Charles Emmett “Charlie” Shaffstall

1883 – 1919

 

 

Charlie Shaffstall was born March 2, 1883 in Nebraska, a son of Abraham Calvin Shaffstall, Jr. and Harriet Emma “Hattie” (Simmons) Shaffstall (1863-1938).  He worked as a “garage mechanic” first at the Etchen Brothers Auto Co. which was the Studebaker dealership in Coffeyville, Kansas.  Shaffstall was then employed by the Upham Garage and then the Isham Garage before opening his own Sweetheart Route Garage, all of which were in Coffeyville.

Shaffstall was married first in 1907 in Coffeyville to Sarah Elizabeth “Sadie” Gillam (1879-1967) and they briefly moved to Caney, Kansas where they became the parents of a daughter, Jessie Virginia (Shaffstall) Revello (1909-?).  Charlie and Sadie were divorced in 1912 and Charlie was married second to Helen Corda (Williams) Shaffstall (1894-1920).

Shaffstall went to work as manager of the new Etchen Brothers Auto Co. in the fall of 1910.  Their new building was not even finished when word came from Studebaker that they had two new cars waiting for them in Kansas City.  Shaffstall and Fred Etchen went to Kansas City and drove them back to Coffeyville.  One was a 1910 Flanders 20 and the other a 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster, both of which eventually became racing cars.

Shaffstall apparently purchased the 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster from the Etchen Brothers Auto Co. but also continued to drive J. F. Jersezy’s 1910 Flanders 20 from time-to-time as it seemed Shaffstall could somehow coax more speed out of a car than Jersezy was able to.

 

            The following is an incomplete list of races that Charlie E. Shaffstall competed in.

  

July 4, 1911

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park in Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove an E. M. F. owned by the Etchen Brothers Auto Co. and Fred Etchen* drove an E. M. F. owned by E. Nichols.

All entrants only ran one-at-a-time against the clock.  Shaffstall ran three miles in 4 minutes, 58.0 seconds while Etchen covered the same distance in 5 minutes, 10.0 seconds.

  

November 30, 1911

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park in Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove a 1910 Flanders 20 owned by the Etchen Brothers Auto Co. of Coffeyville and Fred Etchen* of Coffeyville drove an E. M. F.

There were only the two cars in this five-mile race.  Both cars carried the driver and two passengers.    Shaffstall won in 7 minutes, 55.0 seconds while Etchen finished in 8 minutes, 26.0 seconds.

  

January 16, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – Mid-West Auto Club sanctioned race at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove an E. M. F. 30 owned by Ed S. Rea

Shaffstall finished third in the 10-mile race for car rated at 40 h.p. or more.  It was won by a Cutting 40 automobile driven by George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas.  Johnnie Cooney of Independence, Kansas, driving a Marion 35 owned by Dale Williams of Caney, Kansas; finished in second place.  R. E. “Dick” Seip of Oklahoma City, driving a Chalmers 40, dropped out of the race early with mechanical problems.

 

January 17, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – Mid-West Auto Club sanctioned race at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park in Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove an E. M. F. 30 owned by Ed S. Rea.

Shaffstall finished second in a 10-mile heat race behind Johnnie Cooney of Independence, Kansas who drove a Marion 35 “Bob-Cat” owned by Dale Williams of Caney, Kansas.

Shaffstall finished third in the 20-mile “Free-for-all” event that was won by Johnnie Cooney.  Dick Seip of Oklahoma City placed second in a Chalmers 40.  Four cars started this race but a Cutting 40 driven by George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas, lead early only to drop out and not finish the event.

 

July 4, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove an E. M. F. owned by Fred Etchen of Coffeyville.

 

September 21, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – American Automobile Association sanctioned race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove a 1910 Flanders 20 owned by the Etchen Brothers Auto Co.

Shaffstall won a 10-lap race for stock automobiles.

  

September 29, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove his own 1910 E. M. F. 30 ro.

Shaffstall won the first six-lap heat race in 4 minutes, 32.0 seconds.

Shaffstall finished second in the second six-lap heat race in 4 minutes, 25.25 seconds in a very close race with Roy Good of Coffeyville who was driving E. M. F.

Shaffstall finished second to J. F. Jersezy of Chanute, Kansas in the third six-lap heat.  Jersezy was driving a Hudson 20.

Shaffstall won the third heat race in 4 minutes, 20.0 seconds to also give him the overall victory for the afternoon.

