Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Days of Auld Lang Syne", December 31, 2015

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
~Robert Burns

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful new year! May 2016 bring much happiness, personal growth, and great joy.

Happy Anniversary Darrell and Mary. Happy 33rd Wedding Anniversary today, December 31, to my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary Medina Shepard of Bothell, Washington. They were married in Abilene, Texas while students at Abilene Christian University. In the last third of a century their family has grown to a clan of 12 including three children and 4 grandchildren, all of whom live near them in the Seattle area. Happy Anniversary to Darrell and Mary, and best wishes for many more years to come!

This first picture shows Darrell and Mary with me on the right, in late 1983, just before they celebrated their first wedding anniversary. It was taken in Abilene, Texas where they were living at the time.

Remembering James and Callie Davis. Tomorrow is the wedding anniversary of my great grandparents James Brooks Davis and his wife Callie Spear Davis. They were married in Owen County, Indiana on New Year's Day, 120 years ago. Their decision to marry on the first day of the new year was understandable. A new year, a new marriage, a new beginning; it all fit together. For farming families it was also a slow time of the year work-wise. And if the weather was not too bad, family and friends from all around would be available to celebrate with them.

Their new year's day marriage so impressed their youngest daughter Marjorie Davis Millikan that she too decided to marry on that day. And not once, but twice! First in 1931 to John Millikan, the father of her children, and then 50 years later to Clyde Williams in 1981.

This second picture was taken in 1908, just a few months after their youngest child, Marjorie Davis, was born in Spencer, Indiana, and just a few years before the family moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma. This picture shows parents James and Callie Davis with baby Marjorie.

Happy Birthday Chenda! New Year's Day is also the birthday of our daughter-in-law Chenda Sou Shepard. She was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the first day of 1980. She lives in San Diego with husband Nathan Shepard and their three children Preslea, Logan and William.

This third picture was taken just last week on Christmas Day in San Diego at the home of Cindy's mom Paula Harris. Chenda is on the left holding their youngest child William Shepard. Next to Chenda in the back are Logan with Nathan, Cindy, her mom Paula and me on the far right. In front are Cindy's aunt Juanita Eeds with Preslea in front of her.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Welcome the Future, Respect the Past, December 26, 2015

We must welcome the future;
soon it will be the past;
and we must respect the past,
remembering that it was once
all that was humanly possible.
~George Santayana

Happy Anniversary! Tomorrow, Sunday Dec 27, is Cindy's and my 47th wedding anniversary. We were married here in the San Diego area two days after Christmas in 1968 and were home for Christmas break from Abilene Christian at the time. Over those years our home has been in various places throughout California: San Diego, San Leandro, the San Fernando Valley, Los Alamitos, Palo Alto, and Dorrington.

This first picture was taken this past September when we were on vacation in Northern Ireland, a trip that was one of the highlights of 2015 for us. This particular picture was taken in Derry, Northern Ireland, a beautiful modern city, the port from which a number of our Irish ancestors sailed to America in the 19th century. Behind us in this picture are the ancient walls that surround the oldest portion of this city.

Remembering Pauline Shepard Russell (1916-2000). Monday, December 28, is the anniversary of the birth of my late aunt Pauline Shepard Russell, who was born 99 years ago in Beaver County, Oklahoma. Pauline was the oldest child of William Shepard and Bura Davis Shepard. She was the first child in their family to marry when she tied the knot with Bill Russell in 1935. They were the first to provide the Shepards with grandchildren when Rex and Beverly Russell were born to them in the late 1930s in Two Buttes, Colorado.

My aunt Pauline and her husband Bill Russell with their two children were part of the Shepard family migration to San Diego in the fall of 1940. Pauline lived the rest of her life in the San Diego area and is buried today in Greenwood Cemetery, alongside her husband Bill. The two of them have 3 direct descendants today: their granddaughter Shannon Wilk and her daughter Emma of Atchison, Kansas, and their grandson Eric Russell of Reno, Nevada.

This second picture was taken almost 25 years ago at a family reunion in Lake Wallawa, Oregon in the summer of 1991. Pauline in on the left with her husband Bill Russell. Next to them are my parents Eugene and Maida Shepard, and on the right are me and Cindy.

8 Years and Counting. It was 8 years ago on December 28 that I began this family genealogical blog. My very first family blog post on December 28, 2007 was a simple announcement about the Shepard/Gower family reunion that was coming up in the summer of 2008.

