Sunday, March 30, 2014

Family Keeps You Going, March 30, 2014

Trials keep you strong,
sorrow keeps you human,
failures keep you humble,
but family keeps you going.

Happy Birthday, Joan! Tomorrow is the birthday of my cousin Joan Shepard, mother of Havilah Wardle, daughter of Elmer and Beryl Shepard and granddaughter of William and Bura Davis Shepard. Joan was born and raised in the San Diego area but lives today in Davis, California. She is the third one in our family who was born in early 1954 and therefore is celebrating an important milestone birthday.

Joan: The years continue to bring blessings. The older I become the more I appreciate all our progenitors and our children--the love and gratitude flows both ways. I still have great health, which is probably a legacy from Bura and William. I remember Granddad Shepard climbing a large, old walnut tree to trim branches when he was in his 80's. We came home that day to find him over 30 feet in the air with a saw in his hand. That's a goal to consider!

A highlight of my year was visiting Havilah and Kevin in South Texas, their current home. It's a delight to be with them and sightsee.  I always learn exponentially when with them. They help me advance into the 21st century, this time with my Christmas gift, a Nook. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to podcasts with them and brought home some favorites for my tablet, "Stuff You Missed in History Class," for example. Being with them is a joy beyond compare no matter what we do. Blessings to everyone... Joan

The first picture (above) shows Joan while she was visiting in Texas last summer. The second picture (below) is an old family photo taken in 1975 in Mira Mesa, just north of San Diego, California at the home of my brother Gary and Jackie Shepard (pictured on the right). Joan is in the middle standing next to our grandparents Bura and William Shepard. Others pictured here are Darrell Shepard (standing to Joan's right), Barbara Shepard holding Kelly Shepard, Darren Boyd, Dane Shepard, Kerri Shepard, Jason Shepard and Kim Boyd. On the ground is Russ Shepard.

Woman of Note: Anna Pickens ShannonOn this last post of March, 2014 (National Women's History Month) I want to highlight one more woman in our family tree: Anna Pickens Shannon.

My GGG grandmother Anna Pickens was born in Abbeville, South Carolina on March 24, 1785 (229 years ago this month!). 
She was the great granddaughter of French-Irish immigrants William Henry Pickens and his wife Margaret Pike who came to America in 1722 from Limerick, Ireland.

Anna was the child of Andrew and Mary Gillespie Pickens and was born just 2 years after the American Revolution. It was not only a time of fighting the British, but also of dealing with warring American Indians. Her father Andrew Pickens served honorably in the Revolution, while her father's first cousin (also named Andrew Pickens) was a decorated General in the war. Anna Pickens' family has a prominent place in the history of South Carolina, not only because of Abbeville where many kinfolks settled, but also because of the namesake town of Pickens, 60 miles north of Abbeville.

Anna's grandmother was also named Anna Pickens, because her maternal grandfather was a first cousin of her father. This phenomenon of marrying relatives, though not too good for the long range health of the family tree, was fairly common at this particular time in American history.

As a young woman her family migrated a few hundred miles west to the area south of Nashville, Tennessee where she met her husband-to-be, David Shannon. They were married in 1808 and helped populate the American frontier by having a family of 9 children. Sometime after the children were born her family migrated southward to the area near Tupelo in northeastern Mississippi, where she lived the last years of her life. She and husband David are buried in Keyes Cemetery near Tupelo (see photo of Keyes Cemetery by Jonathan Phillips). 

Just as the American Revolution greatly affected Anna's early life, so the Civil War affected her later life. She outlived her son David Reid Shannon, who died in the War between the States as a young family man in Louisiana in 1864. One of Anna and David's grandchildren was my great grandfather Samuel Pickens Shannon (Nola Shannon Gower's father), who was named after his grandmother Anna Pickens Shannon.

You have to give it to Anna: she endured the aftermath of the American Revolution as a child, then moved as a youngster from South Carolina to Tennessee, where she married and bore 9 children on the American frontier, and finally relocated to Mississippi, where she was a Civil War Gold Star Mother for her last years. Even though her life was not too different from many frontier women, her sacrifices were great and her place of honor in our family tree is well deserved. She is remembered with gratitude on this Women's History Month.

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Steve Shepard

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