Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day! February 14, 2017

How did it happen that their lips came together?
How does it happen that birds sing, 
that snow melts, that the rose unfolds?
A kiss, and all was said.
~Victor Hugo

Happy Valentine's Day today! This is a day for wonderful celebrations of love when we lift up the joy of a simple kiss. This particular holiday could not be more appropriate for our Shepard family these days, because these are difficult times. I'm not talking about political drama. I am talking about life in our family in recent months.

The last year has been one of the most difficult years ever for us Shepards. All families go through periods of difficulty, times when things are tough, and when family relationships experience some strain. All of us can remember occasions when a particular family member was having a hard time, or when someone lost their job, or when a divorce occurred, or when some other stressful situation created strain on the entire family.

But this past year our family has been shaken like never before. My mom has developed some memory issues which have required some reordering of our family life, and it has been difficult as we have sought to adjust. It has led to some challenging conflicts within our ranks. For these reasons it seems appropriate to share the following video. We need this. It is about love and affection, which seem to be in short supply right now.

The video below includes some images you have seen before, but most of them are pictures you have probably never seen. The new pictures include a young couple in Texas, some youngsters smooching in Seattle, a grandmother in Oklahoma, lovers embracing in Paris, and much more. All these images show family members doing what they do best: loving one another. Thanks to all of you who made these pictures available and who had the joy of taking them!

As Time Goes By. Let this video be our reminder that Valentines Day holds the key to our future as a family. After all, choosing to love is our only hope. This YouTube video is set to the music of Queen Latifah and Rod Stewart, singing "As Time Goes By."

 



Show me the love. For the last couple of years I have given a "Show Me The Love" award on Valentine's Day to a member of our family from our past who exemplified love in their life. Yesterday was a day of remembrance for one of our family members who is no longer with us, my cousin Gloria Harrell Watson, who died 11 months ago. 
Gloria grew up in San Diego with the other 11 grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Gower. But she lived her adult life in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she died last March. 

Back in the late 1990s -- some 20 years ago -- when our Grandmother Nola Gower was in her 90s, she had knee replacement surgery. Gloria came to San Diego from Tennessee to be with Grandmother through her surgery. It was an act of love with which I was impressed. So this year the "Show Me The Love" award goes to Gloria, for her generosity of time and expense to travel all that way to be with Grandma Gower in her time of need. It was just one more act of kindness that led to her family's decision to bury Gloria in Greenwood Cemetery in San Diego alongside Grandma Gower.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

"Family Life: Full of Ups and Downs", February 7, 2017

Family life is full of ups and downs,
success and failure
and all kinds of characters...
It's difficult to imagine
anything more nourishing to the soul.
~Thomas More


Happy Birthday Paula. Today is the birthday of my cousin Paula Harrell Tuzzolino. Paula is one of the 12 grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. She and husband Frank Tuzzolino live in Sun Lakes, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. Paula and Frank live just a short ways from her mom Vicki Gower Johnston, who lives in a senior group home in Chandler, Arizona. Paula has spent much of her time this winter in Oak Harbor, Washington where she lived for many years. Best wishes to Paula for a very happy birthday! 


This first family picture was taken just 2 years ago and shows Paula and her sister Gloria Watson in Oak Harbor, Washington at the home of their mother Vicki and her late husband Duke Johnston. This picture is also an opportunity to remember Gloria who passed away just 11 months ago, and whose birthday would be next week, the day before Valentines Day.

Phillip Wilk: 1935-2007. I am also remembering Phil Wilk, who was born 82 years ago this week. He was the parent of two young children in 1974 when his wife, my cousin Beverly Russell Wilk, died unexpectedly in San Diego. It was a tragic death that rocked the Shepard, Russell and Wilk families. Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, Phil lived over 35 years in San Diego but spent his last years in Atchison, Kansas, which is where his partner Frank, his daughter Shannon, and his granddaughter Emma still live today. Phil died in Kansas 10 years ago.

