Friday, August 16, 2019

Ministers in Our Family Tree, August 16, 2019

As for me and my house
we will serve the Lord.
~Joshua 24.14

In recent months I have been researching and writing about the family of my 2X Great Grandmother Malinda Wright Davis (1846-1920) of Spencer, Indiana. Her 17th century Wright ancestors were Quakers, several of them Quaker ministers. What other ministers have we had in our family history? I was a minister for all of my working life, beginning with a student pastorate that began 50 years ago this month, while a student at Abilene Christian. The following are some other ministers of note in our family tree. In this post I will list those who gave themselves to full time Christian service in the 20th Century. In a future post I will look back to ministers from previous generations.

Edwin Kilpatrick, 1960s
Edwin Dale Kilpatrick (1932-1979). Edwin, a second cousin of my father Eugene Shepard, was born in Booker, Texas but came with his family as a child to California where he lived the rest of his life. He attended Abilene Christian University before serving Church of Christ congregations in Northern and Southern California. In the 1960s he was the minister of the Linda Vista Church of Christ in San Diego, where my family attended for many years. He was not only our minister, he and his wife Ruby and their children were close friends and neighbors in our Kearny Mesa neighborhood. Edwin also served churches in Marysville and in Sacramento, California where for several years he was also a family counselor. At just 46 years old he died in 1979 of cancer and is buried in Sacramento. I have written in this blog a number of times, including here and here, about Edwin and his impact on me and our family.

Clyde Williams (1903-1993). Another minister in our family tree was my Great Aunt Marjorie Davis Milligan's late-in-life husband Clyde Williams. Originally from Kansas, he served in WWI. According to the History of Beaver County (1970), his first sermon was preached at the South Flat Church of Christ in Beaver County, Oklahoma in 1917. He then engaged in full time ministry for over 40 years in 18 states.

William Morton Davis (3rd from left) about 1925 
with his brothers Zaly, Ben, James and Thomas. 
Second from right is his father C.E. Davis.
William Morton Davis (1877-1969). Among the best known ministers in our family tree was my 2nd Great Uncle William Morton Davis from Spencer, Indiana, who was married to Clara Gates. After attending Christian College in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, he served as a Church of Christ minister in Helena, Oklahoma, Belle Plaine, Kansas, and numerous locations in Texas, including the Owenwood Church of Christ in Dallas. I remember my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard, a niece and contemporary of Morton Davis, speaking proudly and with great respect about her "Uncle Mort." He was a staff writer for the church periodical The Firm Foundation, and had an article on the front page of that paper for almost 50 years. He was one of the best known preachers and writers in the Church of Christ during the first half of the 20th Century. Here is a link to The Restoration Movement website and an article with more details about the life and ministry of William Morton Davis.

Frank Wheeler with wife Lucy Davis
and daughter Amy Ruth, 1923
Francis Lafayette Wheeler (1900-1924). Frank Wheeler was another minister in our family tree with one of the most fascinating life stories. Like his uncle William Morton Davis, Frank was from Owen County, Indiana. He was orphaned in 1903 at just 3 years old. He was sent to Spencer, Indiana to live with the Brown family who were members of the New Union Church of Christ. He was baptized there at age 14 and began preaching at 16. When he was 22 Frank joined our family when he married a teenage girl in the congregation named Lucy Davis (whose father Thomas Davis is the one on the far right in the picture above). As an impressive, up-and-coming young Church of Christ preacher in his early 20s, Frank made quite a name for himself in Owen County, Indiana and beyond.

But then tragedy struck. In 1924 he was the regular preacher of the Church of Christ in Linton, Indiana when he developed Typhoid Fever and tragically died within just a couple of weeks. Young Lucy Davis Wheeler suddenly became a 20 year old widow with two young children: 2 year old daughter Amy Ruth and 2 month old son Lloyd. Lucy was so heartbroken that she never remarried. She died in 1990 just a few miles from where she was born in Owen County, Indiana. She is buried in the New Union Cemetery outside the town of Spencer, next to her young husband Frank who preceded her in death by 66 years. God only knows what an accomplished and influential minister Frank might have been had he not died at such a young age.

