Griff Reid's great-great-grandfather, John D. Schafer, left his native Germany in 1847 to migrate to the United States. A native of Bonn, Germany, John graduated from Bonn High School and attended college at Pruell, from which he graduated and at which he soon became an instructor in music. As a young man, he saw the Revolution coming and in 1847 bought passage for himself and his young bride to New York. Once they arrived in America, the young couple settled in Wisconsin, where Mrs. Schafer died in 1852. Now a widower, Griff's great-great-grandfather John went overland to California where he found a new gold rush under way. This time in the Rogue River diggings of Oregon. He spent 1854 in Rogue River country. He traveled the next year for South America to seek riches in the Argentine, Peru and Bolivia. He found no riches, however, and in 1861 returned to Wisconsin, which at that time was almost a German province.
In the Wisconsin community, young John D. taught music and languages, and in 1868 married a young widow, Anna Muller, who was to become the mother of his great grandfather Peter and his brothers Hubert and Albert. A year later, the young family set off for California on the new transcontinental railroad. They stopped briefly in San Francisco and then traveled by ship to Victoria, British Columbia and finally by boat to Olympia, Washington.
In 1870, Olympia was not only the capital of the Washington Territory, but also was one of its largest towns. However, city life was not for John Schafer. He wanted to work the land. Leaving his family in Olympia, he traveled to Little Rock, a settlement on the Black River. With the help of a few Indians, he began construction of a scow to transport equipment and provisions for a homestead in the wilds of western Washington. Once John found the spot he wanted to homestead, he felled a few trees and again with help of the Indians, constructed a rude house of logs, split shakes and a dirt floor. He returned to Olympia, loaded his wife and children into a four-horse drawn wagon and began the overland trek to their new home. It took them two days to reach their destination.
Over the next few years, after laboriously turning their 160 acres into farm to produce foodstuffs for their selves as well to sell, two more children were born to John and Anna--Hubert and Albert. These three brothers were destined to establish Schafer Brothers Logging Co., which over the next 50 years would become the largest logging and timber producer in the Northwest, employing over 7000 people.
Griff's father, John D., was born in Aberdeen, Washington, the headquarters of Schafer Brothers in 1937. Aberdeen was a true logging town and as was the case in those times, Aberdeen had suffered a devastating fire in 1900. Griff's other Great Grandfather, George B. Reid was a noted architect who had been brought out from St. Louis to design the city of Port Angeles, Washington. George B. was the city architect of St. Louis but the "Great Northwest" pulled him West just as it did John Schafer. Following the Aberdeen fire, Mr. Reid was called in and preceded to design the majority of the buildings that became the new Aberdeen.