His daughter Shannon told me a few years ago: "Dad LOVED to cook. Watching the cooking shows, and trying new stuff out on us! That's where I got my love of cooking. I also remember many of his stories. Once his oldest sister Paula was getting ready to go out, when silk stockings were in fashion, the kind with the line down the back of the leg. Due to the silk shortage, she would draw a line down her legs, to look like she was wearing them. Dad  would wait till she got half way done, then jump out and scare her, and she would have to start all over again. He would always laugh when he told that one. He had one of those voices that just drew you in and you would listen, calming in a way."


This second family picture was taken in Valley Center (a suburb of San Diego) in 1983, at the home of long time family friends Rod and Violet Ramirez. In the middle in the red shirt is Phil with his children Karl and Shannon in front of him. On the left are Gary and Cindy Shepard, and Bill and Pauline Russell. Cindy and I and Nathan are on the right with my cousin Dane Shepard.

Valentine's Day Pictures, Anyone? Next week I will include a Family Photo presentation for Valentine's Day. Do you have pictures of family members kissing or hugging? I invite you to email them to me so that I can include them in the presentation.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Looking Toward Ground Hog Day, February 1, 2017

You are who you are - not your parents.
~Leslie Burke

William Elmer Shepard (1862-1915). Tomorrow, February 2, will mark the anniversary of the birth of my Great Grandfather William Elmer Shepard. William Elmer is one of the most compelling and fascinating persons in our Shepard family tree. He was born in 1862, the same year his father died in the Civil War. When a teenager he became estranged from his mother and step-father, and set out on his own. He is also the person whose only brother chose to spell his last name "Shepherd". 

As a young vagabond in the early 1880s, William Elmer settled in Madison County, Illinois, where he met and married Elvira Owens. With her he made his own family, happier than any family he ever had. They and their 2 children William and Sadie ended up moving to Oklahoma where they lived the rest of their lives. On this 155th anniversary of his birth we celebrate his life and honor his memory.

Sadie Shepard Pruett (1892-1980). Last Friday marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of Sadie Shepard Pruett, daughter of the aforementioned William Elmer Shepard. Sadie was the sister of my grandfather William Shepard.

Sadie and William were the only two children of William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens Shepard of Madison County, Illinois. William was born in 1888 in the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois, while Sadie was born January 27, 1892 when the family lived a few miles south of Alton in the town of Venice, also in Madison County.


When Sadie was barely a teenager, this small Shepard family of four moved from Illinois to Beaver County in the panhandle of Oklahoma. A few years later young Sadie, who lived in the small farming community of Sophia, met a neighbor who lived in nearby Elmwood, a fellow named Levy Pruett who was 10 years her senior. Sadie and Levy were married in the town of Beaver, Oklahoma on June 22, 1910 and spent 58 years together. 

The first image shows a copy of Levy and Sadie's wedding license from 1910. You can click on the image to get a larger view of it.

Sadie and Levy had three daughters, Alberta, Gayle and Twila, who gave them four grandchildren, Norman, Steven, Shawna and Lisa, and then an assortment of Great Grandchildren. Lisa Allred Parks is the granddaughter who contacted me online a few months ago and began a conversation that has connected me to Sadie's descendants like never before. Today Levy and Sadie's descendants live primarily in Oklahoma and North Texas.

Sadie and Levy lived and farmed in Beaver County for many years, although the 1910 US Census indicates that she was a public school teacher at the time she and Levy were married. They made their life in the Oklahoma panhandle, in contrast to Sadie's brother William Shepard who settled in California in 1940. Sadie and Levy did travel to California a number of times to visit brother William and his family.


