Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Strength of the Ties That Bind, January 29, 2014

My grandmother started walking
five miles a day when she was sixty.
She's ninety-seven now,
and we don't know
where the heck she is.
~Ellen DeGeneres

Family and Media. Occasionally I come across a depiction of family in a novel or movie or in some other media that I feel compelled to mention in The Shepard's Crook. Such was the case when Cindy and I recently viewed the movie "
12 Years a Slave". 

It is a hard hitting story of a free man taken into slavery in pre-Civil War America. It is based on actual events documented in the 1853 book of the same name, by Solomon Northup. This award winning film includes one of the most powerful and emotional scenes of a family reunion I have ever witnessed on the big screen. It is the tale of a family torn apart by deceitful men, the resulting injustice and violence, and then the eventual return of family members to relationship with one another.

The acting is outstanding, the story is believable and well told, the message is strong and unequivocal, and the overall movie experience is excellent. For those willing to view horrific yet true to life scenes of early 19th century slavery, it is a remarkable movie that lifts up the power of familial love. In view of the harsh challenges that families encounter, it is a clear testimony to the enduring strength of the ties that bind us.

Charles Edward Davis. Today is the anniversary of the birth of my Great Great Grandfather Charles Edward Davis (1849-1926), who was born in Ohio during the era of the above mentioned film. 

Many of the folks in our family tree were part of a major move that their family made from one state to another, e. g. from Oklahoma to California, or from Indiana to Oklahoma. But C.E. Davis was one of the few people who made a major move early in his life, as a child, from Ohio to Indiana; and then later in life when, about 60, he made another major move from Indiana to Oklahoma where he lived the last 16 years of his life.

The first picture I am including (above) is one you have seen before in this blog. Taken in the early 1920s, in Beaver County, Oklahoma, it shows Charles Edward Davis (second from right, with a cane) as he was nearing the end of his life. Standing with him are 5 of the 6 sons born to him and his wife Malinda Wright Davis: Zaley, Benjamin, Morton, James Brooks and, on the far right, John.

The only son of Charles and Malinda Davis not included in the family picture above, is Thomas Davis, who lived his whole life in Spencer, Indiana, and did not migrate with his family to Oklahoma in the early 20th century.

The second picture, also taken in the early 1920s, shows Thomas Davis (second from right), and the Hinton family into which he married. (Compare Tom Davis in this second picture, with his brother Zaley Davis, on the far left in the first picture, and you can see a remarkable resemblance.) 

In this second picture with Thomas Davis is his wife Alice Hinton Davis on the far right. Also in this picture, taken in Spencer, Indiana, from left to right, is Loomis Hinton, Lucy Davis, bearded grandpa William Hinton, Stella Davis, Delia Hinton and Mamie Hinton.
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Steve Shepard

Thursday, January 23, 2014

400 and Counting, January 23, 2014

The most durable,
lasting power in this world
is the power to love. 
~Rev Martin Luther King, Jr.

Congratulations to Kevin and Havilah Colgain Wardle whose 4th wedding anniversary is today, Jan 23, 2014. Havilah is one of the great grandchildren
of Will and Bura Davis Shepard, by way of her mother Joan Shepard and her grandfather Elmer Shepard. Havilah and Kevin live in Victoria, Texas. The first picture shows Kevin and Havilah on their wedding day four years ago. 

400 and Counting. My last blog post was the 400th of The Shepard's Crook. It makes me grateful for being part of a family about which there is so much to say! I am not just talking about the drama that occasionally comes to our families. I am talking about the people and their stories, of recent times and long ago, who provide the foundation of our family's life and history. Their stories need to be told so we will know who we have been and who we are becoming.

I consider it important to keep the focus of this blog on family, even though it is tempting to do otherwise. For example, my nephew Patrick Shepard wants me to report here (surely not in a gloating gesture!?) that his beloved Seattle Seahawks football team beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game last Sunday. But I must resist, even though it is of great importance to him and his family. Am I being too harsh?

In the course of writing this blog I have included many pictures of new babies, growing children, parents, grandparents, and ancestors who are no longer around. At last count I have included 777 family pictures in this blog, some taken the very day the entry was posted, others images over 100 years old. A handful of the family pictures I have included were from the 19th century, and are rare gems to be cherished forever.

The picture below is a combination of one such 19th century photo, alongside one of the most recent pictures I have. The left half shows Leroy and Ellen Taylor Gower (in the 1880s), while the right half was taken earlier this week and shows their youngest GGGG grandchild, Logan Joseph Shepard of Bothell, Washington.

Speaking of pictures, I am always interested in other old family photos that may exist somewhere in the closets or attics of our extended family. One of my goals in writing this blog is to create a photo archive of our family that will last for generations. If you have any old family photos, I am very interested in working with you to get a digital copy for inclusion in The Shepard's Crook. Images that are included here will be available to future generations far, far longer than any physical photograph.  

Thanks to all of you who are readers of these posts, especially those who have connected with me in various ways and have shared pictures or informative emails, or in other ways have contributed to this ongoing family resource. 

God only knows what our lives and our family will look like in years to come, but some things will remain the same: people marry, new children arrive, we all age and the diversity of our families grows richer and broader. I am excited about what the future holds for the family circles in which we find ourselves. They are all worth remembering and celebrating.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, January 17, 2014

Celebrating With Cousins, January 17, 2014

Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you.
Be a person in whom they can have faith.
When you are old, nothing else you've done
will have mattered as much.
~Lisa Wingate

Happy Anniversary. Tomorrow, Jan 18, is the 7th wedding anniversary of my cousin Kim Boyd Clark and her husband Jeff Clark, who live in Blue Springs, Missouri. Best wishes to both of them for a happy anniversary. 

