Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post Christmas Memories, Dec 28

If there is to be peace in the world...
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
~Lao Tzu

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you from soggy San Diego where record rainfalls have made life difficult in the last week or so.

Remembering Pauline Shepard. Today is the anniversary of the birthday of Pauline Shepard who was born 94 years ago. (See the first picture, taken in 1935.) She has the distinction of being the first of the four children born to William and Bura (Davis) Shepard, and the first of the 31 grandchildren born to James Brooks and Caroline Davis.

Born in Beaver County, Oklahoma, in 1916, Pauline married Willie Davis Russell in 1935 a week after her 18th birthday. They were married near Two Buttes, Colorado where the family lived at that time. She lived most of her life in San Diego, where she passed away 10 years ago. Pauline and Bill's living descendants are their son Rex Russell and his son Eric, of Red Rock, Nevada; and their grand daughter Shannon Wilk, and her daughter Emma, of Atchison, Kansas.

Shannon sent me these remembrances recently: "So many wonderful memories of Grandmother... Like the day I came running in to tell her I could pronounce Grandmother (she didn't want to be called grandma). She would pick me up on Wednesdays after school when I was in grade school and take me for frozen yogurt and we would go shopping or to the movies... I LOVED to spend the weekends with her. Sundays were the best. We would go to church and it seemed everyone knew me and they all had smiles and hugs for me. I could listen to grandmother sing all day! (Too bad that talent skipped me.) We were just talking about Little Bit and Suzie tonight at dinner. Frank has a little dog, and I was remembering how Grandmother would spoil them. The best memories I have are those of her and me talking about my mom. She didn't talk a lot about her, but when she did, her eyes would light up... but then a sadness would slip in. That's when I knew to change the subject. She gave the best hugs and she always told me she loved me. I loved her smile. She was a beautiful person inside and out. I miss her so very much. I bet she would just have fallen in love with Emma. Grandmother was full of love, kindness, under- standing and was the classiest person I have ever met. I can't remember ever hearing a cruel word come out of her mouth."

Wedding Anniversary. Yesterday Cindy and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. We were married here in San Diego 2 days after Christmas in 1968.

The second picture I am including (above) was taken in 1969, just a few months after we were married. We were students at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, where this picture was taken. On the left are Cindy and I, then four visitors to Abilene from San Diego: my mom Maida Shepard and her mother Nola Gower. In front are my brother Russell and sister Barbara.
The third picture, taken this past Christmas day, shows Cindy and me. 

Family Reunion Plans. Next summer on Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 we plan to have a Shepard family reunion in Anacortes, Washington. You are invited! Mark your calendars now and make your plans. More details will be made available in the coming weeks and months.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Remembering the Birth, Dec 23, 2010

The one who has not Christmas in their heart
will never find it under a tree.
~Roy L. Smith

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings on this week of Christmas from soggy San Diego! I am including in this post more of my favorite Christmas pictures from years past.

This Saturday is not only a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it is also the anniversary of the birth of my late grandfather William Shepard, who was born Christmas day, 1888. (See the first picture from 1960 of William with wife Bura, grandson Rex Russell and wife Ellen, daughter Pauline, daughter Thelma and husband Terry Boyd, and granddaughter Beverly Russell.)

If there was ever a gift I'd like to give my Shepard grandfather, it would be a middle name. His parents didn't give him one (see his birth certificate). His grandfather's name was exactly the same as his, with no middle name. His father's name was also the same as his, except for the addition of the middle name Elmer (a name William and Bura gave to their first son Elmer James Shepard of Mustang, Texas - see second picture).

For 100 years now, people have tried to give granddad a middle name. William appears in numerous governmental records, but only in one official record have I seen his name listed as anything other than William Shepard.

For some strange reason the U.S. Census taker who visited their Beaver County (OK.) family home in May, 1910, gave him the middle initial J. (see the record here) His sister Sadie's middle initial is J, but to give him that initial was surely just a slip of the governmental pen.

Ronald Davis (1931-1998), in his fine Davis family history work from the late 1980s, curiously bestowed on William the middle name "Elmer" (the middle name of his father).

A Davis family history from 1995 (Our Heritage Generations Past and Present) gives William the middle name "James", the middle name of his oldest son. Or were they taking a cue from the 1910 U.S. Census mistake?  