In the past 8 years in over 500 posts, I have made available over a thousand family pictures, have told countless stories about our family, and shared many posts regarding research I have done. Many of the stories I recounted from my own experience, while others I have uncovered through researching this big, diverse family of ours. Not only the Shepard, Gower, Davis, and Shannon branches, but other tributaries as well. Fortunately there are reliable online records that tell us of family that goes back several centuries in some instances, and more records are being made available online all the time.

I look forward to many more discoveries of ancestors that help us to understand who we really are and where we have come from. Thanks very much for the support of so many of you and for all who are readers of this blog. It has been a wonderfully rewarding experience for me and one that I hope to continue for many years. As always, I solicit your input into this effort in the form of new or old pictures as well as comments, celebrations, reflections, remembrances and any other contributions that would be appropriate to share in this venue. We are part of a great family that is worth remembering and celebrating!
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Voice From the Past, December 23, 2015

They went into the house, 
and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, 
they knelt down and worshiped him. 
They brought out their gifts 
of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, 
and presented them to him.
~Matthew 2:11

Merry Christmas to all of you! May your holiday be filled with the joy of Christmas and the happiness of family.

On Christmas Day, 127 years ago, my Grandfather William Shepard was born in Alton, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis, Missouri. He was the first child of William Elmer Shepard and Elvira Owens.

This picture shows William Shepard on the far right next to his wife Bura Davis Shepard, and their 4 children Elmer, Thelma, Eugene and Pauline. This picture was taken in San Diego in 1975, the year before he died.  

I have included in this post an audio recording of my Grandfather William Shepard. You may recall that back in the spring, I shared with you a different recording of Granddad, one in which he told about his wedding to his wife Bura in 1915. That recording, as well as this one, was made in the 1970's when Granddad was well into his 80's. It was recorded by his son Elmer and daughter-in-law Beryl Swinney Shepard, with whom he and his wife Bura were living at the time. As I recall, Beryl was the one most interested in recording Granddad telling about his life and the stories he could recall. And Granddad was indeed quite the raconteur; he loved to tell stories about his life.

In this recording that is linked below, Granddad's story begins by him telling what it was like, at 16 years old (about 1905), when he moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma, which he calls "the wild and woolly west." He shares his regret at moving away from Illinois and his desire to return where he was raised.

Later in life William was a person who enjoyed venturing out and exploring new territory. This made it difficult at times for his family who found themselves without a husband and father for periods of time. He probably learned that adventurous spirit from his own father, who had left home in Indiana about 1880 as an older teenager and wandered on his own from Indiana to Illinois. That's where he met his wife Elvira Owens who became the mother of their two children.

You will also notice in this recording that when he was in his 80's Granddad was very hard of hearing. Beryl is clearly heard asking him questions, but he is oblivious to her. He was such a story-teller, however, that a little thing like deafness was not going to keep him from expressing himself and weaving his tales!

In this recording Granddad refers to a number of medical issues and the archaic ways they were dealt with in the early years of the 20th century. In particular he tells us about the death of his father William Elmer Shepard in 1915, and the death of his wife's father, James Brooks Davis, in 1928, both of whom died and are buried in Beaver County, Oklahoma. He gives some interesting, almost eerie, details of their deaths. How much is fact and how much is guesswork remains an open question. Even so, it makes for a fascinating recording as we hear this voice from the past.

For those of us who remember Granddad William Shepard it is worth it just to hear his familiar voice. For those of you who may never have known him, it is interesting and insightful to hear this voice from our family's history speak first hand about what life was like in the early years of the 20th century.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Treasuring the Small Things, December 12, 2015

The one who treasures the small things in life 
has found the path to true happiness.
~Kim Clark's Motto

Advent and Christmas is a time with special meaning for children. When I saw this holiday picture I could not pass up the opportunity to share it here in The Shepard's Crook. 

Taken earlier this month, this picture shows Santa and the four grandchildren of my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary of Bothell, Washington. From left to right in the picture are Kellan Shepard (parents Rachel and Brian), Finley Shepard (parents Christopher and Jessica), and brothers Logan and Mason Shepard.

Happy First Birthday to Mason Shepard! Mason, the little one on the far right in the picture above with Santa, celebrates his first birthday today! With his big brother Logan, they are the sons of Patrick and Nicole Shepard of Bothell, Washington. 

This second image is of one-year-old Mason in a picture taken about a week ago. Thanks to Nicole for sharing this picture and for the update below.

