Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This handsome fellow is Arthur Hudson Shoemaker, born in Biggsville IL in 1867. He is Irene’s brother – one of several, as a matter of fact! The family was quite large, consisting of parents William H and Eliza Whilemene, Arthur H (’67), Irene A (’69), George W (’72), Eliza M (’74), Edward W (’75), Della W (’78), Gustavus (’80), and Clyde Alvaro (’83). In 1885, they were living in Iowa. The photographer on this cabinet card was Biddlecomb at 710 Lapser Ave, Port Huron MI.

I believe this lady is Irene’s mother, Eliza Whilemene Shoemaker. See the back of the cabinet card below.

It’s interesting that the photo was sent c/o the Monroe Book Co in Denver, where Irene resided in 1895, at about the time I’m guessing she was married. Thanks to Intense Guy’s wonderful research, we think she married Fredrich H. Monroe. Could he have been the proprietor of the Monroe Book Co? Perhaps Iggy has some more research magic to work with this new information. I would love to find a living family member who would appreciate having these images of a truly beautiful Victorian woman!

12 thoughts on “Two of Irene’s relatives

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    Irene’s husband, Frederick H Monroe Sr. was a teacher and school Superintendent. He was going to take a position in the Denver school system when he “found his calling” with the Henry George School. He and Irene moved to Chicago, Il sometime just before 1900 (where the US census finds them).

    I will see if I can find a living relative. I do not know what became of Frederick H Monroe Jr. and I lost the trail of Jeremy Monroe (Irene’s grandson) “as of 1999”.

    I believe Irene Shoemaker Monroe moved to San Francisco with her son JL and died there aroun 1962.


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    How’s this grab you?

    I found a reference to the Monroe Book Co. It was a publishing company and it moved to Chicago!!

    “(Chicago: Monroe Book Co., 1897)”


    I am 100% convinced that Frederick Hamilton Monroe married Irene Shoemaker in Denver around 1894-5 and then moved to Chicago soon afterwards.


    1. mrsmarvel says:



    2. Gerry Monroe says:

      My sister has letters and pre-printed envelopes from Irene printed on Monroe Book Co letterhead.


  3. Great work Iggy..I am sure you will find some living relatives!

    I have often wondered about these head and shoulder shots that were so popular around 1895. I always want to see more..and maybe that is what the photographer wanted..or perhaps it was the “in thing” :)


  4. IntenseGuy says:

    I’m not having much luck tracing the Shoemaker branch of the family. Some updates:

    Clyde Alvaro (Oct 1882) was born in Iowa, so they moved to Iowa around 1881-ish
    Marie (Nov 1886) came later (and may have been the last).

    Eliza Whilemene, Wilhelmine (1870) Willie Anna (1880) appears to be the mother’s first name in the various transcribed forms.

    An example of Shoemaker wanderlust…

    Arther H Shoemaker
    Birth Date: Jul 1867
    Birthplace: Biggsville, Henderson County, Illinois

    1880 for Arther H Shoemaker
    Residence: Middle Fork, Worth, Missouri

    1885 for Arther H Shoemaker
    Residence: Bedford, Taylor, Iowa

    1900 for Arther H Shoemaker
    Residence: Port Huron city, St. Clair, Michigan

    1910 for Arthur H Shoemaker
    Residence: Hansen, Twin Falls, Idaho

    1920 for Arthur H Shoemaker
    Residence: Pend Oreille, Washington

    Arthur appears to have never married – of course he was busy moving all the time.


  5. mrsmarvel says:

    An odd coincidence – I just got a comment on my other blog from a Shoemaker! At first I thought it was here and my heart skipped a beat, but alas, she was commenting on a recipe.


  6. Phoebe Monroe says:

    Wonderful! My brother, Jeremy Martin Monroe, grandchildren of Irene Shoemaker Monroe, and I (Phoebe Elisabeth Monroe, are now sharing a house and living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico. Irene’s grandchildren by John L. Monroe and Marien Tideman Monroe are Jane Alsperger, now living in Florida, Adam Jon Monroe, passed away several years ago), Jeremy Martin Monroe, and me, Phoebe Elisabeth Monroe. We have always wanted more information about our father’s side of the family (John Lawrence Monroe). I remember “Gran” (Irene) only as a little girl in Chicago. John came to California around the same time I did in 1966, but Irene had passed away I think when I was about 7, which would have been about 1951 or 1952. I don’t recall a funeral or anything like that. This is very exciting. I can’t believe it – even a photo of my great grandmother!


  7. Jane Alsperger says:

    How wonderful to see pictures of my grandmother as a young woman! I remember her especially from the summers my mother, Marien (Tideman) Monroe, and my brothers, Adam and Jeremy spent living with her in her small home in Palos Park, IL. I was 8 and 9 years old in 1941 and ’42. Her hair had turned totally white and she always wore a black velvet ribbon in it. My sister Phoebe remembers that we called her “Gran.
    ” I don’t remember her as being a talkative person, but she was very kind and generous to us all. These pictures of her are a treasure, as they are the only ones of her that I have ever seen. Somehow, my family never had a camera so we have no pictorial records of those years. Fortunately my memory of those summers is quite vivid. One of my particular memories is of listening to “scary” radio programs in the darkened hall that separated my grandmother’s living space in the back of the house from the front. Most of my days were spent outdoors, as the area was very rural. I remember a forest perserve right across the street where I (tried to) climb the huge oak trees. I also remember that my mother obtained a goat (Heidi) that she milked because my brother Adam was alergic to cow’s milk.


  8. IntenseGuy says:

    Those two stories about Irene are so heart-warming they put a huge smile on my face. Imagine acquiring, tending, and milking a goat for her son like that.

    :) I’m so pleased to see these pictures evoking such great memories.


  9. Gerry Monroe says:

    Hi! I am Frederick Monroe’s (9/18/1900 to 10/08/1987) grandson. My sister found this site recently while researching our family tree. She has quite a bit of information including letters from Irene Shoemaker. If the page is still being monitored, we can probably fill in lots of gaps.


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