The second image is one I have shared before in this blog. It shows Sadie and Levy Pruett while on a visit to California in 1946. This picture was taken when the family took a day trip across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. In the very middle of this image, in the black dress, is Sadie Shepard Pruett. In back row in the middle is her husband Levy Pruett. On either side of Levy and directly in front of him are 3 other members of the Pruett family visiting from Oklahoma: Glen Barker, Gayle Pruett Barker, and Alberta Pruett Getz. The others pictured here are members of the Russell and Shepard families who were living in San Diego.

Sadie died 2 days after her 88th birthday, in Oklahoma where she had lived for 75 years, ever since she had moved from Illinois as a school girl in about 1905. She and Levy rest alongside other family and friends in Sophia Cemetery, the longtime burial ground in Beaver County located in the community where they spent most of their lives.


Happy Birthday Cindy Shepard. Tomorrow (Ground Hog Day!) is the birthday of Cindy Ann Shepard, the wife of my brother Gary Shepard. Cindy and Gary live in Oak Harbor, Washington and are among the caregivers for our 92 year old mother Maida Shepard of nearby Anacortes, Washington. 

Last week I visited with the family in Washington and took this picture which shows my brother Gary and his wife Cindy on the right, and me and my wife Cindy on the left. Best wishes to Cindy for a very happy birthday!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Some January Celebrations, January 18, 2017

Wake up! Wake up to the gift 
that life presents us, 
now and in every moment.  
Any day above ground is a glorious day, 
and we have that gift now. 
~Rabbi Bradley Artson

Happy Anniversary! Today, January 18, is the wedding anniversary of my cousin Kim Boyd Clark and her husband Jeff Clark who were married 10 years ago in La Jolla, California but who have lived in Missouri ever since. They live outside Blue Springs in the town of Grain Valley, Missouri with Kim's mom Thelma Boyd.

Jeff: 10 years ago, overlooking the ocean at La Jolla, she said "I do." We have faced many challenges over those years. I don't know where I would be now if you had said no. Each day is a blessing to have you as my wife and best friend. I can hardly wait to see what is in store for the rest of my life because of you. I love you more each day!

A few days ago Kim wrote me to say: We are in Branson, Missouri at our time-share this cold winter weather weekend, but we're having fun. We have a nice fireplace. It is hard to believe 10 years has passed so fast.

Best wishes to Kim and Jeff for a very happy anniversary!

Happy Birthday Dane and Nathan. This Saturday, January 21, is the birthday of another cousin of mine, Dane Shepard, who lives in Blanchard, Oklahoma with wife Cindy and daughter Kaylan Shepard. Saturday is also the birthday of their son Nathan Ross Shepard who is a student at Florida College.

Nathan: Hello cousin Steve! I would like to wish all the Shepard family a happy year! I hope to graduate with my BS in Business Administration this April. I will also be traveling to Austria this summer for a choral festival with my school. Many exciting opportunities are coming and I'm thankful for all the blessings I have and have to look forward too! Hope you are doing well! It's been quite a while since I've been to a family reunion. It would be nice to see everyone again.

This second picture shows Dane and Nathan (on the left) with Cindy and Kaylan. Best wishes to our Oklahoma Shepards as they celebrate Dane and Nathan's birthdays!

The Death of a Gentle Giant. This final picture shows one of the Giant Sequoias of Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Northern California, with three of our family members in front of it: Maida Shepard, Jane Clark Brock and Barbara Shepard. It was taken in 2004 when a group of women among us (The "Yayas") spent a week together at our home in the mountains of Northern California, located just a few miles from where this picture was taken.

Named the "Pioneer Cabin Tree", it was estimated to be over 1,200 years old when it toppled over early last week during a winter storm. It came down partially because it had been weakened in the 1880s when they thoughtlessly carved out a passage way through the middle of this gentle giant. At over a thousand years old, its demise is a tragic loss of historical proportions. But it puts in perspective our family's history which we do well to trace back maybe 200 years.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Picture Is Worth, January 7, 2017

Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains
as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge
hidden in every cell of our bodies.
~Shirley Abbott

A Fascinating Picture. A few months ago I mentioned that I had recently begun an online conversation with a second cousin on the Shepard side of our family, Lisa Allred Parks. She lives in the Fort Worth area and is the Granddaughter of Sadie Shepard Pruett (1892-1980), the sister of my Grandfather William Shepard (1888-1976).

