Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post Christmas Memories, Dec 28

If there is to be peace in the world...
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
~Lao Tzu

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from soggy San Diego where record rainfalls have made life difficult in the last week or so.

Remembering Pauline Shepard. Today is the anniversary of the birthday of Pauline Shepard who was born 94 years ago. (See the first picture, taken in 1935.) She has the distinction of being the first of the four children born to William and Bura (Davis) Shepard, and the first of the 31 grandchildren born to James Brooks and Caroline Davis.

Born in Beaver County, Oklahoma, in 1916, Pauline married Willie Davis Russell in 1935 a week after her 18th birthday. They were married near Two Buttes, Colorado where the family lived at that time. She lived most of her life in San Diego, where she passed away 10 years ago. Pauline and Bill's living descendants are their son Rex Russell and his son Eric, of Red Rock, Nevada; and their grand daughter Shannon Wilk, and her daughter Emma, of Atchison, Kansas.

Shannon sent me these remembrances recently: "So many wonderful memories of Grandmother... Like the day I came running in to tell her I could pronounce Grandmother (she didn't want to be called grandma). She would pick me up on Wednesdays after school when I was in grade school and take me for frozen yogurt and we would go shopping or to the movies... I LOVED to spend the weekends with her. Sundays were the best. We would go to church and it seemed everyone knew me and they all had smiles and hugs for me. I could listen to grandmother sing all day! (Too bad that talent skipped me.) We were just talking about Little Bit and Suzie tonight at dinner. Frank has a little dog, and I was remembering how Grandmother would spoil them. The best memories I have are those of her and me talking about my mom. She didn't talk a lot about her, but when she did, her eyes would light up... but then a sadness would slip in. That's when I knew to change the subject. She gave the best hugs and she always told me she loved me. I loved her smile. She was a beautiful person inside and out. I miss her so very much. I bet she would just have fallen in love with Emma. Grandmother was full of love, kindness, under- standing and was the classiest person I have ever met. I can't remember ever hearing a cruel word come out of her mouth."

Wedding Anniversary. Yesterday Cindy and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. We were married here in San Diego 2 days after Christmas in 1968.

The second picture I am including (above) was taken in 1969, just a few months after we were married. We were students at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, where this picture was taken. On the left are Cindy and I, then four visitors to Abilene from San Diego: my mom Maida Shepard and her mother Nola Gower. In front are my brother Russell and sister Barbara.
The third picture, taken this past Christmas day, shows Cindy and me. 

Family Reunion Plans. Next summer on Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 we plan to have a Shepard family reunion in Anacortes, Washington. You are invited! Mark your calendars now and make your plans. More details will be made available in the coming weeks and months.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Remembering the Birth, Dec 23, 2010

The one who has not Christmas in their heart
will never find it under a tree.
~Roy L. Smith

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings on this week of Christmas from soggy San Diego! I am including in this post more of my favorite Christmas pictures from years past.

This Saturday is not only a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is also the anniversary of the birth of my late grandfather William Shepard, who was born Christmas day, 1888. (See the first picture from 1960 of William with wife Bura, grandson Rex Russell and wife Ellen, daughter Pauline, daughter Thelma and husband Terry Boyd, and granddaughter Beverly Russell.)

If there was ever a gift I'd like to give my Shepard grandfather, it would be a middle name. His parents didn't give him one (see his birth certificate). His grandfather's name was exactly the same as his, with no middle name. His father's name was also the same as his, except for the addition of the middle name Elmer (a name William and Bura gave to their first son Elmer James Shepard of Mustang, Texas - see second picture).

For 100 years now, people have tried to give granddad a middle name. William appears in numerous governmental records, but only in one official record have I seen his name listed as anything other than William Shepard.

For some strange reason the U.S. Census taker who visited their Beaver County (OK.) family home in May, 1910, gave him the middle initial J. (see the record here) His sister Sadie's middle initial is J, but to give him that initial was surely just a slip of the governmental pen.

Ronald Davis (1931-1998), in his fine Davis family history work from the late 1980s, curiously bestowed on William the middle name "Elmer" (the middle name of his father).

A Davis family history from 1995 (Our Heritage Generations Past and Present) gives William the middle name "James", the middle name of his oldest son. Or were they taking a cue from the 1910 U.S. Census mistake?  

Nancy Bushong has recently published a "Davis and Beck Family History", a well written book that I will say more about in a future post. In the Christmas spirit she generously gives William the middle name "Elmer", as Ronald did in the 1980s.

And so it goes. This could be explained as "the curse of the two-names." Most of us have three names so it only seems proper to give those poor two-name people a third one. But for granddad, as for his grandfather before him, it is too late. History cannot be rewritten. As much as we might like to gift William with a third moniker, the best gift we can give to him -- or to any two-name person -- is to appreciate them as they are. And do our best to set the record straight.

What would granddad William say about this discussion if he were here to celebrate his 122nd birthday with us? I only knew him for the last 28 of his 88 years, but I am sure he would NOT be the nitpicker that I am. He'd make light of it all, and might even weave a tale to explain how ALL the names are correct!

The third Christmas picture shows William and Bura's youngest granddaughter Kim Boyd Clark with her husband Jeff and her three Ortiz grandchildren, Ashlyn, Damian and Ciara.

As you remember the birth(s) this weekend, may all your Christmases be bright!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past, Dec 16

What can you do to promote world peace? 
Go home and love your family.
~Mother Teresa

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from San Diego as Christmas fast approaches. Can there be another holiday more suited to the celebration of family than Christmas?

