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
WH SHOEMAKE JW SHOEMAKE
For his children, For his children
JESSE, HUGH, RICHARD, JAMES, WILLIAM, HARMAN*, CHARLES, THOMAS, RHODA, JOHN, JODA, ALICE, MATTIE, LULU, & MARY SHOEMAKE, HENRY CLAY, MINNIE MAY & CALVIN SHOEMAKE
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.
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.
|John W. Shoemake|