Joseph P. Shoemaker
A Former Mohawk Resident Makes Good

Joseph P. Shoemaker's biography was submitted by Paul Horvat, a Van Allen family researcher. From "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, MI, with Illustrations," pages 457 and 458, Fair Plains Twp.

Shoemaker Couple

Biography taken from History of "Ionia & Montcalm Counties, MI, with Illustrations," pages 457 and 458, Fair Plains Twp.

Joseph P. Shoemaker was born at Mohawk, NY, Aug. 30, 1820. He attended the district school until 1837, when the family removed to Joliet, IL, where he attended select school, such as the country afforded at that early day. In 1840 he joined his brother at Sandusky, OH, who was chief engineer of the Mad River and Lake Erie and the Little Miami Railroads, then in course of construction, and remained with him one year; was with the engineers in locating the road.

In 1842 he was engaged in merchandise and buying grain at Republic, OH, and in 1852 went to Covington, KY and engaged in the manufacture of iron, having charge of a rolling-mill. In 1855 he came to Michigan and engaged in farming at Jackson. In 1859 was appointed postmaster at Jackson, which office he held until 1861, when he removed to Fair Plains, Montcalm County, and engaged in farming and lumbering. Having purchased a half-interest in sixteen hundred acres of land with Martin P. Follett, upon which there was a saw-mill, they at once erected a grist-mill. In 1863, Mr. Shoemaker purchased Mr. Follett's interest in the property, and continued the improvements until he now has two hundred acres under a good state of cultivation. In 1867, Mr. Shoemaker laid out the village of "Amsden," had a post-office established there and a number of buildings erected. In 1872 he built a large mill for the manufacture of lumber, which was destroyed by fire in 1877, together with a large quantity of lumber. This was a heavy loss to Mr. Shoemaker, and a severe blow to the small village, yet the enterprising founder continues in the even tenor of his way.

Politically, Mr. Shoemaker was a Democrat until 1878, when he joined the Greenback party, was nominated and elected to the State Senate, and discharged the duties of that office to the satisfaction of all. In all local affairs of the town Mr. Shoemaker takes an active part, his name usually appearing in the roll of officers.

He was married in 1845 to Sarah A. Amsden, daughter of T.G. Amsden, and early settler of Bellevue, OH. To them have been born seven children, five of whom are now living, three sons and two daughters. The oldest daughter married G.W. Cummings, and lives in California; Thomas is a farmer in Macomb County; Elizabeth lives at home; Robert is a railroad man, and lives in Kentucky; Randolph is in California.

Mr. Shoemaker is one of the substantial citizens of the county. He bears an unblemished reputation, and a character for unimpeachable integrity, and is respected by all who know him.

October 17, 2003: Found (while browsing through my many in-progress, and "lost/ dangling/ dropped ball" project files and 2,000+ site visitor and volunteer emails stored on 4 computers), was this letter from Paul Horvath from November 2002, regarding the bio of Joseph P. Shoemaker, b. Aug. 30, 1820:

"I about fell over when I saw that this couple moved to Joliet, IL, my home town.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I checked the IGI (International Genealogical Index) and Ancestral File to see if I could find his ancestry. Through the IGI, I determined that he was the son of Robert Shoemaker and Catherine Meyer. Their children were:

Maria Catharina, bp. Dec. 3, 1809 Ref. Protestant Dutch Church, Herkimer, NY
Matthew, b. Nov. 16, 1813, German Flatts, NY
Robert Myers, b. Oct. 21, 1815, German Flatts, NY
Michael, b. Apr. 6, 1818, German Flatts, NY
Joseph Peter, b. Aug. 30, 1820, German Flatts, NY
Elizabeth, b. Jan. 20, 1823, German Flatts, NY
Margaret, b. May 21, 1825, German Flatts, NY
Gertrude Herkimer, Mar. 6, 1828. Another source says her name was Gertrude Helmer and gives her birth date as May 3, 1828.

Robert Shoemaker, according to the submission in the Ancestral File, was the son of John Joseph Shoemaker, b. Aug. 29, 1747 in German Flatts, NY, md. 1771 to Mary Polly Smith, b. May 26, 1753 in England. John Joseph d. 1800 and his wife, Mary, d. July 21, 1825 at Herkimer. John Joseph was the son of Rudolph Shoemaker and Gertrude Herkimer. Rudolph was the son of Thomas Schumacher and Dorothea Hess. I saw an entry in the Herkimer County guest book that said Thomas' wife was Anna Dorothea Korsing.

The source for the information submitted into the Ancestral File was:

Rex E. Stevenson, Jr.
116 Riverlake Drive
Woodstock, GA 30188-3220

Was this the founder of the Herkimer County genweb site? [Yes. Rex passed away in early 1997. The ancestry of Mary "Polly" Smith was one of Rex's brick walls.]

I hope this information helps someone."


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Created: 12/17/02
Updated: 10/17/03
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