Wetherill Wetherill

A History of Discovery  

James Wetherill Shaffner

James Wetherill Shaffner, who's maternal grandfather was Richard Wetherill, and paternal grandfather was James W. Johnson was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico February 7th, 1947. 

After attending public schools in Tucumcari, New Mexico and graduating in 1965 he attended Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, New Mexico for First Air Cavalry Divisiontwo semesters before being drafted into the US Army. While in the army he served a one year tour of duty in Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division stationed at such places as An Khe, Chu Lai, Danang and Hue-Phu Bai. He spent Jim Shaffner Chu Lai, Vietnamabout half his tour on Greenline duty, which was the perimeter of an encampment that were sand bagged, wooden bunkers spaced about one and two hundred yards apart. The bunkers were manned from dusk to dawn. Each bunker had two soldiers in it with a light machine gun and other weapons. He spent the night calling for flares to light up the night sky. He say's "it's odd but every shadow seemed to move." After a year in Vietnam he spent a number of months at Fort Riley Kansas before being transferred to Europe. He spent a short time in Germany before being permanently assigned to NATO Headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

After being honorably discharged from the army he attended Eastern New Mexico University working part time for the facilities management department graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974. His first job was as a horticulturist for a Hydroponic greenhouse vegetable growing operation in Tucumcari, New Mexico and Fabens, Texas. His next job in 1978 was as a horticulturist for a wholesale flower production greenhouse in Tome, New Mexico.

In 1981 he was employed by New Mexico Tech (NMT), a small science and engineering university in Socorro, New Mexico, retiring after 25 years as Director of Facilities Management. He was also an adjunct faculty member for Eastern New Mexico University, teaching turf grass management and taught horticulture for the community college at NMT.

His wife Marie Garcia was a teacher, Principal, Director of Instruction and Superintendent of Schools.  She retired in 2001 after 28 years of service to the Belen School District. Marie and he currently live near the Tome' Land Grant in Tome' New Mexico.  The grant was a 400,000 acre tract of land given to 26 residents of Tome', New Mexico by the king of Spain in 1739. Marie is a descendent of one of these families. The provisions of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave title to 26 signatories. One of the these was  Francisco Sanchez who was the grandson of Juana Lopez de Aragon and the fifth great grand parent of Marie Garcia Shaffner.

The Sanchez branch of her family, Marie's mother, is documented to have been in New Mexico in 1600, near the time of the arrival of the Juan de Onate Expedition in 1598.  Madalena Sanchez de lnigo, eighth great-grandmother of Marie Garcia Shaffner was married September 6, 1609 in Puebla de los Angeles, New Spain and was the mother of Fray Francisco Munoz, father of the Juana Lopez de Aragon children. This family is considered to be one of the twelve founding families of Albuquerque.


Shaffner Travelogue   

  • Shaffners in Amsterdam

  • Shaffners on the Amazon River

  • Shaffners , Safari in East Africa.  The safari began inLeopard in Kenya sanctuary Nairobi Kenya and included two game sanctuaries within Kenya.  Many pictures were taken of birds, animals as well as photos of members of our group  and people of Kenya .  Video Clip of the trip.

  • Shaffners in Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona Antelope Canyon, ArizonaAntelope Canyon is just outside Page, Arizona and is truly a mystical place with colors that change every few minutes and sounds that echo off it's walls in various volumes.  It is a photographers dream.

  • Shaffners in Monument Valley, Arizona 

  • Shaffners at Rainbow Bridge, Arizona

  • Shaffners in Betatakin, Navajo National Monument, Arizona John Wetherill discovered Betatakin after being told by a Natiive American of it's where abouts.  Fourteen years earlier in 1895 Richard Wetherill Betatakin, Navajo National Monument, Arizona discovered Kiet Seel.  Both these ruins are near Kayenta, Arizona.  Richard, his brother, Al Wetherill and Charles Mason were exploring Tsegi Canyon  when they stopped to camp for the evening.  Richards mule broke it's hobble during the night.  The next Morning while searching for the mule Richard turned into the area where the ruin Keet Seel came into view.  Video of Keet Seel

  • Shaffners in Keet Seel, Arizona a 700 year old Ancestral Puebloan ruin discovered by Richard Wetherill in early 1895. They can only be viewed by hiking into Tsegi Canyon, climbing down a thousand foot plateau and hiking up a well marked trail. TheKeet Seel, Navajo National Monument, Arizona route requires crossing a rocky streambed through water sometimes encountering quicksand, rock and mud. The route is some of the most enchanting country on the planet passing five waterfalls, colorful bluffs of Pink sandstone and the intense blue skies of Navajo country. When the overnight campground is reached a ranger must be met to guide visitors through the ruins. The route back is the mother of all hikes when the base of the Shanto Plateau is reached it requires a thousand foot climb out of the Tsegi Canyon.

  • Shaffners in Arches National Park, Utah Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history.  The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world. 

  • Shaffners in Cambodia

    Near Siem Reap, Cambodia are the temples of Angkor Wat and the minor temple of Ta Prohm built in about the 12th or 13th centuries.  The temple of Ta Prohm  is eerily covered with the roots of the Banyon tree.  Every roof, hallway, and the various entrances have Banyon roots attached to carved stone blocks.  It has been preserved as it was found with the jungle taking over.  Angkor Wat has been completely restored removing the jungle exposing a magnificent temple.



  • Shaffners in Laos

  • Shaffners in Machu Picchu Peru  Machu Picchu is a city located high in the Andes Mountains in modern Peru. It lies 43 miles northwest of Cuzco at the top of a ridge, hiding it from the Urabamba gorge below.  Most of the structures are built of granite blocks cut with bronze or stone tools, and smoothed with sand. The blocks fit together perfectly without mortar, although none of the blocks are the same size and have many faces; some have as many as 30 corners. The joints are so tight that even the thinnest of knife blades

  • Shaffners in New Mexico

  • Shaffners in Playas, New Mexico-Terror Town.  When New Mexico Tech, a state supported university Blackhawk flying overhead.  purchased the town of Playas, New Mexico, Jim was Director of Facilities Playas Training Centerat the university.  Jim and his team were selected to examine the facilities and set up the management for the small town of 259 homes which included a medical facility, bank, parks, churches and other infrastructure typically found in a small town.  The team included most of the management from the university facilities department.

  • Shaffners in Thailand 

  • Shaffners in Turkey  

  • Shaffners in Utah Rainbow Natural Bridge

James Wetherill Shaffner

Jim Wetherill Shaffner

James (Jim) is the Web Master for the "Wetherill  Family" Web Site.


A Few Photos from the Shaffner Travel Log

Superb Starling Kenya, Africa

Birds of Kenya


Leopard on the Masai Mara Refuge Kenya, Africa

Animals of Kenya


Antelope Canyon, Page Arizona

Antelope Canyon Arizona


Albuquerque Balloon Festival

Albuquerque Balloon Festival