Michael Shoemaker

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Michael Shoemaker, PGM,
Michael Shoemaker, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)
Michael Shoemaker, PGHP,
Michael Shoemaker, PGHP (Grand Chapter of Michigan Portrait Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1886

Michael Shoemaker was born on April 6, 1818 in the township of German Flats, Herkimer County, New York. He spent his first thirteen years on his father’s farm. He attended the common school and spent a few months in a select school at Herkimer. To supplement this, he read constantly and accumulated one of the largest and best selected private libraries in the country. At fourteen he was placed by his father in a situation to support himself. In 1835 he left New York for Joliet, Illinois where his brother-in-law, Dr. A.W. Bowen, lived. He spent several years in Joliet, and engaged in dealing in real estate and merchandise, as a member of the firms of A.W. Bowen & Co., and Matteson & Shoemaker. He also in connection with Joel A. Matteson, built, under contract with the Canal Commissions, in 1838 and 1839, several sections of the heavy rockwork of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1842, in connection with his brother, Matthew Shoemaker, he bought the mill property at Michigan Centre, and became a resident of Jackson County. In 1845 he purchased the interest of his brother, and continued in the milling business for twenty-eight years. In the same year, he bought a farm on the southern boundary line in the City of Jackson. In that year, Governor John S. Barry appointed him, Inspector of the State prison. He was an active member of the Michigan State Agricultural Society since its formation, and its President in1855, 1856 and 1857. On July 18, 1850 he married Juliet Piatt of Cincinnati, Ohio. She died on September 27, 1854. On August 25, 1857, he married Miss Sarah Wisner. They were blessed with one son and two daughters. He was raised as a Master Mason on July 6, 1850 in Jackson Lodge No. 17. Also, in 1850, he was elected a High Priest of the Jackson Royal Arch Chapter. In 1854, 1855, and 1857, he was elected and presided as Grand High Priest of the State Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan. He was the second Worshipful Master of Jackson Lodge No. 50, and was again elected Master in 1859 and in 1860.

In January 1862 he was offered, and accepted the appointment of Colonel of the Thirteenth Regiment of the Michigan Volunteer Infantry. After his return from the army he was several times appointed on Committees at the Grand Lodge, and in 1886 he was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master. He was also a member of the Council of R. & S. Masons, the Commandery of Knights Templar, and the Order of High Priesthood.

In 1847 he received the Democratic nomination of Senator in the second senatorial district. He was elected and was nominated again in 1849 and re-elected. The sessions were then annual, and he served five sessions, and until the first under the present Constitution. Though one of youngest members, he, by industry and strict attention to duty, secured an influential and leading position in the Senate, which increased with every term he served, and he was elected three times under the present constitution. In 1873 he was appointed a member of the Board of Public Works of the City of Jackson, and served ten years.

He died on November 10, 1895.

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