The picture above, taken in 1923, shows the handsome, dapper young preacher Frank Wheeler looking confident and full of promise. Well dressed and well coiffed, he even has a pen in his pocket to jot down notes for his next sermon. One can easily imagine this striking young man standing in a pulpit proclaiming the good news and impressing church folk young and old with the power of the gospel. Behind Frank is his 20 year old wife Lucy Davis Wheeler. In his lap is their first born Amy Ruth Wheeler. 

Lloyd Wheeler
Lloyd E. Wheeler (1924-1992). What about Frank and Lucy's second child, their baby boy, who was just two months old when Frank died? Young Lloyd Wheeler and his older sister Ruth were raised by their widowed mother Lucy in the rural home of their Grandparents Tom and Alice Davis near Spencer, Indiana. After graduating High School in Owen County, Indiana, Lloyd went on to attend Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas in the mid 1940s. He made his friends and family back home in Indiana at the New Union Church of Christ very proud. He became what his promising but ill fated father never could become because of his untimely death in 1924. Lloyd E. Wheeler served as a Church of Christ preacher for 50 years in Nebraska, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Utah, Arkansas, Missouri and Minnesota. The last 21 years of his ministry were spent at the Roseville Church of Christ in St Paul Minnesota. He died of a heart attack Oct. 5, 1992 while attending a High School reunion in his hometown of Spencer, Indiana. Here is a link to The Restoration Movement website with more about Lloyd Wheeler.

These are just a few of the full time ministers that we have had in the history of our family. Do you know of others? In my next post I will look back even further in our history to ministers whose lives we remember and celebrate.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Descendants From East To West, August 6, 2019

This land is your land,
This land in my land...
This land was made
for you and me.
~Woodie Guthrie

Juanita Eeds with son Keith Eeds
and niece Cindy Shepard in Nov 2018
Happy 98th Birthday! Today is the birthday of Juanita Eeds of Bandon, Oregon! My wife Cindy and Granddaughter Preslea are in Bandon today celebrating with Cindy's Aunt Juanita. Born in Durant, Oklahoma in 1921, she lived with family in San Diego for many years until last summer. She then moved to Oregon to be with her son Keith and his wife Sally. Best wishes for a very happy 98th birthday to Juanita!

In recent posts I have written about my 6X Great Grandparents John Wright (1716-1789) and his wife Rachel Wells Wright (1720-1751) who were originally from Pennsylvania and Maryland. From their earliest days in Colonial America they were devoted Quakers who helped establish new Quaker communities wherever they went. Their life together began in Frederick, Maryland where they were married and where their first 7 children were born. In Maryland they were founding members and leaders of the Fairfax Monthly Meeting (the name for the local Quaker congregation). John and Rachel both became what the Quakers called "recorded ministers" while affiliated with the Fairfax Monthly Meeting. Who are the people through whom we trace our ancestry to 18th Century ancestors John and Rachel Wright? The following paragraphs briefly summarize them.

North Carolina. In 1749 John and Rachel took their family of 7 children from Maryland and moved to Orange County, North Carolina where they became founding members of the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, west of Chapel Hill. At Cane Creek they had 6 more children, including Sarah Wright (1749-1789), the one from whom our particular family is descended.

Historical Marker in South Carolina
re: the Bush River Quaker Meeting
South Carolina. Rachel and John Wright then migrated from North Carolina to Newberry, South Carolina in 1764. There they once again became Charter Members of a new Quaker fellowship, this time the Bush River Monthly Meeting. After just 7 years in Bush River, 52 year old Rachel died in 1771, two days before Christmas. 52 seems like an early death by today's standards, but at that time the life expectancy was less than 40 years. After her death husband John continued on as the head of their large family and as a minister in their Quaker fellowship. He outlived Rachel by 18 years. In his later years John became a member of the first and second Provincial Congress of South Carolina. In his 50s he served in the Revolutionary War and helped bring about the United States of America.

