Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"I Don't Need Google", February 2, 2016

There is something about
reviewing the lessons of the past
that prepares us to face
the challenges of the future.
~L. Tom Perry

On this Ground Hog Day, I am celebrating three different but important celebrations among people within our family tree.

Cindy Ann Shepard. Today is the birthday of Cindy Ann Dillon Shepard, the wife of my brother Gary Shepard, who lives in the town of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington. Cindy was actually born in Rhode Island, but was raised in Southern California. She and Gary were married in Orange County in 1979, and then lived in the San Diego area until they retired to Washington in 2003 where they live today. Cindy has worked for several years in nearby Mount Vernon, Washington at Schenk Packing Company. 

Gary and Cindy Shepard
This first picture shows Gary and Cindy and was taken this past Christmas at the home of Maida Shepard in Anacortes, Washington. Happy Birthday to Cindy!

William Elmer Shepard (1862-1915). Today is the birthday of my Great Grandfather William Elmer Shepard. His is one of the more remarkable stories to be found in our entire family tree, that I have written about numerous times in this blog. His father was a Civil War soldier named William Shepard who died just 5 months after William Elmer was born.

The widow and mother Mary Elizabeth Sprague Shepard rebounded by marrying an older man in Montgomery County, Indiana who already had his own family, but was kind enough to take into his household this young widow and her two sons, 3 year old William Elmer and 4 year old Frank. This united family did not blend well and by the time William Elmer was an older teenager he struck out on his own. He hightailed it out of Montgomery County, then out of the state of Indiana, and landed in Madison County, Illinois, where he met Elvira Owens and his wandering days were over. After marrying Elvira and having two children with her, he moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma where he and Elvira lived out their days. He died in 1915, also in the month of February, at just 53 years old.

We know from the stories of his son, my Granddad William Shepard, that William Elmer died from what was diagnosed at the time as stomach cancer. He was a good father, husband and church member (South Flat Church of Christ), and made a great impact on his son. He died just 4 months before his son married Bura Davis. We remember him today for the witness that he was to his family and his church.

John and Sally After 190 Years. Today is also the anniversary of two of my GGG Grandparents, John Pouty Williams (1806-1898) and Sarah (Sally) Richardson (1801-1877). They were married on this day in 1826, 190 years ago. 

John was born in Kentucky but after his father died in 1813 when young John was a child, his mother Lydia Warford Williams took their 4 children and moved them to Indiana where their family settled for several generations. In Indiana young John met Sally Richardson and even though she was 5 years older, married her when he was 19 and she was 24. Sally was originally from Virginia but had moved as a young woman to Washington County, Indiana, where she and John tied the knot. 

Headstone of Sarah (Sally) Richardson Williams
We don't know much about the wedding of John and Sally, other than it took place in Southern Indiana, on this day, the very midpoint of winter, Ground Hog Day (although the Puxtahawny Phil tradition did not even start until some years later). Indiana was still very much frontier America at that time, the state itself was still very young, Indians were still a major challenge, and travel was very primitive and difficult through this rugged, untamed landscape. 

John and Sally's marriage lasted 51 years -- an amazing length of time in those days -- and endured the build up to, the fighting of, and the rebuilding after the Civil War. Their love resulted in 9 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, including Bura Davis Shepard, my grandmother. Sally died in 1877 while John lived until 1898. Grandmother Bura was born just 14 months before the death of her Great Grandfather John Pouty Williams, with the real possibility that the two of them may have actually spent some special moments together.

John and Sally Williams are yet another remarkable couple in our family tree whose lives are worth remembering, and whose love and devotion to one another is deserving of our gratitude. Their final resting place is in the beautiful Pleasant Grove Cemetery in the hills northwest of Spencer, Indiana.
- - -
Steve Shepard

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