Honest effort in every legitimate calling meets its just and sure reward. Well matured and industriously followed plans work out results the achievement of which is the certain and unmistakable earmarks of a successful career. He who directs his efforts in whatever department of human affairs so as to become a recognized power for good is a citizen worthy the name and his efforts deserve recognition in a work devoted to representative citizenship in his devoted to representative citizenship in his commonwealth. With these general observations, inspired by the life and deeds of a civil career, we introduce, as the subject of this biographical review, Charles J. Shumake, a large and progressive farmer, of Thornberry, in the Big Wichita valley.
August 6, 1857, Mr. Shumake was born in Perry county, Alabama. His father was a ginner, and later a shoemaker, born in Georgia, April 18, 1825, passed the years of his young manhood in Alabama, located in Washington county, Texas, in 1871 and now resides at Big Springs, this state. During the Civil War he served in the ranks of the Confederate army about eighteen months when he was detailed as a carpenter, in which service he finished his soldier career. He owned slaves, did some business as a planter prior to the war, but left Alabama in reduced circumstances to make a home in the Lone Star state.
Jeremiah Shumake, grandfather of our subject, was a native son of one of the Carolina, was a planter by occupation, had two sons, Martin and Jeremiah, Jr., the latter subject’s father, and a daughter, Lizzie, who was first married to Mr. Bishop and later to Mr. Fagan.
Jeremiah Shumake’s (Jr.) wife was Martha C. Smith, the daughter of Luke Smith, a North Carolina gentleman. She died in 1902 with the following issue: William L., of Big Springs, Texas; James DeV., who died young, and Charles J. of this notice.
A good literary or commercial education was out of the question with C. J. Shumake. The elementary principles of a country school training sufficed him while of school age and he took hold of the serious things of life with much more courage than real equipment. He was intensely observing of the speech and actions of his superiors and by natural absorption and extensive reading he acquired a vocabulary and a fund of general information most creditable to one with his opportunities. At the age of eighteen years he assumed responsibility for his own maintenance and began learning the trade of book-binder in Austin, Texas. He finished his trade with the well-known binder, R. Von Boeckman, of the capital city and remained in the employ seventeen years without a single jar or an unkind word. Having obtained and laid up some means he decided to become a farmer and purchased a small farm in Ellis county, but sold this soon and bought again in Travis county. He worked the latter place two years when he sold it at double his purchasing price and again sought his trade with his old friend, Von Boeckman. Having had a taste of the freedom and independence of rural life, after a few years he again deserted the bench and brought his family to the famous Wichita valley. He laid the foundation of his fine estate by purchasing seven hundred two and one-half acres of land from the American Land and Trust Company of Kansas City, and some time later added to this purchase one hundred eighty-eight and one-half acres. His last purchases were a quarter section from Specht and McCutcheon, another of two hundred ninety-one and eight-tenths, the whole making him a farm of about one thousand four hundred and twenty acres of sandy loam, a princely estate, beautiful, rich and productive. He took possession of his new home in the month of December, 1889, and set about raising grain, hogs and cattle. He was a tireless worker himself and the grass roots soon gave way to the golden harvest of small grain. To his success his wife has contributed no less than himself. He could always depend upon her encouragement, and her advice and counsel were elements in their co-partnership which anchored him to the rock of safety. As the profits came from the farm substantial improvements took the place of the temporary affairs until the home stands today of the attractive spots on their terrestrial landscape.
May 22, 1882, Mr. Shumake married nine miles east of Austin, Miss E. Nettie Hill, a daughter of J. William Hill, who was formerly from Effingham county, Illinois. Mrs. Shumake was born in July, 1861, and was the youngest of five children. Mr. and Mrs. Shumake’s children are: Max W., twenty-one; James Lee, nineteen; Clara J., seventeen; and Charles J., Jr., seven.
In politics Mr. Shumake is a Democrat. He was chosen Commissioner of the Second district and served two years, being a member of the most economical board the county ever had. The family are Baptists and its head is an Odd Fellow, a Blue Lodge Mason, and Woodman of the World.
While Mr. Shumake and his estimable wife have achieved unusual and somewhat remarkable material success their substantial accumulations do not weigh in comparison with their personal worth. They are endowed with bright, alert and cultivated intellects and are friends of advanced educational ideas. They have made sacrifices in behalf of their children’s mental training and manifest a pardonable pride in the results of these sacrifices. Their home is pervaded with an air of cheerfulness and universal good will, not the dominating characteristic of every well regulated fireside, and their hospitality toward stranger as well as friend is sincere and unbounded. Without the presence of company to entertain existence would seem to them full of monotony and the oasis of the desert would seem to have dried up. Progressive to a marked degree, charitable and sympathetic toward the deserving unfortunate and with hearts full of the real humanity toward man we commend them and theirs to the giver of all good.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 422-423.