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Michael Shoemaker Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3766

Scope and Contents

In the diary, Shoemaker discusses the weather daily. He takes accounting notes of both of his farms, oil company, and real estate. Shoemaker recorded the letters he mailed and received in the diary, as well as the health and location of his family members and household members. Shoemaker records the conditions of his farms and home. He writes about the different vegetation grown, the conditions of the animals, and the amount of product produced. The writing for each date ranges from a few lines of statements to the whole page of events, and most of the statements are written in fragments. The diary is a good way to see the different positions that Shoemaker had, as well as the conditions of farm life and the records of the oil company he owned. The diary is limited in the amount of information given because the statements are not detailed.

Shoemaker married his first wife, Juliet Eyre Piatt, on July 18,1850, and they had a child named Michael Canfield Shoemaker who died in his first year of life. Juliet died on September 27, 1854. On August 25, 1959 Shoemaker married his second wife Sarah Wisner, and they had three children. The oldest child Susan Gertrude Shoemaker, who is mentioned in the diary along with his husband, James Boulton Winpenny. The middle child Bowen Wisner Shoemaker is documented in the dairy along with his wife, Elizabeth, and their first child, Katherine. The youngest child, Margaret Winnifred, is specified significantly more than the other children. However, Shoemaker refers to her as a housekeeper a majority of the time. He lived the remainder of his life in Jackson, Michigan, dying a year after this diary on November 10, 1895.


  • Creation: 1894

Biographical / Historical

Michael Shoemaker (April 6, 1818 - November 10, 1895) was born and raised in German Flats, Herkimer County, New York. In 1835, Shoemaker moved to Joliet, Illinois where his brother-in-law, Dr. A.W. Bowen, lived. He worked in real estate and as a merchandiser for the firms of A.W. Bowen and Co. and Matteson and Shoemaker. In 1838 and 1839, he helped build sections of rockwork for the Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1842, Shoemaker moved to Jackson, Michigan and with his brother, Matthew Shoemaker, he purchased a flouring mill property. In 1845, he bought a farm and was appointed Inspector of the State prison. The following year Shoemaker was elected to the State Senate for the Second District of Michigan. When the Civil War occurred Shoemaker joined the 13th Michigan Volunteer Infantry and was appointed Colonel; he joined the Army of the Cumberland and served with it for two years. In 1863, He was taken prisoner at Tyree Springs, Kentucky. Two weeks later he exchanged in trade back to the Union. After returning to Jackson, Michigan Shoemaker led a very busy life. He was President of the Young Men’s Association of Jackson, a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan State Agricultural Society, a correspondent of the National bureau if Agriculture, President of the Agricultural Society of Jackson, member of the Board of Public Works, President of the Pioneer Society, a member of Odd Fellow, and was Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee. During this time, Shoemaker was also an member of the Masonic Fraternity, and he held the position of Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. In 1886, Shoemaker was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Committees at the Grand Lodge. He also was a member of the Counsil of R.and S. Masons, the Commandery of Knights The lived the remainder of his life in Jackson, Michigan, dying a year after this diary on November 10, 1895. He is buried in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.emplar, and the Order of High Priesthood.


1 Volumes ; 6" x 4" x .75"

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The diary is 6 x 4 x .75 with a dark red cover. The diary is over 120 years old, and contains several pieces of loose paper in the back cover which have accounting notes written on them. The diary itself is fragile; the binding is coming apart and when the diary is being read a book pillow should be used to prevent any further damage. The pages of the diary a tinted yellow, and the hand writing is legible. Overall, when handling this diary extreme care should be used.


This diary was composed during the year 1894 by Michael Shoemaker, who owned many plots of land in Jackson, Michigan. The written entries date from 1 January to 31 December 1894, and focuses on many different accounts Shoemaker held such as, farms, mills, an oil company, and various historical society meetings which he attended.


This diary was purchased through the Starring Endowment.

Michael Shoemaker Finding Aid
Chelsea B. Rowley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490