Thursday, December 27, 2012

"A World Lives In You", December 28, 2012

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,

Greeting to you as 2012 draws to a close and a new year is about to begin.

Pauline Shepard Russell. On this date, December 28, in 1916 -- 94 years ago -- my aunt Pauline Shepard was born. She was the first child of William and Bura Shepard, who had just gotten married the year before in Beaver County, Oklahoma. When Pauline was just 11 years old her family moved to Two Buttes, Colorado, where she finished school and then, just a week after her 18th birthday, married Bill Russell in 1935. Pauline and Bill in 1940 moved to San Diego where they raised their children and lived the rest of their lives. The San Diego area is where she died in 2000.

Pauline and Bill had two children, Rex and Beverly, who are both gone now, but two of Bill and Pauline's grandchildren remain -- Eric Russell of Red Rock, Nevada, and Shannon Wilk of Atchison, Kansas. Shannon has one daughter, Emma, who is the lone Ggrandchild of Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell.

The collage above includes my aunt Pauline Shepard Russell in the middle, in a picture taken in San Diego about 1945. Across the top are her Ggrandmother Maggie Williams Spear (about 1880), her grandmother Callie Spear Davis (in 1896) and her mother Bura Davis Shepard (in 1915). Across the bottom are her daughter Beverly Russell Wilk (in 1959), her granddaughter Shannon Wilk (in 2008), and her Ggranddaughter Emma Wilk (in 2011). This is a unique collection of pictures. Nowhere else in my entire photo collection do I have pictures of 7 consecutive generations of women. The lives of these 7 stretch over a period of 167 years.

Happy Anniversary! Yesterday was the wedding anniversary of my wife Cindy and me. We were married 44 years ago at the La Mesa Church of Christ near where we live today in San Diego. Thanks to Cindy for putting up with me for all these years. The second picture, which was taken back in October while we were on vacation, shows Cindy and me. Thanks to our friend Linda Tanner for taking this picture.

Happy Blogiversary. It was 5 years ago today that I first began writing about family in this blog. Since that time I have written 302 posts on my Shepard, Davis, Gower and Shannon families with other ancestors included along the way. I have posted over 700 different family pictures and have told endless stories -- all of them true; many of them factually accurate! ;-)

How much longer this kind of thing will go on, I cannot say. What I do know is that our family life goes on, and children continue to be born with no end in sight! And our knowledge of our ancestors continues to grow. It appears there will never be an end to what needs to be said about who we are, who we have been, and what we make of it all.
- - -

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! December 24, 2012

Christmas is the season of joy,
of holiday greetings,
of gift-giving,
and of families united.
~Norman Vincent Peale

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on Christmas Eve! May this holiday be a joyful one filled with happiness and wonderful family gatherings. 

The first picture shows a couple of the Christmas celebrants at our house this year. In the Santa hats are William Quincy Shepard and his big sister Preslea, in the lap of their mother Chenda.

Tomorrow is the birthday of my Grandfather William Shepard (1888-1976), who was born 124 years ago in Alton, Illinois on Christmas Day, and who died in San Diego in 1976. He and my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard spent 61 years together, during which they raised 4 children, welcomed the arrival of their 12 grandchildren, and were still around to celebrate 6 of their 21 Ggrandchildren. There are 51 branches on our family tree that are the direct result of their life together. 

The second picture shows William Shepard's grave. He and his wife Bura are buried side by side in a beautiful corner of Greenwood Cemetery in San Diego, in a section with a dozen or so other Shepard, Gower and Russell family members.

I mentioned the book Shannon in my last post, written by Dexal Shannon. In its index are 25 different William Shannons. "William" is also a common name on the Shepard side of our family, nearly as common as it is on Gower/Shannon side.

William Quincy Shepard, born this past summer, is a descendant of both the Shepards/Davises and the Gowers/Shannons. His name sakes are his GGgrandfather, his GGGgrandfather, and his GGGGgrandfather, all of whom had the name William Shepard, as you can see in the 8 generation lineage below. The fourth name in the list is the William Shepard whose birthday we remember on Christmas day. Grandad would be proud that his name is being carried on, into the 21st century, by the youngest Shepard among us.
  • James Shepard (1813-1887), wife Hannah -?- (1818- 1872)
  • William Shepard (1835-1862), wife Mary Sprague (1840-1919)
  • William Elmer Shepard, (1862-1915), wife Elvira Owens (1865-1931)
  • William Shepard, (1888-1976), wife Bura Davis (1896-1986)
  • Eugene William Shepard (1921-2003), wife Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  • Steven Dale Shepard (b. 1948), wife Cindy Harris (b. 1948)
  • Nathan William Shepard (b. 1977), wife Chenda Sou (b. 1980)
  • William Quincy Shepard (b. 2012)
The picture below shows 6 consecutive generations that are included in the lineage above. The William Shepard whose birthday we remember tomorrow is in the middle of the top row.

In the top row, from left to right, are Elvira Owens Shepard (in 1919), her son William Shepard (about 1930), and his son Eugene Shepard (in 1951). On the bottom row are me, Steve Shepard (in 1981), my son Nathan Shepard (in 2011), and his son William Quincy Shepard (in 2012). 

As you can tell, I have taken a liking to this format showing consecutive generations of family members. It gives us a feel for the flow of our family history and enables us to see the similarities (or differences) in appearance over the generations. (Note: the baby in Elvira's lap in this montage is her grandson Elmer Shepard, 1918-2012.)

