Friday, January 27, 2012

Other Shepard Kin, January 27, 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,

Today is the 120th anniversary of the birthday of my great aunt Sadie Shepard Pruett who was born January 27, 1892. She was born in Alton, Illinois just like her older brother and only sibling (my grandfather) William Shepard, who was 4 years her senior. She and William were just teens when their parents left Illinois and settled in Beaver County, Oklahoma in the first decade of the 20th century. Interestingly, also like her brother William, she died within days of her 88th birthday. Sadie died in 1980, William in 1976.

The late 19th century was a time when large families were common. A family from that time period with just two children is an interesting anomaly. My grandmother Bura Davis, for example, (born 1896) was one of 7 children. My grandmother Nola Shannon (born 1902) was one of 9 children. And my grandfather Leroy Gower (born 1899) was one of 7 children. It was unusual then for Sadie Shepard to be one of only 2 children, she and her brother William.

Like most of our ancestors, William's parents William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens were country folk for whom one more child meant one more worker on the family farm. But every couple is different, with unique physical and emotional needs and limitations.

To be fair, there seems to have been two other siblings of William and Sadie Shepard who died in infancy: a boy they named Elmer and a girl they named Eva. Losing a child can be a devastating experience, but losing two children can make a couple hesitant to have any more.

Sadie later married Levy Pruett and had 3 daughters, Alberta, Gayle and Twila. The first picture I am including shows Sadie at 23 years old with her first two daughters Gayle and Alberta. This lovely picture was taken in June, 1915 when her brother William Shepard and his fiance Bura Davis were married.

The second picture shows my grandfather William Shepard (bottom right) with his wife Bura Davis next to him. At the bottom left is his sister Sadie whose husband Levy Pruett is in the middle of the top row. Also in the picture are two Pruett daughters, Gayle (bottom row) and Twila (upper right), and Gayle's husband Glenn Barker (upper left). As you can see on the far right, this picture was taken in 1946 in Tijuana when the Pruett family came to San Diego to visit the Shepards.

Sad to say, I have not had much contact with the descendants of Sadie Shepard Pruett. 20 years ago when my dad and I visited Oklahoma we visited his aunt Sadie's daughter Alberta Pruett Getz and her husband Pat, but I have not maintained contact with them over the years.

I did have a phone conversation earlier this week with Alberta's son Norman Getz, who still lives near Elmwood in Beaver County, Ok. He mentioned that his parents Alberta and Pat are now gone, and that few members of the Pruett family remain.

Sadie and William Shepard's mother Elvira Owens was from the Owens family of Madison County, Illlinois. I recently connected online with a 3rd cousin, Richard Olen Young II, who is also descended from that same Owens family and lives today in Maine. I look forward to that connection and learning more about family members of today and of long ago.
- - -

No comments: