John M. Shoemaker, prominent and influential in community interests and in business life, is well known in Montgomery county, and his efforts have been effective and far-reaching in behalf of public welfare. He stands as a high type of American citizenship, one devoted to the general good, and whose life history demonstrates possibilities that are open to ambitious, purposeful and determined young men in America, for he started out empty-handed and through capable management and untiring perseverance has worked his way up to success.

Mr. Shoemaker was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the 21st of August, 1860. His father, Jacob Shoemaker, also a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, was of German lineage, and throughout his active business career carried on the occupation of farming. He held membership in the Lutheran church and gave his political allegiance to the Democracy. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Rebecca McQueeney, was of Scotch-Irish descent and was likewise a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. She, too, held membership in the Lutheran church and lived a consistent Christian life. In the family were four children; but only two are now living: John L., of this review; and Elizabeth, who resides in Pennsylvania.

After acquiring his preliminary education in the common schools of his native city, John L. Shoemaker pursued the high school course in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and later attended the Millersville State Normal School of Pennsylvania. On putting aside his textbooks he turned his attention to the business of manufacturing cigars at Manheim, Pennsylvania, where he remained for about fifteen years, and in 1890 removed to Illinois, settling in Decatur, where he worked at the cigar trade. After a short period there passed, however, he took up his abode in Assumption, Illinois, where he engaged in the same business, and in the fall of 1891 he removed to Nokomis, Illinois, where he established a cigar factory of his own. The success he has achieved in business has resulted entirely from his close application, thorough knowledge of his trade and careful management.

Mr. Shoemaker has been prompt and influential in political circles in the various communities in which he has resided. While residing in Manheim, Pennsylvania, he served as a member of the Democratic central committee, and in Nokomis he filled the position of city clerk for two terms. In 1898 he was elected to the office of county clerk of Montgomery county, and during the four years' term discharged his duties with such faithfulness and capability that in 1902 he was reelected, so that he is now serving for the second term. He is systematic and methodical in the discharge of his official duties, prompt and reliable, and over his public career there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He was chairman of the county Democratic committee of 1900 and he has done much to promote the success of his party in this portion of the state. After his election to office he removed to Hillsboro in the spring of 1899, and is well known in the county seat as a public official and as a representative business man.

In 1895 occurred the marriage of John L. Shoemaker and Miss Della A. Morgan, a daughter of Daniel and Martha E. Morgan, in whose family were eleven children. Her father was a farmer by occupation. Mrs. Shoemaker was born in Wabash, Indiana, in 1870, and has become the mother of three children: Ophelia, Frances and Alice. Fraternally Mr. Shoemaker is connected with the Masonic lodge and is a charter member of Blue Cross lodge, K. P., of Assumption. He also belongs to the Modem Woodmen camp and the Court of Honor, and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian church. His genial manner, unfailing courtesy and kindly disposition have made him a popular citizen, and his influence in public affairs has been a beneficial factor, contributing to the substantial progress and upbuilding of the community.

Extracted 11 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1904 Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois, by Jacob L. Traylor, pages 11-12.

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