Blessings to all of you this Christmas!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sam Shannon: Child of the Civil War, December 18, 2012

Not a fairer star will ever shine,
In the deep blue vault of heaven divine.
~from the book Shannon

Hello Family and Friends,

In my last two blog posts I told the story of Civil War soldier David Reid Shannon and his widow Peggy Gray Shannon. The 7th of their 9 children was Samuel Pickens Shannon, my Ggrandfather. 

Samuel was born in Monroe County, Mississippi on Feb 15, 1859, just as the country was ramping up for the Civil War. He was named after one of his mother's brothers -- Samuel Gray -- and his father's mother -- Anna Pickens.

His earliest years were remarkably eventful. When just a year old his parents David and Peggy Gray Shannon took their family of 6 children and migrated from Northeastern Mississippi to the town of Claiborne, just west of Monroe, Louisiana. Leaving Northeastern Mississippi was a good idea. Within a few years it would be a dangerous hot spot of Civil War fighting.

In Louisiana, when Samuel was just two years old, his mother Peggy gave birth to another son, George Henry Shannon, who lived just 3 months, dying in October, 1861. This was the first, but unfortunately not the last tragedy of Samuel's young life. About this same time Samuel and his family were uprooted and moved again, this time to Sugartown, in central Louisiana, some 150 miles south.

In April, 1864, when Samuel was just 5 years old, his father left for the war, and the family never saw him or heard from him again. In June of 1865 they finally did get confirmation that he had died and was buried in Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans.

At about 8 years old, Samuel was uprooted yet again. When the war finally ended and it was safe to travel, his Gray grandfather and 3 of his uncles from Arkansas took Samuel, his mother and the other children, and moved them to the family homestead near the town of Timbo in Stone County, Arkansas. Actually, a history of the Shannons says that Peggy's family came and "brought Peggy and some of her children to... her father's homestead located southeast of Timbo, Arkansas".

Evidently not all of Samuel's siblings made the move to Arkansas. Some of them must have stayed with friends or relatives in Louisiana, splitting up the family, which was unfortunate but probably not too uncommon in war torn families like this one. Samuel, however, the youngest son of the late soldier David Reid Shannon, did make the move with his mother and lived the rest of his life in Stone County, Arkansas.

In 1881 Samuel married Finetta Clementine Dearien, who was born in Stone County, Arkansas during the Civil War and who had her own tragic childhood story to tell. You can read about it here. Sam and Finetta Shannon (see the first picture of the two of them, in the 1920s) had 9 children, the youngest of whom was my grandmother Nola Shannon Gower. After a tumultuous early life Sam lived into his 70s and died in 1930. He and Finetta are both buried in Gray's cemetery near Timbo, Arkansas.

The second picture, taken about 1940, shows two of Sam and Finetta Shannon's grandchildren, both of whom were born in Stone County. On the left is Maida Gower Shepard who now lives in Anacortes, Washington. On the right is her cousin Bernice Johnson Beckham, who still lives in Stone County, Arkansas.

The Shannon Book. Much of the information in this post and the previous two -- regarding Samuel Pickens Shannon and his parents David Reid and Peggy Gray Shannon -- comes from the book Shannon, by Dexal Shannon (1931-1992).

It is a self published book, the second edition of which he finished in 1990, not long before he died in 1992. In the introduction he mentions that the first edition had been published in 1981. In the book he catalogues the many descendants of Thomas and Agnes Shannon, who had come to America around the year 1700 from Munster, Ireland.

The index of the book lists 1,057 different individuals with the last name Shannon, not to mention at least as many other descendants who have different last names. The total of those referred to in the book must be at least a couple of thousand. Some of you who are readers of this blog may also have a copy of Dexal's book. If any of you know where other copies may be obtained, please let me know. I have had people ask me where they can get a copy. 

This was one the earliest family histories that was done on a personal computer. Hard copies are valuable, but a digital copy -- if it can be found -- would be even more valuable.

We are greatly indebted to the late Dexal Shannon for this rich resource on the history of our Shannon family, especially as it tells us about people like Samuel Pickens Shannon and his parents, and the details of their remarkable lives.
- - -

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Vet's Widow Remembered, December 12, 2012

It is not until much later,
as the skin sags and the heart weakens,
that children understand;
their stories sit atop the stories
of their mothers and fathers,
stones upon stones,
beneath the waters of their lives.
~Mitch Albom

Hello Family and Friends,

Today -- 12/12/12 -- is the day some people believe the world will end, according to their reading of the ancient Mayan Calendar. I have my doubts about that. And if you are reading this, my doubts must be well founded. But today I am remembering a woman whose world, as she knew it, did end some 150 years ago.

She was my GGgrandmother, Peggy Gray Shannon (1829-1899). Her husband, my GGgrandfather David Reid Shannon, died in the Civil War and is buried in Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans (see first picture). Peggy was the mother of 7 children between the ages of 16 and 2 when her husband died. Actually she and David had had two other children, Martha in 1857, who died at 6 months old, and George in 1861, who died at 3 months old. So she was no stranger to deep sorrow and tragic loss.

