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Samuel Cass Shaver


* March 13, 1848
March 2, 1923
married Susan Little Smeigh, March 21, 1876

 
 


Samuel Cass Shaver, third son of the Rev David and Nancy Linn Shaver, and father of this writer, was born in Madison Township, Perry County, where, upon the departure of his two older brothers for service in the Union army during the Civil War, he assumed full charge of operating the family farm, his father having passed away the year previous.

At the close of the war, and when the brothers, John and Joseph, returned from the Army, he entered the New Bloomfield Academy as a student. After graduating and with a good foundation in English and Mathematics, he became a school teacher, a popular vocation in those days. At that time the school year lasted but six months. During the remaining half year he learned the painting and decorating business and became so adept with the brush that his services were in demand in later years.

He taught school in a "Little Red Schoolhouse" throughout the county, his last position being in Blain, Perry County, where he had removed his family while teaching in that area. Being a great walker he, at the close of a school year, walked across the Blue Mountains, from Blain, Perry County, to Altoona, Blair County, a distance of over 100 miles. In Altoona he secured employment with the Pennsylvania Railroad, first in the Flue Department and later transferring to the Paint Shop.

But bad times were ahead, for in 1873 the Great Panic, with a recession within the Panic, befell the country, and he was furloughed. Traveling back to Perry County to join his family in Blain, he taught school for a time, after which he opened and operated a painting and decorating business until after the country had recovered from the Panic. On March 2, 1876, he had married Susan Little Smeigh, daughter of John and Mary Smeigh and three children blessed the union: Mary Edith, who married the Rev. Walter H Upham, whose father, the Rev Samuel Upham, was, for years, professor of Theology at Drew Seminary, Madison New Jersey. Their only child, Ruth Eleanor Upham, married Professor Willard S Foor, now at the South Dakota University; Charles B, author of these sketches, and Arthur Linn Shaver, who married Grace Law Mohler and who died less than two years later leaving his widow and one child who married Franklin Ruble, to which union one child, Marcella Ruble, a Registered Nurse, was born.

Following recovery from the Panic, Samuel Cass Shaver returned to Altoona and resumed his former work as painter in the Pennsylvania Railroad shops, where he continued employment until retired at the age of 70 years in 1918. Following his return to Altoona after the Panic, he prepared a home for his family which he brought to Altoona, and established a permanent home. Here the children were educated, grew to adulthood, and married.

He was a conscientious Christian, inheriting the deep profound religious fervor of the early days. He lived the life of a Christian and surrounded his family with a Christian atmosphere. As a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church he was active in all the organizations of the church. He was a Sunday School teacher, class leader, Bible class tutor and a member of other religious bodies of the church. He never used tobacco in any form, never used alcoholic beverages, never gambled and profanity was not in his vocabulary.

At about the turn of the century he became a candidate for State Treasurer on the Prohibition ticket, not for the spoils of a political office, but knowing that the temperance cause was an unpopular issue, and anticipating defeat, he allowed the use of his name to complete the ticket.

Although he was defeated at the polls he never felt any regret or animosity against those who did not support his candidacy, even those of the same church affiliation.

At the age of 70 years he was retired from the Pennsylvania Railroad, in 1918, and during his five years post-retirement period he visited his children and grandchildren, but the greater part of his time and energy was consumed in caring for his wife, who was periodically confined to bed each year, suffering from some malignant illness.

Having developed kidney trouble in his later years, he faithfully followed the physician’s instructions (that was before these modern drugs were discovered) but his condition continued to grow worse until euremic
poisoning set in. On the afternoon of March 1st, 1923 he was rushed to the Altoona Hospital where he died the following morning at 2:30 o'clock. The funeral services were held in his home and interment was made in Rose Hill Cemetery, near Altoona.

 
 
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2004