  

November 28, 1912

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove a 1910 Flanders 20 owned by the Etchen Brothers Auto Co.  Each of the races was started from a complete stop with a pistol shot.

Shaffstall won the first six-lap heat race in 4 minutes, 21.0 seconds.

Shaffstall won the second six-lap heat race in 4 minutes, 23.5 seconds.

Shaffstall finished second to J. F. Jersezy of Chanute, Kansas in the third six-lap heat.  Jersezy was driving a Hudson 20.

Shaffstall won the feature race with Jersezy in second place so Jersezy purchased the 1910 Flanders 20 from the Etchen Brothers Auto Co. the following winter.

 

June 11, 1913

½ mile dirt oval – Riverside Park in Iola, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove J. F. Jersezy’s 1910 Flanders 20.

Basil T. “B. T.” Barber of Iola, Kansas challenged Jersezy to a match race between their two cars proposing that it be run at the Riverside Park racetrack in Iola.  The two owners agreed that they would split the gate receipts 60% to the winner with 40% going to the looser.  With over 2,000 spectators in the grandstands having paid 25 cents each for their tickets, the purse came to around $500.  Shaffstall drove the 1910 Flanders 20 to an easy win in the first two of the three scheduled races thus defeating Barber whose Ford was plagued with engine trouble.  Barber sought a rematch to be run on the Riverside Park racetrack on July 4, 1913 but Jersezy already had a contract to run there himself against the clock on that day so he declined the offer.  Barber then entered the races that were to be run at Winfield, Kansas on that date.

 

October 10, 1913

½ mile dirt oval – Katy Park in Chanute, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove J. F. Jersezy’s 1910 Flanders 20.

A crowd estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000 was on hand.  There were many crashes and, in accordance with the finical arrangements that the promoter had made with the fair board, if the cars did not finish the race, the driver could not collect the prize money.  Since few managed to finish; only a few dollars of the purse was actually paid out, much to the consternation of the contestants.

Shaffstall finished second to Glenn M. Breed in the first 10-lap heat race.

Shaffstall suffered a broken rib and other non-life-threatening injuries on the fifth lap of the second heat race when, in a thick cloud of dust, he crashed the 1910 Flanders 20 into the disabled Buick “Bearcat” driven by W. W. Brown.  The force of the crash turned the 1910 Flanders 20 over on its side throwing Shaffstall out and completely over the top of Brown’s Buick.  While the race was stopped for Shaffstall’s accident, Brown was able to repair Buick and then restart the race which he went on to win.

Glenn M. Breed won the “Free-for-All” race.  The total purse for the day was $500.

 

On March 31, 1914, Charlie Shaffstall’s 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster caught fire in the Upham Garage during a severe hail storm in Coffeyville, Kansas.  The fire department had to lay their hose at the height of the storm.  The blaze was extinguished with minimal damage but the timing of the incident did not win Shaffstall any friends on the fire department.

 

August 26, 1914

½ mile dirt oval – Katy Park in Chanute, Kansas

            4,000 racing fans attended these races.  Shaffstall drove his own 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster but his name does not appear in the publish results of these races.

  

November 29, 1914

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

          Shaffstall drove a Studebaker owned by Charles E. Slater of Coffeyville.

This was to have been a best two five-mile heat races out of three match race between the Studebaker and a Model T Ford “Bug” owned by B. T. Barber of Iola, Kansas.  The Ford blew its engine in the first heat race though leaving the victory in the first two races to the Studebaker driven by Shaffstall.  His time for the first five-miles was 6 minutes, 41.0 seconds and he ran the next five-miles in 6 minutes, 21.0 seconds.

The crowd was large but the Montgomery County Attorney ordered the local marshal to arrest the ticket takers at the gates before race time, for violating the state’s Sunday labor laws.  One was arrested but the others slipped away from their posts before they could be caught.  That allowed many of the spectators to watch the races without having to buy a ticket.  The promoter said that the incident put a severe dent in the amount of the purse that was paid out at the end of the afternoon but the fair board reported that they made a profit of $48 for the afternoon.

 

April 20, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Colcord Track in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Shaffstall drove his own 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster.