In this post I would like to share some of my favorite Christmas pictures from years past.

The first one is the oldest Christmas picture in my entire photo library. As you can tell from the fold marks that mar this image, we are lucky that it is still in existence. Taken 60 years ago this month, it shows my older brother Gary (4 yrs old) on the left holding my sister Linda (4 mos. old), and me on the right (2 yrs old). My mom Maida Shepard tells me this about the picture:

"That was Christmas 1950. We were living on Ulric St. in San Diego. The dolls in the front of the picture were made by me and our neighbor Betty Peterson who lived at the other end of the complex. Money was tight that year. She and I got together and salvaged stuffing from an old mattress and made the dolls for Christmas. I don't know how her boys reacted to the dolls. I remember you kids were quite thrilled with them." 

Now fast forward almost 60 years to the second picture. Taken just a year ago it shows the 4 grandchildren of the older boy in the first photo, Gary Shepard. 

In the Santa hats are Mandi and Lyndsey Aquiningoc, and Nate and Kyle Sauvage, who are GGgrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower. The girls are daughters of Kerri (Shepard) Aquiningoc; the boys are sons of James and Kelly (Shepard) Sauvage. All four of these Santa elves and their parents live in Weatherford, Texas.

The third picture is from about 1980 -- time wise right in between the first two pictures -- and shows Santa Claus with my parents Gene and Maida Shepard with Gene's mother Bura Davis Shepard. This picture was taken at their home in Anacortes, Washington when Bura lived with them. Can any of you identify the not so jolly fellow on the right?

2011 Family Reunion Aug 13? As we try to find the best date for our family reunion next summer, it appears that Saturday, August 13 in Anacortes, Washington suits everyone that I have heard from. Do any others of you have input on whether or not that is a good date?  
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating 200! Dec 10, 2010

Genealogy without
is mythology
~author unknown

Hello Family and Friends,

Celebrating 200! Today "The Shepard's Crook" is celebrating a milestone: 200 blog entries since I began this enterprise over 5 years ago. It has been a rewarding challenge to write this blog, discussing family, sending out pictures, and sharing family news and history.

In these 200 blog posts I have not only written about a wide variety of family events, stories and individuals, but I have included over 350 family pictures. After all, a family blog without pictures is like a family meal without food. These pictures have included a wide variety of family members, everybody from Ashlyn Ortiz to Zaley Davis, from the newborn Preslea Shepard to the centenarian Nola Shannon Gower.

The first picture I am including today is one I shared a couple of years ago. It is the oldest family picture that I have, and shows Edmond Owens (1795-1854), of Madison County, Illinois, William Shepard's Ggrandfather.

This blog has evolved over the years of its existence. 3 years ago this month it became a family genealogy blog, sharing research into our history and telling family stories, while celebrating our present family life as well. 

People with the surname "Shepard" have been mentioned most often, but the surnames Davis and Gower have also been mentioned regularly, as well as Boyd and Ortiz, Russell and Wilk, and many others as well. A new feature on the front page of this blog lists the 48 different surnames that have been mentioned more than once in these 200 posts. Selecting a name brings up the posts where they are mentioned.

In writing The Shepard's Crook I have learned a lot, as you might imagine. I have become familiar with many online family resources, especially Ancestry.com. But I have also been able to network with family members I had never met, and some I never knew I had! All of them have broadened my understanding of our wider family.

The second picture (left) is one I have not shared before, and was taken at the home of Elmer and Beryl (Swinney) Shepard just east of San Diego at Thanksgiving 1963. It shows William and Bura (Davis) Shepard and their entire family at this time (except Elmer, who was probably taking the picture).

Writing this blog has also opened my eyes to the difficult but gratifying nature of family research, and has shown me the importance of verifying family information. I have learned that the saying is true: "Genealogy without documentation is mythology."

But most of all this enterprise has shown me how important it is to value family, whether a child, a second cousin, or a GGgrandparent. As we all know, family relationships can be challenging and difficult at times. But family also gives life its deepest meaning, and can move us to create a better world. 

After all, if you do enough research you might just find that you are related to everyone else in the world. This point was brought home to me in two recent news items. One showing that President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are related (imagine that!). And the other claiming that everyone is your 16th cousin.

In this celebration of 200 I must say a special thanks to all of you who read this blog. Especially those of you who have done more than just read, and have responded by sharing with me news and updates and family stories and pictures (and corrections!). I look forward to continuing this blog, in order to celebrate, research and document this mysterious, wonderful and unique family of ours. I welcome your input.
- - -

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Family Is Everything, Dec 5

Family is not an important thing.
It is everything. 
~Michael J. Fox

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday Patrick! Today is the birthday of my nephew Patrick Shepard, who is the youngest child of Darrell and Mary Shepard of Kirkland, Washington. He is also one of the Ggrandchildren of William and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower.

I received this message from Pat earlier today: "It's hard to believe I am 20 today! It seems like just yesterday Grandpa was picking me up from kindergarten! We recently moved into our first house in Bothell, WA, and by "we" I mean my girl friend Nicole, our 2 cats and our dog. It is a houseful! :) We live right down the street from my parents and right up the hill from Chris and Rachel. I work in downtown Seattle as a Community Relations Director in a senior living community, following in my mom's footsteps. Life is very good these days and I feel very blessed to be where I am! Today my birthday will be spent with my friends and family, and great food!" 

