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Shoemaker Families

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Alternate Spellings - Shoomaker, Shomaker, Shoumaker, Shuemaker, Shumaker, Schumaker, possibly Schoonmaker (New York)

Links - Boyd, Ferguson, Irwin, Glancey Cemetery, Almhouse Register, Miller

Contacts - 4/2007 We have good news and bad news. Karen Borden has informed us that George William Shoemaker is NOT the son of John and Elizabeth Shoemaker of Mercer County, Illinois [they had a son George of about the same age but he is not George William]. The good news is that all the wonderful research information that Karen has furnished us as documented below for John and Elizabeth Shoemaker is still valid as at the time she thought they were her ancestors. Much of her information was from Donald Truitt who IS a descendant of Benjamin Shoemaker below. We have removed Brenda Robertson’s notes about George William Shoemaker and added some notes from Karen at the bottom of the page as it may help other Shoemaker researchers.

Jennifer Shoemaker Tate is a Benjamin and Malinda Shoemaker descendant and prompted us to add census records on Benjamin and Malinda.

There were 156 heads of household in the 1790 census carrying the above name variations. The families included 726 members so there is a vast distribution of the name. 108 of the families were in Pennsylvania. We understand that there are Shoemaker manuscripts indicating Mennonite Shoemakers came to Pennsylvania as early as 1731. A widow Shoemaker with five sons is found on a ship's list (The Jeffrey) arriving in Pennsylvania as early as 1686. Census records of Shoemaker families in Mercer County indicate origins in Pennsylvania and Virginia and subsequent migrations to Ohio and Indiana.

We find a John and a Jacob Shoemaker on the 1806 Tax List in Clear Creek Township, Fairfield County, Ohio. We mention these particularly as several Mercer County families came from this township in Fairfield County, Ohio.

There are a number of Shoemaker marriages in Wayne County, Indiana, in the 1820's and 1830's though none we can connect to Mercer County. One of the old manuscripts indicates a Benjamin Shoemaker went to Illinois about the time of the Civil War and stopped and visited relatives in Wayne County on the way. Since there were multitudes of Shoemakers in Illinois we cannot connect this Benjamin to Mercer County, particularly since the Mercer Shoemakers came well before the Civil War.

John and Elizabeth Dewitt Shoemaker Family

In Montgomery County, Indiana, we find the marriage of John Shoemaker to Elizabeth Dewett on 2/4/1830. This marriage is consistent with the John and Elizabeth Shoemaker family of Eliza Township, Mercer County, Illinois. We find the newlyweds in the 1830 census in Montgomery County, Indiana: 1 male 20-30 and 1 female 20-30. By 1840 they are in Mercer County (Township 14N Range 4W): John Shoemaker: 2 males under 5; 2 males 5-10; 1 male 30-40; 1 female under 5; and 1 female 30-40. We find them in the 1850 census (Township 15N Range 5W): John Shoemaker, 48, farmer, born Ohio; Elizabeth, 40, born In; William, 19, farmer, born In; Benjamin, 16, farmer, born In; Polly Jane, 15, In; George, 12, Il; Elias, 10, Il; Martha, 8, Il; Harrison, 6, Il; Eliza, 4, Il; Elizabeth, 1, Il. The birthplaces of the children indicate the Shoemakers came to Mercer County between 1835 and 1838. They are living just two doors from the Samuel "Furgison" family, whose daughter Susanah Lucinda would marry John and Elizabeth's son Benjamin.

We have heard from Karen Borden who tells us that John Shoemaker died sometime between 1853 and 1855 as his youngest son, John, was born 4 March 1854 and John, Sr. is missing as head of household in the 1855 Mercer County census.

Karen also enlightens us on Elizabeth DeWitt Shoemaker. Her father was the John DeWitt, Sr. found in 1830 in Mercer County. She feels John and Elizabeth may have left Montgomery County, Indiana, in 1836 to join Elizabeth’s father in Mercer County. A history book of Montgomery County explains that in 1836 everyone in Montgomery County went broke and that many left.

