Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Wishes for a New Year, December 27, 2016

Feliz Navidad
y felicidad
José Montserrate Feliciano García

This last week of 2016 includes a couple of anniversary celebrations worth remembering.

Our Wedding Anniversary. Today, December 27, is the wedding anniversary of Cindy and me. On this day 48 years ago we were married at the La Mesa Church of Christ, just a few miles down Jackson Drive from where we live today. My second cousin Edwin Kilpatrick was the minister, dear friends and family were the attendants, while Joe and Paula, and Gene and Maida were the proud parents, each of them just 40-something years old. Johnny Mathis provided the music (unfortunately not in person) and the ladies of the church provided the reception of punch and cookies and, of course, the wedding cake. 

A lot of rushing water has gone under the bridge of our family since that Friday night so long ago: a lot of joy, our share of sadness, celebrations of significant milestones, the arrival of one child and three grandchildren, years of labor-intensive careers, new relationships, amazing changes, surprising growth, and valuable challenges. They have all made the last 48 years very memorable. 

The first picture, taken at our Christmas Day gathering on Burgundy Street in San Diego, shows Cindy and me with our son Nathan, our three grandkids, Preslea, Logan and William, and Cindy's mom Paula Harris.

This evening, to celebrate our anniversary, we will share a quiet dinner together at a restaurant over looking beautiful San Diego Bay. Among other things we will raise a toast as we give thanks for so many of you, family and friends who have brought us to this point in our lives, and who have helped make the journey worthwhile.

Happy Anniversary Darrell and Mary. This coming Saturday, Dec 31 will be the 34th wedding anniversary of my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary Medina Shepard. Darrell and Mary were college students at Abilene Christian University when they got married on the last day of 1982 in Abilene, Texas. Their life journey has taken them from the plains of West Texas to Montana, Oregon and now Washington State, where they live today. Their family includes 3 children, their partners, and 4 young grandchildren. Happy Anniversary and best wishes to Mary and Darrell! 

The second picture, taken Christmas Eve, shows Darrell and Mary with three of their grandchildren, Mason, Logan and Kellan. Darrell: "Thirty four years sure go by fast! Oh, and the grand kids are awesome."

Truth Is Stranger.  I went Christmas caroling with a group from our church just before Christmas. One of the places we wanted to go -- a care facility where one of our members lives -- told our leaders that we could come and sing, but just holiday music. We were to sing no songs that had any reference to Jesus Christ or to religious themes. There were people of other faiths in the facility. (I am not making this up!) It was enough to turn the brightest optimist into a cynic. Fortunately, we had plenty of other places to go and sing. And a good time was had by all.

May this coming weekend of New Years Day be a happy time of celebrating family and friends! Best wishes to all of you for a joyous and prosperous new year!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Evolution of a Blog, December 21, 2016

How shall a person escape from their ancestors,
or draw off from his veins the black drop
which he drew from his father’s or mother’s life?
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings and best wishes to all of you on this week leading up to the Holiday. Merry Christmas to each of you and your family!

William & Bura Davis Shepard, 1915
William Shepard (1888-1976). This coming Christmas Day is the 128th anniversary of the birth of my Grandfather William Shepard. Our Shepard ancestry is firmly rooted in 19th century Indiana and Illinois, the latter being where Granddad was born in 1888. The Shepards then migrated to Oklahoma and Colorado in the early 20th century. But thanks to Granddad William, our Shepard family has now been settled on the West Coast, in particular in San Diego, for more than 75 years. He and his wife Bura Davis Shepard moved their small family to San Diego in 1940 and some of their descendants have lived here ever since. Granddad William died 40 years ago here in San Diego at the ripe old age of 88, yet he remains an important part of our family history. I am grateful for his life and legacy.

Pauline Shepard Russell, 1942
Pauline Shepard Russell (1916-2000). I have recently shared a couple of posts about life in our family 100 years ago. I'd like to take that theme again today. Exactly a century ago, on Christmas Day 1916, William Shepard turned 28 years old. Just three days later, on December 28, his wife Bura gave birth to their first child, Pauline Shepard. At the time they were a struggling young farming family, trying to make it on their own in Beaver County, Oklahoma. At home on a cold winter's day, they rejoiced in Pauline's arrival, the first of four children. It was a joyous celebration of new life, and a time to anticipate even more children, and then grandchildren -- and even some great grandchildren -- who would bless their lives. They would live to celebrate their family's growth to several dozen members, but it all began with Pauline's birth on the cold plains of Oklahoma 100 years ago, in the winter of 1916.

Evolution of a Blog. The Shepard's Crook has evolved over the 9 years that it has been in existence as a family-genealogical blog. It was the last Friday in December, 2007 that I began this blog to research the history of our ancestors and to celebrate their lives and descendants. In that period of time this blog has undergone significant evolution. Over these years I have learned a great deal about how to do family research and have gained more insight into family history than I ever thought possible. 

In these past 9 years I have shared over a thousand pictures of contemporary family as well as family from long ago. And I have reported here on research into dozens of ancestors. It has all been very enjoyable and richly rewarding for me. From the beginning, The Shepard's Crook has been a labor of love, and will continue to be so.

