Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Keys of Paradise, July 28, 2015

Children are the keys of paradise.
~Eric Hoffer

Greetings to all of you on this warm summer day in San Diego. This is one of those rare days in our family when 3 different people are celebrating birthdays. 

Happy Birthday Jeff! The first born among these three is the husband of my cousin Kim Boyd Clark. Jeff Clark lives with his family in Blue Springs, Missouri. Jeff is a native Missourian who works for Hallmark Cards and has been married to Kim for 8 years. 

This first picture shows Jeff just a few days ago, and comes with the comment from wife Kim, "Grandpa Jeff loves spoiling his grandkids." Best wishes to Jeff for a great birthday.

Happy Birthday Barbara! Today is also the birthday of my sister Barbara Shepard. Originally from San Diego, she has lived in Anacortes, Washington now for over 35 years. But she still considers herself a California girl. She and mom Maida are visiting San Diego to spend time with family and to celebrate her birthday with the young fellow mentioned below. Barbara has worked for Safeway in Washington for 8 years now. 

This second picture -- taken just yesterday -- shows Barbara with our grandson William, youngest son of Chenda and Nathan Shepard.

Happy Birthday William! And finally, happy 3rd birthday today to William Quincy Shepard, our youngest grandson who lives in the San Carlos community of San Diego. Born in San Francisco, William and family lived in Alameda until last year when they moved to Southern California. 

The following is a photo presentation to celebrate William's third birthday, accompanied by the music of James Taylor. 


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Steve Shepard     

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our Religious Roots in Ohio, July 25, 2015

We are often haunted
by relationships from the past.
As we work them through,
they go from haunting us
to becoming simply part of our history.
~Norman Doidge

Happy Birthday Logan! Yesterday was the second birthday of Logan Joseph Shepard of Bothell, Washington. Happy Birthday and best wishes to Logan and his parents Patrick and Nicole Shepard, his brother Mason, and his entire family! Thanks to Nicole for posting this picture of handsome Logan on Facebook yesterday.

Logan and his family will be hosting this summer's family reunion at his home on Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Bothell, Washington. Make your plans to join us!

Our Family's Religious Roots. I would like to follow up on my last post and discuss one aspect of our genealogical trek to Monroe County, Ohio last week. When my GGG Grandparents Alexander and Jane Davis settled in Indiana in 1852 they were among the first members of a new church start in Owen County called the New Union Church of Christ, a congregation of the Restoration Movement, also known as the Stone-Campbell movement. It is an historical connection that I have written about in this blog before and one that we can be proud of.

That movement had its beginnings in the early 19th century in the area around Monroe County, Ohio where both Alexander and Jane were born. Did they bring their affiliation with the Stone-Campbell movement with them when they and their young family traveled those 350+ dusty miles in horse drawn wagons and settled in Indiana? It is one of the questions I had in mind when we visited Monroe County last week.

Many of our Shepard, Davis and other family members -- including Cindy and me -- continue that affiliation with present day congregations of the Stone-Campbell tradition. Many of you who read this blog are connected to a congregation that traces its roots to the Stone-Campbell movement: congregations of the Churches of Christ, or the Christian Church or the Disciples of Christ.

There are church records in Spencer, Indiana that show our family's membership in the New Union Church of Christ (also known as a Christian Church in some records) as far back as the 1860s. Unfortunately I could not find such clear evidence of Alexander and Jane Davis' participation prior to that time in a church in Monroe County, Ohio where they made their home until 1852.

Sunfish Creek, Ohio
What I did find was very interesting however. The Davises lived in an area of Monroe County called Adams Township, which includes lovely Sunfish Creek (see picture). Amazingly, the population of Adams Township today is not too different from what it was 200 years ago when our ancestors settled there. Last week Cindy and I drove slowly on the dusty gravel road that winds along beautiful Sunfish Creek and through the verdant forests of these Ohio backwoods. As we did so it felt like stepping back in time. 