Nicole: Mason is doing great! Can't believe he is one year old already! He is a very happy boy! Just about walking; and taking 10-15 steps at a time. He is VERY busy and into everything! Keeps us hopping! He is so much fun though. We are having a big "winter ONEderland" themed birthday party for him this weekend (today!).  It's going to be fun!

The Birth of Calvin Drinks. Congratulations to my cousin Joan Shepard and her wife Dee Shannon of Dixon, California who on Thursday celebrated the birth of their first grandchild, Calvin Robert Drinks. Calvin is the first child of Ryan and Robyn Drinks of Chico, California. Best wishes to baby Calvin, his parents, and his whole family who are thrilled to welcome this first member of the next generation in their family. This picture shows Calvin being held by his proud daddy Ryan at just a few hours old.

In Memory of Duen Ouk (1942-2015). It is surprising how often our joys and sorrows, the births and deaths, the happiness and the tears, seem to go hand in hand. It is with sadness that I report the death of the mother of our daughter-in-law Chenda Sou Shepard. Chenda, who has been in the U.S. now for almost 7 years, lives with husband Nathan and their 3 children here in San Diego. Last week on December 4, her mom Duen Ouk passed away in the family home village of Kampong Speu, Cambodia, after a long illness. 

Chenda went to Cambodia just a few weeks ago to visit her family and spend time with her ailing mother. Chenda's father died just last year, so this is a double loss in a relatively short period of time. 

This picture from 2008 shows both Chenda's parents, Duen Ouk and Penh Sou, at their home in Kampong Speu. Native Cambodians, they spent almost 35 years together, through some incredibly difficult times, among which were the desperate years of the Khmer Rouge and "the killing fields". Their family legacy includes several sons and daughters, and numerous grandchildren in Cambodia, Australia, and the United States. Among their grandchildren are our grandchildren Preslea, Logan and William Shepard. Our prayers and best wishes go out to Chenda and her whole family.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Saturday, December 05, 2015

December Celebrations Begin, December 5, 2015

The flower that blooms in adversity
is the most rare and beautiful of all.
~the Emperor in "Mulan"

As December gets underway, two celebrations are in order to begin this special season, one highlights a present day young family, the other family members from a generation ago.

Happy Birthday to Patrick! Today, December 5, is the birthday of my nephew Patrick Joseph Shepard of Bothell, Wash- ington. Pat is the youngest child of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Shepard. He was born in 1990 in Portland, Oregon, but lives today in Bothell with his wife Nicole and their young sons Logan and Mason. Pat is the Administrator of Rosewood Courte Memory Care, a health care facility in nearby Edmonds, Washington. 

This first picture shows Pat and Nicole at their home in Bothell. It was taken last summer at the family reunion that was held at their home. 

Hendrix Gower (1922-2004)This coming Tuesday is the anniversary of the birth of my uncle Hendrix (Hank) Gower, the oldest child of my grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. He passed away in San Diego 11 years ago.

Hank and his older sister, my mother Maida Gower Shepard, were the last of our Gower family members to be born in Mountain View, Arkansas. Mountain View was where our Gower ancestors had been settled for several generations before my Gower grandparents began migrating westward, first to Oklahoma in the 1920s and then to San Diego, California in 1942. Hank and his late wife Starlene Bass Gower came to California as a young couple and gave birth to two sons here, Hershell and Jimmie Gower. They were both raised in San Diego but live today in Arizona along the Colorado River.

This second picture shows my uncle Hank on the far left. It is a family picture taken in Anacortes, Washington 27 years ago in the summer of 1988. 

From left to right are Hank, then his sister Vicki Gower Wilson, who in just a few months would celebrate her 55th birthday on October 18 by marrying Duke Johnston. In the picture next to Vicki is Hank's nephew Russ Shepard and wife Pam, then Hank's other sister Maida Shepard and husband Gene Shepard. On the right are Cindy and I and our son Nathan. 

Hank and his wife Aurora were visiting in Washington at the time from California, as was Cindy and I and Nathan. All the others were living in Washington at the time.

It is a happy bunch with smiles on all the faces. Aurora was the photographer who took the picture, and did her job well by saying or doing something that elicited smiles from everyone.
- - -
Steve Shepard 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For Another Day, November 26, 2015

Thank you for the breath to say
Thank you for another day.

On this Thanksgiving Day, 2015, as I think about our family, I am grateful for many things. Here are a few at the top of my Thanksgiving list.

