Paul Schafer
photo from SF Call
Paul Joseph Schafer (June 20, 1863–May 6, 1955) was the assistant postmaster of Oakland in the early 1900s and later the postmaster.

Schafer was born June 20, 1863 in Oakland to German immigrants Albert B. Schafer and Katie Muller (Schafer) and was one of six children.

In 1888, Schafer married Zebuline Adelaide Harrison Hunt (January 27, 1870–?) and they had three children: Josephine Symmes Schafer (March, 1891–?), Paul Joseph Schafer, Jr. (September 30, 1892June 20, 1967) and Symmes Harrison Schafer (1894December 30, 1977).

In 1902, Zebuline suddenly left and divorced Paul. In a case that made the headlines, Paul was accused in 1903 of kidnapping their daughter. 1 He found Josephine walking with an unknown woman in Sacramento and took custody of her. Paul was arrested aboard a steamboat, but released when the details came out. Zebuline had left Paul and gone to Nebraska and obtained a divorce. A few days later in Iowa she married Herbert W. Beck of Sacramento. But the divorce was determined to be illegal, because Zebuline had lied about living in Nebraska for 6 months. 2


Schafer served in a number of offices, but is probably best known for his work as assistant postmaster and later postmaster of Oakland. Oakland was growing rapidly in the early 1900s, and its postal service needed to grow rapidly, too.

  • 1890-1895 - secretary of Alameda County Board of Health 4, 5
  • ?-1899 - secretary for Congressman Metcalf
  • 1899-1907 - assistant postmaster of Oakland
  • 1907 - appointed acting postmaster when Thomas T. Dargie dies
  • 1907-1912+ - postmaster of Oakland 7


Schafer was a fan of the hometown Oakland Oaks baseball team. 3

Links and References

  1. Kidnaped His Child Los Angeles Herald June 11, 1903
  2. Two Husbands For One Woman San Francisco Call April 24, 1904
  3. Oakland's Boosters Pack the Grounds San Francisco Call April 11, 1913
  4. Health Officers Appointed San Francisco Call April 12, 1895
  5. Oakland Daily Alta California June 6, 1890
  6. Kidnaper Captured on Steamboat San Francisco Call June 10, 1903
  7. Taft Reappoints Post Office Head San Francisco Call February 4, 1911