Friday, December 26, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 26, 2008

I don't care how poor a person is;
if they have family, they're rich.

~Dan Wilcox

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello everyone on this day after Christmas. Cindy and I are in Anacortes celebrating Christmas with our family here. I hope your family gathering yesterday was as pleasant and joyful as ours was. I say that despite the fact that the Northwest is having heavy snow and cold weather.

Can you believe it: the first family email I sent was exactly a year ago, on the last Friday of 2007. After an entire year of family pictures and ponderings, I must say that there are still many more pictures to share and much more conversation to be had. I continue to welcome your emails about our family and invite you to send any pictures, new or old, that you would like to share. I also invite you to let me know of others who would like to be added to our mailing list. Thanks to all of you for the interest and support you have expressed.

26th ANNIVERSARY. This coming Wednesday is the 26th anniversary of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Medina Shepard. They were married on New Year's Eve in Abilene, Texas, 1982. For most of their married life they have lived in the Great Northwest. They and their kids Chris, Rachel, and Patrick, presently make their home in Kenmore, Washington, a suburb northeast of Seattle. Darrell works for ProSource Wholesale Floorcovering in Bothell, and Mary manages a retirement community named The Ballard Landmark in Seattle. Happy anniversary to Darrell and Mary!

The first picture I am including today is of Darrell and Mary in 1983. Darrell says, "This picture was taken when we were newly married, living in Abilene, Tex across the street from Abilene Christian while I was still working on my bachelor's degree and Mary was working at the Petroleum Club of Abilene. We were standing in front of the one bedroom apartment we rented on an alley behind the University Church of Christ. Our rent was 37 dollars a month!

"We had recently found out Mary was pregnant with Christopher, our first child. You, Steve, took this picture; today is the first time I have seen it. In the ba
ckground you can see the 1966 Ford Ranchero our dad gave to me when he and mom moved to Anacortes from San Diego. I drove it to Abilene with all my personal belongings in the back when I left San Diego in January of 1981 and entered college at ACU where I met Mary."

PAULINE SHEPARD RUSSELL. Sunday is the 92nd anniversary of the birthday of Pauline Shepard Russell. She was the first born child of Will and Bura Shepard, and arrived 3 days after Christmas in Sophia, (Beaver County) Oklahoma, in 1916. She died 10 years ago in Southern California, a year after her husband Bill Russell. Pauline and Bill are the parents of Rex Russell, the grandparents of Eric Russell and Shannon Wilk, and the great grandparents of little Emma Wilk. Shannon and Emma of Atchison, Kansas are the only two descendants of Pauline and Bill Russell that we presently have contact with. We are still unable to make contact with Rex and Eric Russell who, last we heard, live in the Reno, Nevada area.

The second picture I am including shows Bill and Pauline Russell in San Diego, soon after they and the rest of the family had moved to SoCal from Colorado. Pauline was a young mother of 2 (Rex, 7 and Bev, 4), and not quite 27 at the time. Thelma tells me this picture was taken at Gram and Grandad's home on Albatross St in San Diego in 1943. In the picture, from right to left, is Eugene Shepard, his sister Pauline, her husband Bill Russell, then Elmer Shepard. Dane reports that his Dad Elmer says this about the picture...

"It was taken in San Diego around the time that William and Bura managed their first boarding house. The young lady is Eloise Sackett from Two Buttes (Colorado). She had come to CA to stay with our family to finish her senior year of high school. He also added your dad had dated her at one time. The Sacketts were neighbors and our family had stored some belongings in their basement when they moved to San Diego. As for the young man, all Dad could remember was that his name was Bert, that he was from CO (not Two Buttes), and that he was a boarder of William and Bura.

40th ANNIVERSARY. Tomorrow Cindy and I celebrate 40 years of marriage. Hard to imagine. It does not seem that long ago that I came home to San Diego from Abilene Christian College for the Christmas holidays and Cindy and I were married. It was on a Friday evening, at the La Mesa Church of Christ, just two days after Christmas, 1968.

Shirt-tail relative Ed Kilpatrick, (one of the Kilpatrick's related to Gram's sisters) was the young minister of my home church, the Linda Vista Church of Christ, and officiated at our wedding. There were lots of Harris and Shepard family members and friends at our wedding and a good time was had by all. We were both just 20, still in college, and hardly knew what we were doing. But after 40 years we can both say it has been quite a ride, and we are ready for a few more years together.