I give thanks for the newest and the oldest family members among us: Finley Grace Shepard and her Great Grandmother Maida Shepard. Finley is the infant daughter of my nephew Christopher Shepard and Jessica Bell of Seattle, Washington. Maida is the proud Great Grandmother of 11, with Finley, at just 6 weeks old, being the youngest of them all. Thank God for Finley and all the babies in our family and for the hope they give us for the future! This first picture shows Maida holding her Great Granddaughter Finley with Maida's birthday cake in the foreground. Maida turned 91 on the first day of this month.

I am also very grateful for my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston, Maida's sister, who is in failing health. It was difficult for her to say goodbye to her husband Duke Johnston who died after a long illness this past summer in Oak Harbor, Washington. 

Vicki had been a resident of Whidbey Island in Washington since the mid 1970s when she moved there from San Diego. This second picture was taken in the early years of Vicki's time in Washington and shows her with Cindy Shepard, wife of my brother Gary.

Vicki was the first of our extended family to move to Washington when she and then-husband Al Perry relocated there. A few years later my parents Maida and Gene Shepard retired and moved from San Diego to Northwest Washington. Today at least 21 members of our Shepard and Gower families live in that area, and it all started with Vicki's decision to move there about 40 years ago. Last month Vicki moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona to live in a care facility near her daughter Paula Tuzzolino.

Happy Birthday this Sunday to Kim Boyd Clark and her grandson Damian Ortiz!

Damian will celebrate his 9th birthday in El Cajon, California where he lives with his family. Damian is one of the great great Grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard and the third of the five children of Desiree and Jeremy Ortiz. Damian's grandmother Kim, born 45 years before Damian, lives in Blue Springs, Missouri with husband Jeff Clark. This picture shows Kim and grandson Damian in a picture taken last summer in San Diego.

Kim: Winter is beginning to set in here. I love my job at the high school cafeteria. It gives me a lot of joy working with the High School kids and I also love my free time to go places and enjoy life. We will be spending a few weeks in San Diego for Christmas. Jeff and I sold our house and are planning on getting a motor home within the next year to travel and spoil our grandkids even more!

Mom Desiree: Damian is doing wonderful and will be celebrating his 9th birthday on Saturday with friends and family cosmic bowling and playing laser tag. He is thriving in school and played baseball last season and made the All-Star team. Besides Baseball Damien enjoys skateboarding and building with Legos. I just can't believe my first baby boy will be nine years old! Jeremy and I are very proud of Damian and all that he accomplishes. It makes us very proud parents and we love him so much.

May your Thanksgiving Day be a happy one, filled with family joy, good food, and gratitude for all you have.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Footprints on the Sands of Time, November 18, 2015

The lives of great people remind us
that we can make our lives sublime 
and, departing, leave behind us 
footprints on the sands of time.
~Henry David Thoreau

Caroline Matilda Spear Davis (1865-1951). This month celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of my Great Grandmother Caroline Spear Davis who, with her husband James Brooks Davis, were the parents of 7 children, the oldest of whom was my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. This first picture shows Bura Davis Shepard on the left in 1915, and her mother Caroline Spear Davis on the right in 1908.

Caroline (Callie) Spear Davis was born November 29, 1865, at the very end of the American Civil War and lived until 1951. Hers was a life that spanned an amazing period of time. Born in Owen County, Indiana where our Davis and Spear families had settled, she married James Brooks Davis there on New Year's Day, 1896. She, husband James, and their 7 children migrated from Indiana to Beaver County, Oklahoma in March, 1913, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Callie was the oldest of the 8 children of William and Maggie Spear, while her daughter Bura was the oldest of 7 children. I never knew my Great Grandmother Callie, but I did know well my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. What I have discovered about Callie in recent years helps to explain a lot about the kind of person Bura was. She obviously learned a lot about life from her mother Callie. They were both the oldest among their siblings. They both felt a great responsibility for the neediest members of their families. And they both helped carry the torch of faith and church in their family lives.

Callie Davis in the 1940 U.S. Census
Above is a snippet from the April, 1940 U.S. Census, the most recent Census for which we have information about Callie. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) These numbers are interesting: in November, 1940 (75 years ago) Callie celebrated her 75th birthday. At that time she had been a widow for 12 years, a resident of Oklahoma for 27 years, and would live yet another 11 years. In the fall of 1940, she must have still been missing her oldest daughter Bura who just two months earlier, with her husband William Shepard and their family, had moved to California and settled in San Diego.

The Census information above shows that in 1940 Callie was living with her brother Clayton Spear, who was 5 years younger than her. He was a special needs person who Callie had been taking care of, probably for most of his life. When Callie and family moved to Oklahoma in 1913, her brother Clayton came with them, evidently because there was no one else to care for him. This 1940 Census record shows that she was still taking care of him 27 years later. 

