Shoaff, James

Born: 1822-XX-XX Maryland

Died: 1874-XX-XX Edgar County, Illinois

James Shoaff was a newspaper editor and publisher. From 1840 to 1842, he and Joseph Duncan edited the Prairie Flower in Shelbyville, Illinois. In 1843, Shoaff married Nancy M. Hanks, a cousin of Abraham Lincoln, in Coles County, Illinois. He subsequently moved to Greenville, Illinois, where he published the Protestant Monitor from 1845 to 1848. In 1848, Shoaff partnered with Joseph Duncan to establish the Illinois Reveille, a Democratic newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. In 1850, Shoaff moved the Illinois Reveille and his family to Pekin, Illinois, where he worked as a printer and owned real property valued at $700. In 1851, Shoaff sold the Reveille to Jackson C. Thompson and moved to Decatur, where he published the Decatur Gazette until 1856. In 1859, Shoaff became editor of the Magnet. In 1860, Shoaff was working as a publisher/editor in Decatur and he owned $3,000 worth of real estate, with a personal estate of $1,200. He remained with the Magnet through the Civil War.

Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 28, 156, 157, 193, 276, 316; Harold Holzer, Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 65; Shoaff v. Thompson, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009),; The History of McLean County, Illinois (Chicago: Wm. Le Baron, Jr., 1879), 294; History of Macon County, Illinois (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, 1880), 66; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Pekin, Tazewell County, IL, 123; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), McLean County, IL, 1; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 2, Decatur, Macon County, IL, 42; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Coles County, 21 December 1843, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, Edgar Cemetery, Paris, IL.