A few days ago Lisa was thoughtful enough to email me a copy of a picture that she found among her mother's photos. It is obviously an old picture, only 1 1/2 inch square, and shows two children, who Lisa thinks are her grandmother Sadie Shepard Pruett and Sadie's brother William Shepard.

The first picture I am including is a composite image which shows, in the middle, the picture of the children Lisa sent to me. On either side I have added an adult picture of Sadie (at 23 years old) and William (at about 30 years old). Comparing these images might help us decide whether the children shown here could indeed be the adults pictured on either side. What do you think?

As you might imagine I was fascinated by this picture, and excited about the possibility of it being a childhood picture of my Grandfather and his sister. As far as I know the oldest existing picture of my Grandfather is the wedding picture of him alongside his wife Bura Davis Shepard, taken in Oklahoma in June, 1915 when he was 26 years old. If this new image does indeed show Sadie and William as children, it would be something extraordinary.

Here's what we do know, or can deduce, about this small picture: It was found among the photos of Sadie Shepard Pruett, who was born in January, 1892 (125 years ago this month). William was born 3 years and 1 month earlier, in December, 1888. In this picture, the young girl looks to be just a few months old, while the little boy looks to be a few years older, so their ages would be about right. If it is Sadie and William, it would have been taken in 1892 in Madison County, Illinois, where both of them were born.

I'd like to ask the readers of this blog: Do you have thoughts on whether or not this might be a picture of Sadie and William? Especially those of you who knew William and/or Sadie when they were alive. Do you have any thoughts or ideas about whether this might be them? I would appreciate hearing from you.

Happy Birthday Cindy! Today is the birthday of my wife Cindy Harris Shepard. Born in the San Joaquin Valley, as a baby she and her family moved to San Diego where she grew up, and where she and I met while in High School. Cindy is the mother of our son Nathan, and grandmother of his three children, Preslea, Logan and William Shepard. 

The second picture shows Cindy with our youngest grandchild William Shepard (the Great Great Grandchild of the William Shepard mentioned above).

Happy Birthday, Mary! This coming Tuesday, January 10 is the birthday of Mary Shepard, wife of my brother Darrell Shepard, of Bothell, Washington. Originally from Chicago, Mary and husband Darrell live today in the Seattle, Washington area. The biggest joy of their lives right now is their 4 young grandchildren, Logan, Mason, Kellan and Finley, the children of their kids Patrick, Rachel and Christopher. 

This third picture, taken last month, shows Mary with husband Darrell and their youngest grandchild Finley Shepard, daughter of Chris and Jessica.

Best wishes to Cindy and Mary for very happy birthdays! And thanks to cousin Lisa for that amazing picture of those children!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Wishes for a New Year, December 27, 2016


Feliz Navidad
Prospero 
año
y felicidad
~
José Montserrate Feliciano García


This last week of 2016 includes a couple of anniversary celebrations worth remembering.

Our Wedding Anniversary. Today, December 27, is the wedding anniversary of Cindy and me. On this day 48 years ago we were married at the La Mesa Church of Christ, just a few miles down Jackson Drive from where we live today. My second cousin Edwin Kilpatrick was the minister, dear friends and family were the attendants, while Joe and Paula, and Gene and Maida were the proud parents, each of them just 40-something years old. Johnny Mathis provided the music (unfortunately not in person) and the ladies of the church provided the reception of punch and cookies and, of course, the wedding cake. 


A lot of rushing water has gone under the bridge of our family since that Friday night so long ago: a lot of joy, our share of sadness, celebrations of significant milestones, the arrival of one child and three grandchildren, years of labor-intensive careers, new relationships, amazing changes, surprising growth, and valuable challenges. They have all made the last 48 years very memorable. 

