Friday, November 20, 2009

Shepard Family Update, November 20, 2009

(The following is the second of two blog entries by cousin Dane Shepard while I am out of town. Thanks so much to Dane for sharing these family thoughts!)

Dear Shepard Family and Friends,

Hello again from the southern region of the Great Plains. As we have been sharing, this is where both the Shepard and Davis families decided to migrate to, early in the last century just before and after Oklahoma became a state in 1907. By the way, according to, which lists the most common surnames in the U.S., the name "Davis" ranks seventh while "Shepard" comes in at 815.

This past November 11 was Veteran's Day.  Both sides of the family have members who once served in the armed forces. We are certainly grateful to them and all those who continue to protect our freedom. Recently I took my father, Elmer, to a local museum where they displayed some decor, clothing, and other items from dwellings of Adolf Hitler. Pictured below is Dad looking into a mirror once used by Hitler himself. Dad, now 91, served in the Army Air Corps in WWII. His brother, Eugene, was in both the Coast Guard and the Navy.  The next picture is of their younger cousin, Jack, son of John and Margie (Davis) Millikan who became a pilot in the Navy. Elmer took him for a plane ride when he was very young and it seemed to have made an impression.  In fact, sometime much later when Dad was working as an aircraft examiner at the North Island naval air facility in San Diego, a plane came taxiing up to where he was.  After the plane had parked, the cockpit canopy opened and he heard the pilot say, "Hello, Elmer."  It was Jack.


Now lets return to "Garden of Memory" for the second part of the Shepard Family Story that we began last week.  According to Margie, William and Bura were "Married June 2,1915 by Steve Shoemate, Sophia Community." Their picture below was taken sometime in the early 1960's, probably around Mother's Day as Bura is sporting a lovely corsage.

When he [William] asked Dad for Bura in marriage, Dad told him, "You are getting the best spoke in the wheel." His temper was likely his hardest job to control, but Bura, so calm and sensible, was always there to smooth things out for him. I can almost still hear her say, "Now, Daddy."

Bura didn't even weigh 100 pounds but was a regular work horse. Mother said at four years old she was a great help to her, carrying the butter and things back and forth to the spring house. She said she couldn't have raised the rest of us without her.

Bura was a good cook in her mid teens. When the wheat was harvested and stacked, then it was threshing time. Sometimes there was a cook shack that fed the regular crew. Bura took the hot, hard, low paying job of feeding those hungry, hard working men. The shack was a very small house set on wagon runners and wheels so it could be moved along with the threshing crew of six to ten men. There was a little monkey stove in the corner, no cabinets, two board tables along each wall, and benches to sit on and be pushed under the tables when not in use. There was a door at the back and a side door toward the front. There were potatoes to be peeled, corn bread to be made, water to be carried and dishes to be washed. I wish I had asked her what her wages were for all this. I would guess three to four dollars a week.

She was thrifty and bought a beautiful wedding dress of pure China silk with lots of embroidery on the overskirt of it. I think it cost around $12.00 ordered from a catalog. It would cost hundreds of dollars now. Later when Pauline, Elmer, and Eugene were little, they had a herd of milk cows. Bura had an account with Sears and Montgomery Ward, and bought a cream separator, sewing machine, brass bed, folding chair and other things.

She was an excellent seamstress. She sewed for me, Mother, and Will's mother, besides her own family. After they moved to Colorado, she was also a nurse. She delivered a friend's baby boy. The good old doctor, that didn't make it in time, looked things over and said she did a good job.

Will and Bura were married on Dad's birthday. The Shepard family all loved her dearly. She left a lot of footprints on the sands of time. She was truly a virtuous woman--Proverbs 31.

What a touching tribute!  I'm pleased to have had the privilege of sharing it with you all.  Next week we look forward to hearing from my cousin, Darrell, from the beautiful state of Washington. This happens to be the present home of not only many of the Shepard clan, but also of Bud and Janet Davis.


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