An American Family History

Lura Alzada Long Shafer

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

Lura Alzada Long Shafer was born on August 7, 1881 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. Her parents were Thomas Long and Louisa Taylor.

She moved to North Dakota in 1903 and homesteaded northwest of Napoleon and taught several terms of school in Logan and Emmons counties.

She married Leroy Eugene Shafer on January 6, 1909 in Napoleon, Logan County, North Dakota. County Judge George Bryant officiated at their wedding because a blizzard prevented the minister from arriving. Leroy was born on October 8, 1882 in Brookfield, Renville County, Minnesota. His parents were George Nelson Hewitt Shafer and Mary Tillie Watson. 

They had five children:
 Lura Eldora Shafer Meier (October 8, 1909-November 25, 1994),
Kenneth LeRoy Shafer (February 15, 1911—August 4, 1986),
Izetta Shafer Ganschow,
Russell Eugene Shafer (May 16, 1916-February 18, 1992), and
Robert Hewitt Shafer (May 1, 1920– August 8, 1981). 

Their daughter Izetta wrote Our “Little Red Sled" A flash-back into Izetta’s childhood days:

I was the middle child of five. I had an older brother, sister and two younger brothers. My father was a farmer and he grew most of the feed for his dairy herd. Dad homesteaded nearly a section of land near Kintyre, North Dakota. Kintyre was not THAT FAR (now days) from where my favorite musician was born—Lawrence Welk.

There was a time when farming could not support our family, so dad bought a house and half the block in Napoleon, North Dakota, which was just a few miles down the dirt road. He did not have a job, so he built the first (and only) theater in Napoleon. During the day time, he would hitch our horse Queenie to the hay wagon and  give all of the children a ride to and from school, which also included a ride home for lunch and back. A couple nights a week and Saturdays he was busy at the theater. He always wanted to go back to the farm and eventually did.

During the summers we had a garden whether we lived on the farm or in the city. There is not a shade tree within 100 miles of either Kintyre or Napoleon and all of us kids had to spend time doing chores. Oh, how I hated weeding the garden, especially with my sister, since she was dad’s favorite, she always did the least and I made up the difference. My sister and I also got to help mother do the laundry, cooking meals and canning on the old, little, wood stove.  But at least I did not have to do “boy" work. My brothers worked in the fields, milked the cows and took care of the chickens and pigs. Let us not forget Queenie either. When we lived in town we only had one milk cow instead of the dairy herd. FINALLY, after the dinner dishes were done and it was starting to get dark already, our friends would come over to play Kick the Can or Simon Says. Do you remember those fun games?

During the summer of 1995, Gordon and Muriel took me back to North Dakota to visit my family and friends and also to Wisconsin to visit my husband’s sister and friends there.  While we were walking around dad’s farm (which is still in the family), Gordon and I walked over to where the old farm machinery is parked and the grain elevator is still standing.  I had to look twice at one particular piece of machinery. Could it really be????  Sure enough!!!! There was the old worn-out sled that my Grandfather gave my dad rides on.

That old worn-out sled was what inspired dad to make the “Little Red Sled" for his children to ride, when we lived in Napoleon. It was approximately 12 feet long and as wide as one board.  It had two steel runners in the front and two steel runners in the back. When the snow was packed hard on the city streets, dad would hitch Queenie to the “Little Red Sled" and away we would go. The other children in the neighborhood would hear or see us coming. As you could guess, within a block or two (there wasn’t much more, anyway) there would be sleds tied on to the back of the “Little Red Sled" and there would be more children wanting rides than there were places to sit.  There was only one solution to this dilemma. Someone is going to get bumped-off.  Who is it going to be this time? OH, OH, look out the first one bumped-off, just finished brushing the snow off, finished laughing and is running as fast as he can to catch up with the “little Red Sled" and when he does, you know what is going to happen. But, who will it be this time??? OH NO, it was IZETTA. (Courtesy of Karen Ganshow Britton)

Lura Shafer

The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. It gave an applicant 160 acres of undeveloped land outside of the original colonies. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the United States could file an application. They had to live on the land and make improvements to receive title.
Logan County is in south central North Dakota. The county seat is Napoleon.

They lived on a homestead near Kintyre until 1917 when they moved to Napoleon.  In 1931 they returned to their farm.