The 8th child of John and Rachel was Sarah Wright (1749-1789). In 1767, at just 18, she married James Brooks (1749-1840) in Newberry, South Carolina and with him had 10 children, all Biblically named: Elizabeth, Joanna, Susannah, Vashti, Sarah, John, Nimrod, James, Joseph and Mary. Sarah and James Brooks raised their family and lived out their days in the Quaker Colony of Newberry County, South Carolina.

Sarah and James' fourth child was a daughter, Vashti Brooks (1776-1867), named after the beautiful Persian Queen in the Old Testament book of Esther. She married an older fellow named James Wright (1759-1806), who appears to have been her first cousin. It is likely that Vashti Brooks and her husband James Wright were both grandchildren of John Wright and Rachel Wells Wright. The marriage of first cousins is unusual today, but not so in Colonial times. A few years ago I wrote about some other 18th Century ancestors on the Gower side of our family who married first cousins.

On to Western Ohio. Sometime around the turn of the 19th Century Vashti and James Wright migrated to Western Ohio. In 1806, they appear in the records of the Miami Monthly Meeting of the Quakers in Warren County, Ohio, north east of Cincinnati. (Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. 5, Ohio Monthly Meetings, p. 144.) Vashti and John were part of that common 19th century migration of Americans from the Carolinas to Ohio and then on to Indiana. The following graphic shows the 300+ year, cross country migration of this part of our family from Frederick, Maryland to San Diego, California.

The 300+ year Migration Route of our ancestors
from Maryland to San Diego

Wright Wright. The 1850 US Census shows Vashti Brooks Wright, a 75 year old widow, living in Owen County, Indiana with her daughter Nancy Wright (1811-1882). Nancy married a man named John Lynn Wright (1808-1909), who had the same last name. It is unknown how closely they might have been related. Nancy's married name therefore became -- are you ready for this? -- Nancy Wright Wright, which was one more anomaly among these ancestral Wrights of ours.

Nancy's daughter was Malinda Elizabeth Wright (1846-1920), who married Charles Edward Davis (1849-1926), the father of James Brooks Davis (1870-1928). Named after his Great Great Grandfather James Brooks (a son-in-law of Rachel and John Wright) James Brooks Davis was the father of my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). Bura, with her husband William Shepard and their children, were the first in this ancestral line to settle in San Diego in 1940. Though many of their descendants have moved elsewhere in the last 80 years (Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas, etc.) some of their descendants have lived in San Diego ever since.

This then is a very brief summary of the long journey of our Wright-Davis-Shepard ancestors from East Coast to West. It encompassed seven generations and took over 300 years to migrate from Maryland to California. It was a long journey to be sure, with innumerable memories, heartbreaking losses and great successes. It is a journey we celebrate, because it is our story, part of the ongoing story our family, a story to claim and to realize the American dream.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Vegas Birthdays, July 28, 2019

Hello Friends and Family!

Today the latest edition of The Shepard’s Crook is celebrating two people in our family who were both born on July 28: my sister Barbara Shepard, and our youngest grandchild William Shepard. The following picture was taken last month in Anacortes, Washington.

Barbara was born in San Diego back in the late 50’s, the 5th of the 6 children of our parents Maida and Eugene Shepard. She was raised in San Diego at our home on Armstrong Street, attended the Linda Vista Church of Christ, and graduated from Kearny High School. She moved with Mom and Dad to Washington State in 1978 and has lived there ever since. These days Barb works at Safeway in Anacortes, Washington and lives with mom at the family home on Wildwood Lane as a primary caregiver. She loves her new blue Audi, being a Starbucks Barista, and spending time with her boyfriend. 

Birthday Boy William was born in San Francisco 7 years ago today, the third and youngest child of Chenda and Nathan Shepard. He lives today with his family in San Diego and in the fall will be a second grader at Dailard Elementary. He loves time on his tablet, playing Wall-ball, roller blading and riding “the  Giant Dipper” at Belmont Park. He recently set the family record for the most rides on the Giant Dipper in one day: five times. William went to Hockey Camp earlier this summer with his brother and sister, and now playing hockey is one of his very favorite things to do.