Enjoy what's left of 2008, and celebrate how rich you are to be a part of this wonderful, diverse family of ours!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 19, 2008

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family
all wrapped up in each other.

-Burton Hillis

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

It is the Friday before Christmas. Can you believe it? You DO know who was born on Christmas Day, don't you? Do you need to pause and think about it before reading on? ;-)

That's right -- Grandad! 120 years ago, on Dec 25, 1888, William (no middle name) Shepard was born in Alton, Illinois to William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens Shepard. Grandad's father had been born in Wabash, Indiana in 1862, during the Civil War. So our Grandad, like his wife Bura, had his roots in the Hoosier State. From all indications, however, their families did not know each other until Will and Bura met about 1913 or 1914 in Beaver County, Oklahoma.

Between Indiana and Oklahoma, however, there was this period of time for our Shepard people in southwest Illinois, across the mighty Mississippi from St Louis. It was here that Grandad's father met and married Elvira Owens and where their son Will Shepard, our Grandad, grew up. His mother Elvira was part of an Owens family with deep roots in that area, some descendants of whom live there to this day. Roberta Owens Brooks of San Antonio Texas, with whom I correspond periodically, is a descendant of that part of our family, and is on our emailing list. She is a wonderful resource for information on the Owens family.

Our family's migration pattern began back East in Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, in the earliest years of American history. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries our ancestors moved westward through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee to Indiana and Illinois and settled there for most of the 19th century. Near the turn of the 20th century, some of them began moving southwest into Oklahoma, including Beaver County. That's where Will Shepard met and married Bura Davis in 1915. In 1928, with their first three children, they moved a short distance to Southeast Colorado, and after 12 years there, Will and Bura, now with 4 children, moved to San Diego in 1940. They have the distinction of being our family's bridge to the west coast. Since then, some of Will and Bura's descendants remain in San Diego, while others have moved north to Northern California and Washington, and others eastward to New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and still others to Kansas and Missouri.

The first picture I am including today is a collage of 4 pictures of Grandad, taken in 1915 (he and Gram's wedding picture), 1932 (no, not a prison mug shot!), 1946 (in San Diego) and 1974 (2 years before he died). He was a small town man who seemed to adjust pretty well to life in the city of San Diego later in his life. He was a rambler, a cowboy, a midwest cold weather survivor, a restless man who worked at many different things, and a raconteur who loved to tell stories.

He was a very important person for us because in many ways he sets the tone for maleness among Shepard men. He influences the kind of man each of us has become and is becoming. At least to some degree. What we strive for in life, how we relate to women, the kind of fathers we become, our attitudes toward other races or cultures, our religious beliefs, our assertiveness or passiveness, and much, much more, gets formed at least partially because of the kind of man he was.

His life spanned an amazing period in world history. In 1888 when he was born, there were no airplanes or cars, people traveled primarily by horseback or wagon or train, Mark Twain was very popular (in person!), and the US population was about 60 million. In 1976 when he died, NASA had sent men to the moon, the women's liberation movement was in full swing, and the US population was about 220 million. As we approach his 120th birthday, we remember with gratitude and respect this man whose life continues to be important to this family.

The second picture shows 3 of Will and Bura's 12 grandchildren (Joan Shepard, Dixon, CA; Kim Clark, Blue Springs, MO; and Dane Shepard, Newcastle, OK), one of their 20 great grandchildren (Amanda Ortiz, Blue Springs, MO), and the youngest of their 4 children (Thelma Boyd, Gallup, NM). This picture was taken earlier this year at Dane's home in Oklahoma.

Every one have a joyous Christmas! May you be blessed with "the best of all gifts around the Christmas tree".

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 12, 2008

The family is one of nature's masterpieces.
- George Santayana

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello from San Diego in the midst of this Christmas season. If you are like us, you are very busy preparing for family gatherings, celebrating Christmas, and getting ready to do some traveling for the holidays. Family means a lot to most of us at Christmastime, which is one of the reasons it can be called one of nature's masterpieces.

Thursday of this coming week is the anniversary of the birthday of two of our ancestors, twin boys, with the names Salathiel and Salatis Davis, born Dec 18, 1856. (How did they come up with these kinds of names back then!?) One can only guess at how they nicknamed those two. Their older brother, Charles Edward Davis (pretty boring name by comparison), was Gram's (Bura Davis Shepard's) paternal grandfather, and therefore my generation's G,G,Grandfather.

