Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shimer Brothers Reunited in 1914

The Shimer family predates Irvington.  Elias and Mahala Dunn Shimer purchased 240 acres of farmland along the Brookville Road in 1829.  They eventually built a beautiful Italianate dwelling near the intersection of South Audubon Road and Brookville Road. (destroyed for a factory)  Their youngest son, Corydon, inherited the land and he farmed there well into the twentieth century.

On September 5, 1914, four Shimer brothers gathered at the home of William Shimer, who lived near the  original family farm at 4905 Brookville Road.  The Indianapolis Star reported that it was the first time all of the brothers and their families had gathered in one place for sixty years.  They were quite elderly by this point as Caleb, who lived near Fortville, was 91; William, who hosted the event, was 88; Isaac, who traveled from Decatur, Illinois, was 85; and Corydon, who lived on the family farm was a "mere youth" at 76.

Caleb, William, Isaac, Corydon Shimer at Caleb's farm in the Fortville/Mohawk area in Hancock County, Indiana (c1914)

Corydon, Isaac, William, and Caleb Shimer visiting at Wm's home at 4905 Brookville Road. (c1914)

Elias Shimer, the family patriarch, purchased many acres of land along the Brookville Road south of present-day Irvington in the early nineteenth century.  

Mahala Dunn Shimer, wife of Elias, managed the family in the large brick Italianate home in the 5500 block of Brookville Road.  She lived to see the founding and subsequent construction of Irvington, north of her home.  

Two of our regular contributors at Vintage Irvington, David Bailey and Larry Muncie, are both related to this pioneering Warren Township family.  The historic photos of the brothers are courtesy of David Bailey, while the photos of the elder Shimers are courtesy of Mr. Geiser from

Other sources:  Indianapolis Star, September 6, 1914, 24; and January 4, 1915, 3.
Willa Mildred Sammis Bailey Smith, From Elias Shimer to Willa Sammis (Unpublished memoir of Ms. Smith), 1974

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