Friday, September 05, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 5

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

It is a beautiful day here in the mountains of Northern California: the birds are whistling, the squirrels are chirping, and the angled morning sunshine brings with it a warmth that suggests that the harsh heat of summer is behind us. Fall is not here yet, but it is certainly not far off.

200 years ago TODAY (Sept 5, 1808) Caroline Willliams was born. Caroline in my generation's great great great great Aunt; the sister of John Pouty Williams (who I mentioned a few months ago because he is one of only two 19th century relatives who lived into his 90s). Caroline Williams was Gram's (Bura Shepard's) great great aunt on her mother's side. Confused, yet? Keep reading. It gets better.

I mention Caroline Williams, not just because today is her 200th birthday, but because she reminds us of the immigration pattern of that part of our family. Her parents were born in the late 1700s back east (father in Virginia; mother in Pennsylvania); Caroline herself was born near Louisville, Kentucky; but as a child her family moved 150 miles northwest into Indiana (southwest of Indianapolis) and lived in that area for most of the 1800s. Gram (Bura Shepard) was born there in Indiana in 1896, but as a child her family moved southwest, almost 1,000 miles, to Beaver County, Oklahoma, and continued the family's westward migration that eventually took them to California.

Back to Caroline Williams: As a 16 year old girl, in August, 1825, in Washington, Indiana, Caroline married a 20 year old young man with the colorful name of Stockton Lockhart. He must have been quite a charmer, for later in 1825 they had their first child, a baby boy (oops!). They went on to have eight other children, the last one born when Caroline was in her mid-40s. What was it like to have been 16, then pregnant, then married, then a mother, in a small Indiana town back in the early 19th century? Those were the days of "shot-gun" weddings. Clearly Caroline and Stockton made the most of what their life decisions brought them. We come from courageous, flawed folks (just like us!), whose genes swirl within us still. Their stories we'll never know completely, but they are nonetheless part of the story of our lives. Happy birthday, Caroline.

I wish I had a picture of Caroline and Stockton to send to you, but alas, I do not. Back on June 20, I did sent you a picture of Caroline's niece, Callie (Caroline) Spear (who was named after her aunt Caroline Willliams; interesting, huh?). You can also see that picture on the June 20 posting of the family blog. That picture is as close as I can get, and is a picture at least taken during Caroline's lifetime.

What I am sending you is two pictures -- the first of which shows Thelma Boyd, the great great great niece of Caroline Williams Lockhart. The picture also shows Cindy and Steve Shepard, Maida Shepard, Terry Boyd, and Barbara Shepard. It was taken earlier this summer in Grants, New Mexico, when this group met one day for lunch.

This coming coming Tuesday, September 9, is the 158th Birthday of the great state of California. It also happens to be my 60th Birthday. I don't feel quite so old when compared to the age of California. Actually I am blessed by God to be turning 60 and still to feel as healthy as I do. I am also blessed to be in the good company of those in our family who also have birthdays this year that end in 0 -- whether 60 (Cindy and me) or 90 (Elmer) or 40 (Kerri) or 50 (Jeff) or 140 (Grandad William Shepard) or 200 (Caroline), or whatever age.

The second picture I am sending was taken 55 years ago at a family gathering in San Diego. It shows Gram and Grandad (Will and Bura Shepard), me in front of Gram, then Gene, Maida and Gary Shepard (who was not a happy camper this day!).

May all your days be filled with smiles!
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