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Old Timers 1907

(Glimpses of prominent Frackville citizens from the borough's early days)


JOSEPH SCHEAFFER, has the most popular ice cream parlor and confectionery store in the borough, where he has been engaged in business for the last six years. He was born at Pottsville, April 10, 1857, son of Sebastian and Elisabeth (Spotts) Scheaffer, and is of German parentage.

Sebastian Scheaffer was born Oct. 1, 1822, in Germany, whence he came to the United States just about the time he attained his majority. Left an orphan when but nine years old, he early commenced to support himself, working for various farmers in the home locality until he set out for America. Another young German accompanied him, but was so homesick by the time they reached New York that he returned to the Fatherland at once. Mr. Scheaffer proceeded to Philadelphia, locating at Pottsville, where before long he was doing business as a huckster, and he continued thus for a period of twenty-five years.

In the year 1873 he removed with his family to Frackville, and conducted the "Frackville House" for ten years, and he carried on a wholesale liquor store for seven years. His death occurred at Frackville July 18, 1887, and he is buried in the Lutheran cemetery there. He was a members of Miners Lodge, I.O.O.F., of Pottsville. Nine children were born to his marriage with Elisabeth Spotts, all still living: Joseph; Margaret, wife of George Hardesty; Charles; Emma, widow of Oscar Shirey; Harry;. Tillie, wife of William Eisenbise; Elizabeth, married to William Stevenson; William; and James.

Joseph Scheaffer received his education in Pottsville, attending public schools. When twelve years old he became employed as a tobacco stripper, and from that work naturally went into cigarmaking, which he followed regularly until 1889. Meantime he had moved to Frackville with his parents, and he had a small cigar factory of his own. After giving up that occupation he did railroad work for a couple of years for the Philadelphia & Reading Company, being employed at Mahanoy Plane, just adjoining Frackville. Then for 14 years he was in the dairy business, in 1909 changing to his present line. He opened up a new and attractive ice cream and confectionery establishment, with up-to-date fittings and convenient in arrangement, and it has been liberally patronized from the start, Mr. Scheaffer controlling the best trade in the borough. He has a long record of efficient service as postmaster, having served during both Cleveland administrations. He is a Democrat, a member of the Jr. O.U.A.M. and Royal Arcanum, and., in religion a Lutheran.

On Aug. 13, 1878, Mr. Scheaffer married Sarah Ella Wagner, and after her death he married her sister Alphie. He has three children, all by the first marriage: Harry James, George Arthur and Anna Susan.

George Wagner, the grandfather of Mrs. Joseph Scheaffer, was born in Bern township, Berks Co., and followed the milling business. Removing to Cressona, he there operated a mill until his death, In 1867. His wife was Sarah Boyer, and they had the following children: George, Harrison, Benjamin, Reuben, Daniel, Andrew and Sarah.

Reuben Wagner, the father of Mrs. Joseph Scheaffer, was born Nov. 18, 1833, in Bern township, Berks county, and a carpenter by trade. He was one of the early residents of Frackville, to which place he came in 1869. He did contract work when he first settled there and later was employed at his trade at the collieries near by continuing thus until his death, April 14, 1903.He married Susanna A. Schiffert, who died Dec. 29, 1876, aged forty-two years, two months, four days and they had the following children: Sarah Ella was the first wife of Joseph Scheaffer; Charlotte married Frederick Sanner; Alphie married Joseph Scheaffer; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of Samuel Reber; Katie married George Yeager; William died young; Laura died aged sixteen years; Frederick is living in Frackville.

Reuben Wagner served in the Civil war in Company L, of the 21st Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry. Company L was originally a militia organization, called the Reading City Troop. It was reorganized by Capt. J. C. A. Hoffeditz, from men principally of Berks county, with a few from Lancaster and Lebanon counties, and was mustered into the United States service as an independent company of cavalry, July 30, 1861. The company was stationed in the city of Baltimore, on duty at headquarters, Military Depot, about five months. It was attached to the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry, Oct. 14, 1861, and joined the regiment Jan. 5, 1862, at Camp Pierpont, in Virginia. Mr. Wagner served three years and six weeks, and during that time was never wounded, nor was he home on any furlough.

[This article can be found in "1907 History of Schuylkill County" by J.H. Beers]

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