The link above is a music video celebrating their joint birthdays. It is optimized for playing on smart phones, so that will be the best way to view it.

Barb and William are presently in Las Vegas, Nevada for a long weekend to celebrate their birthdays together. Several other family and friends were invited to the party so Cindy and I are also here for the special birthday celebration.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Thursday, July 04, 2019

An All American Couple, July 4, 2019

You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.
~Toba Beta

On this Independence Day holiday there is no better way to celebrate our family history than to honor the lives of John Wright (1716-1789) and Rachel Wells Wright (1720-1771), my 6X Great Grandparents. I have written about their fascinating life journey in my last several posts. They were a remarkable couple who left an indelible mark on our county, especially when considered in the light of our nation's 243rd birthday celebration.

An Influence Still Felt Today. Rachel Wells was originally from Anne Arundel County, Maryland just east of what is today Washington D.C., while John Wright was from Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Married in 1737 in Maryland, they were devout Quakers and became the parents of 13 children. The Quakers were one of the most popular religious groups in early America and strongly influenced the religious and civil life of our country in many ways. Rachel and John helped settle this great nation of ours. They were trailblazing pioneers, steadfast religious leaders, devoted parents, and exemplary citizens who helped build strong communities wherever they lived. John, as a widower in his 50s, even fought in the American Revolution and shared in the happiness of the new nation. Rachel died in 1771 at 51, just a few years short of the Revolution. 

American Parents Par Excellence. The life journey of John and Rachel took them from Frederick, Maryland to Cane Creek North Carolina to Newberry, South Carolina. They helped found communities every step of the way as they journeyed into the unsettled regions of what eventually became the United States. The impact of their lives continued to be felt long after they were gone. George Washington may be known as the father of our country, but John and Rachel are truly all-american parents par excellence within our Family Tree. They had 13 children, all of whom grew up, married and had families of their own. In a day of disease, danger, and short life expectancy, to nurture all 13 children from birth to adulthood was a remarkable thing in itself for the 18th century

To get a feel for the impact they have made on our nation, think about this: if all the individual families of John and Rachel's descendants averaged just 3 children per couple (a conservative estimate) they would have over 250,000 descendants in their family tree today. (Crunch the numbers yourself: it's pretty amazing.) Most of those descendants born over the last 10 generations have lived out their lives and died, of course. But theoretically that would still leave Rachel and John with nearly 100,000 potential descendants alive today. This is of course just a rough estimate of the numbers on my part. Even so, there is no doubt that early American ancestors John and Rachel Wright contributed in immeasurable ways to the founding of America and its growth across this continent. 

Deserving of Special Honor. On this July 4th Holiday as you celebrate the birth of our great nation, pause and say a prayer of gratitude for John and Rachel Wright, to whom we owe so much. They are deserving of special honor.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Strong Amidst Adversity, June 29, 2019

The love of family
and the admiration of friends
is much more important
than wealth and privilege.
~Charles Kuralt

In my previous two posts I wrote about my ancestors John and Rachel Wright, pioneers of early America and Quaker Church leaders, first in Maryland, then in North Carolina. After nearly 15 years in North Carolina, John and Rachel Wright were compelled to move to South Carolina. At the time of their decision to move they were the parents of 13 children between the ages of 6 and 26 years old. Part of the reason the Wright family moved was because of a serious conflict that erupted in their Quaker fellowship with Rachel at the center. The dustup turned out to be Rachel's opportunity to show her strength amidst serious adversity.

Pacifism and The Regulator Movement. The conflict had to do with careful adherence to pacifism, one of the key beliefs of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Their members were not allowed to take up arms for any cause. Two years ago I wrote in this blog about another Quaker ancestor unrelated to the Wrights: 5X Great Grandfather Nathan Gatchell (1756-1813). During the Revolutionary War he refused military service as a faithful Quaker. He did however support the war effort by cleaning the guns of the colonists who did fight. But even that activity was too much for his pacifist Quaker fellowship and he was "disowned" by them as a result.

The Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, North Carolina
18th Century home of ancestors John and Rachel Wright
In the 1760s, during the time Rachel and John Wright lived in Cane Creek, North Carolina, the pacifism of the Quakers came under fire, so to speak. The new communities of the North Carolina wilderness were being taxed outrageously by corrupt local judges and sheriffs. As a result The Regulator Movement arose, an historic grassroots uprising that resisted unfair taxation, and at times included armed resistance. One of the key people of The Regulator Movement was a fellow named Herman Husband, a charismatic figure and natural leader who happened to be a member of the same Quaker fellowship as Rachel Wright. Herman Husband is known for much more than just this conflict with Rachel. He is also an important figure in North Carolina history, especially relating to The Regulator Movement of the 1760s. He and Rachel clashed over the extent to which the pacifist Quakers could be a part of the Regulator Movement.

A Church Quarrel and What Resulted is a 1914 article written by Julia White (published by Friends Historical Association) which gives details of this conflict among the Quakers concerning Rachel. She was accused of some improprieties in her work as a Quaker Minister which resulted in the local Quaker congregation (the Monthly Meeting) refusing to authorize her ministry. She and Herman Husband also exchanged some sharp and biting words with each other that Rachel had to apologize for later. It was an apology that some considered disingenuous, which made matters even worse. Her vocal outburst may have contributed to the local congregation's decision against Rachel. She remained adamant however about defending herself and appealed to a higher Quaker council (the Quarterly Meeting) which overturned her congregation's decision. They said it was a poorly made decision and that Rachel should be an authorized minister. Rachel had been vindicated. But the congregation was left in turmoil. One of the angry factions in her local church appealed to the highest Quaker body (the Yearly Meeting) which overturned the decision of the Quarterly Meeting! Rachel was once again un-authorized as a Quaker minister. But after further review, the Yearly Meeting reconsidered and granted Rachel her authorization for ministry in March of 1767.

It is interesting to note that the authorization was not just given to her but to her "and her children," according to the 1914 article. Not only was Rachel a Quaker minister, two of her and John's daughters were also Quaker ministers, Charity Wright Cook (1745-1822) and Susannah Wright Hollingsworth (1755-1830). They may have been as influential as Rachel herself. In 1981 Charity's life story was documented in a book titled Charity Cook: A Liberated Woman (by Algie Newlin, published by Friends United Press.

Gritty, Tough and Scrappy. This part of Rachel Wright's story tells us even more about this rugged relative of ours. She was not just a pioneer on the American frontier, not just a devoted wife and mother, and not just a good Quaker. She was all of that but much more. She was a gritty character, a fighter for truth and justice who resisted those who questioned her credibility. She refused to be bullied by powerful men. She was tough and scrappy, able to hold her own against those who opposed her.

We are very fortunate to have such extensive information about Rachel, a colorful ancestor whose life was so compelling and who lived nearly 300 years ago. Fortunately the Quakers were very good at keeping detailed records and for that we can be grateful. Aside from those who died for their country, I can think of no finer hero among all our ancestors than scrappy Rachel Wells Wright. 

It was during their difficult time of church turmoil that John and Rachel Wright and their family relocated to a Quaker colony in Newberry, South Carolina, 200 miles south of where they lived in North Carolina. In my next post I will write about the next chapter in the life of Rachel and John.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Driving Spiritual Force, June 22, 2019

Do not fear truth. 
I try from the bottom of my heart 
to do what truth dictates, 
if it leads me to be a Quaker or not.
~ Elizabeth Fry

In my last post I wrote about my 6X Great Grandparents John Wright and Rachel Wells Wright, who are related to me through my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. Bura's grandmother was Malinda Wright Davis (1846-1920).  Malinda's GG Grandparents, John and Rachel Wright, were early colonial Quaker pioneers on the East Coast. They met and married about 1737 while their families were living in a Quaker Community near the town of Frederick, Maryland.

The Pioneering Impulse. In 1749 Rachel and John with their first 7 children relocated from their home in Maryland to the wilderness of North Carolina. Like many Colonialists they were motivated by the pioneering impulse to settle this new land of promise. But the Wrights were equally motivated by the drive to spread the Quaker faith into the wilderness. John and Rachel had been key leaders in their church community (the Fairfax Monthly Meeting) in Maryland, and continued to be among the staunch Quaker faithful as they journeyed onward.

To travel from Maryland into North Carolina in 18th Century Colonial America was a huge undertaking for the Wrights, especially with 7 children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old. The dangers of land travel were many, including poor roads, few bridges, threats of Indian raids and harsh weather. The most common mode of travel in that day was by boat, which may have been how they made their way southward. Traveling by boat would also explain why their first living location in North Carolina was on the Atlantic coast, at a Quaker community at Carver's Creek, north of Wilmington. The historical records of the Carver's Creek Monthly Meeting show that the Wrights were welcomed there in May, 1749. They did not remain at Carver's Creek very long. In 1751 Rachel and John, following the call of the wilderness and the impulse to further the Christian cause, took their family and moved away from the coast and into the untamed Carolina wilderness.

200 Miles On Horseback. They settled in the sparsely populated Cane Creek area. They wrote to the North Carolina Quaker oversight body (a Quarterly Meeting held at Little River) asking for permission to establish a Monthly Meeting in their new location. The Quakers were well organized and required authorization before a new faith community could be established. As was often the case in matters like this, Church bureaucracy moved slowly. (Some things never change!) According to "The Carolina Quaker Experience" (by Seth Hinshaw, 1984) Rachel and new neighbor Abigail Pike became impatient waiting for a response so they traveled the 200 miles to meet in person with the Quarterly Meeting at Little River. Leaving husband John at home with the 7 children, Rachel and friend Abigail and some other friends traveled on horseback all the way to Little River. It is hard to imagine the many dangers they encountered and the physical stamina required to make this long journey. Thankfully it was a successful mission. At their session with the Quarterly Meeting authorization was given and Rachel and Abigail returned to their families. In October 1751 they became charter members of the newly formed Cane Creek Monthly Meeting.

18th Century Quaker Record, listing the 13 children 
of John and Rachel Wright
A Driving Spiritual Force. This was one more instance of 6X Great Grandmother Rachel Wells Wright showing her strength of character, her healthy body and spirit, her leadership abilities, her adventurous demeanor, and her persistent Christian faith. The American frontier was the perfect place for strong women like Rachel Wright who worked tirelessly for the betterment of their families and their communities. 18th Century Rachel Wells is yet another woman in our family history who admirably carried the banner of spiritual leadership in her family. Rachel reminds me of my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard who in the 20th Century was the driving spiritual force in her family. As far as I know my grandmother Bura never knew about her 4X Great Grandmother Rachel Wells Wright. But if she had she would have proudly claimed her as kin.

Rachel and husband John Wright remained for almost 15 years at Cane Creek in what became Orange County, North Carolina. It was during their time there that they added 6 more children to their family, making a total of 13. The first of the Wright children to be born in North Carolina was Sarah Wright (1749-1789), the one from whom we are directly descended. Life was good for the Wrights in the years they were at Cane Creek, at least as good as they could expect being pioneers on the rugged frontier. But as fate would have it they encountered some difficult situations along the way. A serious conflict arose within the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting with Rachel at the center. It was a conflict that altered the course of their lives. That part of the family story I will tell in my next post.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rachel Wells Wright, Colonial Quaker Preacher, June 11, 2019

People go east only when invited. 
People go west when all bets are off. 
When they need to save their sorry souls, 
folks head for the frontier.
~Karen Hines

John and Rachel Wells Wright are my 6X Great Grandparents who made their mark on 18th Century Colonial America. Their impressive life story -- almost 300 years ago now -- has recently become available to me. John and Rachel are related to me through my Great Grandfather James Brooks Davis, whose birthday was remembered in this blog earlier this month on June 2.

