David W. Schaeffer was born about 1825 or 1826 in Germantown, Montgomery County, Ohio. On April 2, 1850, in Montgomery County, Ohio, he married Frances Sophia Browning (born about 1826).
David and Frances had four sons:
- Walter B. Schaeffer (born Jan. 1851; died June 11, 1936);
- Arthur David Schaeffer (born about 1853; died Mar. 31, 1918);
- Harry F. Schaeffer (born Oct. 29, 1854; died Oct. 7, 1931); and
- Clarence E. Schaeffer (born about 1857; died Apr. 27, 1861).
According to Dayton city directories, David’s occupation prior to the Civil War included being a clerk (1850, 1860-61), as well as later (1856-1859) operating with his brother Valentine a staple and fancy dry goods store, which was located on the east side of Main between Second and Third.
After the Civil War broke out, David responded to the call for troops. David enlisted in the Union Army on September 15, 1861, signing up for three years of service.
He was mustered in to the Thirty-fifth Ohio Infantry, Company I, on September 24, 1861, at Camp Chase. As a private, he was transferred to Company H, Thirty-fifty Ohio Infantry. He was appointed a first sergeant, and on October 24, 1862, was promoted to second lieutenant. On March 19, 1864, he became a first lieutenant, and on September 8, 1864, he was made captain.
The majority of this collection consists of correspondence between David and his wife Frances, as well as their sons, during David’s time in the Union Army, from 1861 to 1864. He describes several of the battles in which he participated. His unit participated in the following battles:
- Siege of Corinth (Mississippi), April 30, 1862;
- Perryville (Kentucky), Oct. 8, 1862;
- Tullahoma (Tennessee) campaign, June 23-30, 1863;
- Chickamauga (Georgia), Sept. 19-20, 1863;
- Missionary Ridge (Tennessee), Nov. 25, 1863;
- Buzzards Roost (Georgia), Feb. 25 and 27, 1864;
- Dalton (Georgia), May 9, 1864;
- Resaca (Georgia), May 13-16, 1864;
- Kennesaw Mountain (Georgia), June 30, 1864;
- Pine Mountain (Georgia), June 14, 1864;
- Pine Knob (Georgia), June 19, 1864; and
- Peach Tree Creek (Georgia), July 20, 1864.
David was mustered out of the army on September 27, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Shortly after his return home, his wife Frances died of typhoid on November 21, 1864.
On December 14, 1865, in Montgomery County, Ohio, David married Catherine Starr (born June 3, 1829), whose first husband Henry Link had died in 1858. Catherine had one son, Oscar Link (born about 1852). David and Catherine had three sons of their own:
- Charles W. Schaeffer (born Jan. 20, 1867; died Oct. 31, 1933);
- George Starr Schaeffer (born Nov. 3, 1869; died Feb. 11, 1918); and
- Willie Schaeffer (born about Sept. 1871; died Mar. 29, 1872).
[Charles and George Schaeffer were actively involved in the Stillwater Canoe Club. Many photos of the club – and the brothers – can be found in the Dayton Metro Library digital collections.]
After the Civil War, David was a collector for the Internal Revenue Service (1866-1869), and by 1870 he had become an insurance agent, selling both fire and life insurance, an occupation he continued right up until his death. The family was active in the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, where David was an officer.
For many years, from at least the mid-1850s until after David’s death in 1894, the Schaeffer family home was located on the southeast corner of Ludlow Street and Water Street (Monument Avenue). It was originally numbered 6 Ludlow Street but was later changed to 240 N. Ludlow Street. As of 2011, the Chase Bank drive-through is now located on the former site of the Schaeffer home.
David W. Schaeffer died on September 5, 1894, in Dayton, Ohio. His second wife Catherine Starr Schaeffer died on February 5, 1909, in Dayton. David and both of his wives are buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton, Ohio.
This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2011 for the Schaeffer Papers (MS-020) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.
Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid; the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry; or the WorldCat record.
Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.