The Rest of the Story. In my last post I mentioned my Ggrandmother Caroline (Callie) Spear Davis, on the anniversary of her birth in 1865. I mentioned that she died in 1951 and was buried in Enid, Oklahoma. Jerry Davis and Becky Davis were quick to email me and report that she had indeed DIED in Enid but not buried there.

Jerry: "Callie was traveling with her son Jesse from Bartlesville back to Beaver County where she resided with (her son) Lawrence. They were just east of Enid,  when Jesse could not get a response from her so he rushed on into Enid to a hospital where she was pronounced deceased. This of course caused the hospital to call the police. Jess was a bit upset and called my father Bennie in Helena who rushed over to help. Jess was finally allowed to travel on to Beaver County but if I remember correctly Callie was transferred to a local funeral home and then on to Beaver County.  She is buried beside her husband James in Sophia Cemetery near the old South Flat church of Christ."  Thanks to Jerry and Becky for helping me get the story straight. (See James and Callie's headstone above.)

The picture on the right was recently received from my cousin Dane Shepard. He says it was taken in the mid 1930s and shows Lawrence Davis in the middle and Elmer Shepard on the right. On the left is Robert Jackson. The children are Ronald Davis and Jessie Davis.

A New Davis History Book. Nancy Bushong of Oolagah, Oklahoma has written a new "Davis and Beck Family History", which is now available. Nancy: "The cost will be $20 per book, which includes shipping cost. As soon as I receive your check I will mail your book. I wish to thank all of you for your interest. Aunt Becky Davis and I are overwhelmed at the number of you who want copies.

If you are interested in buying a copy, contact Nancy. If you don't have her contact information, let me know and I will put her in touch with you. Thanks to Nancy for all the work she put into this book.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Family History Threepeat, Nov 29

History does not repeat itself;
at best it sometimes rhymes.
~Mark Twain

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you as the month of November draws near its end. Cindy and I have returned from our recent trip and are back home in San Diego. Here is a link to some updated pictures of our Hawaiian trip.

Caroline Matilda Spear. Today is the birthday of three people in our family tree. First, this is the 145th anniversary of the birth of my Ggrandmother Caroline Matilda Spear (1865-1951), who was the wife of James Brooks Davis. Callie was the mother of seven children: Bura, Lawrence, Myra, Jesse, Winona, Esther and Marjorie. Today the offspring of Callie and James is a wonderful clan of a few hundred folk with last names like Davis, Shepard, Kilpatrick, Jenkins, Millikan, and many others.

This first picture shows Callie Spear Davis at the age of 82 (in 1947) on the left, and at the age of 43 (in 1908) on the right. The 39 years in between these pictures did little to change her hair style, her facial expression, or the position of her hands.

Callie was born in late 1865 in Spencer, Indiana just a few months after the end of the Civil War. She was the oldest of the 8 children born to William and Margaret Spear. 

On New Year's Day 1896 Callie married James Brooks Davis, who was also a native of Owen County, Indiana. After their 7 children were born in Indiana, they moved westward, following the lead of other family, and settled in Beaver County, Oklahoma in 1913. Callie died in 1951 and is buried in Enid, Oklahoma.

Two Other Birthdays Today. The descendants of James and Callie Davis include 91 great grandchildren. As far as I know, the only one of those 91 who shares a birthday today with Callie is Kim Boyd Clark, one of Bura Davis Shepard's grandchildren. Born and raised in San Diego, Kim is the mother of Jeremy, Scott and Amanda Ortiz. She is also the grandmother of 3, and lives in Blue Springs, Missouri with her husband Jeff Clark.

Kim's youngest grandchild is Damian Ortiz of Spring Valley, California, who was also born on Nov 29. (See the second picture, taken earlier this month, of Kim and 4 year old Damian.) His proud parents are Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz.

Kim: This year has gone by so fast. Does that mean I'm getting old? :)  This year Jeff and I took a 2 1/2 week driving trip all the way down to the Florida Keys. We went sight seeing along the way to the Grand Ole Opry, something I have always wanted to see. We went to Disney World next with the grand kids and went on an air boat ride and saw many alligators - much too close for comfort! Jeff is a fun tour guide. I love it when he says, "Pack your clothes, we're gonna take a drive." He has taken me to so many places all around the U.S.  I travel to San Diego as often as I can to see my grand kids, who I just can't get enough of.

Three births on this day, spread out over 141 years and 6 generations. The physical similarities of these three are remarkable. If Mark Twain was right, then these three are history rhyming at its best.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude for the Happy and the Sad, Nov 23

There is an angel in the family who,
by the mysterious influence
of grace, of sweetness, and of love,
renders sorrows less bitter. 
~Giuseppe Mazzini

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this week of Thanksgiving. Cindy and I are still enjoying ourselves on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii, with Nathan and Chenda and Preslea. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am grateful for all family memories, many of which are joyful and pleasant, some of which are not, as this post will illustrate.

Remembering Bura. It is with joyful gratitude that we remember Bura Davis, my grandmother, who was born 114 years ago this month in Spencer, Indiana. (See picture of Bura Davis Shepard, taken in 1947 in San Diego.) On November 8, 1896 she entered this world, the first child of the young couple Callie and James Brooks Davis.

I say "young couple," but in truth these two married and began their family later in life than most young couples in the late 19th century. On January 1, 1896, when they were married in Spencer, Indiana, James was 25 and Callie was 30. They went on to have 6 more children after Bura was born. 