James Brooks Davis' mother was Malinda Wright Davis. She is the one who connects us to our Wright ancestry which we can trace all the way back to the mid 1600s. Here is a lineage that shows our heritage going back 14 generations, covering almost four centuries.
  1. Francis Swanston Sr., (1645-1675) who married Isabel Saddler (1650-1744)
  2. whose son Francis Swanson Jr. (1672-1698) married Sarah Plummer (1675-1720)
  3. whose daughter Margaret Swanson (1697-1755) married Joe Wells (1697-1758)
  4. whose daughter Rachel Wells (1720-1771) married John Wright (1716-1789)
  5. whose daughter Sarah Wright (1749-1789) married James Brooks (1747-1790)
  6. whose daughter Vashti Brooks (1776-1867) married John Wright (1759-1806)
  7. whose daughter Nancy Wright (1811-1882) married John Lynn Wright (1808-1909)
  8. whose daughter Malinda Wright (1846-1920) married Charles E. Davis (1849-1926)
  9. whose son James Brooks Davis (1870-1928) married Caroline Spear (1865-1951)
  10. whose daughter Bura Davis (1896-1986) married William Shepard (1888-1976)
  11. whose son Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) married Maida Gower (b. 1924)
  12. whose son Steve Shepard (b. 1948) married Cindy Harris (b. 1948)
  13. whose son Nathan Shepard (b. 1977) married Chenda Sou (b. 1980)
  14. James Brooks Davis (1870-1928)
    son of Malinda Wright Davis (1846-1920)
  15. whose daughter is Preslea Maida Shepard (b. 2010)
This is quite an impressive lineage that covers nearly 400 years. At first glance it can be a confusing array of names and dates. But there are a few things worth pointing out about this lineage. The first generation listed here, includes Francis Swanston, a young doctor who migrated across the Atlantic in 1665 from England and settled in Maryland. The colony of Maryland had only been in existence about 30 years when Francis arrived by ship from England. Maryland was the state where several of our ancestors had their New World beginning, including: John and Mary Shepard, Nathan and Hannah Gatchell, James and Mary Alexander, Richard Reynolds, and John McKnitt.

John Wright and his wife Rachel Wells are the two in the above lineage that I am most focused on at this particular time. Rachel, the first of Joseph and Margaret Well's 11 children, was born in 1720 in Maryland, just 25 miles east of what is today Washington, D.C. Her parents had her baptized on July 12, 1721 at All Hallow's Episcopal Church in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. All Hallow's Church still exists today and is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. For anyone interested in our family history, All Hallow's Church in Maryland is a "must-see" place to visit.

All Hallow's Church, Davidsonville, Md
where Rachel Wells was baptized
July 12, 1721 
Rachel Wells was just 16 years old when, in 1737, she married John Wright, who was only 20 himself. He was from Pennsylvania Quaker stock, born in Chester County, Pa. When just a child his family relocated to Northern Maryland and settled in a Quaker Community near Frederick, Maryland. Rachel's family, presumably still Episcopal, moved from Eastern Maryland to Frederick which is where Rachel and John met and eventually married. Rachel's marriage to John meant that she would become a Quaker herself, which she did wholeheartedly.

The Minister Rachel Wells Wright. At this time in American History, The Society of Friends (the Quakers) was the faith of choice for one third of all American Colonialists. John and Rachel became very involved in their Quaker "Monthly Meeting" (the name for their local gathering). In the spring of 1745 John was made overseer of the Men in their Monthly Meeting. At the same time Rachel was made overseer of the Women at the same Monthly Meeting. Even though there was this division of labor for the men and the women, the Quakers believed in the equality of the sexes and their ability to serve in leadership positions. For many years John and Rachel Wright were dedicated leaders of the local Quaker gatherings wherever they lived. Because of her leadership and dedication Rachel became a Quaker "friend of the ministry," which made her a Quaker preacher, which she took to with great energy, spirit and determination.

By the time she was 24, Rachel was the mother of 7 children under the age of 10 (they would eventually have 13). They were seemingly on a mission to help populate the world for the Quakers. The Wrights and their brood were of course typical of frontier families. In 1750 John and Rachel with their first 7 children, uprooted their family and migrated 300 miles southward. They were part of what became known as "The Great Quaker Migration" that moved down the Shenandoah Valley into Virginia, the Carolinas and even Georgia. It was an awesome undertaking for this young family of 10 (plus possibly a few grandparents) to make this move into the frontier of North Carolina. If nothing else it showed the grittiness of John and Rachel, their faith in God, their strength of character, and their hope for the future.