Maida and Barbara Shepard, 2016
In recent months I have had to cut back on the amount of historical research I have done. Family commitments and other personal concerns have brought me to the point where I simply cannot spend as much time with online research, resulting in fewer postings. That trend will probably continue. I remain committed to posting on a regular basis, but it will be less often than it has been over the years. 

Two relationships have been central to this change in Cindy's and my life. One has been our 3 grandchildren, to whom we have given significant time and energy as we have supported our son in his parenting responsibilities. And the other family concern is my mother Maida Shepard, who at 92, is requiring more attention from all her children than ever before. Even Cindy and I, though separated by many miles from the family in Washington State, need to do our part in attending to the needs that mom has in these last years of her beautiful life.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Recent Birth, an Old Old Wedding, December 12, 2016

A dysfunctional family is any family
with more than one person in it.
~Mary Karr

Happy Birthday Mason Shepard! Greetings to all of you today as Christmas draws nearer. And happy Birthday today to Mason Shepard of Bothell, Washington. Mason is the younger son of my nephew Patrick and his wife Nicole Shepard. He is one of the 4 grandchildren of my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary.

The picture on the right was taken earlier today and shows a happy 2 year old Mason suspended between his parents Nicole and Patrick. Best wishes to the entire family on this occasion of Mason's birthday!

Nicole: Before kids, people always said "they grow up so fast, enjoy everyday". It really is true!! I can't believe Mason is 2 years old today!! Happy Birthday buddy, we love you!!

Remembering a 358th Anniversary. Today is also a day that marks one of the oldest wedding anniversaries I can find anywhere in our family tree. It concerns the 12X Great Grandparents of the aforementioned Mason Shepard. On Dec 12, 1658 -- 358 years ago today --  Laurens Van Buskirk and Jannetje Jans were married in New Amsterdam (New York).

Laurens and Jannetje lived so long ago, they were buried in a cemetery that no longer exists, the old Van Buskirk Cemetery of Bayonne, in Hudson County, New Jersey. Though that cemetery no longer physically exists, it does have an online presence. Select this link to FindAGrave.com to get information about Laurens and Jannetje Van Buskirk and the cemetery where they were buried.

The information at FindAGrave.com tells us that Laurens Van Buskirk was born in Holstein, Denmark in 1655. His name first appears in records of New Amsterdam, June 19, 1656 in a deed for a lot of land on Broad Street. In July 1658 Laurens was sent by the Orphans Master at New Amsterdam to South River (Delaware) to assist Jannetje, the widow of Christian Barentsen Van Horn. Four and a half months later Laurens and Jannetje married on December 12, 1658 according to the marriage registry of the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam (New York). (Source: Immigration Library, Scandinavian Immigrants of New York.)

Laurens and Jannetje's 5X Great Granddaughter was Jane Buskirk Davis, who, with husband Alexander Davis, were the first among our ancestors to migrate from Eastern Ohio and settle in Spencer, Indiana in the 1850s. Many of those ancestors then moved on to Oklahoma in the early 20th century, and some eventually made it to San Diego in 1940.

Here is a lineage that shows our family line from our son Nathan Shepard to Laurens Van Buskirk and his wife Jannetje Jans Van Buskirk.
  • Nathan Shepard (b. 1977)
  • Steve Shepard (b. 1948) - wife Cindy Harris (b. 1948)
  • Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) - wife Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  • Bura Davis (1896-1986) - husband William Shepard (1888-1876)
  • James Brooks Davis (1870-1928) - wife Carolyn Spear (1865-1951)
  • Charles Edward Davis (1849-1926) - wife Malinda Wright (1846-1920)
  • Jane Buskirk (1823-1895) - husband Alexander Davis (1819-1866)
  • William S. Buskirk (1804-1873) - wife Mary (Buskirk) (1809-1886)
  • George Van Buskirk (1767-1825) - wife Mary Rulon (1767-1828)
  • John Van Burkirk (1743-1829) - wife Mary Blackmore (1742-1823)
  • George Van Buskirk (1721-1800) - wife Sarah Ashton (1720-1779)
  • Johannes Van Buskirk (1694-1747) - wife Marytie Hooglandt (1696-1738)
  • Thomas Van Buskirk (1668-1748) - wife Margrete Brickers (1668-1719)
  • Laurens Van Buskirk (1630-1694) - wife Jannetje Jans (1629-1694)
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951), November 29, 2016

Memories, even bittersweet ones,
are better than nothing.
~Jennifer Armentrout

Remembering Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951)Today is the 151st anniversary of the birth of Caroline Spear Davis of Owen County, Indiana. She is the mother of my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). Her 85 years spanned a amazing time in history, from the American Civil War to the post WWII years.

The 6 image composite, below on the right, shows Callie at 6 different stages of her life. Across the top are three images from the time when she lived in Indiana: in about 1880 as a young woman, in 1896 as a 30 year old bride, and then in 1908 as a mother of 7 children. Across the bottom are three images from when she lived in Oklahoma: in 1922 as a Grandmother with one of her grandchildren Bernard Kilpatrick; in 1936 as a Great Grandmother with one of her great grandchildren Rex Russell; and in 1947 just a few years before the end of her life.