Recently when I was in Anacortes, Washington for a family gathering, my brother Darrell told a story about Bura that took place near the end of her life, when she had moved to Anacortes to be with her son Eugene and family.

On one occasion Eugene, Maida and Bura were visiting Darrell and his wife Mary in Helena, Montana. They were in the living room of their Helena home with Bura, who was approaching 90 years old. She was sitting in a comfortable chair taking a nap. They were trying to keep their voices down so as not to disturb her, but their conversation became a little heated. 

"Why don't you just shut up," one of them said. "Why don't YOU shut up," the other replied. Then out of the blue, Bura spoke up. Without opening her eyes, or hardly moving a muscle, she said: "Why don't you BOTH shut up," and then continued with her nap.

Bura Davis and her husband Will Shepard have quite a number of family members who survive them today, many of whom are old enough to remember them fondly, myself included.

A Life Cut Short. One of the 21 Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura was Karl Wilk. He was born 41 years ago this month in San Diego. Born Nov 5, 1969, he was the oldest child of Beverly and Phil Wilk. (See 1973 picture of young Karl in front of his father Phil, next to his Ggrandfather Will Shepard and his grandfather Bill Russell.) Karl died way too young at the age of 27 in San Diego in October, 1997. His is not the only death in our family attributed at least partially to substance abuse, but we can pray that it would be the last.

We'd like to think that all our family memories are pleasant and that everyone in our family tree lived long, adversity free lives. But we know better. So we take the sad with the happy, the regretful "what might have been", with the joyful celebrations. And in humble gratitude, we learn as we go along.
- - -

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

18th and 21st Century Patriots, Nov 17

Genealogists never die.
They just lose their census.

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from Waialua, Hawaii, where the sun is warm, the surf is up, and the living is easy. We are having a great time on a family vacation with Nathan, Chenda and our littlest family member Preslea. See some vacation pictures here.

Last week in my post regarding Veteran's Day I mentioned Marmaduke Davis, who I have referred to in several previous blog entries, most recently on October 4. He is the oldest Davis ancestor that I know about. At least he was, until recently when some new data became available to me.

I Pledge Allegiance. One of Marmaduke's GGGGGGG grandchildren is Emma Wilk who can be seen in the first picture. In a green shirt with hand over her heart, Emma is attending a Patriotic observance that took place earlier this year. She and her mother Shannon Wilk live in Atchison, Kansas.

Cousin Jerry Davis (actually my second cousin, once removed) of Grand Prairie, Texas, mentioned to me a while back that he has visited the grave of Marmaduke Davis in the Methodist cemetery of St Clairsville, Ohio. He tells me the gravestone states that Marmaduke was a captain in a Virginia Regiment in the Revolutionary War.

One of Jerry's genealogical interests over the years has been to visit the graves of ancestors. He has tramped through numerous cemeteries in Indiana, Ohio, Maryland and the Virginias, gleaning information that cannot be discovered any other way. I am indebted to him for the invaluable information he passed on to me regarding Marmaduke. This info spurred me to search more diligently for our ancestor with the cartoon dog name. (At least in this 21st century it is a cartoon dog's name. In the 18th century it was a name every bit as honorable as George or Thomas or Benjamin.)

A Soldier and Patriot. And Tailor. As a result of my efforts I came across "The Official Roster of the Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in the State of Ohio." On page 103 of that roster one can find Marmaduke S. Davies. ("Davies" is the old spelling of the name Davis.) It says Marmaduke is buried in the Methodist Cemetery in St Clairsville, Ohio, and was "A Soldier and Patriot of the Revolution". Further, it says he served in 1781-82 in the 4th Virginia Regiment, and again in 1790-93 in Ohio under General Wayne. In addition it mentions that he had been trained as a tailor, and after his military service resumed that occupation.

This record also lists his parents, "John and Jane (Underwood) Davies", but no other information about them. The roster also refers to Marmaduke's first wife Drusilla Forest, and his second wife Eleanor Wilson, who he married Jan. 30, 1816.

As with all family research, the hunt continues for other information about Marmaduke and his ancestors and their connection to us.

The second picture from 1975 shows some other descendants of Marmaduke: Bura Davis Shepard on the right, and her daughter Pauline Shepard Russell on the left. Also in this picture, upper left, is my father Eugene Shepard.

300 Years of Marmaduke's Kin. Here then is an 11 generation lineage beginning with Marmaduke's parents and continuing to young Emma Wilk, who is pictured above.

John Davies, b. early 1700s (married Jane Underwood)
Marmaduke Davies/Davis, 1760-1855 (married Drusilla Forest)
George Davis, 1779-1843 (married Rozilla)
Alexander Davis, 1819-1866 (married Jane Buskirk)
Charles Edward Davis, 1849-1926 (married Melinda Wright)
James Brooks Davis, 1870-1928 (married Caroline Spear)
Bura Davis, 1896-1986 (married William Shepard)
Pauline Shepard, 1916-2000 (married Willie Davis Russell)
Beverly Russell, 1939-1974 (married Phillip Wilk)
Shannon Wilk, b. 1973
Emma Beverly Jean Wilk, b. 2005

2011 Family Reunion. We are still searching for the best date and place for a family reunion in the summer of 2011, perhaps sometime in July or August, possibly in Washington. Any thoughts or suggestions?
- - -

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scenes from a Hawaiian Holiday, Nov 16

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from Hawaii! Here are some pictures of Cindy and me, with our son Nathan, his wife Chenda, and our grandbaby Preslea. We are staying in the town of Waialua on the quiet North Shore of Oahu.

