Well known among the business men of Woodland is Fred Shaffer, who conducts a real estate and insurance office and has an excellent patronage, well deserving the success that is his. People know him not only for what he has accomplished as a realtor but also for his promotion and publicity work in connection with the valley and its opportunities. He has firm faith in this section of the state and in its future and he is constantly striving to present its advantages to the general public. California certainly has no more loyal citizen than Mr. Shaffer, although he is not a native of the state. He was born in Bridgeport, Madison county, New York, June 7, 1868, and was four years of age when the family removed to Lone Tree, Nebraska. There he remained on a farm for twenty years and during a considerable part of that period attended the public schools of his hone neighborhood. He afterward followed the profession of baseball with the team of Lincoln, Nebraska, which belonged to the Western Association, but owing to an injury to his hand was obliged to give this up. He then became a sports writer for the Nebraska State Journal and later went to Denver, Colorado, where he was editor of the Denver Times and also city editor of the Denver Post. He took an active part in politics during that period and campaigned the state in support of several candidates, especially assisting in the campaign of Phil Stewart for the governorship of Colorado, but he was defeated. He also reported two sessions of the state legislature and was well versed upon all questions vital to the commonwealth. While in Nebraska he was a close friend of William Jennings Bryan, the “Boy orator of the Platte,” and was associated with him in his campaigns.
In 1913 Mr. Shaffer came to the Pacific coast and was made traffic manager for the California, Oregon & Nevada Railroad, with headquarters at Reno, Nevada. From 1916 until 1920 he was secretary of the Yolo County Board of Trade, and thus much of his life has been given to publicity work of various kinds. In March, 1928, he entered the real estate and insurance business with his son, Ford Shaffer, as a partner, and is making substantial progress in this field. It is by reason of his promotion and publicity work, however, in the Sacramento Valley that he is best known. With the able assistance of his wife, he spent two years in Los Angeles, representing twenty-one counties in the Sacramento Valley with county exhibits. He has also represented Yolo county with exhibits of its products and won first prize at Sacramento in the State Fair of 1929. Again, in 1930, at the Los Angeles land county exhibitions in the city of Los Angeles he won the first prize. It is largely due to his efforts that Yolo county has won twelve grand prizes in eight years, as follows: 1917—grand prize at the California State Fair for the best exhibit of general products by any county in the state; 1917—grand prize at the State Francisco Land Show for the best exhibit by any county in California; 1917—grand prize at the San Francisco Land Show for the best exhibit by any county in California; 1918—grand prize at the State Fair for the best exhibit by any county in California; 1918—grand prize at the State Fair for the best exhibit of general products; 1919—grand prize at the State Fair for the best exhibit of any county in California; 1919—grand prize at the State Fair for the best exhibit of general products; 1919—grand prize at the San Francisco Land and Industrial Exposition for the best exhibit by any county in the state; 1922—grand prize at the State Fair for the best agricultural exhibit by any county in California; 1923—grand prize at the Pacific Slope Dairy Show in Oakland for the best exhibit by any county in California; 1924—grand prize at the State Fair for the best agricultural exhibit by any county in California; 1925—grand prize at the Pacific Slope Dairy Show in Oakland for the best exhibit by any county in the state.
Mr. Shaffer is a fluent and convincing public speaker and has addressed many gatherings in the valley upon subjects relative to its development and progress. He has also talked extensively over the radio and he has visited every city of any size in the valley, stimulating cooperation and awakening interest in his practical and far-reaching plans. In 1919 he was a member of a committee of twenty-one in the forty million dollar bond issue for the building of roads and highways in the state and his support can at all times be counted upon to further any plan or measure for the public weal. Mr. Shaffer served as president of the first Exhibitors Association of California for fair exhibits. He is a past president of the Woodland Lions Club and a member of Woodland Lodge, No. 1299, B. P. O. E. His hobbies perhaps are the Boy Scouts and the Young Men’s Christian Association and he has done most effective and far-reaching work along those lines.
In 1895 Mr. Shaffer was united in marriage to Miss Grace Belle Ward, a native of Nebraska and a daughter of Ben Ward, who was chief scout under Buffalo Bill during the Indian wars. The children of this marriage are: Ford; Mrs. Reva Hart, of Sacramento; and Mrs. G. F. Cloud, who has two children, Peggy and Grand Cloud. The dominant spirit of Mr. Shaffer is a constructive one. He has ever been a builder and he has builded wisely and well, accomplishing far-reaching results through his contagious enthusiasm, which has ever been based upon practical methods and high ideals.
Transcribed by Joyce Rugeroni.
© 2010 Joyce Rugeroni.