Along Sunfish Creek many settlers, including Alexander Davis' family and Jane Buskirk Davis' family, made their homes. A history of the area reports that 3 of the first 5 churches to be organized in Adams Township were congregations of the Stone-Campbell Movement. It was a time when this particular religious movement was spreading like wildfire across the American frontier, and was one of the fastest growing religious movements in our country. The very first Church of any kind built in Adams Township was a "Cambellite" congregation (as they were sometimes called) in the town of Cameron in 1825. Today, congregations of the Stone-Campbell tradition are still among the most numerous in all of Monroe County. 

In 1845, when Alexander and Jane Davis still lived in Ohio, a new Church was begun in the Monroe County Seat of Woodsville, just a few miles from the Sunfish Creek area. At the founding service of that congregation Alexander Campbell himself (considered the founder of the Restoration Movement) attended and delivered the inaugural sermon. Campbell's home, the historic Campbell Mansion (which you can still visit today) was in Bethany, West Virginia, only 50 miles away.

The search will continue for more specifics of our family roots in Monroe County, Ohio. But it seems clear at this point that our Davis ancestors may have actually been members of the Stone-Campbell movement back into their Ohio days of the early 19th century. If not actual members, they were certainly very familiar with it. They were familiar enough to make it their choice in Indiana, a choice that has continued for many of their descendants for some 7 generations now.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Our Roots in Monroe County, Ohio, July 21, 2015

A person represents each of several of his ancestors, 
and they constitute the variety of notes 
for that new piece of music 
which his life is. 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Greetings to all of you from Columbus, Ohio where Cindy and I find ourselves on this beautiful July day. We are here in Columbus to attend the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This has given us a chance to travel to Monroe County in Eastern Ohio, where we have some important family roots.

In the early 19th century my GGG Grandparents Alexander Davis (1819-1866) and Jane Buskirk (1823-1895) were born in Monroe County. In the 1840s they married here, bought some property, started a farm and began a family. What we have been looking for, in our few days here in Ohio, was some kind of historical evidence of their lives here. We found some records of property purchase by Alexander and then some property sales ($20 for a number of acres!), as well as some graves of family members.

Above on the right is a picture of the grave of Jane Buskirk Davis' Grandparents Samuel and Charity Foggin Buskirk, who also lived here in Monroe County. They migrated to this part of Ohio from Pennsylvania. He died in 1841, she in 1847. They are buried in Rutter Cemetery along Sunfish Creek, just a few miles up the creek from the town of Clarington on the Ohio River. Sam and Charity's headstone is barely readable at over 150 years old, but is one more piece of evidence clearly showing our family's roots in Monroe County, Ohio.

When Alex and Jane Davis settled in Indiana in the 1850s they were among the first members of a new church start in Owen County called the New Union Church of Christ, which was part of the Restoration Movement, also called the Stone-Campbell movement. That movement had its beginning in the area not far from Monroe County, Ohio. Did Alex and Jane bring their connection to the Stone-Campbell movement with them when they settled in Indiana? In my next blog post I will share some thoughts and findings relating to our family's connections to the Restoration Movement in Ohio in the early 1800s.

The following is a 10 generation lineage from Samuel Buskirk and Charity Foggin Buskirk down to the present.
  • Samuel Blackmore Buskirk (1765-1847) who married Charity Ann Foggin (1762-1841)
  • John Foggin Buskirk (1795-1873) who married Mary Terry (1807-1886)
  • Jane Buskirk (1823-1895) who married Alexander Davis (1819-1866)
  • Charles E. Davis (1849-1926) who married Malinda Wright (1847-1920)
  • James Brooks Davis (1870-1928) who married Callie Spear (1865-1951)
  • Bura Davis (1896-1986) who married William Shepard (1888-1976)
  • Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) who married Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  • Steven Shepard (b. 1948) who married Cindy Harris (b. 1948)
  • Nathan Shepard (b. 1977) who married Chenda Sou (b. 1980)
  • William Quincy Shepard (b. 2012)
Feeling the need to move westward, Alexander and Jane Davis, about 1851, packed up their two kids, Sarah and Charles, and moved to Spencer, Indiana, where their family continued to grow and where they remained settled for several generations. Indeed some of their descendants live in Spencer, Indiana even today. 

Part of that family growth was their Great Granddaughter (my Grandmother) Bura Davis Shepard, who was born in Spencer in 1896.