She died at age 73 on March 21, 1955 in Kintyre, Emmons County, North Dakota and is buried in Napoleon, Logan County, North Dakota. Leroy died on October 1, 1969.

Children of Thomas Long
and Louisa Taylor
  • Viola Belle Long Bertrand O'Dea
  • Franklin Monroe Long
  • Lura Alzada Long Shafer
  • Emma Eldora Long Vie
  • Clara May Long Lane Posekany
  • Shafer Tombstone



    from Kintrye, North Dakota 100th Anniversary Book, 2004, courtesy Janice Eyman
    LeRoy and Lura Shafer
    LeRoy Shafer came to Emmons County in March of 1903 from California. He homesteaded on the South-east Quarter of Sec. 12-135-74 where he lived until his death. He married Lura Long on January 6, 1909. LeRoy drove in to get the marriage license in a blizzard. George Bryant, Justice of the Peace, drove out in 14 degree below weather to marry them.

    Lura Long was born in Chariton, Iowa August 7, 1881. She and her father came here in the spring of 1902 and stayed with the Moriss family west of North Lake until the shack on their homestead was built. Frank, her brother and the rest of the family came in 1903.

    Five children were born to Lura and Roy, namely Eldora Meier of Cedar Rapids, IA; Izetta Ganshow of Flagstaff, AZ; Robert of Hayward, CA, Kenneth of Tuttle and Russell, who lived on the home place.

    Both Roy and Lura have passed away. During his life, he did some photography and had an extensive button collection, which he shared with many people.

    Kenneth married Elva Westbrook. They have two children ... Elva now lives in Bismarck....

    Russell married Okley Witham. They lived on the home place at Kintyre. They had four children...

    [from 1979 edition]
    Eldora lives in Cedar Rapids. She had four children...

    The Public Land Survey System is used to survey and spatially identify land parcels in the United States.
  • Range is the distance east or west from a referenced principal meridian in units of six miles.
  • A Section is approximately a one-square-mile block of land. There are 36 sections in a township.
  • A Township is a parcel of land of 36 square miles or a measure of the distance north or south from a referenced baseline in units of six miles.

    The Napoleon Homestead
    March 24, 1955

    Mrs. LeRoy E. Shafer died at 2 A.M. Monday, March 21 at the Shafer farm home west of Napoleon after a lingering illness. In 1926 Mr. and Mrs. Shafer were in a car accident in South Dakota and she had not been well since. In 1953 she entered a Jameston hospital where she was a patient for several months. She had since been a partial invalid. She was 73 years old.

    Lura Alzada Long was born Aug. 7, 1881 at Chariton, Iowa, the daughter of Thomas and Louise Long. She came to North Dakota in 1902 and homesteaded northwest of Napoleon. She taught several terms of school in Logan and Emmons county.

    She was married to LeRoy E. Shafer at Napoleon on Jan. 6, 1909, County Judge Geo. Bryant officiating as a blizzard prevented the minister from arriving on the wedding date.

    Mr. and Mrs. Shafer lived on his homestead near Kintyre until 1917, when they moved to Napoleon. They resided here until 1931, when they returned to their farmhome.

    She leaves her husband and five children, Mrs. John (Eldora) Meier of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kenneth L. Shafer of Kintyre, Mrs. Emil (Izetta) Ganschow of Palmer, Alaska, Russel E. Shafer of Kintyre, and Robert H. Shafer of Castro Valley, Calif.  There are 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She also leaves a brother, Frank Long, at Indianola, Iowa, and a sister, Mrs.O.M.Vie of Burlington, N.D. Eldora has been here for some time. Izetta and Robert will not be here for the service.

    Funeral services will be held Thursday at 2 P.M. in the Grace Methodist church at Napoleon, Rev. E. D. Coleman officiating. Internment will be in the Napoleon cemetery. Active pallbearers are Lane Storhaug, Norman Storhaug, Orville Stanley, Alvin Stanley, Russell Kleppe and Harold Kleppe. Honorary pallbearers are Carl Kleppe, Roy Hanson, Myron Fallgatter, Oswald Anrestead, Albert Larson, Fred Hammond, Oscar Starkey and Steve Richter. Arrangements are by Felgum Doerr.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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