Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween! October 30, 2017

Werewolves howl.
Phantoms prowl.
Halloween's upon us now.
~Richelle E. Goodrich

Russ and Pam
Happy Halloween! It was always a joy as a kid when we would get excited about Halloween in the few days before the holiday itself. In contrast I have noticed that in our neighborhood today Halloween has become something of a month long celebration.

At the end of September in our community here in San Diego where we live, there were houses near us that had ornate pumpkins and orange lights strung across their front yards -- a full month before Halloween. Have you noticed a similar thing where you live? We love our holidays!

Birthday Wishes to Pam! Happy Birthday today to Pam Shepard of Anacortes, Washington whose birthday falls on the day before this great American holiday. Pam is the wife of my brother Russell Shepard, and mother of Linda and Steven. Pam and Russ live on Wildwood Lane in Anacortes with my mom Maida Shepard and are part of the family team who is caring for mom these days. Pam was born in Anacortes, Washington and has lived there her entire life. Best wishes to her for a happy almost-Halloween birthday!

Celebrating 93! On November 1, Wednesday of this week, and the day after Halloween, my mother Maida Gower Shepard will celebrate her 93rd birthday. Born in Mountain View, Arkansas in 1924, she is the second child of Leroy Gower and Nola Shannon Gower. Mom was raised in the small town of Okemah, Oklahoma during the 1920s and 1930s. In the early 1940s her family moved to San Diego, where she met and married another transplanted Okie, Eugene Shepard.

Mom and Dad lived in San Diego for 36 years during which time they raised their 6 children. In 1978 Dad retired and they moved to Anacortes. After 25 years there Dad passed away in the summer of 2003. Next April will mark 40 years that Mom has lived in her home on Wildwood Lane in Anacortes.

This second picture shows mom earlier this year, and was taken on a clear spring day in front of her long time home in Anacortes, Washington.

Paula Harris, Maida Shepard
At 93 she deserves the honor of being the senior member of our family. She is in fairly good health, but as a nonagenarian, she has various health concerns including some serious memory issues. But she continues to enjoy her home on Wildwood Lane, her family scattered hither and yon, and her church in Anacortes. Maida is proud to have 5 children, 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren, spread out over Washington, California and Texas.

This third picture shows Maida a couple of years ago when she was on a Hawaiian cruise with Cindy and me and Cindy's mom Paula Harris during Halloween.

Happy Birthday and best wishes to mom!  
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Steve Shepard

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Our Roots In The Caribbean, October 25, 2017

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion.
They help us define who we are;
they provide something steady, reliable and safe
in a confusing world.
~Susan Lieberman

Happy Birthday Mandi! Today is the birthday of Mandi Aquiningoc, daughter of Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc and granddaughter of my brother Gary Shepard. Mandi and her daughter Kambree are part of our family who live in the area around Weatherford, Texas. Mandi was born 25 years ago here in San Diego but has lived most of her life in Texas.

Best wishes to Mandi for a wonderful 25th Birthday. This first picture shows Mandi with her daughter Kambree.

Two More John Sheppards. In my last post, I introduced you to the oldest Shepard ancestors I had found, John Sheppard III and his wife Mary Ann Hudson Sheppard, whose lives reached back into the early 18th century. Mary Ann and John were originally from Maryland and were among our earliest Shepard ancestors who began the movement westward across the U.S.

You may be asking, What about John Sheppard II and John Sheppard I? Since there was a John Sheppard III, there must have been a II and a I, right? Indeed there was. Let me introduce to you John II and John I, who can now be added to our family tree.

6X Great Grandfather John Sheppard II was born in 1713. He died in 1741 at just 28 years old, according to the information attached to the cemetery listing for his son John Sheppard III. John II was married to a woman named Ann, whose maiden name is unknown. John II's father, who was John Sheppard I, was born in 1670, at St Michaels Parish, Barbados, and died in 1738. The wife of John I was Ann Sheppard (maiden name unknown) who was born in 1680.
Our Roots in the Caribbean. The "Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s" shows that John Sheppard I arrived in Maryland on a ship from the Caribbean Island of Barbados in 1726. This is one of the few details we have on the lives of our Sheppard ancestors from the 18th century.