Salathiel is the name of an Old Testament character, and is listed among the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1); while Salatis is the name of an ancient Egyptian King. Impressed yet? Their parents, Alexander and Jane Davis, had 10 children all together, including the one from whom we are directly descended, Charles Edward Davis. Among their other children was a daughter, to whom they gave the marvelous name "Samilda Dorcas Davis". (By the way, when I googled "Samilda", the very first entry that came up was a reference to her! It was a "Pedigree report of Samilda Dorcas Davis, daughter of Alexander Davis and Jane Buskirk, born on November 10th, 1853 near Spencer, Indiana." Pretty cool, huh?

Born in 1853, Samilda married a childhood friend named James Medaris in 1875, who later became a physician. They were both born in Spencer, Indiana (Gram's birthplace in 1896), but in 1893 when Oklahoma's Cherokee Strip opened to settlement, Samilda and James migrated there and settled northwest of Enid, near the property of Samilda's brother William Davis. They eventually made their home near there and helped found the little town of Helena, Oklahoma. They were among the founders of the Church of Christ in Helena.

When Gram's (Bura's) family moved to Oklahoma from Indiana in 1912, they were following in the footsteps of Samilda, James and some other family who were already there. If you are interested you can select this link to find more information online about the lives of James and Samilda Davis Medaris.

The first picture I am including today is two old pictures in one. (Click on the picture to see a larger view of it.) The left hand side (taken about 1885) shows Samilda, her husband Dr. James Medaris, and 4 of their children. The right side (taken 35 years later, about 1920) shows Samilda's brother Charles Edward Davis (in the beard) with his son James Brooks Davis, Gram's father.

The looks on the faces of these family members from so long ago are so different from the pictures we take today, aren't they? They reveal a much more serious approach to life, a somber mood, almost a hardened resignation to the way life was. At the very least there is a certain awe for very nature of that marvelous new invention known as "the camera".

The other picture was taken on Veteran's Day last month and shows Air Force Veteran Elmer Shepard. It was sent to me by his son Dane Shepard, who said that this is "a picture of Dad I took today in honor of Veteran's Day. We [took] him to the Golden Corral restaurant which is a chain that offers a free meal to veterans on Veteran's Day."

Don't forget that Dane will soon be setting a date for next summer's family reunion in Oklahoma. (The reunion will take place near Dane, who lives just 130 miles from where Samilda and James settled some 115 years ago.) Dane needs your input on the particular day for the reunion, if you have a preference between June 20 or 27 or July 18.

If you have a picture or two of your family gathering this holiday season, please email it to me. I would be glad to share it with the rest of the family.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shepard Family Update, Dec 5, 2008

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello everyone on this first Friday in December. Can you believe 2009 is just a few weeks away? I trust that all your plans for Christmas are progressing well and that it will be a wonderful holiday time for you and yours.

Today is the 18th birthday of Darrell and Mary's son Patrick Shepard of Kenmore, Washington. He is the fourth and final one in our family to turn 18 this year. The others in our family who had their 18th birthday this year are: Steven Paul Shepard (in March), Courtney Boyd (in May), and Lyndsay Aquiningoc (in August).

Speaking of teenagers, here's an interesting and encouraging family fact: of all the direct descendants of Will and Bura Shepard living today, 40% of them (16) are teenagers or younger! Over 50% are under 30 years old. It is hard to believe that our family is so young.

The first picture I am including today is actually a collection of pictures of Patrick over the past 18 years. Select the link below to see the photo presentation.

The other picture I am including today is an old family photo taken Christmas Day in 1967, 41 years ago. This is one of the pictures that Dane sent me recently from his father's photo collection. Click on the picture to see a larger view of it.

On the back row are: Phil Wilk, Rex Russell, Karl, and Gene; the middle row: Joan, Bev, Pauline, Will, Bura, Dane, Steve, Darrell, Maida and Bill; the front row: Barbara, Russell, Kim, Ellen, Beryl, Linda and Elmer.

These 21 folks represent Will and Bura's entire family in 1967. The only absentees were Thelma, Terry and Darren Boyd (who may have been late arriving); and Gary and his wife Jackie, who were living in Michigan at the time. This picture may have been taken at Elmer and Beryl's home on Osage Trail near El Cajon.