Caroline (or "Callie" as she was known) is our connection to our Spear family roots, an interesting and very significant part of our family heritage. Callie's Great Grandfather James Spear (1768-1821) migrated to America from Ireland as a young man, and eventually settled in Eastern Ohio. Like our Davis ancestors (and countless other pioneering families), the Spears came from Eastern Ohio to Indiana in the 1850s. My GGG Grandparents Alexander and Jane Davis came from Ohio's Monroe County, while the widow Julian Pugh Spear (Callie's grandmother) came with her grown children from Ohio's Tuscarawas County. The Spears and the Davises settled about the same time in Morgan Township near Spencer, Indiana in the years just before the Civil War.

Whether the Spears and the Davises knew each other in Ohio before moving westward is unknown. We do know that both families settled very near each other in Indiana, and that both families were instrumental in establishing a small country church near Spencer, Indiana, the New Union Church of Christ. This suggests that when they migrated westward the Spears and the Davises brought with them their common church affiliation.

In Eastern Ohio in the mid-19th century, the most rapidly growing religious group was the Campbell-Stone Movement (aka the "Restoration Movement") which gave rise to the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church, and the Disciples of Christ. One curious historical tidbit I found shows that Andrew Spear (1806-1887), the brother of Callie's Grandfather Samuel Spear, is buried in the "Church of Christ Cemetery" in Washington County in Eastern Ohio. It is just one more indication that Callie Spear Davis' kinfolk in Ohio were Restoration Movement people. This suggests that our family's roots in the Campbell-Stone tradition in America go back to the early 19th century, and the very beginning of the Campbell-Stone tradition.

Another interesting bit of family history relating to Callie Spear Davis is the existence of an obscure little book by A.T. DeGroot titled "The Churches of Christ in Owen County, Indiana," published in 1935. In that book the author writes about the New Union Church of Christ (also called "the Christian Church at Union"), the congregation to which Callie Spear and her family belonged. It is also the congregation to which many family members of her husband James Davis belonged.

DeGroot's book contains numerous membership records from the period between 1866 and 1880. In those membership records are 11 people named Davis, and 28 people named Spear, most of them identifiable as kinfolk of ours. When Callie Spear married James Davis in 1896, it was the union of two church members whose families were founding members of the same small congregation in their rural community. The New Union Church was a viable congregation for 100 years until it closed in the fall of 1956.

A number of our Davis ancestors rest in the New Union Cemetery adjacent to where the New Union Church once stood, at the corner of Rattlesnake Rd and Shepard Patrick Road a few miles out of town. A number of our Spear relations rest in the Spear Cemetery, 5 miles northwest of the New Union Cemetery.

In 1913 Callie Spear Davis and her husband James Brooks Davis moved from Indiana and settled in Beaver County, Oklahoma with their 7 children. Callie and James lived the last years of their lives there and are buried in the Sophia Cemetery in Beaver County.

Happy Birthday Kim and Damian. Today is also the birthday of one of Callie Spear Davis' Great Grandaughters, my cousin Kim Boyd Clark. Kim is the daughter of my aunt Thelma Shepard Boyd. She and husband Jeff Clark live in Grain Valley, Missouri. 

Today also happens to be the birthday of Kim's grandson Damian Ortiz of San Diego. Damian is the son of Kim's son Jeremy Ortiz and his wife Desiree of El Cajon, California. Best wishes and happy birthday to Kim and Damian!

Thanks to Damian's mom Desiree for this picture of Kim and grandson Damian.
- - -
Steve Shepard 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, November 23, 2016

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
~Henry David Thoreau

On this week of Thanksgiving 2016, I am grateful for three particular women in our extended family: My mother Maida Gower Shepard, and my two aunts Vicki Gower Johnston, and Thelma Shepard Boyd. That triad represents the senior members of my parents' generation in our family.

My aunt Thelma is the youngest of the three, and is the last remaining child of my grandparents William and Bura Davis Shepard. Born in Two Buttes, Colorado, she moved as a child to San Diego when the Shepards first settled here in 1940. She lives today in Grain Valley, Missouri with her daughter Kim Clark Boyd, who tells me: "She is doing fine. She loves car rides and goes everywhere we go. She still walks every day. I cook and she's the prep cook and dishwasher." Happy Thanksgiving and thank you to Thelma for blessing our Shepard family for 80 years!

The first picture, taken this past May, shows my aunt Thelma Boyd on the left, with fellow octogenarian Engelbert Humperdinck. (What? You don't know the famous Engelbert Humperdinck? Google him. Or better yet, Youtube him!) Also pictured are Thelma's daughter Kim and her husband Jeff Clark.

My aunt Vicki Gower Johnston is the youngest of the three children of my Grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma she too came to San Diego as a child when our Gower family settled here in 1942. She lives today in Chandler, Arizona near her daughter Paula Harrell Tuzzolino, although she still longs for life in Oak Harbor, Washington where she lived for over 40 years, until a year ago. Happy Thanksgiving and much gratitude to Vicki for being an important part of our family.

This second picture shows my aunt Vicki back in 1995 when she was visiting in San Diego. This picture was taken by her sister Maida Shepard while they were having fun riding the Carousel in front of the San Diego zoo.