In my next post I will write about John and Rachel Wright's experience in North Carolina and their help in founding the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in Orange County.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Sunday, June 02, 2019

A Day for Remembering, June 2, 2019

True love stories never have endings. 
~Richard Bach

Greetings to all of you from San Diego where the weather is mild and the living is easy! This weekend is a time to remember a number of significant events in our family history.

Paula Harris (right) with son Joe Paul and daughter Cindy
Paula Hicks Harris (1923-2018). Today, June 2, is the first anniversary of the death of Cindy's mom Paula Harris. In the last year, life has obviously been very different around our home here on Burgundy Street in the Allied Gardens Community of San Diego. This was Paula's home for 61 years until she passed away last year a few weeks short of her 95th birthday. She and husband Joe Harris bought this home in 1957 when they were a young couple with two children in Elementary School. No matter how many changes we make to this long time Harris family house, the loving, caring spirit of this wonderful couple will always be present. And for that we will ever be grateful. This first family picture shows Paula with her children Joe Paul and Cindy. It was taken back in the 1960s.

Happy 40th Anniversary to my brother Gary Shepard and his wife Cindy of Oak Harbor, Washington. They were married in a garden wedding on June 2, 1979 at our home in Los Alamitos, California. My wife Cindy and I and our 2 year old son Nathan were living in Los Alamitos at the time. Gary and his fiancé Cindy and some friends of theirs came from San Diego to our home in Orange County to be married. It was a pleasant day for the beautiful ceremony that got their married life started. It has been a great 40 years for them, most of which has been spent living in the San Diego area. For the last 16 years however they have lived in Oak Harbor, Washington, just a short drive from where our mother Maida Shepard lives in Anacortes, Washington. Best wishes to Gary and Cindy for many more happy years together!

3 Happy Couples: from top, 
William and Bura Shepard
Cindy and Gary Shepard
Desiree and Jeremy Ortiz
Remembering My Shepard Grandparents. This weekend is also a time to celebrate the anniversary of my late Grandparents William Shepard and Bura Davis Shepard who were married 104 years ago on June 2, 1915 in Beaver County, Oklahoma. My grandparents will always be remembered as the first family among us Shepards to live in Southern California when they moved from a tiny town in dusty Southeast Colorado to the bustling Navy town of San Diego in the fall of 1940. For 79 years now descendants of theirs have lived here in San Diego.

Remembering James Brooks Davis (1870-1928). My Grandparents William Shepard and Bura Davis were married on the birthday of Bura's father James Brooks Davis who was born June 2, 1870. What a special way for James to celebrate his 45th birthday, by witnessing the wedding of his oldest child, Bura, who was just an 18 year old teenager at the time. She was marrying the son of their Shepard neighbors who were fellow members of the South Flat Church of Christ in the dusty farming community of Beaver County, Oklahoma. It was the first wedding of the 7 children of James and Callie Davis and must have been a wonderful time of celebration for this close knit Davis family.

Speaking of James Brooks Davis, I have recently learned of some newly available information about the pre-Revolutionary War ancestors of James Brooks Davis' mother Malinda Wright Davis. In coming weeks I will share in this blog about James' 3X Great Grandmother Rachel Wells Wright. She was a rebel-rousing, East Coast Quaker preacher who made history in the Society of Friends in the 18th century. It is a compelling story that I look forward to sharing with you.

Happy 17th Anniversary Jeremy and Desiree. This weekend Jeremy and Desiree Ortiz are celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary. They were married June 1, 2002 here in San Diego. Jeremy is the son of my cousin Kim Boyd Clark, and the grandson of my aunt Thelma Shepard Boyd. Best wishes to Jeremy and Desiree and their family for a great anniversary!

This is a special weekend to remember these and other important events in the life of our larger family. It is a time to celebrate, to remember and to honor these folks who have meant so much to us for many years.
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Steve Shepard