We find widow Elizabeth Dewitt Shoemaker living next door to son Benjamin in Eliza Township in 1860: Elizabeth, 45, farmer, born Indiana; William, 29, laborer, born Indiana; John M., 25, laborer, born In; George, 21, born Il; Elias, 28, born Il; Martha, 17, born Il; Harrison, 16, born Il; Eliza, 14, born Il; Sarah, 12, born Il; John, 8, born Il. A comparison with the 1850 census is instructive. The daughter listed as Polly Jane, age 15, in 1850 is not with them; the John M. Shoemaker listed in 1860 is not with them in 1850 so we might assume that the 1860 census transcription is in error and that it is Jane M. and not John M. in the 1860 census, particularly since Polly is a common nickname for Mary. It is unlikely it is the other way around as they had another son John, 8 years old and there would not likely have been two sons named John. Daughter Sarah listed in 1860 was probably Sarah Elizabeth and is the Elizabeth listed in 1850 since the ages match.

None of this family is found in Mercer County in 1870. Curiously, however, two of the children matching above census records were buried in the Glancey Cemetery after 1870: Sarah J. Shoemaker (1834-1906) and Martha Shoemaker (Nov 18, 1842-Nov 8, 1928 - dates not very legible and the DAR transcription of this tombstone in the 1960's reads born Nov 18,1862, died Nov 6,1878,age 15y 11m 15d). Karen Borden has told us of family lore that four of the graves marked by cedar trees in the Glancey Cemetery were Shoemaker graves. This information was also presented by Charles Woodward in the 1960's when he read the tombstone records and contributed the information to the William Dennison Chapter of the DAR). Karen kindly forwarded us photos sent to her by Sam Ross Fuller (who has helped us enormously on other families on this site) and we have put them up on the Glancey Cemetery page. (Another photo showing some of the stumps and Shoemaker markers.)

More on the Children of John and Elizabeth DeWitt Shoemaker

Benjamin Shoemaker

Benjamin Shoemaker, son of John and Elizabeth, married first: Susanna Lucinda Ferguson, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Ferguson, on 2/20/1859 in Mercer County. We find them in 1860 (Township 15N Range 5W) next to Benjamin's widowed mother, Elizabeth Shoemaker: #2650 Benjamin Shoemaker, 28, farmer, born In; Lucinda, 29, born In; Albert, 9, born Il; Oscar, 1, Il. Although Albert is listed as Shoemaker in 1860, from the 1880 census in Drury Township, Rock Island, just north of Eliza Township in Mercer County, we find Albert Furguson, farmer, age 28, born Il, mother born In; wife Sarah, 28, born Il, father In, mother Il; Angie B. Furguson, 7, Il; Leslie C. Furguson, 2, Il; Oscar Shoemaker, works on farm, 20, born Il, father born Mo (actually Ohio), mother born Il (incorrect), stepbrother, so Albert was apparently son of Lucinda.

Benjamin bought land as he is listed on the 5/14/1861 tax list: Benjamin Shoemaker SENE Sec 18 T15NR5W, 40 acres, $3.96. This is in Eliza Township (see plat map).

Lucinda Ferguson Shoemaker died in 1861 and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery: Lucinda Shoemaker, born Oct 17, 1830, died April 7, 1861, age 31 ys 6 m 10 dys.

Benjamin Shoemaker married again to Lavina Ann Irvin on 11/21/1863, per Illinois marriage records. They are gone from Mercer County by the 1870 census and we located Benjamin and family in Harrison County, Missouri. There is possible uncertainty about the mother of some of the children. Lavina Irvin Shoemaker died sometime before 1870 and Benjamin married again to Sarah Jane Arford, daughter of John and Jane Rodgers Arford. We did not find a record of the marriage to Sarah in Illinois or Iowa so they may have married in Missouri. We do know that Sarah Jane Arford is the correct name as according to family lore Sarah divorced Benjamin and then remarried several times. We find her marriage as Mrs. Sarah Jane Arford Shoemaker to George E. Deeds on 12/2/1892 in Mercer County so we know the divorce took place before that date.

Here is the 1870 census from Sugar Creek Township, Harrison County, Missouri: #46 Benjamin Shumaker, 38, farmer, born Il; Sarah, 36, Il; Levina, 14, Ia; Oscar, 11, Ia; Martha, 8, Ia; Amanda, 6, Ia; Benjamin , 6, Ia; John, 4, Iowa; Elias, 1, Mo. Since daughter Levina was not with the family in 1860 we assume she may be a daughter Levina that Levina Irvin brought to the marriage. We did not find a Levina Irvin or Irwin in the 1860 census that we could identify as possibly Benjamin's wife in 1863. Karen Borden tells us that Donald Truitt has the children starting with Amanda as children of Benjamin and Sarah. We have some doubts about this and will not be totally convinced until we find a marriage date for Benjamin and Sarah and/or a death date for Levina Irvin Shoemaker.