The first picture shows Chenda and their baby Preslea with a gift of fragrant Plumeria over her ear.

Preslea and her mom Chenda
This picture show the three girls checking out the merchandise at a local store.

Chenda, Cindy and Preslea on a Hawaiian shopping spree

Cindy took this picture of four of us, "hanging loose" at a curio shop.

Chenda, Steve, Preslea and Nathan

Even Preslea, at 7 months old, had a great time.

Preslea with a big smile
This picture shows Cindy and me at the beach on Waikiki.

Cindy and Steve at Waikiki, Hawaii
This picture shows Nathan and Chenda enjoying the warm breezes of the south shore with Sandy Beach in the background.

Two lovers in the breeze of the South Shore
Thanks to Chenda for taking this picture at Makapu'u Beach.

Body boarding on the South Shore.
- - -

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day, Nov 11

You can kiss your family good-bye
and put miles between you,
but you carry them with you in your heart,
because you do not just live in a world
but a world lives in you.
~Frederick Buechner

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you, wherever you may be, from San Francisco, California where Cindy and I are once again on the move.

Today is Veteran's Day. I am thinking today about two of my favorite Vets, my dad Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) and my uncle Elmer Shepard, both of whom served during World War II. (See the first picture of these two veterans with a serviceman buddy of theirs in San Diego about 1943.)

Other relatives who served their country during WW2 include Elmer's wife Beryl Swinney Shepard, and my wife Cindy's father AND mother, Joe and Paula Harris. (The picture below, taken in the early 1940s, shows Paula on the right next to her sister Juanita Eeds, both of whom served in the Women's Army Corp during WW2. They live in San Diego today.)

The more I research our family, the more I learn about other relatives who served their country, and in some instances lost their lives as a result. 

I have written numerous times in this blog about my GGgrandfather William Shepard (1835-1862) who died in the American Civil War and who is buried with other Veterans in Evansville, Indiana. His death in 1862 from injuries suffered in battle is the very reason I can find no information about any of our Shepard ancestors before him. He did not live long enough to meet his son, much less give him information about his ancestry. 

It is a genealogical black chasm that I have been unable to bridge. You would think that his military service would have resulted in records in our National Archives. But search as I might, I have found nothing that tells me anything substantive about his parents, or even his wife. I have found a few unsubstantiated leads, but nothing that can be verified. At least not yet.

On the other hand, I have discovered other ancestors who have served their country in generations past and information about them and their progenitors. People like Edmond Owens (1795-1864) a "Tennessee Volunteer" in the war of 1812, Robert Columbus Shannon (1893-1923) and Benjamin Harrison Davis (1888-1963) in WW1, Captain Abell Gower (1640-1689) in the Indian wars, Andrew Pickens (1753-1844) and Marmaduke Davis (1760-1855) in the Revolutionary War. (By the way, in my next post I plan to share some interesting new information that I have come across regarding Marmaduke Davis.) 

One can add to the foregoing list those of more recent generations who have served in the military, like Terry Kilpatrick (1945-1968), Darren Boyd, Jimmie Gower, Michael Harrell, Cindy's brother Joe Paul Harris (1950-2009), and others I have not mentioned.

All these Veterans are part of the world that lives in us, and we are truly grateful.
- - -

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Utah Connection, Nov 6

As a child my family's menu
consisted of two choices:
take it or leave it.
~Buddy Hackett

Hello Family and Friends, 

Happy Birthday Havilah! One of Will and Bura Shepard's 21 Ggrandchildren is Havilah Colgain Wardle, whose birthday is today. The Granddaughter of Elmer Shepard, Havilah lives in West Valley, Utah with her husband Kevin Wardle. (See picture of Havilah with her mother Joan Shepard.)

Havilah: "I've enjoyed this year tremendously. Kevin recently took me on a surprise trip to Monterey and Santa Cruz, Ca., two places I had never visited. We loved every second. Extra credit to Kevin for winning our gas money back at a slot machine, at the gas station no less!

"Mom and I had a fabulous visit with Granddad, Dane, Cindy and family in Oklahoma this past July. Mom and I have some great laughs together when we travel. She flew in to Salt Lake City for our flight to OKC. Once in the air, I turned to Mom and asked what was for lunch. Are other Shepards as food conscious as Mom and I? Mom had packed a homemade gourmet meal, with fresh vegetables from her garden. We picnicked in style above masses of fluffy white clouds.

"In OKC we were flooded with Southern hospitality. Dane and Cindy have a gorgeous home and were so generous to have us stay with them. I finally got to meet my cousins! (See picture below of Havilah with cousin Kaylan Shepard and dog Katie.) It was great to see Granddad. The last night of our visit Cindy graciously let me take over her kitchen! There is something magical about cooking for family. What I could not find the words to say to Granddad, I was able to express in that meal. He ate two generous helpings. He must have enjoyed it!
"After Oklahoma, Mom stayed with Kevin and I for over a week. We took Mom camping and fishing. I believe this was Mom's first camping adventure since her childhood. She even caught a fish! I feel so blessed to have been given the chance to take time off work and enjoy family this summer.