The first picture, taken at our Christmas Day gathering on Burgundy Street in San Diego, shows Cindy and me with our son Nathan, our three grandkids, Preslea, Logan and William, and Cindy's mom Paula Harris.

This evening, to celebrate our anniversary, we will share a quiet dinner together at a restaurant over looking beautiful San Diego Bay. Among other things we will raise a toast as we give thanks for so many of you, family and friends who have brought us to this point in our lives, and who have helped make the journey worthwhile.


Happy Anniversary Darrell and Mary. This coming Saturday, Dec 31 will be the 34th wedding anniversary of my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary Medina Shepard. Darrell and Mary were college students at Abilene Christian University when they got married on the last day of 1982 in Abilene, Texas. Their life journey has taken them from the plains of West Texas to Montana, Oregon and now Washington State, where they live today. Their family includes 3 children, their partners, and 4 young grandchildren. Happy Anniversary and best wishes to Mary and Darrell! 

The second picture, taken Christmas Eve, shows Darrell and Mary with three of their grandchildren, Mason, Logan and Kellan. Darrell: "Thirty four years sure go by fast! Oh, and the grand kids are awesome."

Truth Is Stranger.  I went Christmas caroling with a group from our church just before Christmas. One of the places we wanted to go -- a care facility where one of our members lives -- told our leaders that we could come and sing, but just holiday music. We were to sing no songs that had any reference to Jesus Christ or to religious themes. There were people of other faiths in the facility. (I am not making this up!) It was enough to turn the brightest optimist into a cynic. Fortunately, we had plenty of other places to go and sing. And a good time was had by all.

May this coming weekend of New Years Day be a happy time of celebrating family and friends! Best wishes to all of you for a joyous and prosperous new year!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Evolution of a Blog, December 21, 2016

How shall a person escape from their ancestors,
or draw off from his veins the black drop
which he drew from his father’s or mother’s life?
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings and best wishes to all of you on this week leading up to the Holiday. Merry Christmas to each of you and your family!


William & Bura Davis Shepard, 1915
William Shepard (1888-1976). This coming Christmas Day is the 128th anniversary of the birth of my Grandfather William Shepard. Our Shepard ancestry is firmly rooted in 19th century Indiana and Illinois, the latter being where Granddad was born in 1888. The Shepards then migrated to Oklahoma and Colorado in the early 20th century. But thanks to Granddad William, our Shepard family has now been settled on the West Coast, in particular in San Diego, for more than 75 years. He and his wife Bura Davis Shepard moved their small family to San Diego in 1940 and some of their descendants have lived here ever since. Granddad William died 40 years ago here in San Diego at the ripe old age of 88, yet he remains an important part of our family history. I am grateful for his life and legacy.


Pauline Shepard Russell, 1942
Pauline Shepard Russell (1916-2000). I have recently shared a couple of posts about life in our family 100 years ago. I'd like to take that theme again today. Exactly a century ago, on Christmas Day 1916, William Shepard turned 28 years old. Just three days later, on December 28, his wife Bura gave birth to their first child, Pauline Shepard. At the time they were a struggling young farming family, trying to make it on their own in Beaver County, Oklahoma. At home on a cold winter's day, they rejoiced in Pauline's arrival, the first of four children. It was a joyous celebration of new life, and a time to anticipate even more children, and then grandchildren -- and even some great grandchildren -- who would bless their lives. They would live to celebrate their family's growth to several dozen members, but it all began with Pauline's birth on the cold plains of Oklahoma 100 years ago, in the winter of 1916.

Evolution of a Blog. The Shepard's Crook has evolved over the 9 years that it has been in existence as a family-genealogical blog. It was the last Friday in December, 2007 that I began this blog to research the history of our ancestors and to celebrate their lives and descendants. In that period of time this blog has undergone significant evolution. Over these years I have learned a great deal about how to do family research and have gained more insight into family history than I ever thought possible. 

