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Fred A. Schafer
The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
Fred A. Schafer, ex-county superintendent of schools, and at present a retail furniture dealer at Renville, was born in Rice county, six miles southeast of Northfield, Minnesota, Dec. 19, 1865, and came, with his parents, Henry and Mary E. (Von Strohe) Schafer, to Renville county, Flora township in December, 1868. F. A. Schafer worked on the farm until he was 21 years old. His school days were very, very limited. He began to attend school during his tenth year, in a log school house. During his twelfth year he attended school thirteen days during the entire school year and during his thirteenth year he attended only twelve days during the entire school year, which consisted of three months. When he quit attending the rural school in District 22, Flora township, at the age of 18, he had no knowledge of grammar and physiology, but he was a master of arithmetic, and had a fair knowledge of the other common branches. At the age of 21 he learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked during the summer months for twenty years. His desire for a better and higher education never ceased, and on Oct. 1, 1889, he was one of the first three students that entered and registered at St. Paul's College at St. Paul Park, Minnesota, where he attended for three years, during the fall and winter months, six school months each year. He began his first experience as a rural school teacher in District 8, Flora township, in the fall in 1892, where he taught a term of four months. He taught school five years in Renville county, one year in District 8, two years in District 9, and two years in District 58, known as the Gunnert school. In June, 1900, he graduated at St. Paul's College, where he completed two courses, the normal and commercial course. He attended the Winona State Normal School during the fall term of 1900 and the spring term of 1901. During the summer of 1900 he was U. S. census enumerator of Flora township. He has also been assessor of Flora township for three consecutive years, 1897, 1898 and 1899. He taught school in Scott county, Minnesota, for four years, 1902 to 1906, two years near New Market and was principal of the Lydia school in Scott county, Minnesota. He was elected county superintendent of schools in Renville county on the Republican ticket in the fall of 1906, and served for eight years, from Jan. 1, 1907, to Jan. 1, 1915. When he became county superintendent, there were only twenty-five rural districts receiving special state aid, but when he retired from the above position, on Jan. 1, 1915, Renville county had 105 rural districts drawing special state aid. At present Mr. Schafer is proprietor of a retail furniture store in the city of Renville, where he has resided since 1899. He is a self-made man, working for many years at the carpenter trade in summer in order to attend college in fall and winter.
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