And I am very grateful for the senior most member of our family, my 92 year old mother Maida Gower Shepard who lives with her daughter Barbara in Anacortes, Washington. Born in Mountain View, Arkansas, Maida and husband Eugene raised a family of 6 children in San Diego before retiring to Washington State in 1978. Mom has made her home there now for nearly 40 years. 

I am especially grateful that mom is doing better after being hospitalized a week ago. As of this writing she is still in the hospital in nearby Mount Vernon, Washington, but is stable and hopefully will be going home later today. 

This third picture, taken in August, shows Maida on the right with her oldest son Gary and her daughter Barbara at her home on Wildwood Lane in Anacortes.

After re-reading the foregoing paragraphs, it dawned on me that the caregivers of the foregoing women also deserve our thanks. I am grateful for daughters in our family, like Paula, Kim and Barbara, who give so much of themselves to care for their aging mothers. It speaks well for the kind of family we are!

May all of you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Remembering Bura Davis Shepard, November 10, 2016

How important it is
for us to recognize and celebrate
our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou

Veteran's Day. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, an opportunity to honor all those who have served our country in military service. We have many folks in our extended families who deserve our appreciation on this day. Thanks to all of them for the many various ways they have served: men and women, Davises and Shepards, Shannons and Gowers, and many others. Your commitment to our country blesses our family. 

Remembering Bura Shepard. Tuesday of this week was the 120th anniversary of the birth of my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). Born in Indiana in 1896, she and her family, in the spring of 1913, left Owen County, Indiana and migrated westward. They settled in the panhandle of Oklahoma, where, within just two years, Bura met and married William Shepard, my grandfather.

100 years ago this fall, William and Bura were a young couple living in Beaver County. They were still adjusting to married life in a rural setting, having celebrated their first wedding anniversary on June 2, 1916.

Bura Davis (Shepard)
Will and Bura's first child arrived in late December, which meant that for most of 1916, 19 year old Bura was pregnant. She had moved to Oklahoma just 3 years earlier, and now as a young pregnant housewife, had to endure the heat of a dusty Oklahoma summer, the physical demands of a young farming couple, the difficulties of adjusting to being married, and much more. Even though there were a number of other Shepard and Davis family members in Beaver County, life for Will and Bura, out in the Oklahoma countryside, must have felt very lonely at times, especially when transportation was primarily by foot, horseback or a horse drawn wagon.

Bura, the oldest of 7 children, was from a large and robust family which was an integral part of her identity. In the fall of 1916 Will's parents, William Elmer and Elvira Shepard, lived elsewhere in Beaver County, as did Bura's parents, James and Callie Davis. In the household of the elder Davises lived Bura's 6 younger siblings, who ranged in age from 8 to 18 years old. The teen bride Bura was no longer in the middle of that happy and vibrant family circle. Instead she and her new husband were on their own and sought to make their own way in life.

When Bura's 20th birthday arrived on November 8, 1916, she was just weeks away from bringing into the world a baby girl they would name Pauline, the first Shepard child of the next generation, and the first of Will and Bura's 4 children.

The 1920 U.S. census shows that Will and Bura Shepard were living in Logan Township within Beaver County, in the very Southeastern corner of the Oklahoma panhandle, walking distance from the Texas state border. They were 35 miles southeast of the small town of Beaver, the county seat. According to the 1920 Census, none of their family were living in the immediate area where they resided and where they worked their small family farm. They were 15 miles on a dirt road from the South Flat Church of Christ, to which they and other family members belonged, and which was a major source of social contact. Being pregnant on the Oklahoma frontier, removed from family and friends most of the time, must have been very difficult.

A Few Historical Notes: In 1916 nearly 14,000 people lived in Beaver County, more than had ever lived in that county before that time, or since. It was a unique time of significant growth for this part of the state, known as the Cherokee Strip. The growth was a result of the historic land rush of 1893, when upwards of 100,000 people participated in a run to claim land. 1916 was the height of the population growth for Beaver County. Today the population is less than half what it was when Will and Bura lived there.

November 7, 1916, the day before Bura's 20th birthday, was election day in the U.S. with Democratic incumbent Woodrow Wilson elected president for a second term. It was the last day that Bura was 19 years old, but she was not allowed to vote, even if she had wanted to. The Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, did not become a part of the U.S. Constitution until the summer of 1920. 

Art Colgain, Havilah Wardle
Bura likely voted in that 1920 election, the first one open to women voters, making her one of the first women ever in our family to vote in a Presidential election. It would have been an incongruous distinction for Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard, who was a soft spoken, but devout woman, who shied away from accolades and was most comfortable living humbly away from the spotlight.

Two other family milestones this week. This past Monday, one of William and Bura Shepard's Great Grandchildren, Havilah Colgain Wardle, celebrated her 34th birthday. Congratulations and best wishes to Havilah who along with husband Kevin, lives in the Salt Lake City area. She is the daughter of my cousin Joan Shepard of Dixon, California, and Art Colgain of the Salt Lake City area. This second picture shows Havilah with her dad in a photo taken back on Father's Day.