In these past 9 years I have shared over a thousand pictures of contemporary family as well as family from long ago. And I have reported here on research into dozens of ancestors. It has all been very enjoyable and richly rewarding for me. From the beginning, The Shepard's Crook has been a labor of love, and will continue to be so.


Maida and Barbara Shepard, 2016
In recent months I have had to cut back on the amount of historical research I have done. Family commitments and other personal concerns have brought me to the point where I simply cannot spend as much time with online research, resulting in fewer postings. That trend will probably continue. I remain committed to posting on a regular basis, but it will be less often than it has been over the years. 

Two relationships have been central to this change in Cindy's and my life. One has been our 3 grandchildren, to whom we have given significant time and energy as we have supported our son in his parenting responsibilities. And the other family concern is my mother Maida Shepard, who at 92, is requiring more attention from all her children than ever before. Even Cindy and I, though separated by many miles from the family in Washington State, need to do our part in attending to the needs that mom has in these last years of her beautiful life.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Recent Birth, an Old Old Wedding, December 12, 2016

A dysfunctional family is any family
with more than one person in it.
~Mary Karr

Happy Birthday Mason Shepard! Greetings to all of you today as Christmas draws nearer. And happy Birthday today to Mason Shepard of Bothell, Washington. Mason is the younger son of my nephew Patrick and his wife Nicole Shepard. He is one of the 4 grandchildren of my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary.


The picture on the right was taken earlier today and shows a happy 2 year old Mason suspended between his parents Nicole and Patrick. Best wishes to the entire family on this occasion of Mason's birthday!

Nicole: Before kids, people always said "they grow up so fast, enjoy everyday". It really is true!! I can't believe Mason is 2 years old today!! Happy Birthday buddy, we love you!!

Remembering a 358th Anniversary. Today is also a day that marks one of the oldest wedding anniversaries I can find anywhere in our family tree. It concerns the 12X Great Grandparents of the aforementioned Mason Shepard. On Dec 12, 1658 -- 358 years ago today --  Laurens Van Buskirk and Jannetje Jans were married in New Amsterdam (New York).

Laurens and Jannetje lived so long ago, they were buried in a cemetery that no longer exists, the old Van Buskirk Cemetery of Bayonne, in Hudson County, New Jersey. Though that cemetery no longer physically exists, it does have an online presence. Select this link to FindAGrave.com to get information about Laurens and Jannetje Van Buskirk and the cemetery where they were buried.

The information at FindAGrave.com tells us that Laurens Van Buskirk was born in Holstein, Denmark in 1655. His name first appears in records of New Amsterdam, June 19, 1656 in a deed for a lot of land on Broad Street. In July 1658 Laurens was sent by the Orphans Master at New Amsterdam to South River (Delaware) to assist Jannetje, the widow of Christian Barentsen Van Horn. Four and a half months later Laurens and Jannetje married on December 12, 1658 according to the marriage registry of the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam (New York). (Source: Immigration Library, Scandinavian Immigrants of New York.)

Laurens and Jannetje's 5X Great Granddaughter was Jane Buskirk Davis, who, with husband Alexander Davis, were the first among our ancestors to migrate from Eastern Ohio and settle in Spencer, Indiana in the 1850s. Many of those ancestors then moved on to Oklahoma in the early 20th century, and some eventually made it to San Diego in 1940.

