John Shaner


JOHN SHANER, a farmer of Parks township, Armstrong county, one of the oldest and most highly respected residents of his section, was born Sept. 18, 1832, in Westmoreland county, Pa., eldest son of Henry Shaner.

Peter Shaner, great-grandfather of John Shaner, was the founder of the family in this country. He came to America from Germany before the Revolutionary war, and settled in western Pennsylvania, along the Schuylkill river. After living there for some time he removed to Maryland, where he died. His family consisted of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters, namely: Adam; Peter; Henry; Christopher; David; Daniel; John; Andrew; another son whose name is not remembered; Christian (daughter) and Catherine, whose husbands were both named Keefer; and another daughter who became Mrs. Ichus. All the sons except John and Andrew removed to western Pennsylvania about the year 1800, Adam and Henry settling in Butler county; some of their descendants are living in Pittsburgh. Christopher had the following children: William, Frederick, Joseph, Sampson, Katy (Mrs. Shafer) and Polly (married Henry Klingensmith); of these, Joseph and Sampson never married.

George Shaner, brother of Peter Shaner, the emigrant, fought under Washington in the American Revolution. He settled in Westmoreland county, Pa., and some of his descendants are now living near Turtle Creek, in Allegheny county, this State.

Daniel Shaner, son of Peter the emigrant, settled near Buena Vista, in Allegheny county, about 1807. The place was then known as Brown's Ferry. His children were John (the historian of the Shaner family), William, Daniel, George, Hetty and Peggy. Shaner's station, on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, was named after Daniel Shaner, of this family.

Peter Shaner, Jr., grandfather of John Shaner, was a farmer by occupation, and lived and died in Westmoreland county. He was killed at Adamsburg. His children were: Jacob; Eli; Henry; Margaret, who died unmarried; Mrs. Henry Brewer; and one daughter who died young.

Henry Shaner, son of Peter, was born in 1809 in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county, and owned two farms in that township. Besides following farming he worked in the winter time at making barrels, as well as flaxbrakes for his neighbors. He was an active man in the community, served as tax collector, was a member of the Lutheran Church, and in politics was identified with the Republican party. He died Nov. 6, 1881, and is buried in Pleasant View cemetery in Westmoreland county. His wife, Catherine (Cline), daughter of Peter Cline, died in March, 1887. They had a large family, viz.: John is mentioned below; Daniel lives in Gilpin township, Armstrong county; Henry lives in Gilpin township; William, who now lives in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county, served during the Civil war in Company C, 139th Pennsylvania Regiment, and was wounded at Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864; Catherine is the widow of John Keppel and resides in Parks township, where she has a farm; Peter enlisted June 8, 1861, in the 11th Pennsylvania Reserves, and was killed at the battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862; Eli is living on the old homestead in Westmoreland county; Andrew, twin of Eli, died when five years old; David lives at Apollo, Pa. (he is the father of Sheriff Thomas Shaner of Armstrong county); Thomas, a contractor, resides at Warren, Pa.; Caroline is the widow of Isaac Heckman and resides in Gilpin township; Rebecca, widow of William Frederick, resides in Westmoreland county; Solomon is living at New Kingston, Pa.; Zacharias is living at the old homestead in Westmoreland county; Elizabeth married Joseph McGeary, of Butler, Pennsylvania.

John Shaner, son of Henry, attended public school in his native county, and continued to live at home, assisting his father, until he was twenty-two years old. After that he was in the employ of Mrs. Owens for two years, doing farm work, and for one year employed elsewhere. He then married and started farming on his own account, on the old homestead. After living there for two and a half years he removed to Armstrong county, where he took care of his brother Daniel's coal land, looking after the latter's interests during his service and absence on account of the Civil war. He then removed to the David Kepple farm in what is now Parks township, remaining there for about one and a half years, after which he bought the James Hunter farm of 107 acres in Parks township. It lies three miles above Leechburg, along the Kiskiminetas river, and has become a valuable piece of property under his intelligent cultivation and excellent management. Mr. Shaner has had the good fortune never to lose a day's work because of illness during his residence there, and although he is in his eightieth year is still actively interested in the farm work. He has served his fellow citizens in the office of township supervisor, and for six years he was an elder of the First Lutheran Church of Leechburg, in which he holds membership. He is identified with the Republican party in politics.

Mr. Shaner was married to Hannah E. Seese, daughter of William Seese, who came to this country from Germany. They have become the parents of nine children: Annie married Thomas M. Klingensmith; Ida married G. B. Gourley; Henry W. D. died when eleven months, eleven days old; George married Florence Kunkel; Finley married Jennie Goodsill; Elsie, deceased, was the wife of Henry Wangaman; Lizzie J., unmarried, lives at home; John S., who married Lillie Shaner, lives at home and is engaged in farming the home place; Mattie is married to Charles Carnahan.

Source: Pages 803-804, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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