About William Rawle Shoemaker
Military Storekeeper William R. Shoemaker, who had arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico and assumed control of the departmental ordnance depot at Fort Union, in 1848, was retained in that capacity after Sumner assumed command of the fort in 1851. He transferred the ordnance and ordnance stores from Santa Fe to the new depot, although much of this was left in safe storage in Santa Fe until buildings could be erected at Fort Union. The ordnance depot, built around four sides of a 100-foot square, was also completed by 1853, although the earthen roofs were not replaced with lumber until 1855. Because of the danger of fire in the log depot, Captain Shoemaker expressed a desire to build a "fire proof adobe arsenal." Meanwhile, he ordered lightning rods to help protect the powder magazine and everything else kept in the ordnance depot. He kept requesting funds and authorization to build a new depot, but nothing beyond repairs was done until 1859 when an adobe magazine was finally built. After the Civil War Shoemaker's arsenal was rebuilt beside the site of the original fort, and he remained at Fort Union beyond his retirement in 1882 until his death in 1886.