Lee County Biography

Sylvester A. Shoemaker
South Dixon Township


Sylvester A. Shoemaker is an old and well-known resident of South Dixon Township, where he has been engaged in general farming for several years, and he now owns a well-ordered farm, finely located on section 25, near the village of Eldena. he is a son of the the late John W. Shoemaker, who was a pioneer farmer of this county, and at the time of his death, December 20, 1888, at the age of sixty-nine years, was living in a beautiful home one mile north of the city of Dixon, which had been built up by his industry. He was a most estimable man, whose life record was worthy of emulation. He took a lively interest in public affairs and was always true in his allegiance to the Republican party. Mr. Shoemaker married for his first wife Electa Newcomb, who was born and reared in Catskill, N.Y. and was a daughter of John Newcomb. Her father kept a hotel in Catskill for many years, and died there when past sixty years of age.

John Shoemaker's first wife died in the prime of life, leaving three children, of whom our subject was one, and in 1851 he brought them to Illinois. He settled in South Dixon Township, and afterwards returned to Schoharie County N.Y., his native county, to marry Elizabeth Hinman, who is yet living at a venerable age, and makes her home in New York State. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Jacob Shoemaker, and he was a native of the Empire State, descending from the old Dutch stock, his ancestors being pioneers of New York in the infancy of the State. After the death of his wife he came to Illinois in his old age and spent the remainder of his days with his son John, in this township. He was a true Chritian, and he and his wife were devoted members of the Baptist Church nearly all their lives.

He of whom this sketch is written was born in Schohaire County N.Y. October 11, 1841, but as he was only nine years old when his father brought him to this State, most of his life has been passed here, where he grew to man's estate under the invigorating influence of pioneer life. As soon as he arrived at years of discretion, he selected the occupation of a farmer as the one most congenial to his tastes and habits and has successfully devoted himself to his chosen calling in South Dixon Township for several years. He purchased his present farm in 1881 and under his watchful care it is always in good condition, its eighty acres are under admirable tillage, and it is well provided with suitable buildings for all the purposes of general farming. Mr. Shoemaker is a hard worker, exercises thrift, prudence and foresight in conducting his affairs, and spend his money judicioulsy in making improvements. He is looked upon as one of our best citizens, who is influential in all that relates to the moral uplifting of the community. He is firm and unshaken in his adherence to principles of honest, truthfulness and justice, and is always to be found on the side of those whom he believes to be in the righ, whether they are in the minority or in the majority. He is fully alive to the importance of the temperance question, on which he is well posted, and he is a whole-souled Prohibitionist.

Our subject was married in thown of AMboy to Miss Martha Burdick, and to them have been born nine children of whom three are deceased, as follwos; Isabell; one who died in infancy; and Lillie, former wife of George Hepley of Dixon. Those living are Grace, wife of Oliver Fritz of Beatrice Neb.; Charles H. Ruhama, Frederick, Bert and Lela, the five latter living at home with their parents.

Mrs. Shoemaker was born near Troy, N.Y., and is a daughter of Nathan and Ruhama (Burdick) Burdick, natives of the State of New York. The family came to Illinois when Mrs. Shoemaker was thirteen years old, and has ever since lived in this county. The father, who has attained a venerable age, resides at Eldena, where the mother died in 1889, when full of years.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL Pg 604

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