"As for what I've been up to here in Salt Lake: I am a professional pet stylist, or dog groomer, at Petsmart. It is very rewarding to help dogs feel better, and look their best. As a creative individual, I find I have an outlet that pays! At home I continue to paint and draw. Our pet goose, Quackers, has grown up, and rules the backyard. We have a new puppy named Bella, yes as in Bella from Twilight, AND Bella from Harry Potter! Our house is up for sale, as Kevin and I are hoping to move closer to an ocean. Not sure which one...but we'd like to remove snow from the picture!

"Kevin and I will Thanksgiving with Dad, and will Christmas with Kev's family here at our house. I wish for us all truly lovely holidays. I look forward to Steve's tireless optimism and weekly updates to deliver us into another wonderful year. Much love!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! - Oct. 31

In thinking, keep to the simple.

In conflict, be fair and generous.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
~Lao Tzu

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from Anacortes, Washing ton on this Sunday of Halloween! Not only is this the weekend of that scariest of days, it is also a weekend to honor two family members whose birthdays are sandwiched on either side of Halloween.

Happy Birthday Maida! Tomorrow is All Saints Day for many people, but it is also the birthday of one of my favorite saints, my mother Maida Gower Shepard.

The first picture I am including (above) shows Maida with three of her daughters-in-law. From right to left in this picture are Cindy Shepard (my wife), then Maida, then another Cindy Shepard (my brother Gary's wife), then Pam Shepard. This picture was taken back in 2008 at the home of Gary and Cindy in Oak Harbor, Washington.

I won't reveal how old Maida will be tomorrow, but I can say that her 80th birthday is still a few years away. Or is it her 90th? Whatever. It is still a few years down the road. So tomorrow is not a milestone birthday for her that ends in "0", but at my age I consider all her birthdays important. My wife Cindy and I are here in the great Northwest to celebrate her special day along with several other family members in this area.

Happy Birthday Pam! Yesterday was the birthday of Pam Engan Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. She has been my sister-in-law and a member of our family ever since she and my brother Russell Shepard were married here in Anacortes back in the summer of 1986.

The second picture I am including (above) shows mom Pam with her and Russ' children Linda and Steven. Steven graduated from High School last year and Linda will be graduating this coming spring.

The third picture I am including shows the husband and father of those in the second picture, and Maida's youngest son, my brother Russ. May all your Halloweens be dark and scary! And safe.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

18 In a Scary World, Oct. 25

He that raises a large family does, indeed,
while he lives to observe them,
stand a broader mark for sorrow;
but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.
~Benjamin Franklin

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Francisco, California where the 2010 World Series will begin in a couple of days. Cindy and I find ourselves here on this last Monday of October, enjoying our granddaughter Preslea and her parents.  

Happy 18th Birthday Mandi Aquiningoc! Tomorrow is the birthday of Mandi Aquiningoc of Weatherford, Texas. Mandi, who will turn 18, graduated from High School just this past spring. Mandi is one of the GGgrandchildren of both Will and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower.

Mandi said this to me recently: "Hi Uncle Steve. I'm so excited for my birthday coming up. :) I've been doing good but I could be better. I've been trying to find a job but haven't had any luck yet. :/ I can finally vote and I'm so excited. I wanted to vote last year so bad but I wasn't old enough. No matter what, Tuesday will be special to me. :) I don't have any exciting plans, just a get together with some of the family. :) Love and miss you!"  

The first picture, taken in 2002 in San Diego, shows Mandi on the right with her sister Lyndsey and her maternal grandfather Gary Shepard. The second picture (below) was taken earlier this year and shows Mandi in the middle with her sister Lyndsey on the left and a friend on the right.

Here Comes Halloween. Last year just about this time, Nathan and Chenda were in San Diego visiting us. It was just a few days before Halloween. While driving around the city we happened upon a fellow on Midway Drive in a Gorilla costume. He was shaking a sign advertising a costume store.

It was a pretty crazy sight, and caught Chenda's attention. Having been in America just a few months, it was her first experience of Halloween. "What the hell is that?!" she blurted out incredulously, worried that something serious was going on. We tried to explain. She was still mystified. "If that happened in Cambodia, people would throw rocks on his head!"

Not a bad idea, actually. Who says third world countries can't teach us a thing or two?

Next Family Reunion? In my last post I brought up the subject of a possible family reunion next summer. I mentioned that our last reunion in Anacortes, Washington was in 1997. I was only 11 years off! As many of you know, we had a Shepard Family Reunion in 2008 in Anacortes. Then last year, 2009 in Newcastle, Oklahoma we had our most recent Family Reunion. Now that we have that straight... When should we have our next reunion? One suggestion has been that we gather in 2011 (next summer) in Anacortes once again. Other thoughts?
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Memories Young and Not So Much, Oct 18

I looked up my family tree
and found three dogs using it.
~Rodney Dangerfield

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from cool and rainy San Diego. 

Happy Birthday to Kori Boyd. Today is the 13th birthday of Kori Lynn Boyd, daughter of Darren and Vicki Boyd of Lakeside, California. Kori is the granddaughter of Terry and Thelma (Shepard) Boyd and one of the Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. 

The first picture I am including today shows Kori on the left in a pink shirt, with her sister Courtney and her brother Brandyn. Happy 13th to Kori!