Victoria Cotton. Happy birthday this week to two of our extended family members. First, birthday wishes go out to Victoria (Tori) Cotton, who turns 8 this Thursday, July 23. She is the daughter of Sean and Heather Robson Cotton of Austin, Texas. Tori is the granddaughter of my cousin Paula Tuzzolini and is also the Great Granddaughter of my aunt (and her namesake) Victoria Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington. My aunt Vicki just said goodbye to her husband Duke Johnston, whose memorial service was in Oak Harbor this past week. 

Heather: Tori is a very special little girl and I am grateful that God chose us to be her parents! She is turning 8. She's a great big sister and a wonderful artist! The second picture shows Tori (on the right) with her sister Lexi.

Shannon Wilk. And best wishes to Shannon Wilk who will have a birthday on Friday of this week. Shannon is one of the Great Granddaughters of William and Bura Davis Shepard. Shannon lives in Atchison, Kansas with her daughter Emma Beverly Jean Wilk.

This final picture shows Shannon Wilk and was taken earlier this year. Happy Birthday Shannon!
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Steve Shepard

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Master Of My Fate, Captain of My Soul", July 14, 2015

I am the master of my fate,
the captain of my soul.
~W. H. Henley

Duke Johnston (1932-2015). It is with sadness that I report that my uncle Duke Johnston passed away this past Thursday, July 9. Duke was the husband of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston, who lives in Oak Harbor, Washington. They have been married for over 25 years. Originally from New York, he retired from the Air Force and had practiced law on Whidbey Island for over 30 years. Duke had been struggling with cancer for many years.

The quote at the top of this post is one that Duke sought to live by. Select this link to read the full obituary for Duke at the website of Evans Funeral Chapel in Anacortes, Washington (which is where I found this wonderful digital image of Duke from back in his Air Force days).

In this time of Duke's passing, our prayers and best wishes go out to aunt Vicki and cousins Paula, Gloria, Michael and David, as well as Duke's entire family.

I have been writing The Shepard's Crook now for nearly 8 years. In that period of time I have shared with you numerous family pictures -- at last count about 1,200. Even considering the fact that that a number of those photos have been shared more than once, that is a lot of family pictures! Sharing them -- especially the old ones -- and the stories they tell has been one of the most gratifying parts of writing this blog. It has been an opportunity to keep alive for posterity the tales of our Shepard, Gower, Davis and Shannon families, tales that will be lost over time if we do not keep telling them.

Never Before Seen Photos. But there are some family pictures that I have never shared in The Shepard's Crook. For a whole variety of reasons. Some are very poor quality. Some are unflattering and simply inappropriate, such as hospital photos, or other pictures of people who are very ill. And there are some goofy photos that caught people at a strange or awkward moment. Other pictures I have not shared because they have referenced relationships that occurred before the family members involved found their life long spouse. (Who wants to have their old love interest shown for all the family to see?)

I know some of you may not believe this, but I really don't intentionally share pictures that embarass family members, or cast them in a negative light. I want to share pictures that make you look good, as much as you do.

But the time has come, it seems to me, to share with you some of these family pictures that have never before been seen in this blog. I am choosing to share them for the sake of historical accuracy, if for no other reason. In this post are two examples. They are pictures that I have considered including in a blog post a few times, but they simply have not been exactly what I wanted to use in that particular situation.

The picture above on the left shows my dad and his girl friend in Tijuana back in 1942, almost 75 years ago, some 3 years before mom and dad were married. This, by the way, is an example of several "Tijuana pictures", that were taken back in the 1940s when travel south of the border was charming and romantic, when it was easy to get there and back. In recent years, traveling by car to Mexico has gone from charming and romantic, to dangerous and very time consuming. 

Just to show you that I want to be fair in my sharing of never-before-seen photos, the third picture is a rather odd photo of me in the spring of 1966 at the corner of El Cajon Blvd and 54th St. in San Diego. You don't see $.22 hamburgers anymore, and public telephones are not in high demand these days. By the way, why is my head tilted a few degrees southward? Full disclosure: this picture was taken about 9 am on a Saturday morning after a young woman named Cindy Harris and I had just finished partying all night long. Enough said.