Russ Shepard, Shaun Gower
Happy Birthday on Tuesday of this week to Shaun Gower, who with his wife Tracy, lives in Escondido, California. Born in England in 1967 when his father was in the service, Shaun is the son of my cousin Hershell Gower, and the youngest Great Grandchild of my grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Shaun is one of the few descendants of my Gower grandparents who still lives in the San Diego area.

This last picture, taken in 1990, shows Shaun Gower (on the right) with his cousin Russ Shepard at Lake Erie, near the home of my parents Maida and Eugene Shepard of Anacortes, Washington.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Monday, October 31, 2016

Things That Go Bump In The Night! October 31, 2016

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

Happy Halloween! Greetings to all of you from Anacortes, Washington where I am enjoying a fall visit with family here. Happy Halloween to everyone on this last day of October, 2016! Best wishes to all of you as we honor this great American holiday celebrating horror and all things terrifying.

This first picture was taken earlier this evening and shows our 3 grandkids sharing a Halloween moment with their San Diego Great Grandmother Paula Harris, Cindy's mom. From left to right are "Fireman" Logan Shepard, Preslea Shepard as "Draculora", and on the right, "Pirate" William Shepard, each with their buckets of Halloween candy. Thanks to my wife Cindy for this picture.

Happy Birthday Maida! Tomorrow is the 92nd birthday of my mom Maida Shepard, the Washington Great Grandmother of our grandkids. Maida has lived in Anacortes, Washington on Wildwood Lane for over 38 years now, ever since she and her late husband Eugene Shepard moved to the Northwest from San Diego back in 1978. Living with Maida and helping her as she carefully moves into her 90's is her daughter Barbara and her grandson Steven, and other family in the area. Many of Maida's family live in Western Washington, while others live in San Diego and in the Weatherford, Texas area.

Yesterday Barb and I celebrated mom's birthday with her at Anthony's, a popular local restaurant. This second picture was taken on that occasion and shows me planting a kiss on birthday girl Maida.

Maida and Paula are among the senior members of our extended family. We wish them both well and offer special birthday greetings to Maida! 
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Our Roots Remain as One, October 26, 2016

Family is like branches on a tree.
We all grow in different directions
yet our roots remain as one.

The Shepard-Davis-Pruett Clan. In my last post I mentioned that I had recently connected online with a second cousin of mine, Lisa Allred Parks who lives in Haltom City, Texas. She emailed me a picture of my Shepard grandparents (and a host of other kinfolk), one than I had never seen before and am very grateful to have. Here's the picture (you can enlarge it by clicking on it):
Shepard-Davis-Pruett Clan, 1945, Oklahoma

I have a similar picture that has been in my archives for many years, that was taken at the same location, probably at the same time, but includes only a few of the people pictured here (you can see that picture below). 

On the back of Lisa's copy of this first picture it says it was taken in the summer of 1945 in Beaver County, Oklahoma, at the home of Perry Jenkins (the husband of Esther Davis Jenkins, sister of my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard).

This particular image illustrates better than any other picture I have ever seen, the relationship that existed between the extended family of my Grandfather William Shepard (pictured here on the far left in the back, only his head is visible), and the family of my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (pictured on the far left side in the white dress). 

William Shepard's family was fairly small in number. His immediate family consisted of his wife and 4 children, a son-in-law and 2 grandchildren, all of whom were living in San Diego in 1945. He had just one sibling Sadie Shepard Pruett (possibly the one pictured next to William in the back, with only her head visible). Sadie, with husband Levy Pruett (pictured far right in the back), had 3 daughters. All 3 daughters - Alberta, Gayle and Twila - are pictured here with the husbands of Alberta and Gayle. Twila is the mother of Lisa Allred Parks, who graciously sent me this picture.

My Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard had 6 siblings, all of whom were married with kids at this time, which meant a much larger extended family. Among Bura's siblings in the first picture are Marjorie Davis Millikan (in the very center, white dress with brooch) and Esther Davis Jenkins to the left of Marjorie. William and Bura's daughter Thelma is in front, the third in the line of 4 young girls. The elderly lady on the right is Thelma's grandmother, Callie Spear Davis, mother of the Davis children in the first picture.

I am not able to identify all the folks in the first picture above (if you can, please let me know), yet they are all happy participants in this Shepard-Davis-Pruett clan gathering 71 years ago, on the dusty plains of the Oklahoma panhandle. It's a reminder of a different era when our families were expanding, some moving westward to the coast, all developing their own identity and growing their own family circles. Despite the many years that have passed, we are still united by that bond of connection to common ancestors, most of whom are gone now, but all of whom are respectfully remembered.

Happy Birthday Mandi! Today is the 24th birthday of Mandi Aquiningoc of Granbury, Texas. Mandi is the Granddaughter of my brother Gary Shepard and Jackie Perry, and is the daughter of Kerri Aquiningoc. Mandi was born and lived in San Diego but has been in Texas now for over 15 years.

This third picture shows Mandi on the right with her daughter, 3 year old Kambree. Also pictured is Mandi's cousin Kyle Sauvage.