Another thing to note from this Census record is that the widow Callie and her needy brother Clayton were neighbors of her son Lawrence and his family, and her brother-in-law John Davis and his family. Just a couple of years after this time Callie and her family had to make the very difficult decision to institutionalize Clayton, who then died in 1944.

I am grateful for the life of my Great Grandmother Callie Spear Davis, for the difficult struggles she endured, for the values she instilled in her family, and for the wonderful family legacy that she has left behind. We honor her this month on the 150th anniversary of her birth.

A Response From Marjorie Eldred. After my last post regarding my grandmother Bura Davis Shepard, I received word from a shirt tail relation of hers, Margie Vaughn Eldred of Washington. Margie had two Kilpatrick uncles who married two Davis women who were sisters of Bura Davis. This sounds rather confusing but it simply refers to the fact that the Davises and the Kilpatricks intermarried back in Oklahoma in the early 20th century in ways that created friendships and relations that are still respected and remembered today.

This second picture illustrates the intermarrying of the Kilpatricks and the Davises. It shows James and Callie Davis in 1922 with 2 of their Kilpatrick grandchildren (Geneva and Bernard, in front of Callie). This picture also shows 3 of their Shepard grandchildren (Eugene on the left, Elmer in the middle, and Pauline in the back).

Here's Marjorie email:  

It was great to see the posts about the Davis branch of your Shepard family; of course it included aunts and uncles of mine also. There were ten siblings in the Samuel Allen Kilpatrick family so I'm sure descendants are scattered everywhere in these United States. Barney Kilpatrick was the brother that opened his home to Verlin, my oldest brother when the need arose. Norma Lou, Carolyn, and Shirley Kilpatrick became his substitute 'sisters.' 

Verlin told a story about what happened when he and the girls borrowed the family car to go fishing. They caught fish and stored them in the car while they roamed the vicinity, forgetting to reckon with the hot temperatures inside the locked car. As Verlin reported it, "Aunt Nona never did figure out how 'that smell' got inside the car, and no one volunteered any information."  My brother Verlin died in October of 2006. Marion, my mother, died in January that same year.

I'm working on a new book, a fiction full of the history of Vale, Oregon, the place where my Mom and Dad had their farm. All of my siblings and I grew up there. The book should be finished in the next few months. It will be titled Katie of Malheur Oregon Country. ...Marjorie (Vaughn Skelton) Eldred

- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, November 06, 2015

A Faith That Lived In Grandmother, November 6, 2015

I am reminded of your sincere faith,
a faith that lived first in your grandmother.
~ The Apostle Paul

Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). This Sunday, November 8, is the anniversary of the birth of a person who has been gone for several decades now, but who was a dynamic force in our Shepard family for many years, my paternal grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. She was born 119 years ago this weekend outside Spencer, Indiana to Callie Spear Davis and her husband James Brooks Davis. She is the connection to our many Davis ancestors and relatives around the country, but especially in Oklahoma.

She was the standard bearer for our Shepard family's strong connection to the Church of Christ for nearly her entire life. She was part of a strong family tradition of Church of Christ people that can be traced to her Great Grandparents Alex and Jane Buskirk Davis who were from Eastern Ohio in the early years of the 19th century.

Her husband, my Granddad William Shepard, was also a long time member of the Church of Christ, but I always had the impression it was as a concession to her. Her commitment to the church was the dynamic force that moved through our family in a most powerful way.

Our Davis relatives today continue to be a source of kinship that has existed for generations. I was reunited recently with a long time family friend here in San Diego by the name of Richard Indermill. He is related by virtue of two of his uncles (Barney and William Kilpatrick), who married two of Bura Davis' sisters (Winona and Myra Davis). Even though these marriages occurred nearly 100 years ago, the bond that was created has importance even to this day.

I received word from my cousin Kim Boyd Clark recently that she discovered a relative in Missouri who she never even knew existed: Norma Lou Kilpatrick Allen of Springfield, Missouri, a long time reader of The Shepard's Crook. Turns out Norma Lou is a daughter of Barney Kilpatrick and Winona Davis Kilpatrick. Winona was the sister of Kim's Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. (Winona is also the aunt of the aforementioned Richard Indermill.) Here is a picture that Kim sent me a few days ago, taken on the occasion of Kim and Norma Lou's happy meeting recently and the celebration of their kinship.