Here is a lineage that shows our family line from our son Nathan Shepard to Laurens Van Buskirk and his wife Jannetje Jans Van Buskirk.
  • Nathan Shepard (b. 1977)
  • Steve Shepard (b. 1948) - wife Cindy Harris (b. 1948)
  • Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) - wife Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  • Bura Davis (1896-1986) - husband William Shepard (1888-1876)
  • James Brooks Davis (1870-1928) - wife Carolyn Spear (1865-1951)
  • Charles Edward Davis (1849-1926) - wife Malinda Wright (1846-1920)
  • Jane Buskirk (1823-1895) - husband Alexander Davis (1819-1866)
  • William S. Buskirk (1804-1873) - wife Mary (Buskirk) (1809-1886)
  • George Van Buskirk (1767-1825) - wife Mary Rulon (1767-1828)
  • John Van Burkirk (1743-1829) - wife Mary Blackmore (1742-1823)
  • George Van Buskirk (1721-1800) - wife Sarah Ashton (1720-1779)
  • Johannes Van Buskirk (1694-1747) - wife Marytie Hooglandt (1696-1738)
  • Thomas Van Buskirk (1668-1748) - wife Margrete Brickers (1668-1719)
  • Laurens Van Buskirk (1630-1694) - wife Jannetje Jans (1629-1694)
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951), November 29, 2016

Memories, even bittersweet ones,
are better than nothing.
~Jennifer Armentrout

Remembering Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951)Today is the 151st anniversary of the birth of Caroline Spear Davis of Owen County, Indiana. She is the mother of my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). Her 85 years spanned a amazing time in history, from the American Civil War to the post WWII years.

The 6 image composite, below on the right, shows Callie at 6 different stages of her life. Across the top are three images from the time when she lived in Indiana: in about 1880 as a young woman, in 1896 as a 30 year old bride, and then in 1908 as a mother of 7 children. Across the bottom are three images from when she lived in Oklahoma: in 1922 as a Grandmother with one of her grandchildren Bernard Kilpatrick; in 1936 as a Great Grandmother with one of her great grandchildren Rex Russell; and in 1947 just a few years before the end of her life.

Caroline (or "Callie" as she was known) is our connection to our Spear family roots, an interesting and very significant part of our family heritage. Callie's Great Grandfather James Spear (1768-1821) migrated to America from Ireland as a young man, and eventually settled in Eastern Ohio. Like our Davis ancestors (and countless other pioneering families), the Spears came from Eastern Ohio to Indiana in the 1850s. My GGG Grandparents Alexander and Jane Davis came from Ohio's Monroe County, while the widow Julian Pugh Spear (Callie's grandmother) came with her grown children from Ohio's Tuscarawas County. The Spears and the Davises settled about the same time in Morgan Township near Spencer, Indiana in the years just before the Civil War.

Whether the Spears and the Davises knew each other in Ohio before moving westward is unknown. We do know that both families settled very near each other in Indiana, and that both families were instrumental in establishing a small country church near Spencer, Indiana, the New Union Church of Christ. This suggests that when they migrated westward the Spears and the Davises brought with them their common church affiliation.

In Eastern Ohio in the mid-19th century, the most rapidly growing religious group was the Campbell-Stone Movement (aka the "Restoration Movement") which gave rise to the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church, and the Disciples of Christ. One curious historical tidbit I found shows that Andrew Spear (1806-1887), the brother of Callie's Grandfather Samuel Spear, is buried in the "Church of Christ Cemetery" in Washington County in Eastern Ohio. It is just one more indication that Callie Spear Davis' kinfolk in Ohio were Restoration Movement people. This suggests that our family's roots in the Campbell-Stone tradition in America go back to the early 19th century, and the very beginning of the Campbell-Stone tradition.

Another interesting bit of family history relating to Callie Spear Davis is the existence of an obscure little book by A.T. DeGroot titled "The Churches of Christ in Owen County, Indiana," published in 1935. In that book the author writes about the New Union Church of Christ (also called "the Christian Church at Union"), the congregation to which Callie Spear and her family belonged. It is also the congregation to which many family members of her husband James Davis belonged.

DeGroot's book contains numerous membership records from the period between 1866 and 1880. In those membership records are 11 people named Davis, and 28 people named Spear, most of them identifiable as kinfolk of ours. When Callie Spear married James Davis in 1896, it was the union of two church members whose families were founding members of the same small congregation in their rural community. The New Union Church was a viable congregation for 100 years until it closed in the fall of 1956.