Mandi: Hi uncle Steve! It's always good to hear from you. Kambree and I are doing great. She has definitely grown a lot since the last time we saw you and Great Grammie a few years ago. She turned 3 back in June and is growing way too fast. She is also learning so much in school already. Right now we're learning how to write her name and I have been working my tail off. At one point I was working 2 jobs. I became a bartender at a place called Fuzzys Taco, also working at UPS. But I did manage to save a lot of money working 2 jobs. My sister and I still live together, but my goal is to eventually find a place for myself and Kambree. I believe I'm almost to that point. I love hearing from you guys and I sure wish we can all see y'all again sometime soon. We love and miss y'all!

Birthday Wishes to Pam! This coming Sunday, October 30 is the birthday of Pam Engan Shepard, wife of my brother Russ Shepard and part of our family who lives in Anacortes, Washington. Pam is the mother of Linda and Steven Shepard. Happy birthday and best wishes to Pam as she celebrates yet another birthday!

This last picture was taken last month and shows Pam slicing apples in the kitchen of her mother-in-law Maida Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. Partially pictured with Pam is their son Steven Shepard.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Celebrating Family Connections, October 18, 2016

Sticking with your family is what makes it a family.
~Mitch Albom

Happy Birthday to Aunt Vicki! Birthday wishes go out today to my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston of Chandler, Arizona, who turns 83 years old today. Vicki lives just a few minutes away from her daughter Paula Harrell Tuzzolino of Sun Lakes, Arizona. Her other children are David Harrell of Oak Harbor, Washington and Michael Harrell of Zionsville, Indiana (soon to be living in Tokyo, Japan).

I talked with Vicki's daughter Paula recently, and she told me that her mom is doing pretty well, aside from the aches and pains that normally go along with being an octogenarian. Vicki still misses life in Oak Harbor, Washington where she lived for some 40 years in a beautiful home, high on a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound. Last fall she moved to the desert of Arizona to be near Paula.

Speaking of Washington, this first picture was taken in Anacortes, Washington in 1994 at a family reunion at the home of my parents Maida and Gene Shepard. Sitting pretty in the green outfit is my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston. Directly behind her is her daughter Paula. In the front on the right is my uncle Bill Russell (1908-1997), whose birthday is also today and who was featured in my blog post last week.

Happy Birthday Kori. Congratulations and best wishes to Korilyn Boyd, daughter of my cousin Darren Boyd. Kori who turns 19 today, lives in the North Park community of San Diego with her dad Darren Boyd. She graduated back in the spring of this year from Coronado High School and is attending Mesa College here in San Diego. Kori is the youngest child of my youngest cousin Darren Boyd, who is the youngest child of my youngest aunt Thelma Shepard Boyd of Blue Springs, Missouri.

This second picture shows Korilyn Boyd in a picture that was taken this past spring when Kori graduated from Coronado High School.

Connecting With Cousins. It is always fun to connect with people online who I have never met, but who are related to people who are ancestors of ours. In recent months I have connected with a second cousin named Lisa Allred Parks of Ft. Worth, Texas. She is a granddaughter of Sadie Shepard Pruett, the sister of my grandfather William Shepard. Lisa is the daughter of the late Twila Pruett Allred, who was a first cousin of my father Eugene Shepard. For several years I have been interested in connecting with this part of our extended family, but without success. So it was a real joy to get an email from Lisa who stumbled upon The Shepard's Crook not long ago and is now among our regular readers.

Earlier this year I also heard from another second cousin named Alice Shannon Traynor of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Alice is a daughter of Marvin Shannon (1916-2004) who was a first cousin of my mom Maida Gower Shepard. Alice: "I was very excited to run across your blog. I stumbled across it when I googled Samuel Pickens Shannon." Samuel Pickens Shannon, of Mountain View, Arkansas, is the Great Grandfather of both Alice and me. It is gratifying to be in touch with both these extended family members and to learn more about their particular families and share with them about the ancestors we have in common.
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Steve Shepard

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"A Quotation From All His Ancestors", October 11, 2016

Every house is a quotation out of all forests;
and every person is a quotation from all his ancestors.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remembering Bill Russell. My uncle, Willie Davis Russell, is a man worth remembering. Married to my aunt Pauline Shepard, he was a remarkable person with a wonderful, positive influence on our Shepard family for most of his life. Bill was born in this month of October, 108 years ago, in Ellis County, Oklahoma, just east of Beaver County where my Shepard grandparents settled in the early 20th century. Their oldest child was Pauline Shepard whom Bill married in January, 1935 when the Shepards were living in the little town of Two Buttes, Colorado.

In September of that same year, 1935, Bill's father John Russell died in Kansas. Bill's widowed mother Cora Hamilton Russell went to live in Tennessee with family, and Bill's attachment to the Shepard family became even more significant. Bill and Pauline lived in Southeast Colorado for 5 years after getting married, and bore their 2 children there, Rex and Beverly.

They and their children then migrated to San Diego in 1940 with Pauline's parents William and Bura Davis Shepard and their other 3 children. It was a time of tremendous migration into California after the bleak dust-bowl years in Oklahoma and Colorado, as people sought improved economic opportunities. Even though their move to the West Coast separated them from their extended family and their historical roots, it was a positive move for the Shepard family. We flourished in the post war years in San Diego, and experienced several decades of growth and happiness throughout the second half of the 20th century.

