Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Shoemakes of Jackson, Alabama, Part 2

John Shoemake, who was among the petitioners to the State of South Carolina on behalf of people of color (, moved with his family to northeastern Alabama some time before 1824.  According to family history, the Shoemakes, along with other people of color and some whites, moved to the mountains between Little Crow Creek and Little Coon, in Jackson County.  They established Shavis(Chavis) town, clearing and cultivating 100 acres of land and putting in an apple orchard.  They raised winesap apples, peaches, corn and dug ginseng, in addition to hunting.   This area was one where many native Americans in the southeast fled in an attempt to escape being moved to Indian Territory. 

There seems to have always been some controversy regarding the Shoemakes ethnicity; some claimed they were Portuguese, some claimed African descent, as well as native American.  The Shoemakes were denied recognition as Cherokees by the Cherokee nation and in 1882, they sued the nation in order to gain that recognition for their children.  The reason the Cherokee denied the Shoemakes citizenship was their apparent siding with the whites during the Indian removal.  One of the depositions in the case, taken in September 1882, is as follows:

My name is John V. Alberty, my age is about 48 years.  I am Cherokee, and reside in the Cherokee nation, Going Snake Dist.  According to the statements in the petition, I don't know anything about the claimants.  I did know a family of Shoemakes.  There was a man named Jim Shoemake.  His brother was Tom Shoemake.  Jim Shoemake married a woman by the name of Oxendine.  They lived on the ,line there near Dutch Town, Washington Co., Ark.  They lived there till about the year (18)58 or '59.  They hen went from there to California or Arizona.  I have not seen them since.  They called themselves Portuguese.  (They are also called Portuguese in the Bolton trial in 1874.) They were recognized then as being different by the people of the states.  They considered them as colored people and refused them the right to vote.  J. W. Alberty.  September 22, 1882

They eventually won the case.   It was challenged in 1902, but the original ruling was upheld.

Cherokee Citizenship Commission Docket Books (1880-84, 1887-89)
Jan 30, 1883
Case #162
For his children, For his children
The Cherokee Nation
Case submitted by Claimants and Solicitor, Jan 30, 1883
And now on this the 30th day of January AD, 1883, this case coming on for final hearing and all
the evidence produced in the case being carefully read and duly considered; it was adjudged and
determined by the Commission on Citizenship, that the above named children of WH Shoemake to wit:
Jesse Shoemake, Hugh Shoemake, Richard Shoemake, Charles Shoemake, Thomas Shoemake, Rhoda Shoemake, Lulu Shoemake, Mary Shoemake;
and also the above named children of JW Shoemake to wit:
James Shoemake, William Shoemake, *Harmon Shoemake, John Shoemake, Joda Alice  Shoemake, Mattie Shoemake, Henry Clay Shoemake, Minnie May Shoemake and Calvin Shoemake, are Cherokees by blood and that they are entitled to all the rights of Cherokee citizenship within the complete enjoyment of the same in all respects as native born Cherokees.
Thos. Tehee, President of Comm.
Alex Wolfe
TF Thompson
DWC Cuncan
Clerk of Comm.

*Note:  Name spelled both ways

Dawes Rolls showing Shoemakes

William and John W. Shoemake had moved west in the 1850's, living in Arkansas and Texas before eventually settling in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  They both died there in 1908, John at the age of 77, and William at age 84.  They are buried at the Fields Cemetery in Porum, Oklahoma.

William Shoemake
John W. Shoemake


  1. There is some irony about the history of the Shoemakes who were Cherokee By Blood and are on the Dawes Roll. While William Henderson Shoemake (1824-1908) was born in Jackson County, Alabama and removed to Texas in 1849 and to Arkansas and Indian Territory later. His original name was NOT Shoemake and he is not blood-connected to the John Shoemake/Shumach who appears on the 1850 census of Jackson County, Alabama. That man, John Shoemake (1766-1852, was born in South Carolina and died in Jackson County, Alabama. He "married" Annie THORN, who was about 1/2 Cherokee, but they did not have any children. Annie had a son, also named John (just to confuse everyone), but called 'Jack" (1803-1854) and he was the stepson to the older John Shoemake and the younger man is the father of all of the Shoemakes who eventually removed to Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory and are on the Dawes Roll. Their father has not been identified yet; one claim is his name was JONES; another that it was McCAIN. It is hoped that DNA tests made answer this question.
    The quotation from one of the many court records about the citizenship case is another example of a mixup based on the "same name -- different people" problem that is a common one in genealogical research. That man was referring to an entirely different family. The same is true about the Shoemakes found in Tennessee and South Carolina -- they make be a triracial mix, and possibly have some French blood, as some have claimed pertaining to the South Caroline lines of people of this surname.
    John "Jack" Shoemake (1803-1854) and Elizabeth [--?--], who said to be white had five children: William H. Shoemake, b. 1824; James P. Shoemake, b. 1826; Eli B. Shoemake, b. 1828, Elizabeth Ann (called Betsy) Shoemake, born 1829 and John Wesley Shoemake, born 1831.
    To add more confusion, Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" Shoemake never married and had three sons, who carried the Shoemake name. They were: George, James Daniel, and John E.
    Best of luck with your research.

  2. Thank you for the information. William Shoemake has been a challenge. Our connection to the Shoemakes is through my husband's maternal line, via marriage to the Evans and Chavis/Chavers families.

  3. How so? Are we talking about the same William?