The first picture shows Jeff and Kim and their family and was taken this past Christmas in Blue Springs. On the lower left is Kim's mother Thelma Shepard Boyd with Jeff and Kim behind her. Also pictured are their children and grandchildren, including Casey, Scott, Amanda, Justin, Desiree, Jeremy, Ciara, Ashlyn, Damian, Isaac and Dominic.

Kim: "Our house has gotten so quiet since Jeremy and family have moved to their own house. Bitter sweet. But we still have more excitement coming with our Amanda and Justin Davis getting married February 22, a get away wedding in Las Vegas. Lol I hope he is not a shirt tail relative. We will travel out there for the weekend. 

"Jeff's son Casey and his wife Amanda are expecting their first baby July 28. We will then have 6 grandbabies. Yay! We love being grandparents and spoiling them is so fun."

Even IF Kim's future son-in-law (named Davis) is a shirt tail relative (although it appears he is NOT), it would not be the first time this has happened in our family. In a blog post a few years ago I mentioned that several cousins in our family have tied the knot with few, if any, negative consequences (as far as I can tell!). 

Dane and Nathan. This coming Tuesday, January 21, is the birthday of my cousin Dane Shepard and his son Nathan Ross Shepard. Dane and Nathan live in New Castle, Oklahoma with wife and mom Cindy Shepard and daughter and sister Kaylan. Nathan is a first year student at Florida College. 

The first picture shows the entire shady shaded family in a recent Christmas photo. From left to right are Nathan, Cindy, Kaylan and Dane Shepard. Best wishes to Nathan and Dane for a happy birthday!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, January 10, 2014

More January Celebrations, January 10, 2014

A true friend doesn't care...
if your family is filled with crazy people.
They love you for who you are.

Greetings to all of you yet again from Tucson, Arizona, in the desert of the Great Southwest, a beautiful, relaxing and comfortable setting for January.

Mary Shepard. Happy Birthday today to the senior celebrant of this post, Mary Medina Shepard, the wife of my brother Darrell Shepard of Kirkland, Washington. The big news in Mary's life this past year was the birth of her and Darrell's first grandchild Logan Joseph Shepard, born to Pat and Nicole Shepard last summer.

The first picture shows Mary on the right with husband Darrell and son Chris in the back, daughter Rachel and Chris' girlfriend Jessica in the middle, and Patrick and wife Nicole in the front.

Carsyn Slaughter. Speaking of new births, last Sunday was the very first birthday of another little one in our extended family, Carsyn Rene Slaughter, the junior celebrant of this blog post. She is the daughter of Courtney Boyd and Cody Slaughter of San Diego. The second picture was taken recently and shows little Carsyn being smooched on by her parents.

The following is one particular lineage of Carsyn, going back 9 generations and nearly 300 years. Included is her proud grandfather Darren Boyd and her great grandmother Thelma Shepard Boyd:

  • Carsyn Rene Slaughter (b. 2013)
  • Courtney Boyd (b. 1990) - Cody Slaughter
  • Darren Boyd (b. 1964) - Victoria Mills
  • Thelma Shepard Boyd (b. 1936) - Terry Boyd
  • Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986) - William Shepard
  • Callie Spear Davis (1865-1951) - James Brooks Davis
  • Maggie Williams Spear (1845-1904) - William Spear
  • John Pouty Williams (1806-1898) - Sara Richardson
  • John Williams (1782-1813) - Lydia Warford
  • William Williams (1745 - 1801) - Elizabeth Averett

Eric Russell.
One other birthday that needs mentioning will occur this coming Wednesday when the calendar turns another year for cousin Eric Russell, who lives with his wife Ruthie Styer Russell in Red Rock, Nevada. In my last post I included a picture of Eric's grandparents, the late Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell. 
This third picture shows Eric and his wife Ruthie.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Birthday, Book, Bill and Bride, January 7, 2014

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon,
but that we wait so long to begin it.
~W. M. Lewis

Greetings to all of you from Tucson, Arizona where Cindy and I find ourselves on this beautiful day in the desert. We are here celebrating Cindy's birthday which is today. 

The first picture shows Cindy with one of her favorite people in all the world, our oldest grandchild Preslea who lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her parents Nathan and Chenda and her brothers Logan and William. This particular picture was taken last summer in the mountains on the coast of the far northern part of our state. Happy Birthday to Cindy!

Remembering Bill and Pauline. 79 years ago yesterday my aunt and uncle Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell were married. On January 6, 1935 they tied the knot in Springfield, Colorado, not far from Two Buttes, Colorado where their family lived. 

The second picture, taken in 1957, shows the two of them in front of their home in San Diego where they lived for most of their lives. Bill and Pauline have both been gone now for nearly 15 years, but warm memories of them remain.

New Book by Marjorie Eldred. I received word from Marjorie Eldred who is a cousin from the Kilpatrick side of our family, and has a keen interest in family history. She is the author of "Seizing the Treasure: Nuggetts of Vaughn-Kilpatrick Story".

She wrote to tell me of a new book she has written, which tells a difficult family story of coming back from drugs and imprisonment. It concerns Marjorie and her daughter. 

In Marjorie's words, "During the years she spent involved in drugs and the years of prison sentence, I collected the letters she wrote to me. I also saved writings from my 'journal' that took the place of letters that could not be written because of the pain in our ‘during-the-drugs’ relationship. 

"Together Katie (not her real name) and I decided to compile our writings during these painful years into book form. Journey from Addiction to Freedom: A Family’s Prison Experience was published in October and is now available on Amazon in both digital and paperback print."
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Steve Shepard