The 1940 US Census shows that when they lived in Colorado, Bill worked as a "Tractor Man" in "Road Construction." Bill developed a serious bone disease as a young man, requiring the amputation of one of his legs. So when they settled in San Diego, his vocational pursuits had to change. He worked as an accountant and a notary public and made an excellent living for himself and his family. He and Pauline were very positive people, always helpful to the rest of the family, and even took Bill's prosthetic leg with an appropriate amount of good humor.

The first picture (above) was taken in San Diego about 1945, probably in Balboa Park. It shows Bill Russell on the far right with his daughter Beverly in front of him. Next to Bill is his mother Cora Hamilton Russell who was visiting in San Diego at the time. On the far left are my grandparents William and Bura Davis Shepard. The other people are unidentified family friends.

The Russells' first home in San Diego (the first home owned by any of the Shepard clan in California) was purchased in the early 1940s in North Park on Ohio Street. In the 1960s they bought their second home in the eastern part of the city off El Cajon Blvd. on Mandalay Place, a new modern home where many memorable family gatherings took place.

This second picture shows Bill and Pauline Russell (on the left) in the summer of 1991. With them are my parents Maida and Gene Shepard, and my wife Cindy. This picture was taken in Lake Wallowa, Oregon at a family reunion.

Bill and Pauline lived out their days in San Diego. Bill died in the summer of 1997 at 88 years old. He and Pauline are laid to rest in a section of Greenwood Cemetery in San Diego where more than a dozen other family members have their final resting place.

Bill and Pauline have three descendants living today. Their grandson Eric Russell of Reno, Nevada, son of their first born, Rex Russell. And Shannon Wilk and her daughter Emma Wilk of Atchison, Kansas. Shannon is the daughter of Bill and Pauline's daughter Beverly Russell Wilk.

Both Bill and Pauline will always have a special place in the history of our family, and are remembered fondly by all of us who knew them.

Happy Birthday Finley! The foregoing is a look back at the oldest family member of my parents' generation. The following celebrates the life of the youngest member of my grandchildren's generation.

Today is the first birthday of Finley Grace Shepard, the daughter of Jessica Bell and my nephew Christopher Shepard of Seattle, Washington. Chris is the son of Mary Medina Shepard and my brother Darrell Shepard of Bothell, Washington. Finley is also the youngest of the 11 Great Grandchildren of my mom Maida Gower Shepard.

This final picture shows little Finley with her parents Jessica and Chris. This picture was taken last month when they were visiting Finley's Great Grandmother Maida in Anacortes, Washington.
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Steve Shepard

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Misfits From the Start", September 29, 2016

Humans are things of shreds and patches,
borrowed unequally from good and bad ancestors,
and misfits from the start. 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Happy Birthday, Alexandria! Today, September 29, is the 5th birthday of Alexandria Cotten, of San Antonio, Texas, the younger daughter of Heather and Sean Cotten, and the granddaughter of my cousin Paula Harrell Tuzzolino. Lexi is another one of the GG Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. 

This first picture was taken earlier this year and shows Lexi in a pleasant pastoral setting sharing a flower with her big sister Tori.

As I mentioned in my last post, September 29 is the anniversary of the wedding of Leroy and Nola Gower, in 1921 in Stone County, Arkansas. So their Great Great Grandaughter Lexi Cotten was born on their 90th wedding anniversary. Happy Birthday to Lexi and best wishes to her family.

Happy Birthday Cathrina! Today we celebrate another Texas milestone. It is the birthday of Cathrina Helms Clark. She and husband Jerry Clark live in Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock is where their base of operations is in their visits and love for the ten grandchildren they share between the two of them.

This second picture shows Cathrina celebrating with friends earlier this year. It wasn't her birthday celebration, but she was certainly in a festive mood.

Happy Birthday Kellan! This Saturday, October 1, is the birthday of Kellan Christopher Shepard who will celebrate his second birthday! Best wishes to Kellan and his mom Rachel Shepard, and his Grandparents Darrell and Mary Shepard, all of whom live in Bothell, Washington. 

Kellan is one of the youngest Great Grandchildren of my mother Maida Gower Shepard, the senior member of our family. This makes Kellan another of the Great Great Grandchldren of Leroy and Nola Gower.

This third picture shows Kellan with his grandfather, my brother Darrell Shepard.

Best wishes to all three of these families, from the heart of Texas to the Great Northwest. May their celebrations fill their homes with joy and thanksgiving.
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Steve Shepard

Friday, September 23, 2016

Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Future, September 23, 2016

The past gives you an identity
and the future holds the promise of salvation. 
Both are illusions.
~Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

95 years ago this month my Gower Grandparents were married. On September 29, 1921 Leroy Gower and Nola Shannon said their vows and began a relationship that would result in a wonderful family that today is spread over a large part of the US. They were married in the town of Timbo, in Stone County, Arkansas while living in the nearby town of New Nata, 9 miles west of Mountain View, Arkansas. At the time Leroy was 22 and Nola was just 18.

The first picture shows Leroy and Nola at their 50th anniversary celebration which took place in 1971. The location was the family home of their son-in-law and daughter, Eugene and Maida Gower Shepard, on Armstrong Street in San Diego. 

