SHOEMAKER, GEORGE J., was born in
Harrisburg, Pa., March 20, 1813, son of Jacob and Anna (Rhoads) shoemaker. Samuel Rhoads, his maternal grandfather, was born in Dauphin
county, February 25, 1738. He kept
a hotel in Harrisburg for a number of years; was sheriff of Dauphin county, and
was for several years a member of the Legislature. His wife, Mrs. Rosanna Rhoads, was born January 30, 1754.
They resided after marriage in the eastern part of the State for a number
of years and removed to Harrisburg near 1800.
Mr. Rhoads died September 25, 1786, aged forty-eight years and seven
months. His wife died May 19, 1838,
at the age of eighty-four years, three months and twenty days.
Their children were John and Anna, the former born December 30, 1775, and
the latter March 15, 1779. John
Rhoads never married. For a number
of years he was manager of a furnace in Huntingdon County.
Some time after 1800 he settled permanently in Harrisburg, and in
partnership with John Candor conducted a dry goods and grocery store, In which
business he continued until his death, April 12, 1859; his age at that time was
eighty-three years, three months and eighteen days.
His sister, Anna Rhoads, was married to Jacob Shoemaker about the year
Jacob Shoemaker was born in New Jersey
and came to Dauphin county in 1800. Jacob
and Anna (Rhoads) Shoemaker had three sons: Samuel R., born June 29, 1810,
George J. and John J., born April 19, 1816.
Samuel R. Shoemaker died in 1831, aged nineteen, and John J. in 1888, at
the age of seventy-two years. Mr.
Jacob Shoemaker's trade was that of a hatter, which he followed for many years
after his marriage. He purchased a
vacant lot of ground in 1808 and built a frame house at what is now No. 30 North
Second street. Mr. Shoemaker filled
various city offices, and died in June 1847, his wife having departed before
him, on March 1, 1841.
George J. Shoemaker, only surviving son
of Jacob Shoemaker, attended the city schools, and completed his education in
the Harrisburg Academy. At twelve
years of age he was employed as clerk in the store of Mr. John Rhoads, and
remained with him five years; after which he was clerk for Mr. John Candor for a
short time. In 1832 he was employed
as clerk for Mr. Moore, of Hollidaysburg, Pa., for a few months; from that place
he went to Pittsburgh, Pa., and returned to Harrisburg in the same year.
In 1834 Mr. Shoemaker went to
Philadelphia to buy goods, and on the return trip, met with an accident on this
side of the Schuylkill river which seriously disabled him.
He was in the hospital for four days, after which he was removed to the
Red Lion Hotel, where he was confined ten weeks.
His recovery was so slow that it was about a year before he was able to
resume business. In 1836 he was for
one year clerk in the works at Schuylkill Forge, and then again returned to
Harrisburg. During the remainder of
Mr. Shoemaker's business life, thus far, he has been much of the time employed
in clerical positions. In 1840 he
was elected town clerk, and served five successive years. He served one year as clerk of the county commissioners,
and was at one time
connected in this capacity with the Supreme Court. He was for a short time a member of the city councils, and
filled the position of deputy sheriff for three years. Mr. Shoemaker is one of the oldest members of the Harrisburg
Beneficial Society. In the year
1860 Mr. Shoemaker became the owner of all the lots of ground from his father's
original purchase up to Walnut street, and built thereon four three-story brick
houses, in one of which he now resides.
Mr. Shoemaker was first married, in
1837, to Elizabeth D. Allen, of Strasburg, Lancaster county, Pa.
They had five children. Anna
R., their first-born, was married to George Evans, of Pottsville, Schuylkill
county, Pa., and is now the only survivor, in her fifty-ninth year.
The deceased children are Matilda, George, Ellen, and John; the
last-named died in 1860, aged thirteen, while attending college.
Mr. Shoemaker's second marriage took place in December 1850; his wife was
Catharine, daughter of George and Catharine (Rahm) Eichholtz.
They had four children: Maria,
wife of D. A.
Weidmann, of New York;
Rose, wife of L. K. Scheffer, of Harrisburg; Louis C., bookbinder, Harrisburg;
George E., a prominent physician at St. Louis, Mo., who traveled through Panama,
and returned by way of New York; he died July 20, 1889, aged thirty-four.
Mr. Shoemaker is a sound conservative Democrat, and stands by President
Cleveland with loyal support. The family are members of the Lutheran church.
Mrs. Catharine Shoemaker was born
December 1, 1821. Her father,
George Eichholtz, was
a native of Lancaster county, and was a cabinetmaker. He came to Harrisburg, and
became clerk in the secretary's office, spending the remainder of his life in
this city. His wife, Catharine, was
the daughter of Melchior and Mary (King) Rahm.
Melchior Rahm kept the Franklin House, on Walnut street, for a number of
years; he was elected sheriff, and was a member of the Legislature for the
county of Dauphin. The children of
Mr. And Mrs. George Eichholtz are: Catharine
(Mrs. Shoemaker); Cecilia, died in April, 1896, aged thirty years, wife of
Sobieski Keen; Edwin, died at the age of four years; George, died in 1853.
The mother died in 1822, aged twenty-six.
Mr. Eichholtz married a second time in 1830, Miss Maria
Their children are: Annie,
wife of Augustus Moltz; Maria, wife of James McClintock; Lebaron, died in
childhood. Both parents are now deceased; Mr. Eichholtz died in 1858, at
the age of eighty-five.