Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Year, A New Book, January 13

History is the big myth we live,
and in our living, constantly remake.

~Robert Penn Warren

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you wherever you may be, from Dorrington, California, where Cindy and I find ourselves on this beautiful winter's day. A couple of feet of snow blankets the ground around our house, but the storms have passed for now and the weather is as pleasant as one could hope for at this time of the year.

First of all a reminder: a Shepard Family Reunion is being planned this coming summer on August 13, 2011 in Anacortes, Washington. You are invited to make your plans and join us. Secondly a concern: Our prayers and best wishes continue to be with the family of Mildred Beck Davis of Bartlesville, Oklahoma who suffered a severe stroke last Saturday and is in Jane Phillips Hospital.

Happy Birthday, Mary Shepard! Monday of this week (Jan 10) was the birthday of Mary (Medina) Shepard, the wife of my brother Darrell Shepard. They live in Normandy Park, Washington, south of Seattle, where they are managers of a retirement facility. Mary is originally from Chicago but attended Abilene Christian University where she met and then married Darrell. They have lived in Western Washington now for over 25 years. Their three children, Christopher, Rachel and Patrick, live not far from them in the Seattle area. Best wishes to Mary on this milestone birthday.

Happy Birthday Eric Russell! Tomorrow is the birthday of Eric Russell who lives with his wife Ruth and next door to his father Rex in Red Rock, Nevada. Eric's lineage is Rex Russell/ Pauline Shepard Russell/ Bura Davis Shepard/ James and Caroline Davis. Happy Birthday to Eric.

A New Year, A New Book. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a new history of the Davis family has been written by Nancy Bushong, titled "Davis and Beck Family History". Nancy is the wife of James Bushong, one of the Ggrandchildren of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Her work is one more in a line of compilations of the descendants of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. (See the first picture from the 1960s, showing the 7 Davis children: Nona, Myra, Bura, Margie, Esther, Lawrence and Jesse.)

The first one to do some careful chronicling of our Davis family in recent decades was Ronald Davis (1931-1998), a grandchild of James and Caroline. In the 1980s, when personal computers first became popular, Ronald gathered as much Davis information as he could on computer. In 1989 he was kind enough to send me print outs of the family data he compiled, which I still find helpful.

Previous Davis Family Histories. In the 1990s, at least two Davis family history booklets were put together. The first one, in 1993, was done by the family of Jesse Davis, and was primarily about Jesse and Mildred and their offspring, but included some information and photos of other family members of James and Caroline Davis.

In 1995 a more complete family history of James and Caroline Davis was put together, titled "Our Heritage Generations Past and Present." It states that it is the research of Ronald Davis, Jerry Davis, Mildred (Beck) Davis and Marjorie (Davis) Williams.

To set along side these efforts is Nancy Bushong's new book. It is more about the Beck side of the Jesse and Mildred (Beck) Davis family, but it still gives a good summary of the Davises, with 3 of the book's 10 chapters devoted to them.

Descendants of Marmaduke Davis. A unique contribution of this new family history is the Descendant Chart in the back of the book. It is titled "Descendants of Marmaduke Davis", and lists nearly 350 descendants of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Not every section of the chart is complete, as you might imagine, but it is the most comprehensive listing on paper that I have seen of these Davis descendants. I am most familiar with the family of James and Caroline's oldest daughter Bura Davis Shepard, my grandmother. That particular section is remarkably complete and as near to being correct as one could hope for.

Copies of the book can be obtained from Nancy, although she has told me that the number of printed copies is limited. She is to be thanked for her great efforts! As other family members step forward in years to come to compile information on this big wonderful family of ours, Nancy's book will be one more valuable resource.
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