Enters Her 100
She is 99 But Keeps Home and Garden All by Herself
Glen Elder, Kan., Nov. 26.--(Special)--In a Cape Cod cottage set in a lawn that is a model of neatness in the community, with a wealth of flowers, lives a Kansas woman who is truly remarkable. She lives alone, does nearly all her own housework and tending of her yard and garden, yet she was ninety-nine years old on November 19.
She has been "Aunt Leah" Shaffer to the Glen Elder community for more than half a century.
She was born in Maryland, but with her family went to Medway, Ohio, when two and a half years old. In 1859 she married Lewis Shaffer, and in 1872 they were baptized into the Reformed Mennonite Church in a group of forty-eight young people, all of whom had gone to school to spelling, and singing schools together.
Noted for Hospitality
In 1879 Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer and their four children, Albert, David, Holingsworth and Sarah Margaret came to Kansas to live in the Naomi neighborhood south of Glen Elder. Their home on the farm was noted for its hospitality, its lovely flowers, and the kind and neighborly ways of the Shaffers.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Shaffer moved into town in 1915. Since then she has quilted more than a hundred quilts by hand, of the most beautiful and intricate designs.
A visitor to Aunt Leah Shaffer's is deeply impressed by her unusual vitality and youthfulness. The little house is as neat and bright, rag rugs on the floors, many lovely old pieces of walnut and cherry furniture, some handmade.
Present 79 Years Ago
One of her treasures is a locket given her by Mr. Shaffer the year before their marriage in 1859, containing their pictures. Another is the white common lace stockings worn with her wedding costume, that tied with strings below the knee. These were worn, of course, before the date that the plain dress of the Mennonites sect was adopted for life.
Eats Five Times a Day
Her eyesight and hearing are exceptionally good, she eats five times a day, with meat and potatoes as three meals. For breakfast she has fried "speck" (bacon), and fired potatoes, coffee and bread; for 9 o'clock lunch, a dish of rice.
"Just stay a while longer, and you can have dinner with me, I have my carrots cooking now," she says.
She never takes medicine of any kind, for she doesn't need it, yet has a "schoolgirl" complexion fresh and pink, that never has had powder used for it. Stiffened fingers have made quilting impossible any more, but she does knitting, and hand sewing, and sews on a machine.
South windows hod shelves of blooming houseplants. In the summer she trims her pink rambler roe hedge, digs bulbs and vegetables, spades the garden. She also splits her own kindling, carries in wood, and goes up and down the cellar steps to tend the furnace. With twinkling eyes, she protests, "But no one else could spade my garden good enough!"
Regularly to Church
She goes to church every other Sunday when services are held in the Naomi Mennonite Church in the country.
Two sons, David and Albert, now are dead, but Holly lives near her in Glen Elder, and her daughter, Mrs. Maggie Davis, of Hoxie, comes often to see her and was here last week in honor of her birthday, when a group of neighbors and friends of the Mennonite Church came with a basket dinner and spent the day with her.