Rush County, Kansas

by Neal Danielson, Editor

Shaffer, a village in Rush County, 15 miles southeast of La Crosse, the County Seat. The County was organized in 1874 in honor of Alexander Rush, Captain of Company H, Second Colored Infantry, who was killed April 3, 1864 at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas.

Shaffer had a population of 45 in 1910 census. The village consisted of three mills, two grain elevators, a hotel, a creamery, general store, telegraph and express office and a money order post office. The first post office in the county was in Economy, established in 1871 with N. S. Gilbert, serving as Postmaster. It was served by military couriers, but abandoned in July, 1872. In 1874 J. H. Hubbard was Postmaster at Rush Center, followed by the towns of Brookdale and Alexander postmasters being appointed in 1875. La Crosse post office, the County Seat, would have its first Postmaster, E. F. Brown appointed in 1877.

The early settlers found buffalo in abundance, and derived much of their living from their existence in the county through the year 1872 when buffalo basically disappeared from Kansas, due to their slaughter for the hides. The county is located in the sixth tier from Colorado border and the fourth tier from the Nebraska border (Figure 1). The Walnut is the main stream, passing nearly centrally through the county from east to west. Otter creek and Old Maid's Creek are its southern tributaries; Sand Creek is the northern one. The Smoky Hill River touches its northern boundary and here it receives the Big Timber Creek, which waters the northwestern part of the county (Figure 2).

The village of Shaffer located in Garfield Township established its post office on February 19, 1892 and closed February 15, 1934. The facility was re-opened on April 24, 1936 and closed again on March 15, 1948. Figure 3 is an interesting post card by the Rotograph Co., of New York City that was printed in Germany. The post card measures 2 5/8 inches high by 6 inches long. These post cards are sometimes referred to as bookmark post cards.

Figure 3 - Shaffer Kans. Received Post Card

Figure 4 - Face of Post Card Reduced in Size

The card is franked with a 1 Benjamin Franklin (Scott #331, issued Dec. 1908) and is tied to the card with a circular date cancel of Jan. 12, 1909 (the town in Kansas is not legible) and then another receipt cancel in purple from the Shaffer, Kans., post office of Jan. 14, 1909. On the left side of the post card is printed the following statement; "Rates of Postage 1 cent if this space contains no writing or only sender's name and address. Letter postage if this space contains written communications.", but only 1 postage was used rather than the 2 letter rate. The post card is apparently to a young child talking about the cold winter mornings and having to go to school.

The face of the card (Figure 4) pictures a seashore scene, which Kansas does not have. Apparently it is a scene from New York costal area, since the post card was produced by a New York Company.

There were other unique features in the village of Shaffer, Kansas. The Railroad Depot shown in Figure 5, showing the milk cans beside the depot and the chimney for either the coal burning or wood burning stove. The rail wagon located outside the depot was used to load and unload freight.

Many depots located in town across Kansas have been preserved and now houses a small museum or a restaurant, while others have continued to be maintained and is used by the Railroad passengers today.

Figure 5 - Shaffer Depot in Shaffer, Kansas

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Posted Nov, 2005 RR