Nancy Bushong has recently published a "Davis and Beck Family History", a well written book that I will say more about in a future post. In the Christmas spirit she generously gives William the middle name "Elmer", as Ronald did in the 1980s.

And so it goes. This could be explained as "the curse of the two-names." Most of us have three names so it only seems proper to give those poor two-name people a third one. But for granddad, as for his grandfather before him, it is too late. History cannot be rewritten. As much as we might like to gift William with a third moniker, the best gift we can give to him -- or to any two-name person -- is to appreciate them as they are. And do our best to set the record straight.

What would granddad William say about this discussion if he were here to celebrate his 122nd birthday with us? I only knew him for the last 28 of his 88 years, but I am sure he would NOT be the nitpicker that I am. He'd make light of it all, and might even weave a tale to explain how ALL the names are correct!

The third Christmas picture shows William and Bura's youngest granddaughter Kim Boyd Clark with her husband Jeff and her three Ortiz grandchildren, Ashlyn, Damian and Ciara.

As you remember the birth(s) this weekend, may all your Christmases be bright!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past, Dec 16

What can you do to promote world peace? 
Go home and love your family.
~Mother Teresa

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from San Diego as Christmas fast approaches. Can there be another holiday more suited to the celebration of family than Christmas?

In this post I would like to share some of my favorite Christmas pictures from years past.

The first one is the oldest Christmas picture in my entire photo library. As you can tell from the fold marks that mar this image, we are lucky that it is still in existence. Taken 60 years ago this month, it shows my older brother Gary (4 yrs old) on the left holding my sister Linda (4 mos. old), and me on the right (2 yrs old). My mom Maida Shepard tells me this about the picture:

"That was Christmas 1950. We were living on Ulric St. in San Diego. The dolls in the front of the picture were made by me and our neighbor Betty Peterson who lived at the other end of the complex. Money was tight that year. She and I got together and salvaged stuffing from an old mattress and made the dolls for Christmas. I don't know how her boys reacted to the dolls. I remember you kids were quite thrilled with them." 

Now fast forward almost 60 years to the second picture. Taken just a year ago it shows the 4 grandchildren of the older boy in the first photo, Gary Shepard. 

In the Santa hats are Mandi and Lyndsey Aquiningoc, and Nate and Kyle Sauvage, who are GGgrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower. The girls are daughters of Kerri (Shepard) Aquiningoc; the boys are sons of James and Kelly (Shepard) Sauvage. All four of these Santa elves and their parents live in Weatherford, Texas.

The third picture is from about 1980 -- time wise right in between the first two pictures -- and shows Santa Claus with my parents Gene and Maida Shepard with Gene's mother Bura Davis Shepard. This picture was taken at their home in Anacortes, Washington when Bura lived with them. Can any of you identify the not so jolly fellow on the right?

2011 Family Reunion Aug 13? As we try to find the best date for our family reunion next summer, it appears that Saturday, August 13 in Anacortes, Washington suits everyone that I have heard from. Do any others of you have input on whether or not that is a good date?  
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating 200! Dec 10, 2010

Genealogy without
is mythology
~author unknown

Hello Family and Friends,

Celebrating 200! Today "The Shepard's Crook" is celebrating a milestone: 200 blog entries since I began this enterprise over 5 years ago. It has been a rewarding challenge to write this blog, discussing family, sending out pictures, and sharing family news and history.

In these 200 blog posts I have not only written about a wide variety of family events, stories and individuals, but I have included over 350 family pictures. After all, a family blog without pictures is like a family meal without food. These pictures have included a wide variety of family members, everybody from Ashlyn Ortiz to Zaley Davis, from the newborn Preslea Shepard to the centenarian Nola Shannon Gower.

The first picture I am including today is one I shared a couple of years ago. It is the oldest family picture that I have, and shows Edmond Owens (1795-1854), of Madison County, Illinois, William Shepard's Ggrandfather.

This blog has evolved over the years of its existence. 3 years ago this month it became a family genealogy blog, sharing research into our history and telling family stories, while celebrating our present family life as well. 