The Caribbean was a common place from which European immigrants came to America in the 18th century. The "Passenger and Immigration List" on which John Sheppard I is found includes those who sailed to America for political, religious or economic reasons, or those who were deported for "Vagrancy, Roguery, or Non-Conformity," or those who were sold for labor in the new world across the Atlantic.

We don't know which of those offenses caused our John Sheppard to be among those who arrived by ship in Maryland in 1726. It would be nice to think he came to the new world for religious reasons. That sounds so pious. But knowing us Shepards these days, our Sheppard forefather could have left Europe and sailed across the Atlantic because of "roguery" or "non-conformity" (God forbid!).

The First of our Shepard Ancestors. Whatever caused them to leave their homeland, probably in Europe, and come across the Atlantic, our Sheppard ancestors came to the Caribbean either for personal reasons, or they were deported, or they were indentured servants. It is very possible then that John Sheppard I worked hard enough to clear his name and make enough money in Barbados to get on a ship and immigrate to Maryland. There he, and whatever family he had with him, became the first of our Shepard ancestors to arrive in the New Colonies. They arrived in 1726, almost 300 years ago!

The British West Indies of the Caribbean were very productive for Britain in the 18th century. At that time they brought in more revenue for England than all the Colonies of the new world combined. There were thousands of slaves from Africa who were forced to work in the Caribbean, but there were also many Europeans who voluntarily or involuntarily arrived in the Caribbean to help in the sugar cane industry. For that reason the West Indies were very important on the world scene, and were a very popular avenue by which many black and white individuals eventually made their way to what would become America.

The life story of founding father Alexander Hamilton is getting lots of press these days because of the blockbuster stage play "Hamilton." He is an example of this very migration pattern. His ancestors were also white Europeans, just as our Sheppard ancestors were. Hamilton made it to America, just as John Sheppard did, in the 18th century. Hamilton also came to America via the Caribbean. In his case it was the island of St Croix, not far from Barbados, the island from which John Sheppard I came to America.

With these three John Sheppards and their wives (our family's founding Fathers and Mothers) we can now show our Shepard ancestry for 9 generations before me, going back to 1670. The following is a 13 generation lineage including my brother Gary, his granddaughter, birthday girl Mandi Aquiningoc, and her daughter Kambree one of our youngest Shepard descendants.
  • John Sheppard I (1670-1738) and wife Ann Sheppard (b. 1680-?))
  • John Sheppard II (1713-1741) and wife Ann Sheppard (dates unknown)
  • John Sheppard III (1737-1827) and wife Mary Ann Hudson (1755-1824)
  • James Cross Sheppard Sr. (1775-1843) and wife Hannah Gatchell (1781-1839)
  • James Cross Sheppard Jr. (1813-1887) and wife Hannah Sheppard (b. 1812)
  • William Shepard (1835-1862) and wife Mary Ellen Sprague (1840-1919)
  • William Elmer Shepard (1862-1915) and wife Elvira Owens (1865-1931)
  • William Shepard (1888-1976) and wife Bura Davis (1896-1986)
  • Eugene William Shepard (1921-2003) and wife Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  • Gary Shepard (b. 1946) and wife Cindy Dillon (b. 1954)
  • Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc (b. 1968) and husband Manuel Aquiningoc (1961-1992)
  • Mandi Aquiningoc (b. 1992)
  • Kambree Aquiningoc (b. 2013)
In upcoming posts: "A Fantasy Road Trip" or "Where the Bodies Are Buried." I will take a Shepard genealogical journey across America, briefly retracing our family's ancestral steps across American from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
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Steve Shepard

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More Sheppard Ancestors, October 18, 2017

Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values,
so we reach ahead to our children and their children.
And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.
~Paul Tsongas

Vicki Johnston, Paula Tuzzolino
Today is the 84th birthday of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston of Chandler, Arizona. Vicki and her sister Maida Gower Shepard are the two senior members of our family. Cindy and I were in Arizona a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to visit with Vicki and her primary care giver, daughter Paula, and Paula's husband Frank Tuzzolino. Vicki has lived in a care facility not far from Paula and Frank for two years now. She continues to have various health concerns but enjoyed our time together. Best wishes to Vicki for a very happy birthday!