She and her children lived in the small, farming com- munity of Sugar- town, in central Louisiana, during that difficult time when David was away. Furthermore, in those days there were very few support structures for widows and their children. To make matters even worse, her husband had served on the side that LOST the war, so whatever assistance might have been given by the US Government was very slow in coming, if it came at all. The sorrow and loss experienced by her and untold thousands like her, is hard for us to fathom.

One redeeming factor was the strong sense of family that many people felt. Peggy's father Richard Gray and 3 of her brothers and their families had migrated around 1860 from Monroe County, Mississippi to Stone County in Northern Arkansas where they homesteaded land west of Mountain View. After the war, Peggy's father, and her brothers James, Samuel and Lawson traveled the 400+ rugged miles south to Louisiana, gathered up Peggy and her children and moved them to their homestead in northern Arkansas.

As best we can tell, Peggy seemed to do well with her parents and brothers and their families in Arkansas. She lived there till she died in 1899, just short of her 70th birthday, and is buried in an unmarked grave in Gray's cemetery near Timbo in Stone County. A few years before her death, she applied for a widow's pension, which was finally made available to some Confederate widows by the US Government in the 1890s. In her application for a pension she signed documents with an "X", probably indicative of her illiteracy. If David too was unable to write, it may explain why Peggy went 14 months without hearing anything from her husband while he was away at war.

Stone County, Arkansas, where Peggy and children settled after the war is where our Shannon and Gower ancestors lived for several generations. The second picture shows my grandparents Nola Shannon Gower (one of Peggy's grandchildren) and her husband Leroy Gower. It was taken in the early 1920s, probably in Stone County, Arkansas, where they were both born (in 1899 and 1903) and where they were married (in 1921 - could this be their wedding picture?). Stone County is also where their first two children were born, Hendrix (in 1922) and Maida (my mother, in 1924). Some of our kin still live in Stone County, Arkansas, some 150 years after our Shannon ancestors first settled there.

We are indebted to Civil War widow Peggy Gray Shannon and her family for their strong spirit that enabled them to survive the tragic loss of their husband and father during one of the darkest times in our nation's history. Their story teaches us something today about making the most out of life even when the world around us collapses and life seems at its worst.
- - -

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Celebration and Remembrance, Dec 5, 2012

You are born into your family
and your family is born into you.
No returns. No exchanges.
~Elizabeth Berg

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday, Pat! Today, Dec 5, is the 22nd birthday of my nephew Patrick Shepard, who is a Ggrandchild of both Will and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower. Patrick is the younger son of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary.

Pat and his wife Nicole live in Bothell, Washington. He is the administrator of a health care facility in Edmonds, while Nicole is a nurse in Kirkland. They were married back in March, they bought a new home in August, and now their lives will be changed even more, as Pat explains below.

Pat: "On my birthday Nicole and I will go out to dinner and then on Saturday we will have some friends and family over for dinner. This will be my last birthday celebration without a little one around. Nicole is 9 weeks pregnant and we are so excited about it! We have our first ultrasound appointment this Friday! We are comfortable in our new home and now need to start setting up a nursery in one of these empty rooms!"

Lincoln. Cindy and I recently saw the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, an excellent film about Abraham Lincoln's struggle to pass the 13th amendment to the constitution, abolishing slavery. The film is very well done, historically accurate, and is masterfully crafted. For a 2 1/2 hour movie, it is wonderfully paced. It is about the power, the promise and the pitfalls of the political process as it tells about events of great importance in our family's history.

Another Civil War Ancestor. Watching the film prompted me to do more research into ancestors who served in the Civil War. I have mentioned a number of times in this blog about GGgrandfather William Shepard (1835-1862) who died in the service of the Union Army. But until very recently I did not know the story of another Civil War soldier in our family tree. On the Gower side of my family is GGgrandfather David Reid Shannon (1821-1864), who served in the Confederate Army.

David Shannon and his wife Peggy Gray were originally from Monroe County, Mississippi but had moved to Sugartown, Louisiana by the time of the war. At nearby Alexandria, David entered the Confederate Army in April, 1864 at the age of 43. At the time, he and Peggy were the parents of 7 children, ranging in age from 15 to 1 1/2 years old. (They had a 6 year old named Samuel Pickens Shannon, who would later become the father of Nola Shannon Gower, my grandmother).

At 43 years old, with a wife and 7 children, one can understand why David waited until 1864, rather late in the war, to answer the call to serve. By that time several hundred thousand men had died or been wounded, and the Confederacy was desperate for more soldiers. David served in the Louisiana Cavalry, 2nd regiment, as a Cavalry Scout for military operations in Western Louisiana and Eastern Texas.

After hearing nothing from or about her husband for over a year, his wife Peggy went to Alexandria, Louisiana in June, 1865 and met with a man who had served with her husband. He gave her the tragic news that David had gotten sick and had died in November of 1864, 7 months previous! News did not travel fast in those days. According to the National Archives, 1st Sargent David Reid Shannon of the 2nd Louisiana Cavalry died at New Orleans of "Chronic Diarrhea and Intermittent Fever" on November 8, 1864.

Heartsick, Peggy left Alexandria and returned home to Sugartown to her 7 children, to figure out how to put her family's life back together. I will share more of the story of David Reid Shannon and his widow Peggy in my next blog post. The second picture shows Chalmette Cemetery in New Orleans, where David Reid Shannon was laid to rest 148 years ago this month. Thanks to KWRorie for sharing this picture online.

