John Wilson Shaffer was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1827, but little else is known of his early life. Brevetted brigadier general in the Union Army, he was active in Republican politics in Illinois before Ulysses S. Grant named him governor of Utah in 1870. He was determined to carry out Grant’s policy of crushing “rebellion” in the territory, a stance that brought him into conflict with other officials. Among other things, Shaffer attempted to neutralize the Nauvoo Legion by proscribing military drills and gatherings. He died suddenly in Salt Lake City the year of his arrival. Following Masonic rites, his body was sent to Illinois for burial.