The first picture I am including shows Vicki Johnston and her daughter Paula Tuzzolino.

Today is the 109th anniversary of the birth of my uncle Willie Davis (Bill) Russell who was born in 1908. He was married for 62 years to my aunt Pauline Shepard Russell. Among the descendants of Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell today are Shannon Wilk and her daughter Emma of Atchison, Kansas.

Emma and Shannon Wilk
This second picture I am including today was taken earlier this month and shows Shannon and Emma Wilk.

New Ancestors For Our Family Tree. The last few months have been surprisingly productive in my continuing search for our Shepard ancestors prior to the Civil War. The soldier William Shepard (1835-1862) has been a keystone ancestor in our family history for many years. But discovering his parents and ancestry has been difficult until the last few months. I have shared recently in this blog about the discovery of the soldier William Shepard's parents Hannah and James Cross Sheppard Jr.,  and then the discovery of William's grandparents Hannah and James Cross Sheppard Sr.

When James Cross Sheppard Sr. (1775-1843) and his wife Hannah Gatchell Shepard (1781-1839) migrated from Maryland and settled in Kirkwood, Belmont County, Ohio in 1809, they brought with them their first four children (they eventually had 13). What I did not know until recent weeks is that James' elderly parents, Mary Ann Hudson Sheppard and John Sheppard III, also migrated to Ohio from Maryland just a few years later. John and Mary Ann therefore have become the newest additions to our Shepard family tree.

Our Shepard ancestors before the Civil War generally spelled their last name "Sheppard" with two "P's." That is how it usually appears on their headstones which is why I am spelling their name that way. I say that even though it was not unusual for their last names to be spelled either Shepard or Shepherd.

5X Great Grandmother Mary Ann Hudson Sheppard was an Irish immigrant. She was born in 1755 in County Wexford, on the Southeastern Coast of Ireland. She came to America as a child from Ireland with her parents Joseph Hudson (1717-1807) and Elizabeth Dunn Hudson (1720-1789). The Hudsons raised Mary Ann and her siblings in South Eastern Pennsylvania which was just north of where the Sheppards lived in Cecil County, Maryland.

Mary Ann's husband John Sheppard III -- our 5X Great Grandfather -- was born in 1737 in the port city of Georgetown, in the North Eastern part of what was then the Maryland Colony. John married Mary Ann Hudson on October 8, 1777 in Cecil County, Maryland -- 240 years ago this month! They were probably married earlier than that, but Maryland did not require marriage licenses until 1777. In addition to their son James Cross Sheppard Sr., they also raised a number of other children (perhaps as many as 12), among whom were two daughters Elizabeth Sheppard Midkiff (1782-1873) and Lydia Sheppard Waddell (1795-1872). A rich resource for these ancestors of ours comes from the cemetery listing for John Sheppard III and his wife Mary Ann on You can select this link for that listing.

Sewellsville Cemetery, Kirkwood, Ohio
So John Sheppard III and Mary Ann Hudson married and bore their children in Maryland but migrated to Belmont County, Ohio a few years after their son James and his family did. The community of Kirkwood in Belmont County is where John and Mary Ann spent the last years of their lives. Mary Ann died at 69 years old in 1824, while husband John died 3 years later at the ripe old age of 90, which was exceptional for the nineteenth century. Mary Ann and husband John are both buried in Sewellsville Cemetery in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio.

Our ancestors John and Mary Ann were frontier Americans, hearty Christian folk. Look at the given names in this post: Mary and Joseph, James and John, Lydia, Elizabeth -- all significant characters from the New Testament. We know that 4X Great Grandmother Hannah Gatchell Sheppard (John and Mary's daughter-in-law) was from devout Quaker roots. John and Mary Ann may have been Quakers as well, but if not Quakers they were certainly fine Christian people.

You may be asking, What about John Sheppard II and John Sheppard I? Since there was a John Sheppard III, there must have been a II and a I, right? The details on the lives of those two are scant, but we do have some important information about them. I look forward to sharing about that in my next post.
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Steve Shepard