The following is a 13 generation lineage of Patrick Shepard through Civil War soldier David Reid Shannon to the oldest Shannon ancestor I know about, Irishman John Shannon.

  • Patrick Shepard (b. 1990) (wife Nicole Haw) the son of...
  • Darrell Shepard (b. 1954) (wife Mary Medina) the son of...
  • Maida Gower Shepard (b. 1924) (husband Eugene Shepard) the daughter of...
  • Nola Shannon Gower (1902-2004) (husband Leroy Gower) the daughter of...
  • Samuel Pickens Shannon (1858-1930) (wife Finetta Dearien) the son of...
  • David Reid Shannon (1821-1864) (wife Peggy Gray) the son of...
  • David McKnight Shannon (1790-1860) (wife Anna Pickens) the son of...
  • David Shannon (1756-1823) (wife Jane McKnight) the son of...
  • Samuel Shannon (1727-1811) (wife Jean Reid) the son of...
  • Thomas Shannon (1686-1737) (wife Eigness Reid) the son of...
  • Robert Shannon (1630-1724) (wife Annal --) the son of...
  • John Shannon (1601-16??) the son of...
  • John Shannon (1571-1605)
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebrating Young and Old, Nov 28, 2012

Youth cannot know 
how age thinks and feels.
But old folks are guilty
if they forget what it was like
to be young.
~J.K. Rowling

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you wherever you may be on this last week of November. 

Kim and Damian. Happy Birthday tomorrow, November 29, to Kim Boyd Clark and her grandson Damian Ortiz, both of whom live in Blue Springs, Missouri. Kim is the daughter of Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd. Damian is the son of Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz.

The first picture, taken earlier this year, shows birthday boy Damian Ortiz and his grandmother Kim, who is holding one of the Ortiz twins born this past spring. Thanks to grandma for this picture. Best wishes to Damian and his grandmother Kim as they celebrate their birthdays tomorrow!

A lot has happened this year in the Boyd/Ortiz/Clark family of Blue Springs, Missouri: Terry and Thelma Shepard Boyd moved from New Mexico to Missouri; their grandson Jeremy and his wife Desiree gave birth to twin boys Isaac and Dominic; and Kim had successful cancer surgery that she is still recovering from. Recently I received word from Kim about more health concerns in their family.

Kim: We just found out my dad has stage 2 or 3 lung cancer. He will have a pet scan to see if there is any more cancer and also what stage it is. Prayers for my dad, please.

6 Generations of Women. Tomorrow we also remember the birthday of Kim's Ggrandmother -- and Damian's GGGgrandmother -- Caroline Spear Davis, who was born at the end of the American Civil War in 1865. 

The second picture shows 6 generations of mothers and daughters. There are few instances when I can find the photos of this many consecutive generations of women in our family. Starting from the top left are: Margaret Williams Spear (1845-1904), Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951), Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986), Thelma Shepard Boyd (b. 1936), Kim Boyd Clark (b. 1961), Amanda Nicole Ortiz (b. 1983).

From left to right, the top row of photos were taken in 1880, 1896, 1915; the bottom row in 1951, 1979, and 2010. The top row are women born in the 19th century; the bottom row are women born in the 20th century. Callie (top row, center) and Kim (bottom row, center) are two of the birthdays we celebrate tomorrow, November 29.
- - -

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family For Whom I Am Grateful, November 21, 2012

The Pilgrims made seven times 
more graves than huts. 
No Americans have been more impoverished 
than these who, nevertheless, 
set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.U. Westermayer

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this day before Thanksgiving.

My Cousin Kim Clark. I am thankful for many things today. For one, I am thankful that my cousin Kim Clark is doing better after her cancer surgery last month. She lives in Blue Springs, Missouri with her husband Jeff and family. The first picture shows Kim and Jeff in a picture that was taken earlier this year.

Kim wrote to me recently: I am healing well. Still sleep a lot but down to ibuprofen for pain med.  I'm still restricted to no lifting or house work :( lol.  Such a relief to be cancer free. That was scary there for a while.

Best wishes to Kim for good health and a continued speedy recovery.

The Nitpickers Among Us. I am also grateful for people who read this blog, in particular those who read it with a keen eye.

My son Nathan pointed out to me an error in my last post. I got the date wrong on one of the wives of our ancestor Arent Isaacsen van Hoeck (1623-1697) who I wrote about in my last blog entry. Arent was a 17th century Dutch immigrant to New York who had, over the course of his lifetime, 6 different wives. He married his third wife in New York in 1660. I wrote that he married her in 1860, which was an obwious misteak. The marvel is that Nate would even find it! (And my aunt Thelma thought she was the only nitpicker among us!)

Those Who Have Given So Much. I am also thankful for ancestors I have never met, like my 9x Ggrandparents Arent Isaaczsen van Hoeck and his wife Styntie Laurens. Despite great hardship, they and others like them, boldly immigrated to this country from places like The Netherlands and began families that we are now part of, all these generations later. 

The quote at the top regarding pilgrims who built 7 times more graves than huts, puts the efforts of our earliest ancestors in perspective. Arent and Styntie weren't pilgrims, but they lived at about the same time. Their willingness to help settle this new world required more from them than they ever could have imagined. Thank God for them! 

