Olive J. Shoemaker
- Born: 17 Jul 1865, Ohio 104
- Marriage (1): Robert Hirsch
- Died: 1952, Michigan at age 87
Olive J. Shoemaker was a foster daughter to George Miller and his wife, Sarah A. Kitchen. She was called "Ollie".
According to the 1880 U.S. census, her father was born in Pennsylvania and her mother was born in Ohio.
I have gathered the following information about her parents. Ollie's father was Joseph Shoemaker who was born in 1804 in Pennsylvania. He died on June 1, 1875 in Centre Township, Williams County, Ohio. Her mother was Rachel Smith who was born about 1826 in Ohio and she died after 1870. Joseph and Rachel were married on January 22, 1857 in Putnam County, Ohio. It was Joseph's second marriage and he was 53 at the time. Ollie's father died when she was about 10 years old and her mother may have died around the same time. This is when she would have gone to live with the Miller family. She had three sisters, Barbara, Eliza and Cora Belle. She also had three brothers, John, Joseph and George E.
The word that has been passed down in the family is that most of Olive's family died in a tornado.
Eldon Coller remembers "Aunt Ollie" as being very close to the rest of the family. She was not educated, but had a lot of practical knowledge. She was down to earth and had a happy demeanor. She was also funny.
Aunt Ollie married a blacksmith and they lived in Decker, Michigan. He had a noticeable cleft palate which made him hard to understand. He also liked to drink on occasion and the horses would have be called to pull his car out of a ditch.
Ollie commented on Jesse Coller coming over for dinner in 1916 in a postcard to Alice Leary. She asked her to let Ethel know. Ethel married Jesse's brother, William McKinley Coller in 1917. She also mentioned expecting a visit from her brothers who she hadn't seen in over 40 years. This would have been just prior to 1876.
There were many Shoemakers in the Leipsic area of Ohio. A number of their graves are located in Center Cemetery, just north of Old Center Cemetery where George Miller and Sarah Kitchen are buried.
A letter from Reuel Haskell, Jr. to Alice Paulina Leary in 1942 refers to Ollie:
It does'nt seem possible that Ollie can be 77 years of age - she has seen many things and done a great deal of work of many kinds - and what she has done was always something useful and necessary. I am glad she is in good health, - nothing else matters, with out it.
The following recollection of Olive Shoemaker was written by Alice May Welsh (Alice Davies):
She was "adopted" by the Miller family and raised as a "stepsister" of John Harvey Miller, your great-grandfather, on their Ohio family farm. I don't think she was formally adopted, just taken in. If you check the Miller lineage, it seems to have been a common practice to take in an extra child, usually a girl, who grew up with the family and probably did a lot of work. I know Aunt Ollie did that.
I remember her well: a tiny woman who could work circles around anyone. She often came to the farm (Armada, Michigan) to help with canning tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, pears, pickles, and especially APPLE BUTTER. I have the wooden stirring paddle made by the Millers, maybe Harvey, -- and we used it on our Armada farm. We used the big iron kettle used to scald the pigs when butchered, and filled it with chopped and cored apples over a fire in the backyard. I was trusted enough to help with the stirring, which was a very serious and important duty. If the "stirrer" slowed down or forgot to cover all the bottom of the kettle -- the whole batch could be ruined by the scorched apples that stuck to the bottom. Aunt Ollie was the kind of person who never complained, was always cheerful and ready to laugh at silly things we kids would do. She married Fred Hirsch late in her life --30 something?-- and had one son, also named Fred. They lived on a farm near Snover in Sanilac County, Michigan. When son Fred grew up, he owned a gas station in Snover that also featured an ice cream counter. When we went to visit, he would tell us to climb up on the stools at the counter and order anything we wanted. We could have sundaes or sodas or banana splits. We believed we had entered some lower level of Heaven on Earth. Amazing. I can still smell the chocolate syrup and taste that wonderful mix of chocolate, merschino cherries, and whipped cream.
Ollie's husband was older than she was and died of something that was probably cancer, but no one named diseases then, at least I don't remember them. Maybe the adults just spared children such knowledge. After that, Ollie lived with her son, sometimes a few months with Alice and Harvey Miller, and came to the Armada farm many times to help with whatever needed to be done. If she was ever tired or sad, we never saw or heard anything to let us know that. I remember her as a warm, loving person. 3,105
Noted events in her life were:
1. Residence, 1921, Michigan. This is from a letter written by Reuel Haskell.
2. Residence, 1914-1916, Snover, Sanilac County, Michigan. From postcards sent to Alice Leary.
3. Picture: This is Olive and her husband Robert Hirsch.
Olive married Robert Hirsch.