I have more never-before-seen family photos to share, but those I will save for another time. Stay tuned.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Lots of Happiness and Smiles, July 7, 2015

Love is many things.
It is varied. 
One thing it is not,
and can never be,
is unsure.
~Maya Angelou

Family Reunion, August 22, 2015. Summer time is the occasion for family reunions! If you know of any reunions happening in our extended family this summer please let me know so I can promote them in this blog. 

And remember that plans are being made for a Shepard and Gower family gathering on Saturday August 22 in Bothell, Washington at the home of Patrick and Nicole Shepard. Make your plans to be with us for this celebration.

Desiree Ortiz. Happy Birthday yesterday, Monday July 6, to Desiree Ortiz who lives in El Cajon, California with her husband Jeremy Ortiz and their 5 children. The above picture was taken in San Diego last fall and shows a happy Jeremy and Desiree. Best wishes to Desiree!

Nate Sauvage. Happy Birthday today, Tuesday July 7, to Nathaniel Sauvage of Weatherford, Texas. Nate is the older son of James and Kelly Shepard Sauvage, and one of the Great Great Grandsons of both Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower, and William and Bura Davis Shepard. He is also one of the grandsons of my brother Gary Shepard. This second picture shows Nate on the right with his mother Kelly Shepard Sauvage.

Happy Anniversary Joan and Dee! Congratulations to my cousin Joan Shepard and her wife Dee Shannon who were married one year ago today on July 7, 2014. Joan is one of the grandchildren of William Shepard and Bura Davis Shepard. 

Joan was born and raised in the San Diego area but lives today with Dee in Dixon, California. Dee is originally from North Carolina but has lived for many years now in Northern California and has worked at UC Davis. Included is a picture of Joan Shepard (on the left) and Dee Shannon, taken just last night at their home in Northern California. With them is their Spring Spaniel "Sophie". Best wishes to Dee and Joan for a happy anniversary! And thanks to Dee's son Tim for this photo.

There are lots of happiness and smiles this summer in our family far and near. May it always be so!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Independence Day! July 4, 2015

Liberty is always dangerous,
but it is the safest thing we have.
~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Happy Independence Day to all of you, wherever you may be and however you and your family may be celebrating this great summer holiday!

Wedding Bells for Shaun and Tracy! Congratulations to my cousin Shaun Gower and his bride Tracy Sanders who were married this morning at 8 a.m. at beautiful Seagrove Park, overlooking the ocean in Del Mar, California. This first picture shows the happy couple Shaun and Tracy on the occasion of this morning's wedding.

Tying the knot on Independence Day may seem unusual to some, but it was a lovely event that reflected the great joy and love that Shaun and Tracy share. Congratulations and best wishes to them both! 

It was a beautiful informal, outdoor ceremony attended by a few close family and friends, including Tracy's mom and three of her four sons. I was honored to be the one to perform the ceremony. The early morning breeze was blowing a peaceful wind that made it a solemn but joyous occasion. 

Shaun is the first of the 14 Great Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. He is the son of Hershell and Janet Nolan Gower. Janet passed away many years ago, while Hershell lives today with his wife Shelly in Bullhead City, Arizona.

This second picture was also taken this morning and shows some of those who attended the wedding, including Nathan and William Shepard, the bride Tracy, Tracy's mom Mary Messersmith, and other attendees at the morning event. After the wedding, the group attended the closing day of the nearby San Diego County Fair at Del Mar.

Happy Anniversary Sean and Heather! This past Wednesday was the wedding anniversary of Sean and Heather Robson who were married 15 years ago. Sean and Heather and their two daughters Tori and Lexi live in South Texas.

Heather is the granddaughter of Vicki Gower Johnston who lives with her husband Duke in Oak Harbor, Washington. Heather -- like Sean Gower, mentioned above -- is one of the Great Grandchildren of the late Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

This third picture shows Sean and Heather with Heather's mom Paula Tuzzolino at Cranberry Park on Whidbey Island in Washington last summer, with the famous Deception Pass Bridge in the background. Best wishes and happy anniversary to Sean and Heather!
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Steve Shepard