Benjamin and Malinda Shoemaker Karen Borden tells us that Benjamin, son of Benjamin above, married Gerty Malinda Johnson, daughter of Samuel and Lydia Church Johnson on June 22, 1887. We find Ben Shoemaker (with wife Malinda Shoemaker) in the New Boston Cemetery: Ben Shoemaker May 21, 1865-Jan 1, 1942; Malinda Shoemaker 1871-1956. A Malinda Shoemaker, 25, born Iowa, is in the Mercer County Almhouse Register, address New Boston, admitted 4/21/1896. The age matches this Malinda but it says she died 4/30/1896. With her are James, 6, Iowa; May, 4, Iowa; Frank, 2, Iowa. They are listed as destitute.

Malinda did not die in 1896 as she is alive and well in 1930 when Benjamin and Malinda Shoemaker are found in the 1930 census in Drury Township, Rock Island County, Illinois, just north of Mercer County. According to the 1930 census they were married about 1887 or 1888 although we do not find a record in either Illinois or Iowa. We believe it is the same Malinda in the Almhouse register as the 1930 census confirms the Iowa birthplace and the children are consistent with the marriage date. The family was itinerant as several of the children were born in Iowa and several in Illinois. Benjamin was a woodcutter so probably worked both sides of the River at various times and seasons. The four oldest sons in 1930 worked as "willow cutters." Benjamin and Malinda had six additional children in 1930.

Here are the census records:
1920 New Boston, Mercer County, Illinois
# 178 Bay View (own free and clear )
Benjamin Shoemaker, laborer, public 54, born Ia, father Ohio, mother Pa
Malinda, 48, born Ia, father Ohio, mother Iowa
William, 17, Il, Ia, Ia; John, 14, Il, Ia, Ia; Evaline, 12, Il, Ia, Ia; Edward, 10, Il, Ia, Ia; Freeman, 7, Ia, Ia, Ia; Virginia 4 8/12 Il, Ia, Ia; Goldie 1 3/12 Il, Ia, Ia

1930 Drury Township, Rock Island County, Il
#173 Benj Shoemaker, rent, radio yes, 64, married age 22, born Ia, parents born US, laborer, wood chopper
Malinda, 57, married age 15, Ia, Oh, Ia
William, 27, Ia, Ia, Ia, laborer, willow cutter; John, 24, Il, Ia, Ia, lab, willow cutter; Edward, 20 Ia, Ia, Ia, lab, willow cutter; Freeman, 18, Ia, Ia, Ia, lab, villow cutter; Virginia 15, Il, Ia, Ia; Goldie, 11, Il, Ia, Ia

We heard from a descendant Jennifer Shoemaker Tate who tells us that:
"Edward Shoemaker married a woman named Jessie Shotwell and they had 6 children. my grandfather Robert L Shoemaker being one of them. His sister Janice had a daughter whose name was Malinda, same spelling as Benjamin's Malinda.

I don't know who Freeman married, but my grandfather married a woman named Corrita Sweet, whose sister, Mary Arlene Sweet, married my grand fathers cousin, Freeman Shoemaker, son of Freeman (also known as Uncle Freem)." Her information prompted us to search for the later census records which prove that Edward was son of Benjamin and Malinda Shoemaker.

Freeman and Elvina Shotwell Sheese Shoemaker While searching for Benjamin and Malinda we found a probable brother of Benjamin in New Boston in 1920. He was Freeman Shoemaker, age 48, with wife Elvira, age 55, both born Iowa. Freeman was a farm laborer. Freeman, Sr. married Mrs. Elvina Shotwell Sheese, widow of Andrew Sheese, on 3/31/1900 in Mercer County. They were in Duncan Township in Mercer County in 1900:#111 Freeman Shoemaker, born July 1879, age 20, married zero years, born Ia, father NY, mother Pa, farmer; Elvira, May 1864, age 36, 5 children born, 5 living, born Ia, parents born Pa; Samuel Sheese, Sept 1883, 16, born Il, father Il, mother Iowa; Alfred, July 1855, 14; Willie, Jan 1888, 12; Hattie, Mar 1893, 7; Myrtle, Sept 1895, 4. A huge responsibility for a young man. Karen Borden tells us Freeman died Jan 16, 1932 in Muscatine, Iowa.