A number of our Davis ancestors rest in the New Union Cemetery adjacent to where the New Union Church once stood, at the corner of Rattlesnake Rd and Shepard Patrick Road a few miles out of town. A number of our Spear relations rest in the Spear Cemetery, 5 miles northwest of the New Union Cemetery.

In 1913 Callie Spear Davis and her husband James Brooks Davis moved from Indiana and settled in Beaver County, Oklahoma with their 7 children. Callie and James lived the last years of their lives there and are buried in the Sophia Cemetery in Beaver County.

Happy Birthday Kim and Damian. Today is also the birthday of one of Callie Spear Davis' Great Grandaughters, my cousin Kim Boyd Clark. Kim is the daughter of my aunt Thelma Shepard Boyd. She and husband Jeff Clark live in Grain Valley, Missouri. 

Today also happens to be the birthday of Kim's grandson Damian Ortiz of San Diego. Damian is the son of Kim's son Jeremy Ortiz and his wife Desiree of El Cajon, California. Best wishes and happy birthday to Kim and Damian!

Thanks to Damian's mom Desiree for this picture of Kim and grandson Damian.
- - -
Steve Shepard 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, November 23, 2016

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
~Henry David Thoreau

On this week of Thanksgiving 2016, I am grateful for three particular women in our extended family: My mother Maida Gower Shepard, and my two aunts Vicki Gower Johnston, and Thelma Shepard Boyd. That triad represents the senior members of my parents' generation in our family.


My aunt Thelma is the youngest of the three, and is the last remaining child of my grandparents William and Bura Davis Shepard. Born in Two Buttes, Colorado, she moved as a child to San Diego when the Shepards first settled here in 1940. She lives today in Grain Valley, Missouri with her daughter Kim Clark Boyd, who tells me: "She is doing fine. She loves car rides and goes everywhere we go. She still walks every day. I cook and she's the prep cook and dishwasher." Happy Thanksgiving and thank you to Thelma for blessing our Shepard family for 80 years!

The first picture, taken this past May, shows my aunt Thelma Boyd on the left, with fellow octogenarian Engelbert Humperdinck. (What? You don't know the famous Engelbert Humperdinck? Google him. Or better yet, Youtube him!) Also pictured are Thelma's daughter Kim and her husband Jeff Clark.


My aunt Vicki Gower Johnston is the youngest of the three children of my Grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma she too came to San Diego as a child when our Gower family settled here in 1942. She lives today in Chandler, Arizona near her daughter Paula Harrell Tuzzolino, although she still longs for life in Oak Harbor, Washington where she lived for over 40 years, until a year ago. Happy Thanksgiving and much gratitude to Vicki for being an important part of our family.

This second picture shows my aunt Vicki back in 1995 when she was visiting in San Diego. This picture was taken by her sister Maida Shepard while they were having fun riding the Carousel in front of the San Diego zoo.

And I am very grateful for the senior most member of our family, my 92 year old mother Maida Gower Shepard who lives with her daughter Barbara in Anacortes, Washington. Born in Mountain View, Arkansas, Maida and husband Eugene raised a family of 6 children in San Diego before retiring to Washington State in 1978. Mom has made her home there now for nearly 40 years. 

I am especially grateful that mom is doing better after being hospitalized a week ago. As of this writing she is still in the hospital in nearby Mount Vernon, Washington, but is stable and hopefully will be going home later today. 

This third picture, taken in August, shows Maida on the right with her oldest son Gary and her daughter Barbara at her home on Wildwood Lane in Anacortes.

After re-reading the foregoing paragraphs, it dawned on me that the caregivers of the foregoing women also deserve our thanks. I am grateful for daughters in our family, like Paula, Kim and Barbara, who give so much of themselves to care for their aging mothers. It speaks well for the kind of family we are!

May all of you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!
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Steve Shepard