May 2, 1844, to Catharine Thomas, daughter of Rev. Thomas E. Thomas, from Glamorganshire, Wales, for many years pastor of Zion Baptist Church, and sister of B. H. Thomas, D.D. She was a devoted and faithful wife and mother. She died October 26, 1876. Of fourteen children eight died in infancy; five are living. William Lewis, the eldest son, married Emma Sample, of Clarion county, and removing to the West, they were among the first settlers in Platte Valley, Dawson county, Neb. He died there October 8, 1882. He had three children - Lottie, Ralph, and Lulu. Arminda, the eldest daughter, married Curtis Sloan, of Clarion county, and they reside in Limestone township. They have five children - William, Catharine, Annie, John J., and Edna. John was married to Minnie Arthur, of Jefferson county, and for a number of years was an attorney and justice of the peace in this county. They have two children - Carl and Maun. Margaret E. is married to Herbert Phillips. They have one child - Earl. H. Wick married Annie Martin, of Porter ownship, and is living in Platte Valley, Dawson county, Neb. They have four children - Benjamin, William, Merle, and Pearl. Keziah P. is living at home.

Mr. Shanafelt's second marriage was to Armina Jane McNutt, daughter of Robert McNutt, and granddaughter of Colon McNutt, an early pidneer, who settled in this township in 1806. To the old homestead he has added what was formerly the W. D. Latimer farm, and other additions, making 250 acres. He and his wife also own an-. other tract of 112 acres. He has always been a progressive farmer, and was among the first in this county to adopt improved methods and implements of farming. He has devoted much attention to raising blooded stock, especially Shorthorn cattle, adding at different times to his herd selections from the best known stock growers of Ohio and Kentucky. All of his herd are registered in the American Shorthorn Herd Book.

Mr. Shanafelt's early education was obtained in the common schooL He taught some; has been a diligent reader of the Bible, history, and current literature, and has always been strictly temperate. In early life he united with the Baptist Church, and for many years has held the office of deacon.

His maternal ancestors were Nathan Greenland and Sarah Corbin, his wife. They came from Maryland to Huntingdon county, Pa, about the beginning of the present century. They were descended from Richard Greenland and Benjamin Corbin, of England.


From:
History of Clarion County, Pennsylvania
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of some of its prominent pioneers.
EDITED BY: A. J. Davis
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
1887


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