People with the surname "Shepard" have been mentioned most often, but the surnames Davis and Gower have also been mentioned regularly, as well as Boyd and Ortiz, Russell and Wilk, and many others as well. A new feature on the front page of this blog lists the 48 different surnames that have been mentioned more than once in these 200 posts. Selecting a name brings up the posts where they are mentioned.

In writing The Shepard's Crook I have learned a lot, as you might imagine. I have become familiar with many online family resources, especially Ancestry.com. But I have also been able to network with family members I had never met, and some I never knew I had! All of them have broadened my understanding of our wider family.

The second picture (left) is one I have not shared before, and was taken at the home of Elmer and Beryl (Swinney) Shepard just east of San Diego at Thanksgiving 1963. It shows William and Bura (Davis) Shepard and their entire family at this time (except Elmer, who was probably taking the picture).

Writing this blog has also opened my eyes to the difficult but gratifying nature of family research, and has shown me the importance of verifying family information. I have learned that the saying is true: "Genealogy without documentation is mythology."

But most of all this enterprise has shown me how important it is to value family, whether a child, a second cousin, or a GGgrandparent. As we all know, family relationships can be challenging and difficult at times. But family also gives life its deepest meaning, and can move us to create a better world. 

After all, if you do enough research you might just find that you are related to everyone else in the world. This point was brought home to me in two recent news items. One showing that President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are related (imagine that!). And the other claiming that everyone is your 16th cousin.

In this celebration of 200 I must say a special thanks to all of you who read this blog. Especially those of you who have done more than just read, and have responded by sharing with me news and updates and family stories and pictures (and corrections!). I look forward to continuing this blog, in order to celebrate, research and document this mysterious, wonderful and unique family of ours. I welcome your input.
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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Family Is Everything, Dec 5

Family is not an important thing.
It is everything. 
~Michael J. Fox

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday Patrick! Today is the birthday of my nephew Patrick Shepard, who is the youngest child of Darrell and Mary Shepard of Kirkland, Washington. He is also one of the Ggrandchildren of William and Bura Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Gower.

I received this message from Pat earlier today: "It's hard to believe I am 20 today! It seems like just yesterday Grandpa was picking me up from kindergarten! We recently moved into our first house in Bothell, WA, and by "we" I mean my girl friend Nicole, our 2 cats and our dog. It is a houseful! :) We live right down the street from my parents and right up the hill from Chris and Rachel. I work in downtown Seattle as a Community Relations Director in a senior living community, following in my mom's footsteps. Life is very good these days and I feel very blessed to be where I am! Today my birthday will be spent with my friends and family, and great food!" 

The Rest of the Story. In my last post I mentioned my Ggrandmother Caroline (Callie) Spear Davis, on the anniversary of her birth in 1865. I mentioned that she died in 1951 and was buried in Enid, Oklahoma. Jerry Davis and Becky Davis were quick to email me and report that she had indeed DIED in Enid but not buried there.

Jerry: "Callie was traveling with her son Jesse from Bartlesville back to Beaver County where she resided with (her son) Lawrence. They were just east of Enid,  when Jesse could not get a response from her so he rushed on into Enid to a hospital where she was pronounced deceased. This of course caused the hospital to call the police. Jess was a bit upset and called my father Bennie in Helena who rushed over to help. Jess was finally allowed to travel on to Beaver County but if I remember correctly Callie was transferred to a local funeral home and then on to Beaver County.  She is buried beside her husband James in Sophia Cemetery near the old South Flat church of Christ."  Thanks to Jerry and Becky for helping me get the story straight. (See James and Callie's headstone above.)

The picture on the right was recently received from my cousin Dane Shepard. He says it was taken in the mid 1930s and shows Lawrence Davis in the middle and Elmer Shepard on the right. On the left is Robert Jackson. The children are Ronald Davis and Jessie Davis.

A New Davis History Book. Nancy Bushong of Oolagah, Oklahoma has written a new "Davis and Beck Family History", which is now available. Nancy: "The cost will be $20 per book, which includes shipping cost. As soon as I receive your check I will mail your book. I wish to thank all of you for your interest. Aunt Becky Davis and I are overwhelmed at the number of you who want copies.

If you are interested in buying a copy, contact Nancy. If you don't have her contact information, let me know and I will put her in touch with you. Thanks to Nancy for all the work she put into this book.
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