Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Shoemakes of Jackson, Alabama

The Shoemake family figures into my husband's mother's family.  Along with the Evans and Chavers/Chavis families, they migrated from North Carolina into South Carolina, through upper east Tennessee, then down through Tennessee into northern Alabama.   The three family names are all listed among the people known as Melungeons.   These people were reportedly of European (Spanish/Portuguese), Native American and African descent.  In searching for more information on the Shoemakes, I found a reference to a document containing the names of several of our Shoemake ancestors.

South Carolina Petition 1794

To the honorable, the Representatives of So. Carolina

The Petition of the people of colour of the state aforesaid, who are under the act entitled an "Act for imposing a pole tax on all free Negroes, Mustees, and Mulattoes,"*

most humbly sheweth

that whereas we your humble petitioners having the honor of being your citizens, as also free and willing to advance for the support of government anything that might not be prejudiced to us, it being well known that we have not been backward on our part, in performing any other public duties that hath fell in the compass of our knowledge.

We therefore being sensibly grieved our present situation, also having frequently discovered the many distresses occasioned by our act imposing the pole tax, such as widows with large families, and women scarcely able to support themselves, being frequently followed and payment extracted by our tax gathererers --

The considerations on our part hath occasioned us to give you this trouble, requesting your autherate body to repeal an act so truly mortifying to your distressed petitioners -- for which favor your petitioners will ever acknowledge and devoutly pray ---

Among the signers of this document were Solomon, Sampson, Thomas (Sr), Thomas (Jr), John and James Shoemake (spelled Shewmake in the document).  Each made his mark. 

I have not found an outcome for this petition, although I do find a record of one woman in the 1830s who was released from having to pay the tax because it was found she was of Indian, not African, descent. 

*A mustee is a person who is the offspring of a white and a quadroon (a person of one quarter African or Aboriginal, three-quarters white ancestry); a mulatto is the offspring of one white and one African or Aboriginal parent.

The following blog, Documenting the Melungeons at has a great deal of wonderful information about these people. 


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