Remembering Uncle Bill. Today I am remembering my uncle Willie Davis Russell, who was also born on this day, but 102 years ago, in Gage, Oklahoma. He was the first son-in-law of Will and Bura Shepard. Uncle Bill married my aunt Pauline Shepard in 1935 and was among those family members who migrated from Colorado to San Diego in the early 1940s. The San Diego area is where Bill lived until he died in 1997. His and Pauline's children Rex and Beverly were pictured at the top of the cousin collage I included in my last post. Their two living grandchildren are Eric Russell of Red Rock, Nevada, and Shannon Wilk of Atchison, Kansas.

The second picture I am including today shows uncle Bill sitting on the lower right. This picture was taken at a family reunion in Anacortes, Washington in 1994. 

Happy Birthday Vicki. Also in this same picture is my aunt Vicki (Gower) Johnston (seated in the middle in green). Her birthday is also today. Standing behind Vicki is her daughter Paula Tuzzolino (whose birthday is NOT today). 

Vicki is the youngest child of Leroy and Nola Gower, and was born in Rock, Oklahoma. Vicki spent much of her growing up years in San Diego, but for over 30 years now has made her home in Oak Harbor, Washington, where she lives with her husband Duke Johnston. Happy Birthday to Vicki!

Yet another birthday person in this same picture is Art Colgain, whose birthday was yesterday. He is pictured in the blue shirt on the left. Art, who lives in the Salt Lake City area, is the father of Havilah Colgain Wardle (standing next to Art in the purple shirt). Havilah is Joan Shepard's daughter and another one of the Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. 

Among the other family members pictured here are Rachel Shepard (bottom left) and Mary Shepard (top left). At the top right are Nathan and Cindy Shepard, Kerri and Mandi Aquiningoc, and Barbara Shepard. 

Next Family Reunion? Speaking of Family Reunions, this is a good time to start thinking about a Shepard Family Reunion for next summer.  It will have been two years since our last one. One idea is to gather in Anacortes, Washington, where we last had a reunion in 1997. Other suggestions? 
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Kissin' Cousins, Oct. 15

Cousin to cousin we'll always be,
Special friends from the same family tree.

~author unknown

Hello Family and Friends,

In my last post I referred to my Ggrandfather Samuel Pickens Shannon. He received his middle name from his grandmother Ann Pickens, who was a Ggrandchild of immigrants William and Margaret Pickens. Curiously, Ann was also the GGgrandchild of William and Margaret. "How can someone be a Ggrandchild and a GGgrandchild of the same couple," you ask?

Here's how it happened: It's confusing, and a little bizarre, so follow me closely. Two of William and Margaret Pickens' grandchildren (first cousins) married each other, Matthew Gillespie and Anna Pickens. They had a child who they named Mary Q. Gillespie. She married Andrew Pickens, who was yet a third grandchild of William and Margaret. Are you following me? (Evidently Willie and Marge's grandkids didn't wander far from the family farm.)

The following is a 12 generation lineage that begins with European immigrants William and Margaret Pickens and continues through their youngest descendant Preslea Shepard. It includes the aforementioned first cousins who are indicated here by asterisks*.

  1. William Pickens (1670-1735)
    (who married Margaret Pike)
  2. Israel Pickens (1693-1749)
    (who married Martha Davis)
  3. *Anna Pickens (1726-1775)
    (who married
    *Matthew Gillespie)
  4. Mary Q. Gillespie (1756-1789)
    (who married
    *Andrew Pickens)
  5. Ann Pickens (1785-1867)
    (who married David M. Shannon)
  6. David R. Shannon (1821-1864)
    (who married Peggy Ann Gray)
  7. Samuel Pickens Shannon (1858-1930)
    (who married Finetta Dearien)
  8. Nola Shannon (1902-2004)
    (who married Leroy Gower)
  9. Maida Gower (b. 1924)
    (who married Eugene Shepard)
  10. Steven Shepard (b. 1948)
    (who married Cynthia Harris)
  11. Nathan Shepard (b. 1977)
    (who married Chenda Sou)
  12. Preslea Maida Shepard (b. 2010)

I am 1 of 12 first cousins who are grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Gower. I am also 1 of 12 first cousins who are grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard. (See the collage of cousins: Beverly, Rex, Jimmie, Gary, Hershell, Dane, me, Paula, Linda, Michael, Joan, Gloria, Kim, Darren, David, Russ, Barbara and Darrell.) Of all my cousins, none married each other, or even came close.

250 years ago, however, the marriage of first cousins happened on occasion. In some families it was encouraged. In others it was almost necessary because of the "slim pickens" in their not so highly populated communities. But today it is illegal in some states.

Now, be careful before blaming your weird personality traits or your forgetfulness on these ancestors of ours who messed up the family gene pool. The marriage of first cousins is perfectly legal in most of the United States, because there is simply not the scientific evidence to confirm the genetic dangers. Most of us would never marry a first cousin, not because it's dangerous, but because of our modern day cultural conditioning.

How often have first cousins married in the history of our extended family? I haven't been able to turn up any others besides Anna and Matthew. Can you?
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day, Oct 11

Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies
~George Santayana

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Columbus Day! Actually tomorrow is the real Columbus Day, but today is the day we observe it. And well we should. Because of Christopher Columbus, most Americans have a European connection that keeps genealogists and family researchers busy.

I found one person in our family tree with the name Columbus. Even though he was known by that name, and even signed his WWI draft registration card that way, his full name was actually Robert Columbus Shannon. He was the brother of my maternal grandmother Nola Shannon Gower. Unfortunately he only lived one month past his 30th birthday and died in 1923.

