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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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!"