After marrying in Arkansas they lived 4 short years there, before moving to Okemah, Oklahoma with their first two children, Hendrix who was 3, and Maida who was a year old. In Oklahoma their 3rd child Vicki (Melva) was born. In 1942, during the second World War, they moved to San Diego where their family flourished and grew and where they lived most of the rest of their lives. 

Today less than a dozen of Nola and Leroy's descendants live in the San Diego area, while the rest of them are found in Western Washington, Texas, Arizona, Southern California and Indiana. Their oldest living descendant is my mother Maida Gower Shepard of Anacortes, Washington, while their youngest descendant is Finley Shepard of Seattle (see recent picture above). In between those two is a diverse clan of several dozen people with the last names Gower, Shepard, Johnston, Harrell, Tuzzolino, Aquiningoc, Sauvage, Bearden and Cotten.

Living in San Diego gives me a chance to visit important places in the life of our larger family in year's past. This third picture shows a beautiful building in Balboa Park that for many years was the home of the Balboa Park Baptist Church. It has undergone some renovation over the years but it still has the Angel Gabriel on top, the only part of it still owned by the Church. Leroy and Nola attended that church for many years in the middle years of the 20th century. Leroy was a leader of the congregation, while Nola was very dedicated to it in many other ways. The only time I remember being in the church was that very memorable occasion in December, 1974, when Grandpa Leroy's funeral took place there.

Among the youngest descendants of Leroy and Nola are the two mentioned below whose birthdays are this week. 

Happy Birthday Karver. Yesterday, September 22, was the second birthday of Karver Ryan Bearden, one of just two Great Great Great Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. He is the baby boy of Lyndsey Aquiningoc of Granbury, Texas, and Colton Bearden. Here is Karver's lineage: Lyndsey Aquiningoc / Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc / Gary Shepard / Maida Gower Shepard / Leroy and Nola Gower.

Mom Lyndsey posted this on Facebook yesterday: This day 2 years ago was the most amazing experience in my life! The love that I have for this boy gets stronger and stronger every day. Its hard to believe that he is 2 today! Happy birthday Karver! I love you more than I can ever explain. 

Happy Birthday VictoriaToday, September 23 is the 9th birthday of Victoria Cotten, the older daughter of Sean and Heather Robson Cotten. Tori is one of the 16 Great Great Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Tori and her family live in Austin, Texas. Here is Tori's lineage: Heather Robson Cotten / Paula Harrell Tuzzolino / Vicki Gower Johnston / Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

Looking back, we celebrate with gratitude and joy the lives of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower and the wonderful foundation they provided for all of us, their descendants. At the same time we honor these two young ones, and celebrate with them and their families.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, September 09, 2016

Summer Adventures, September 9, 2016

It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine 
... it's summertime!
~Kenny Chesney

Feeling Great About Turning 68. Today is my 68th birthday, a reminder to me that life slips by much faster than we ever imagined. I look forward to celebrating the day with Cindy, our son Nathan, and our 3 grandkids Preslea, Logan and William. 

This first picture was taken earlier this summer at the La Jolla's Children's Pool here in San Diego and shows me with William and Logan enjoying a day at the beach. 

Happy Birthday Kelly. Monday, September 12, is the birthday of my niece Kelly Shepard Sauvage, daughter of my brother Gary Shepard and Jackie Perry. Born and raised in San Diego, Kelly and husband James live today in Weatherford, Texas with their sons Nate and Kyle. Best wishes to Kelly on her birthday!

This second picture was taken last month when Kelly and the boys were visiting in Las Vegas. It shows Kelly with Nate on the left and Kyle on the right enjoying a moment in front of the Circus Circus Hotel.

Summer Slide Show. This summer has been an exciting time for many of us. Adventurous, difficult and exhilarating are also words that could accurately describe the events of recent months. The following is a slide show of various happy gatherings around our Shepard and Gower families this summer. They are scenes of graduations, sporting events, several birthdays, a few holiday gatherings, beach parties, pool parties, hiking trips, and one snake handler. These scenes are of family in Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, San Diego, Northern California and elsewhere. Thanks to all of you who have shared summer fun pictures on Facebook. Our extended family, despite our trials and tribulations, is a fun loving bunch who knows how to enjoy each other!

This slide show is to the musical accompaniment of songs by Elijah Kelly.

Japan Here We Come. I received word recently from my cousin Mike Harrell who lives with his wife Carole in Zionsville, Indiana. He tells me that next month he and Carole are going to Tokyo, Japan for Mike's work for an extended period of time. He wants me to let everyone know that if any of us find our way to Japan, to be sure and contact them. They would love to welcome visitors -- especially family -- from the U.S.! You are welcome to contact me if you would like more details. Best wishes to Mike with this employment opportunity, and to both of them on this exciting move to Japan.

In his email to me, Mike added this fascinating historical note: When he was born in the 1950s his mom and dad, Carl and Vicki Gower Harrell, were living in Tokyo. Carl was in the U.S. Military and stationed there. Mike was born in a hospital just one block away from where his work office today is located.

- - -
Steve Shepard