Friday, June 26, 2009

Shepard Family Update, June 26, 2009

We all grow up with the weight of history on us.
Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains
as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge
hidden in every cell of our bodies.
~Shirley Abbott
Hello Shepard Family Members and Friends,

Greetings to each of you from hot Tucson, Arizona where Cindy and I are visiting friends for the weekend. At our family reunion July 18 -- which is fast approaching! -- we may have a number of relatives from my Grandmother Bura Davis' side of the family. Many of them live in and around Oklahoma and have been invited to join us, in particular by Dane Shepard and Kim Clark, who have gone out of their way to make contact with many of them.

The first picture I am including today shows the connections with our larger Davis family. In the picture is my great grandparents James Brooks Davis and Caroline (Callie) Spear Davis with their 7 children. It is one of the finest quality old family pictures that I have.

Standing tall in the back is the oldest child, my grandmother Bura Davis, who, 7 years after this photo was taken, would marry William Shepard, who she did not even meet until after they had moved and settled in Oklahoma. I never remember her looking any taller than she appears in this picture.

The boy on the far right is Lawrence Davis, taking the serious posture of the oldest boy. He was the second born in the family, and in 1930 would marry Loudella Jackson. Next to Bura is Myra Davis, the third child, who has her father's eeire eyes; in 1918 she would marry William Allen Kilpatrick. The boy smack dab in the middle is Jesse Davis, the middle child of the 7, who would marry Mildred Beck in 1930. (Mildred, by the way, is the last survivor of this generation in our family, and lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma today.)

The girl nearly hidden on the far left is Winona Davis, child #5, who in 1924 would marry William Allen's brother Barney Kilpatrick. Esther, child #6, is the cute little girl in the front between her parents with her head slightly cocked. She would marry Perry Jenkins in 1923. Marjorie, the youngest of the 7, is the baby sitting in her father's lap. In 1931 she would become Mrs. John Millikan, and then 50 years after that, Mrs. A.C. Williams.

Marjorie was born in late December 1907. In the picture she cannot be any more than a few months old, indicating that this picture must have been taken in the spring or summer of 1908 -- 101 years ago! The location was probably Spencer Indiana, where the family lived at the time. A few years later they moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma.

None of the people in this picture are still living today. The last one of James and Callie's children to pass away was the youngest, Marjorie, who died just last fall in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 100.

One of the most remarkable things about this picture is how they managed to get all the children to pose so perfectly, at the same time. To get ANY 9 people to photograph well is tough enough. When 7 of the 9 are under 12 years old, it is uncanny. Some of our younger family members may need to be reminded that this picture was taken long before the age of digital photography, meaning that each shot was very important. They did not take 20 pictures and then select the best one. 100 years ago photography was still a relatively new phenomenon, which may help to explain the rapt attention given by each of the family members -- including the baby!

The indicators of the early 20th century in this photo are very apparent -- the curtains in the back, the knickers on Lawrence, the collar and blouse on Jess (try putting that on a boy today and the neighbors may call CPS!), the well worn shoes, the soft white cottons on all the girls, and the high collars on everybody.

Mother Callie, though 5 years older than her husband James, actually looks younger and is quite a beauty at 42 years old. He is the one who -- though only 37 --seems to show in his face the signs of having borne 7 children in the first 12 years of their married life.

Most of those who read this blog are descendants of Bura Davis, the tall girl in the back in the picture above. But a growing number of readers are descendants of the other Davis children, with names like Niles, Millikan, Allen, Borgstadt, Ellred, Taylor, Roberts and of course, Davis. We will be blessed to be joined at the reunion by some of these other members of our larger family.

Congratulations Newlyweds. I mentioned last week that Nathan, our son (and one of James and Callie's GGgrandsons) was recently joined by his fiance Chenda from Cambodia. But I need to report further this week that they were married last Sunday, on Father's Day! It was this father's honor to do the outdoor ceremony in San Diego, on a small bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean. Congratulations to Nathan and Chenda Shepard! The second picture I am including today is a picture of the newlyweds with Cindy and me. (I promise not to bore you EVERY week with updates. ;-)

Happy Birthday Kyle Sauvage. As a final word I want to say happy birthday to Kyle Christian Sauvage, one of James and Callie Davis' GGGgrandsons. Kyle, who turns 5 today, lives in Weatherford, Texas with his parents James and Kelly Sauvage. Kyle is the grandson of Gary Shepard and the great grandson of Maida Shepard.

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