Shoemaker, Joseph S. (1854-1936)

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Joseph S. and Elizabeth Shoemaker, ca. 1928. Scan courtesy Mennonite Church USA Archives-Goshen. Photograph Collection binders. Photo #0213

Joseph S. Shoemaker, an outstanding bishop in the Mennonite Church (MC), was born 1 February 1854 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the oldest son of Benjamin and Veronica (Shellenberger) Shoemaker. In 1855 the family moved to Covington, Ohio, and in 1863 to a farm near Freeport (Dakota), Illinois, where he spent his active life. He married Elizabeth Brubaker (2 September 1856-25 September 1931) on 6 December 1877. Among their three sons and six daughters were Charles B. Shoemaker of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, long an officer of the Mennonite Publishing House, and Stella (Mrs. A. E. Kreider). He died 6 February 1936, and is buried at the Freeport Mennonite Church cemetery.

Shoemaker was ordained preacher in June 1892 and bishop on 17 December 1902. He was president of the Mennonite Board of Publication 1908-1933, secretary of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities 1906-1920, many times moderator of the Illinois Mennonite Conference, moderator of the Mennonite General Conference in 1905 and 1909, and a member of the Mennonite Board of Education 1903-1920. He was publisher and a co-editor of the Church and Sunday School Hymnal (1902), writer of the section on the "Ministry" in the Christian Worker's Manual Vol. I (1915), author of The Ideal Christian Home (1925), and coauthor of Among Missions in the Orient and Observations by the Way (1912). He was a widely used evangelist, a great influence for unity and progress, and for many years one of the most widely known and beloved leaders in his denomination.


"Shoemaker, Elizabeth S. Brubaker.” Gospel Herald 23 (8 October 1931). Reproduced in MennObits. “Gospel Herald Obituaries - October, 1931." (accessed 16 December 2009)

"Shoemaker, Joseph S.” Gospel Herald 28 (20 February 1936). Reproduced in MennObits. “Gospel Herald Obituaries - February, 1936." (accessed 16 December 2009)

Weber, Harry F. Centennial history of the Mennonites of Illinois, 1829-1929. Goshen, Ind.: Mennonite Historical Society, 1931. Available in full electronic text at 620 f. and passim.

Author(s) Harold S. Bender
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published 2009

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. and Samuel J. Steiner. "Shoemaker, Joseph S. (1854-1936)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2009. Web. 3 Aug 2020.,_Joseph_S._(1854-1936)&oldid=165946.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. and Samuel J. Steiner. (2009). Shoemaker, Joseph S. (1854-1936). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 August 2020, from,_Joseph_S._(1854-1936)&oldid=165946.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 516. All rights reserved.

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