Shaffstall was involved in two crashes in different preliminary races but then finished third in the 99-mile (actually 98.77 mile) Oklahoma Championship automobile road race behind winner Claude Foster of Tuttle, Oklahoma (who was driving an Overland) and Roy G. Thomas of Enid, Oklahoma (who was driving a Hupmobile).  The total $1,000 purse was divided among the first four finishers in the championship race.  Shaffstall covered the distance in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 5.0 seconds (just 3 minutes, 1.5 seconds off of the winning time) while C. B. Chandler (or G. B. Chandler) came in for the fourth-place prize money in a Buick.  Ten cars had started the event on the 2.409-mile road course and seven of those were still running at the finish.

  

May 5, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

           Shaffstall drove his 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster.

Shaffstall was running well in the Australian Pursuit when he was passed and this eliminated from the race by Roy Gillett of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving the #13 “Wamups Cat” Ford special.  Gillett went on to win that race.

 

July 5, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Riverside Park in Iola, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove his 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster.

8,000 spectators watched an afternoon of varied entertainment capped off by a winner-take-all auto race that was won by Roy Gillett of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving the #13 “Wampus Cat” Ford special.  Shaffstall finished second, a half-lap behind the winner.  B. T. Barber of Iola, Kansas dropped out on the second lap with a broken fuel line.

 

July 30, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Labette County Fairgrounds at Oswego, Kansas

Charlie Shaffstall drove his own 1910 E. M. F. 30 roadster but his name does not appear in published race results.

  

October 2, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove a Studebaker.

                        Shaffstall finished second in the 10-mile race to Roy Gillett of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving his #13 “Wampus Cat” Ford special.

 

October 14, 1915

1½ mile dirt oval – Speedway Park in Wichita, Kansas

Shaffstall entered a Studebaker owned by Fred Etchen* of Coffeyville, Kansas.

For some currently unknown reason, Shaffstall was one of three entrants that did not start the 10.5-mile “K. O. M. Classic” race which was won by William “Candy” Cunningham of Fredonia, Kansas in his “Yellow Kid” Ford.  Note:  K. O. M. stood for Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri.

 

December 7, 1915

½ mile dirt oval – Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Forest Park at Coffeyville, Kansas

            Roy Good of Coffeyville, drove an E. M. F. 30 owned by Shaffstall.

Good was leading the 25-mile feature race when he crashed into the outside fence on about the fifteenth lap.  The wreck tore down about fifty-feet of fence with numerous boards piercing the hood and radiator.  Good was not injured in the incident.  The race was won by Ed Lauer of Cherokee, Iowa who was driving an Emden automobile.

 

October 6, 1916

½ mile dirt oval – Katy Park in Chanute, Kansas

            Shaffstall drove a Studebaker.

Shaffstall broke his goggles as the cars were lining up for the first four-car, five-mile heat race and he was working to repair them when the starter gave the signal to start.  The other cars were a quarter-lap ahead when Shaffstall got away from the starting line.  Even so, he was able to catch and pass the “Nowata Ford” to come in third place behind W. D. Mercer of Bartlesville, Oklahoma in his “Dewey Kid” special and the _____ Harrier of Nowata, Oklahoma driving the Bluebird special.

Shaffstall finished in fourth place in the second 10-lap heat race behind winner W. D. Mercer in his “Dewey Kid” special, _____ Mayfield in his Ford, and _____ Harrier in the Bluebird special.

The racetrack was so dusty that the judges considered calling off the third 10-lap heat race.  It was run though with Shaffstall finishing in third place behind W. D. Mercer in his “Dewey Kid” special and Harrier in the Bluebird special.  The purse was paid out by the accumulative finishes of the drivers in the three races and Shaffstall was thus awarded fourth place overall. 

   

            Charlie Shaffstall came down with post-influenza pneumonia while in Kansas City for a car show and died at his home in Coffeyville, Kansas on March 11, 1919.  He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Coffeyville.  His wife, Helen Corda (Williams) Shaffstall (1894-1920), was fatally injured just one year later in a car-train collision at Howden, Oklahoma (which was then a small community eight miles south of Coffeyville, Kansas) and is buried beside her husband in the Fairview Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

* Frederick Rudolph “Fred” Etchen, Sr. (1884-1961) was a partner in the Etchen Brothers Studebaker automobile dealership at Coffeyville, Kansas and an accomplished sports shooter.  He was captain of the United States clay pigeon shooting team that won the gold medal in that competition at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.  In 1912, Etchen drove a six-cylinder Studebaker from Coffeyville, Kansas to Denver, Colorado in the then record time of 23 hours, 29 minutes.  Sports Illustrated ranked Etchen number 30 on its list of the 50 top Kansas sports figures of the 20th century.