I am also grateful for more recent family members who lived through the dust bowl days of the 1930s in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Colorado. I mention this because this past week the new Ken Burns' TV documentary on the dust bowl appeared on PBS stations around the country. Did you see it? If not, look for it to be shown again some time. The dust bowl was devastating for many of our kinfolk and was one of the reasons some of our family, including my grandparents, moved to the West Coast in the 1930s and 40s.

The second picture, which was handed down to me from my father, shows an approaching dust storm. On the back of the picture is written, "April, 1935, Two Buttes, Colorado." Select this link to read a previous blog entry about the dust bowl and the personal memories of some family members.
- - -

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Call Upon God to Give a Sign", Tuesday, November 14, 2012

He who has no fools, knaves, 
or beggars in his family 
was begot by a flash of lightning.
~Old English proverb

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego where Cindy and I have recently returned after a few weeks away. One of the places we visited was Egypt. The first picture shows Cindy and I in front of the famous Sphinx and the Pyramid of Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. Select this link to see other pictures of our trip.

John Pouty Williams. This Friday is the 206th anniversary of the birthday of John Pouty Williams (1806- 1898), a most interesting person in our family tree. He is the  great grandfather of my grand mother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). The lives of John Williams and my grandmother Bura overlapped by a mere 2 years, just long enough for him to bounce her on his knee near the end of his life, a life which spanned almost the entire 19th century. 

He was a transition person in our family tree. Born in Spencer County, Kentucky in 1806, his father died in 1813. His widowed mother soon thereafter took John and her other children and moved westward and settled near the town of Spencer in Owen County, Indiana. Here is a blog entry where you can read more about John Pouty Williams and his family. The second picture shows John Pouty's grave in Pleasant Grove Cemetery near Spencer, Indiana.

I have encountered quite a number of people who are descendants of his during my online family research. One such person who I have recently begun corresponding with is Cherie Harris of North Carolina, a GGgrandchild of Matilda Jane Williams, the sister of John Pouty. She has also done research into our Williams kinfolk and has traced our ancestry through John Pouty's maternal grandmother Elizabeth van Hook Warford. 

Arent Isaacszen Van Hoeck. According to Cherie, the van Hook family line in America goes back to Arent Isaacszen Van Hoeck (1623-1697), who migrated with his wife Geertje Everts to New Amsterdam (New York), from Amsterdam, Netherlands in the spring of 1655 or 1656.

Genealogical records in New York document Arent's penchant for having wives who died. His first wife Sara died in The Netherlands in 1652. His second wife Geertje who had migrated with him to New Amsterdam, died in an Indian raid (or so it was rumored). He married a third time around 1660, but this wife also died (her name and fate remain unknown). 

Call Upon God to Give a Sign. Records indicate that in 1665 in New York, New York, at the Old Dutch Reformed Church, Arent married Styntie Laurens (my 9x Ggrandmother). In 1682, Styntie (wife #4) after having given Arent 5 children, died very suddenly. As a result the local constable, two magistrates and two doctors went to their home to examine her body. There was nothing obvious to indicate foul play by Arent or anybody else. Arent was, however, ordered to place his hand on her chest and call upon God Almighty to give a sign if he were guilty of his wife's death. When nothing happened, Arent was declared innocent. (Dutch Court Records of Kingston cited in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 70 (1939): 365). 

9x Grandpa Arent's marrying days were still not finished. In 1685 he married Elizabeth Stevens in New York, New York. Her fate remains unknown. Finally he married Maria Van Hobocken in 1695 or 1696, also in New York, New York. About 1697, Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck died, in his mid 70's, having had 6 different wives, most of whom met untimely deaths while married to him.

It is hard to know what to make of Grandpa Arent and his many wives. After 315 years it is impossible to know anything more than what the record states. Nonetheless, thanks to cousin Cherie Harris for this information about our common ancestor Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck, a colorful character to be sure, and one more immigrant in our family tree.

The following is the lineage of my youngest grandchild William Quincy Shepard through John Pouty Williams, to Dutch immigrant Arent and his wife Styntie Laurens van Hoeck: 
  • Arent Isaacszen van Hoeck (1623-1697), who married Styntie Laurens, the parents of
  • Laurens van Hook (1670-1724), who married Johanna Smith, parents of
  • Hendrick van Hook (1700-1750), who married Deborah Parent, parents of
  • Benjamin van Hook (1726-?), who married Lydia ?, parents of
  • Elizabeth van Hook (1746-1805), who married Henry Warford, the parents of
  • Lydia Warford (1782-1829), who married John Williams, the parents of
  • John Pouty Williams (1806-1898), who married Sara Richardson, the parents of
  • Margaret Frances Williams (1845-1904), who married William Spear, the parents of
  • Caroline Matilda Spear (1861-1951), who married James Brooks Davis, the parents of
  • Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986), who married William Shepard, the parents of
  • Eugene William Shepard (1921-2003), who married Maida Imogene Gower, the parents of
  • Steven Dale Shepard (b. 1948), who married Cindy Harris, the parents of
  • Nathan William Shepard (b. 1977), who married Chenda Sou, the parents of
  • William Quincy Shepard (b. 2012)
- - -

A Memorable Mediterranean Cruise, November 14, 2012

The following are pictures from a Mediterranean Cruise that Cindy and I enjoyed earlier this month. 

We started from Rome, Italy. This first picture, taken in front of the famous Pantheon of Rome, shows Cindy and me with our traveling companions Linda, Gail and Alan.