Neither Benjamin nor Freeman Shoemaker knew the birthplace of their father as given in census records. These two are carried as sons of Benjamin Shoemaker Sr. and his second wife, Lavina Irwin Shoemaker, by some researchers and as sons of his third wife, Sarah Arford, by others.

John N. Shoemaker

We find some references to a mysterious J. N. Shoemaker in the History of Mercer County, 1882. In the history of Keithsburg Township he is mentioned as a charter member of Mercer Lodge No. 210, I.O.O.F. on October 17, 1856. On 4/9/1861 he advertised himself in Oxford as J. N. Shoemaker, attorney-at-law and real estate agent. On August 6, 1861 he enlisted in Company E of the Ninth Illinois Infantry (as John N. Shoemaker). He was mustered in on August 9 and on April 17, 1862 died of wounds. His name is included on the Soldiers' Monument in Aledo (as J. N.). According to the history of the Ninth Infantry, on the 6th of March 1862 the regiment was a part of the Army of the Tennessee and as part of that army fought at the battle of Shiloh. They sustained a loss of sixty-one killed, three hundred wounded and five prisoners, showing a loss of killed and wounded unparalleled by the history of any regiment during the war. Apparently John N. Shoemaker was one of the wounded, dieing soon after. We do not find him in the 1850 or 1860 census records. He may have been the John M. Shoemaker listed with Elizabeth in 1860 but the occupation of laborer does not seem to fit with the other information.

Robert and Elizabeth Shoemaker

We find a record in Aledo in 1860 that we will include here because of the similarity of family names: Robert Shoemaker, 59, laborer, born Pa; Elizabeth, 50, born Va; Mary, 21, born Va; George, 20, born Va; Isabella, 18, born Va; Nancy, 16, born Va; Martha, 14, born Va; Benjamin, 9, born Va. This family evidently came to Mercer County between 1851 and 1860. There may be no significance to the similarity of names because the male names given were very common throughout the US in Shoemaker families. They apparently had another daughter Elizabeth Jane Shoemaker who married William F. Little on 2/19/1859 in Mercer County. Elizabeth Jane and William are found with his parents, David and Elizabeth Little, in Preemption Township in 1860. Elizabeth is listed as age 22, born Virginia. She is buried in Preemption Cemetery next to William F. Little: Elizabeth J. Little, wife of David, Dec 12, 1836-Sept 27, 1889. William F. Little has two stones: W. F. Little Co A 37th Ill Inf died Dec 7, 1862 and William F. Little, born ___1, 1839 killed in Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Dec 10, 1862, son of D. and E. Little. Mrs. Elizabeth J. Little married Amos Morey 10/22/1867 in Rock Island County. We have not followed her further but it would be interesting to know why she is buried with William F. Little and not with her second husband.

We have heard from Karen Borden who has done additional research on Robert. She found no ties to John and Elizabeth DeWitt Shoemaker but did find the parents of Robert Shoemaker: Nathan and Mary (Kennedy) Shoemaker of Whitpain Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They had children: Charles, Robert, William K., Mary, Ann, Isabell, and Rebecca. Son William K. Shoemaker left a will in 1879 in Elkhart County, Indiana, naming his brother, Robert Shoemaker of Mercer County, Illinois, and two sisters of Pennsylvania. The information is from a book by Benjamin H. Shoemaker 3rd titled Shoemaker Pioneers. The book also mentions that Robert was in Marshall County West Virginia until 1853.

Elizabeth Shoemaker, wife of Robert Shoemaker, is buried in Aledo Cemetery, died Nov 9, 1865, age 55 yr 2 mo 5 dy. Next to her is Mattie, granddaughter of R & E Shoemaker, died April 4, 1867, age 17 yr 9 mo. This indicates there was probably another older child of Robert and Elizabeth that we have not accounted for here.

