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The Life & Times of Daniel Shaner, Jr, Part 2

Updated: Apr 29

Daniel's story continues after moving to Washington Territory. Click here for Part 1

Daniel Shaner, Jr. (Center, holding the flag)

In early 1886, Daniel moved his family west from Pennsylvania to the Washington Territory and settled in the Green River Valley south of Seattle. He established a post office at Christopher, Washington, north of Auburn in the Green River Valley in 1887.

On 11 November 1889 Washington became the 42nd state when it was admitted to the Union.

Daniel later lived in Slaughter, which was renamed Auburn 21 February 1893, and served as the community's first marshal.

The Pacific Northwest was experiencing anti-Chinese riots when job competition spurred racial attacks that forced 350 Chinese from their homes. During the riots, King County Sheriff William Cochrane appointed Daniel to serve as a deputy and together they quelled trouble in the coal-mining town of Newcastle.

Later, Cochrane's successor, Sheriff John H. McGraw (later Governor of Washington), appointed Daniel as a deputy, a job he held during the Great Seattle Fire on 6 June 1889, when flames destroyed the city's central business district.

Perhaps seeking a more peaceful life, Daniel moved his family to Lewis County later in 1889 and settled in a log cabin on Klickitat Prairie near Mossyrock, which at that time had one store, a saloon, three dwellings and a lot that sold for $3.

They lived in a cabin where Daniel was a farmer and "dealer in farmlands," buying and selling property in Mossyrock. In addition, he ran a hotel in town. He was appointed a deputy sheriff by Lewis County Sheriff J.W. Barnett. He served as a delegate to the Republican state convention in Olympia 10 August 1892. Daniel also prospected rivers from the Fraser in Canada to the Cowlitz and found coal oil near Mossyrock and Harmony in 1900. He and his wife lived in town during their senior years, always flying an American flag.

However, life was not without its tragedies. His family was quarantined at home for smallpox after relatives from Pennsylvania visited. When their son, Perry B. "Pat" Shaner arrived home, he insisted on going inside the house. The Tacoma Daily Ledger reported on 17 July 1905 that he "was quarantined there with the others and took the disease. Recently, it developed into a malignant type, and his death resulted." Pat was 22 years old.

Seven years later, their eldest son, 39-year-old son Franklin Anderson Shaner, a blacksmith, died on 23 December 1912 following complications after a gastroenterostomy to treat a peptic ulcer. Five years earlier, on 30 December 1907, he and Grace L. Nelson married. She died during childbirth on 12 August 1909 and their twin sons were stillborn.

In 1916, the Shaners suffered another blow on Christmas Day when their son William A., a barber, was murdered by another barber in the Morgan building in Portland. Daniel Shaner carried a revolver in his pocket to the inquest looking into his son’s death at the hands of a "surly" man named Marcus M. McCall.

According to the 27 December 1916 edition of the Morning Oregonian, "Coroner Dammasch thought it best to adopt safety first methods last night, particularly when rumors had come to his ear that vengeance for the killing of Shaner was vowed by his father, a pioneer resident of the wilds of Lewis County, Washington. So officers attended the inquest in numbers, and a search disclosed the weapon carried by the elder Shaner." The article continued, "The man protested that he had no intention of killing anyone and said that he had carried a revolver for 26 years, and that he happened to have it in his pocket from mere force of habit. In the country about Mossyrock, he said, the weapon often came in handy."

Daniel was booked on a charge of carrying concealed weapons. Police confiscated the revolver, and Daniel returned home with the body of his son for interment at the Klickitat Cemetery in Mossyrock.

After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, their son Charles Alonzo Shaner joined the Army on 1 November of that year and, after two weeks at Camp Lewis, traveled to England on the SS Tuscania, landing on Christmas Day. Charles was quarantined, perhaps with the Spanish flu, so his 162nd Company M left for France without him. Later, he was transferred to the 18th Regiment, Company D, where he was gassed by the Germans while fighting at Chateau Thierry in France. After two weeks in the hospital, he returned to the front lines and continued fighting in the Ardennes Forest.

On 4 October 1918, during a battle, a bursting shell filled with phonograph needles infected with gangrene poison exploded. Charles was wounded in the shoulder, arm and hips. While being treated in a field hospital, he asked a nurse, Rose Peabody, to write to his parents, saying "he was wounded but would soon be all right." However, he died on 9 October, five days after the shell exploded.

The family learned that Charles, 23, had hunkered in the trenches, fighting for 93 days, without a cent of pay and few letters from home. Southwest Washington's 3rd District U.S. Congressman Albert Johnson investigated when 13 letters sent by the family to Charles were returned, unopened. Investigators determined some mistakenly thought he had died on 5 February 1918, when a German U-boat torpedoed and sunk the SS Tuscania while transporting American troops, killing 210.

Several times during the fighting in France, Charles captured German soldiers, according to The Tacoma Daily Ledger, which reported 3 September 1921, that his body was finally returned to the United States.

During his later years, the old Union soldier liked to show visitors the American and French medals for gallantry in action bestowed on his son, Charles, including the Croix de Guerre. He told a visitor in the spring of 1919 that he never liked the brass buttons on his Union uniform and always kept them blackened. He showed off a bullet that tore through his arm during the Civil War, an old Army musket he carried and fixed, shoes he wore when wounded, a cartridge belt and an old faded blue Army cap.

Daniel and Amanda Shaner celebrated their golden anniversary 12 March 1922, in the basement of the old Mossyrock High School on the hill. About 70 people attended, including their surviving nine children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Among the gifts presented to the couple were a leather upholstered rocking chair, a gold-plated bread tray, a percolator, a large rug for their living room and a large portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the president who Daniel helped protect. Amanda Shaner gave each of her children a bedspread she had crocheted.

After 36 years in Mossyrock, Daniel Shaner, Jr. died at home after a paralytic stroke on 26 July 1926. He was 81. His wife, Amanda Jane Shaner, died on 20 July 1935. She was a member of the Methodist Church and the American Legion auxiliary as well as a Gold Star mother affectionately known to friends as "Grandma Shaner." She was survived by two sons, all six of her daughters, 22 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.


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