Another place we visited in Rome was the beautiful Trevi Fountain.

This picture shows Saint Peter's Cathedral and the River Tiber at night.

Our first cruise stop was Egypt, where we visited the incredible Pyramids near Cairo.

Here we are in front of our cruise ship in the port of Alexandria, Egypt.

Here are some windmills on the Greek Island of Myconos, one of our favorite stops.

Another stop was Istanbul, Turkey where we visited one of the most famous places of worship in all the world, the Blue Mosque.

We spent one day roaming the ancient ruins of the city of Ephesus (near modern day Kusadaci, Turkey) where the Apostle Paul lived for a time.

Our last stop was Venice, Italy, a remarkable city of innumerable canals and bridges.

- - -

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hawaii's Happy Havilah, November 6, 2012

We are the children of many sires,
and every drop of blood in us in its turn
betrays its ancestor.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on Election Day 2012! This comes to you again from the Cruise ship The Crown Princess as Cindy and I and our traveling companions continue to sail around the Eastern Mediterranean. We are at sea all day today before arriving in Venice, Italy tomorrow where our wonderful adventure will come to an end in a few days.

Happy Birthday Havilah. Today, Nov 6, is the 30th birthday of Havilah Colgain Wardle. Havilah is the daughter of Joan Shepard of Dixon, California and Art Colgain of Kaysville, Utah. She is the first grandchild of Elmer and Beryl Shepard, and the 9th of the 21 Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Davis Shepard.

Havilah and husband Kevin moved this past summer from West Valley City, Utah to Oahu, Hawaii, where they are enjoying life very much (who wouldn't!).

Havilah: "I look forward to turning 30! I've been enjoying every moment of this year, and am so excited to celebrate my birthday! I've received so many gifts this year, like living in Hawaii. It's been an amazing and breathtaking adventure. Thanks to Kevin, I became a PADI open water certified scuba diver in August. Diving is one of the most incredible experiences, especially getting to dive with Kevin. We've seen 3 sharks, octopi, eels, nudibranchs, coral of every kind, sea turtles, live conch, star fish... and I've made friends with a very special fish I call Chunk, as he is missing a chunk from his dorsal fin. He swims with me every time I'm in his cove. Here's to life, and celebrating each step of the way!"

The first picture, taken just a couple of weeks ago, shows Kevin and Havilah in full Scuba Diving regalia in the waters near Honolulu. Havilah's comments about this particular diving trip:

"From the great blue expanse a green sea turtle appears. Hauling turtle ass. Is it heading for the reef? I think it's heading for...'s heading straight at...Dad! This is going to be AWESOME. Turtle body check in... three... two... one... BAM! Get out the way, human! After bitch slapping my dad as it went past, the turtle disappeared under the reef to cuddle with a beautiful little reef shark. Today's lesson: Love is powerful, and so is that green sea turtle."

Our best to both of them for much happiness in Hawaii, and best wishes to Havilah for a great 30th birthday!

Remembering Bura Davis Shepard. This Thursday, Nov 8, marks the 116th anniversary of the birthday of my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). The second picture shows Bura and her husband of 61 years, William Shepard. This picture, with fall leaves all around, shows them in their Sunday finest, and was taken in 1971 near San Diego where they lived at the time.

Bura's life spanned the better part of the 20th century. She was born in Spencer, Indiana, but as a teen migrated with her family to Beaver County, Oklahoma where she met and married William Shepard. Their family then lived for 12 years in tiny Two Buttes, Colorado before they moved to San Diego in 1940 where they lived most of the rest of their lives. Bura died in 1986 while living with her son Eugene and family in Anacortes, Washington.

Though she has been gone for 26 years, her memory remains. I think I can speak for all her grandchildren in saying that her influence lives on in the lives of all of us who were touched by her steady faith, her solid perseverance, her even temper, and her no nonsense approach to life. What an extraordinary grandmother -- what an extraordinary person -- she was.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween! October 30, 2012

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Deliver us,
O Lord!
~Ancient Scottish Prayer

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Halloween! Tomorrow is the day of Ghosts and Goblins, a day loved by children and all those who enjoy "things that go bump in the night." The following is a family photo presentation to celebrate Halloween. It includes many different family members in costume over the years. To all those whose pictures are included here... thanks for being such good sports about it all! 

Happy Birthday Pam! Today is the birthday of Pam Engan Shepard. She is the mother of Linda and Steven Shepard, and for 25 years was the wife of my brother Russell Shepard.

Pam is a native Washingtonian, and has lived her entire life in Anacortes, Washington. Best wishes and many happy returns to Pam! 

The first picture shows Pam Engan Shepard and was taken a year ago at the Shepard family reunion in Anacortes, Washington.  

Happy Birthday to Maida! This Thursday, Nov 1, is the birthday of my mother Maida Gower Shepard. The second picture (below) shows Maida on the right with Cindy's mom Paula Harris of San Diego on the left. Maida is holding William Quincy Shepard of Alameda, California, the youngest Ggrandson of both of them. This picture was taken in San Diego this past August.

Maida was born in Mountain View, Arkansas, and was raised in Okemah, Oklahoma, but lived for 36 years in San Diego where she met and married Eugene Shepard. In San Diego was also where she bore and raised their 6 children before moving to Western Washington in 1978. 

