Thursday, November 20, 2014
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: William Henderson Shoemake and Cyrena Allen Shoemake
William and some other family members had left Alabama and moved to Cass (then Davis) County, Texas in the 1840's. He married Margaret Collins there and they had two sons; William Christopher Columbus, and George (who was born and died in 1860). During the Civil War, William volunteered for the Confederate Army and worked as a sort of border patrol guard (at four times the normal pay rate!), traveling along the Red River looking out for Union troops, while Margaret and their son William lived with her relatives in Davis County. Around this time, William heard that an old friend, Will Cadell, had been killed in the war, and his widow, Cyrena (Allen), was alone on the prairie with two children. William took it upon himself to "look after" Cyrena and married her, moving his new family to Arkansas, despite the fact that he already had a wife. He later claimed in his Dawes testimony that Margaret had died; Margaret was actually declared "insane" and died in April 1870. By then William and Cyrena had three sons, with seven more children to be born in the next 14 years. They were living in Sebastian, Arkansas in 1880, along with her children from her first marriage, James and Rosetta, and their own seven children. In 1900, they were living in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), where they remained for the rest of their lives.
Wiliam and Cyrena continued to live in Muskcogee County, Oklahoma, until he died in 1908. Cyrena lived in 1934. They are buried at Fields Cemetery in Porum, Oklahoma.