His parents Finetta Shannon (on the far right in the first picture) and Sam Shannon (in the picture below) knew how to give their kids outstanding names. They may not have been smiling in the pictures included today, but they had to have been smiling when they named their children. They started out slow, giving their first born the beautiful but simple name Mary Ann (second from the right in the first picture).

But then they got down to business, giving their kids names like Marcelous, Elminey, Columbus, Alonzo, Arizona Caldonia, and Tabitha Canzada, before wrapping things up with their last born, Nola Agnes, my grandmother.

(By the way, the first picture (above) is from a four generation family photo taken in 1946. From left to right are: little Mary Ann Everidge, her father Earnest Everidge, his mother Mary Ann Shannon Everidge, and her mother Finetta Dearien Shannon.)

The full name of the father of Robert Columbus was Samuel Pickens Shannon, my Ggrandfather. I have known his name for many years, but I never knew till recently the significance of his middle name Pickens. That was the last name of his maternal grandmother Ann Pickens (1785-1867). Just like today, grandmas back then had a way of influencing the choice of names for their kids. 

Ann Pickens was the Ggrandchild of immigrants William Pickens (1670-1735) and Margaret Pike (1672-1740). William (born in France) and Margaret (born in Ireland) came to the U.S. about 1700 and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. 

The third picture I am including today shows the youngest sibling of Robert Columbus Shannon and the last child of Sam and Finetta Shannon, my grandmother Nola Shannon Gower, who died in 2004. With Nola, in this 1995 picture, are her two daughters Maida Gower Shepard (on the left) and Vicki Gower Johnston (on the right), both of whom live today in western Washington.

Among the newest readers of this blog is Jerry Davis of Grand Prairie, Texas, whose father was a first cousin of my paternal grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. Jerry has a great interest in family history, having done lots of research into our Davis ancestors. I look forward to future correspondence with Jerry that will result in family stories and research that will find their way into future blog posts. It is good to be connected to him.
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Monday, October 04, 2010

Confessions of a Nitpicker, Oct 4

The bond that links
your true family
is not one of blood,
but of respect and joy
in each other's life.
~Richard Bach

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

I sometimes find myself being a nitpicker. Is that a trait commonly found in our family? Is there something in our genes that I can blame it on?

In my small part of our larger family (see picture of our son Nathan and his wife Chenda), we have a tendency to relish those times when one of us misspeaks, which is a form of nitpicking. We point out the mistake with a certain glee. For example: "Aha! You just said 'soot', when you meant to say 'shoot'!" 

Truth be told, however, with a daughter-in-law whose first language is not English, we have toned down the gleefulness a bit, thereby showing a little compassion. But the proclivity to nitpick is clearly still there and rears its ugly head on occasion.

That explains why a particular blog caught my attention one morning not long ago. It has the catchy name "Throw Grammar From the Train - Notes From a Recovering Nitpicker." (You can find the link to that blog on the front page of this blog, down the right hand column a ways where several links are listed.) The nitpicker who wittily writes that blog is focused on minor grammatical errors that she finds irksome. If you too are a nitpicker, you will enjoy reading it.

The nitpicker's life is not easy for someone who does family research. Annoying misspellings of family names are very common, even by those who should know better.

The first time I came across this problem (at least for a nitpicker it's a problem) was when I researched my GGgrandfather William Shepard (1835-1862) (see the picture on the left of his grandson and namesake, in about 1935). In the county history book of Wabash, Indiana the elder William is listed among the Civil War Veterans with his name misspelled William "Sheppard". In Evansville, Indiana where he is buried, the cemetery office has his name as William "Shephard". If you go to his headstone in that very same cemetery, you will find his name spelled William "Shepard" (correct at last!). Misspellings like that are among my pet peeves.

The other day I got an email from cousin Becky Davis of Bartlesville, OK. She asked me about the spelling of one of our Davis ancestors, born about 1755. Becky: "Steve, do you know the correct spelling of 'Maramaduke' Davis? [with 3 a's] Or is it 'Marmaduke' Davis?" [with 2 a's]  

The middle man in the 1925 picture on the right is Marmaduke's Ggrandson Charles E. Davis, next to his sons James Brooks and John.

Becky's email continued: My niece is progressing nicely on the history book of our family and we need to be sure the names are spelled correctly. The first spelling is what I have in my notes, but it doesn't sound right."

Becky is a nitpicker after my own heart. I don't know about Nancy Bushong, the niece Becky referred to. But if she has asked for help in spell checking her book, there must be some nitpickiness in her.

Like any good nitpicker, after reading Becky's email, I felt the need to find the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God. So I went immediately to ancestry.com and searched for GGGGGG grandpappy Davis. I found 18 different historical references to him. 15 of those references have his name spelled "Marmaduke" (just like the cartoon dog). But there were 3 misspellings, none of which matched Becky's misspelling:

-Marmiduke Davis (in the 1830 U.S. Census)
-Mrmeduke Davies (in the 1840 U.S. Census; last name also misspelled!)
-Marmaduk Davis (in the 1850 U.S. Census)

How is one suppose to do credible family research when Census takers make mistakes like that!? It's enough to make a grown nitpicker cry.

Okay, okay, maybe I am taking this thing a little too far. Even I must confess that, when all is said and done, there is more to family life than getting the details exactly right. The greatest meaning lies not in right spelling, pronunciation or grammar, but in the right spirit. The quote at the top of this post suggests as much.

But surely spelling counts for something, doesn't it?
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