Maida makes her home today in Anacortes, Washington where she lives on Wildwood Lane with her daughter Barbara and her grandson Steven. She stays busy with her yard and garden, and her Church, as well as her occasional travels to California.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Family Photos, October 25, 2012

The only person
you should try to be better than
is the person you were

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from San Diego, California on this pleasant day in October.

Tomorrow, October 26, is the 20th birthday of Mandi Aquiningoc, the sister of Lyndsey, and the daughter of Kerri Aquiningoc.

Mandi is the 2nd GG grandchild of both Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower, and Will and Bura Davis Shepard. She is the granddaughter of Gary Shepard and Jackie Perry, and the Ggranddaughter of Maida Gower Shepard. 

Mandi was born in San Diego in 1992 but lives today in Granbury, Texas. The first picture is of Mandi and was taken just a couple of months ago in July. Best wishes to Mandi for a wonderful birthday!

Fall is a great time of the year for families to be active and busy.  The stifling heat of summer is past and the cold of winter is not yet upon us. I came across a couple that I would like to share with you. They show family members having a good time this fall. 

One of the fun fall family photos I am including today was taken last week and shows our son Nathan Shepard with two of his and Chenda's children having a great time on a slide at Washington Park in Alameda, California where they live. On the left is Logan and scrunched in the middle is Preslea. Thanks to Chenda for taking this picture and sending it to me.
The final fun fall family photo features friends Nicole Haw Shepard and her sister-in-law Rachel Shepard. Nicole lives with husband Patrick in Bothell, Washington, while Rachel lives with her folks in Kirkland, Washington. 

This photo was taken while the whole family was on an outing to a pumpkin farm in Snohomish, Washington. 
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Trio of Celebrations, Oct 18, 2012

I don't know who my grandfather was.
I am much more concerned 
to know what his grandson will be.
~Abraham Lincoln

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from Southern California here in the midst of fall leaves and cooler temperatures and finally the end of warm summer weather. Or so I thought. As I write this the temperatures have moved back into the 90s, so evidently we are not finished yet with some hot days.

Happy Birthday to Korilyn! Today, October 18, is the 15th birthday of Korilyn Boyd, who is the 20th of the 21 Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Davis Shepard. She is also the youngest grandchild of Terry and Thelma Boyd of Blue Springs, Missouri and the youngest child of Darren Boyd and Victoria Boyd. She lives in Coronado, California and is a freshman at Coronado High School.
My Uncle Bill Russell. Today is the anniversary of the birthday of my late uncle Bill Russell (1908-1997), who I remember well as a terrific man with a great sense of humor. He and my aunt Pauline Shepard Russell were among the first in our family to move around 1940 from Colorado to San Diego where they lived the rest of their lives. Their descendants today are their grandson Eric Russell and his wife Ruthie of Red Rock, Nevada, and their granddaughter Shannon Wilk and her daughter Emma of Atchison, Kansas.

Happy Birthday to Vicki! And thirdly, today is also the birthday of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington where she lives with her husband Duke Johnston. Vicki is the only member of our part of the Gower family to have been born in Oklahoma. As a girl she moved with her family in 1942 to San Diego where she was raised. For nearly 35 years now she has made her home on Whidbey Island in Western Washington.

The second picture shows Vicki in the middle, with her older daughter Paula Tuzzolino on the left, and her granddaughter Heather Cotton on the right. Heather tells me that this picture was taken in 2009 in Washington when she was visiting her mom and grandmother and they took the opportunity to get this three generation picture. The third picture shows Vicki's Ggranddaughter Heather in costume on Halloween.

Last Call For Halloween Pictures! If you have any family Halloween pictures that you would like for me to include in this year's Halloween photoshow, the time is now to send them to me. I need to have pictures by October 23 in order to include them. I would like to have pictures from all parts of our family.
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Our Family on Facebook, October 13, 2012

People will not look forward to posterity
who never look backward to their ancestors.
~Edmund Burke

Hello Family and Friends,

Halloween Pictures Anyone? I am putting together a Halloween photo presentation and would welcome any pictures you might have of family members -- young or old -- in costume. Send them to me and I will include them in the presentation that I will share with you later in the month. The first picture of Kaylan and Nathan Shepard is just one of those that will be included in the photo presentation. (Thanks to their father Dane Shepard for this picture.)

The Shepard's Crook on Facebook. The news was stunning last week that Facebook now has over 1 billion active users around the world. Despite the fact that there are still hold outs among us who refuse to share in this social media, as a communications tool it is alluring to most of us.

As a matter of fact, for more and more of us, Facebook (for good or for bad) is a primary way of keeping in touch with friends and family. Some even find Facebook preferable to basic email. In view of all this I have established a Facebook account for The Shepard's Crook, as one more way of staying connected. (The second photo is the cover picture for The Shepard's Crook on Facebook. It shows my grandfather William Shepard in 1932, and my grandson William Quincy Shepard in 2012.)

What all this means is that when you are on Facebook you can "friend" The Shepard's Crook and in that way get updates regarding recent blog posts, notices about our family, and you can see family pictures and comments that will be posted there (and post your own). It will be one more way of staying in touch with those around the country to whom you are related. 