James H. and Jane Meek Shoemaker

There was also a James H. Shoemaker family in Pope Creek in 1860: James H. Shoemaker, 34, farmer, born Ohio; Jane, 34, In; Charles W., 15, In; Solomon S., 14, In; Eli L., 9, In; Mary C., 11, In; Franklin, 8, In; and John 2, born Il. James H. Shoemaker married Jane Meek on 3/11/1844 in Fountain County, Indiana. This family evidently came to Mercer County between 1852 and 1858. James H. Shoemaker was appointed to a grand jury on 1/18/1865.

This is the only Shoemaker family found in Mercer County in the 1870 census: Suez Township #150 James F. Shoemaker,44, farmer, Oh; Jane 42, In; Charles W, 24, In; Solomon S., 22, In; Mary C, 21, In; James F, 16, In; John B, 12, In. all the sons are listed as farmers.

Several family members are buried in the Aledo Cemetery: James H. Shoemaker, died Jan 23, 1875, age 50 yr 1 mo 3 dy; Mary C. Mar 4, 1849-Aug 3, 1879; James F [Franklin], Feb 20, 1854-Feb 17, 1880; John B, Nov 21, 1858-Feb 11, 1886.

Jane Meek Shoemaker is found living alone in 1880 in Mercer Township, age 55, born In, father born Mo, mother born Ky, occupation housekeeper.

Son Charles also has a Civil War marker in the cemetery: C. W. Shoemaker, Co H 84th Ill Infantry [no date]. The Illinois Adjutant General's Report lists Charles W. Shoemaker as a recruit in the 84th, Co H, from Suez on February 26, 1864; mustered on March 1, 1864. He was transferred to Co F, 21st Illinois Infantry and we do not have that record available.

Son Solomon S. Shoemaker married Clarissa J. Miller on 1/17/1872 in Mercer County. They are found in 1880 in Ohio Grove: Solomon Shoemaker, 33, born In, father born Oh, mother born In; Clara J. Shoemaker, wife, 26, born Il, parents born Ohio; Earl Shoemaker, 4, Il; Charles, 1, Il; Mary Miller, mother-in-law, 57, born Ohio, father born Ohio, mother born North Carolina.

Thomas and Anne Laurence Shoemaker

There was also a Thomas Shoemaker in Mercer County in the 1850's as, on 9/6/1859, there was a sheriff's sale in favor of David Findley, administrator of Thomas H. Shoemaker, deceased, against John and Thomas Willits on land in T13NR4W [Abington Township]. We find no early public land purchases by Shoemakers so the land involved must have been a private purchase. We have a copy of a query to the Mercer County Mailing List in 1998 indicating Thomas H. Shoemaker was married to Anna Laurence, daughter of James and Esther Jamison Laurence. As a bit of a followup we located Thomas Shoemaker in the 1850 census in Henderson County (just south of Mercer County): Thomas H. Shoemaker, 41, farmer, born Ky; Anne, 38, Ky; Catharine, 16, Indiana; James, 15, farmer, In; Adam, 13, In; William H, 9, In; Eliza J, 8, In; Jacob, 5, In; Elvira, 4, In; John H., 2, Il; Sarah A, 6/12 Il. We did not find a marriage for them in Indiana so they must have married in Kentucky. All of the children, age 5 and older were checked as attending school within the year which was not always the case in that early day so the family evidently believed in education. The only one of this family that we have pursued further is Adam C. Shoemaker, who married Drusilla Harrell Boyd as second wife (see the Boyd link at the top of the page for more information on them.)

Another early Shoemaker in Illinois

4/2007 We received a wonderful email from Karen Borden that they had found much new information about their George William Shoemaker. He is found next to a Solomon Shumaker, his older brother in Edgar County, Illinois in the 1860 census. The mistake of attaching him to John and Elizabeth as their son George came about from the knowledge that he was in Illinois at an early date and John (with a son George) was the only one in Illinois in 1850. George William Shoemaker’s family is from Virginia and he was born in Virginia and they came to Edgar County, Illinois, in 1852. Additionally the History of Vermillion and Edgar County contains biographical information about the family. There could possibly still be a connection of sorts to John and Elizabeth as there is a book “Shoemaker Pioneers” that gives a brother to George William Shoemaker’s father named John, with no further information. But that is a story for another day!