Evertalk: Your Digital Afterlife. Part of the impetus for all this was an email I received recently from my cousin Mike Harrell of Mountain View, California (son of Vicki Gower Johnston). He told me about a special feature of Facebook that might be of interest to those of us focused on family. It is called Evertalk, and is designed to enable people like you and me to create a "digital afterlife." Evertalk says that people can "Pick-up where the Facebook timeline ends and celebrate the lives of friends, heroes, and family members" when they pass away. If that sounds intriguing, visit this website and find out more about Evertalk

I have not yet downloaded the free app and started using Evertalk, so stay tuned for more about this in weeks to come. If any of you try this out -- or have already tried it -- please let me know what you think.

Speaking of Mike Harrell, the third picture is a real historic gem and shows Mike with his father Carl Harrell (1931-2002). It was taken in 1955 in Tokyo, Japan, where Mike and his brother David were born and where Carl was stationed at the time. This is an example of a memorable family picture -- perhaps way TOO memorable as far as Mike is concerned! -- which is now viewable via Facebook and will be available to the "friends" of "The Shepard's Crook" for generations to come.
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Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Far Less Than Exact Science, October 6, 2012

You live as long as you are remembered. 
~Russian proverb

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from our home in San Diego where Cindy and I have returned after visiting family in Northern California and Western Washington. 

Patrick and Nicole's House Warming. Among the people we visited were nephew Patrick and his wife Nicole Haw Shepard in their wonderful new home in Bothell, Washington. Congratu- lations to Patrick and Nicole on the purchase of their new home! 

They had a house warming party last Saturday to celebrate their home with family and friends. The first picture, taken by Patrick's sister Rachel Shepard, was taken at the housewarming and shows Patrick's brother Christopher Shepard, holding Patrick's father Darrell Shepard, and being encouraged in this silliness by Patrick's grandmother Maida Shepard. It was obviously a fun time!

Kim's Surgery. I received an email from my cousin Kim Boyd Clark in Missouri, with the sobering news that she has recently developed breast cancer. As  result she will be having surgery on Oct 17. Ours is a family that has not had a lot of cancer in it. But Kim did remind me that our aunt Pauline Shepard Russell did struggle (successfully) with ovarian cancer back in the 1980s. Our prayers and best wishes go out to Kim and her family at this time, especially as she prepares for surgery later this month.

A Corrected Birth Certi- ficate. That was the serious and most important part of the email I received from Kim. She also updated me on her mother Thelma's crazy birth certificate. In a blog post back on Sept 3, I detailed the snafu regarding some very incorrect information recorded by her (not very sober?) birthing doctor in 1936 in the small Southeast Colorado town where she was born.

The second picture from June, 1963 in San Diego shows Thelma Shepard Boyd on the right holding her daughter Kim, next to Thelma's parents Will and Bura Davis Shepard. On the far left is Will and Bura's other daughter Pauline Shepard Russell.

Kim reported in her email to me that the state of Colorado has now issued her mom a corrected birth certificate, after much effort and great frustration. Among the corrections that were made is the important detail that she is female. I have known Thelma as my "aunt" for 64 years, but only now is her gender officially correct, as far as Colorado is concerned. We can only imagine the hoops Thelma had to jump through to prove her gender to her home state. (On second thought, no, let's not.) Nevertheless, congratulations to Thelma!

The whole crazy episode illustrates how genealogy is not an exact science. Sometimes it is far less than that. To put on it a positive spin, it just goes to show you that occasionally life's great annoyances DO get resolved. Even though it took 76 years in this case, we can find some small measure of comfort knowing that the wheels of justice do grind, albeit ever so slowly.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Family Treasures of Many Kinds, September 29, 2012

I have decided to be happy
because it is good for my health.
Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from Alameda, California where Cindy and I are visiting with our grandchildren and their parents.

Today is the birthday of Cathrina Helms Clark, whose husband is Jerry Clark of Lubbock, Texas.

Cathrina: We are staying plenty busy. I just recently changed jobs. I am working in the office at a middle school in Lubbock only 10 minutes from home. Finally on a similar schedule as Jerry. The first few weeks of school have been a bit of a challenge. Things are beginning to settle and I really feel blessed to have this job. Also we are expecting our 10th grand baby in January. My daughter Ashley is expecting her second daughter! So exciting that our families are growing!

The first picture, taken earlier this year, shows Cathrina and Jerry Clark.

Today is also the birthday of Alexandria Cotton, another Texan in our family. She is the daughter of Heather and Sean Cotton and the granddaughter of Paula Tuzzolino. Her Ggrandmother is Vicki Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington. Alexandria and her family live in San Antonio, Texas.

Alexandria is one year old today; her older sister Victoria was 5 years old back on July 23. Happy Birthday to these sisters and best wishes to them and their family. The second picture, taken back in the spring, shows Heather with her daughters Alexandria and Victoria.

Family History BookA few weeks ago I mentioned my Kilpatrick relation Marjorie Eldred in this blog when I wrote about my aunt Thelma's strange birth certificate. Marjorie has written a family history book about her Vaughn - Kilpatrick family, which includes stories set in Two Buttes, Colorado, a town of importance to the history of our Shepard - Davis family. She asked me if I would mind giving her book a recommendation once again, which I am glad to do. The title of her book is Seizing the Treasure: Nuggets of Vaughn-Kilpatrick Story.

Marjorie: "I will lower the price on the book to $15.00 plus postage for anyone who orders through me. Ask them to email me at" 

Thanks to Marjorie for her generous offer and for all her work in family research.
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