Many of us, Kim and myself included, can relate to the story of Timothy in the New Testament of the Bible. Timothy's life was influenced greatly by the faith of his grandmother. It was an impact that the Apostle Paul considered so important that he mentioned it in one of his letters that is now included among the books of the Bible. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you." (2 Timothy 1.5)

Surely all my Shepard cousins echo my sentiments that Grandmother Bura was a remarkable woman whose positive impact on our lives is felt still. God bless her memory as we remember this anniversary of her birth and as we celebrate her positive influence in our lives.

Happy Birthday today to Havilah Colgain Wardle! She is one of the Great Grandchildren of Bura and William Shepard, and is the daughter of my cousin Joan Shepard of Dixon, California. Havilah is married to Kevin Wardle and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Happy 33rd birthday today to Havilah! 

Fall means many things to many people. To Havilah it means grape stomping, as can be seen in this picture of Havilah taken last month.

Happy Birthday, Shaun. This Sunday, November 8, is also the birthday of Shaun Gower, the older son of my cousin Hershell Gower. Sean is the first of the Great Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Born in England while his father Hershell was in the service, Sean and his wife Tracy live today in Escondido, California. 

Along with his brother Lloyd Gower, Sean has lived in the San Diego area nearly his entire life, as long as almost any of our Gower family members. This final picture shows Sean and his wife Tracy on the occasion of their wedding this past summer in Del Mar, California.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Nightmare On My Street, October 30, 2015

'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.
~William Shakespeare

Hello on this weekend of Halloween from Anacortes, Washington where Cindy and I and Grandsons William and Logan are visiting with family and celebrating some special events.

Birthday Wishes to Pam! Happy Birthday today to Pam Engan Shepard, wife of my brother Russell Shepard. Pam and Russ are the parents of Steven Paul and Linda Shepard. Pam has lived in Anacortes, Washington all her life and works there today at the Cap Sante Inn.

This first picture shows Pam and Russ this past summer at our family reunion in Bothell, Washington. Best wishes to Pam for a very Happy Birthday!

Nightmare on My Street. The following is a musical slide show capturing many halloween moments in the life of our larger family over the years. All of the folks you will see in this slide show are from our varied and diverse family. Can you identify them all? It's not as easy as you might think.

Some of the above images are classics from many years ago (one is from 60+ years ago!) while others are very recent and still others are just a few years old. These Halloween revelers are from places as diverse as California and Texas, Washington and Kansas, Pennsylvania and Missouri, and Oklahoma and Illinois. As varied as the locations are, there is one thing all these creepy critters have in common: the spirit of Halloween!

Birthday Wishes to Maida! Happy Birthday this Sunday, November 1, to my mom Maida Shepard, who will be 91 years young! She was born in Arkansas, but lived for most of her growing up years in Okemah, Oklahoma. The last 72 years of her life have been divided equally between San Diego, California (where she and husband Eugene raised their 6 children) and Anacortes, Washington (where she now lives with daughter Barb and grandson Steven).

This picture shows Maida with her 5 children: Russell, Barbara, Darrell, Gary and me. This picture was taken this past August in Bothell, Washington.
-- -
Steve Shepard

Monday, October 26, 2015

"A World Lives in You," October 26, 2015

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye,
but at the same time you carry them with you
in your heart, your mind, your stomach,
because you do not just live in the world
but a world lives in you.
~Frederich Buechner

Happy 23th Birthday today, October 26, to Mandi Aquiningoc. Mandi is the younger daughter of Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc of Weatherford, Texas. Mandi lives with her older sister Lyndsey in Granbury, Texas, a short ways from Weatherford.

Mandi is one of the grandchildren of my brother Gary Shepard and Jackie Perry. She is also one of the Great Great Grandchildren of both William and Bura Davis Shepard and Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Mandi's daughter Kambree is one of the youngest members of our extended family at just 2 years old.

This first picture was taken Friday and shows Mandi celebrating her birthday at her UPS work place. Best wishes to Mandi for a great birthday!

Mandi: Hi, uncle Steve! It's so good to hear from you. I'm doing great! I am still working at UPS and I love it. I am waiting for it to start getting super busy for the holidays I heard it gets crazy busy. Its a great company to work for with such great people and customers. Me and Lyndsey finally got our house together. We can see Granbury Lake from our front door. Kambree going to school and in daycare is probably one of the best things that's happening in our lives these days. I've seen such a huge change in Kambree. She sings her abc's, she can count to 10, and she's been walking around the house with her hand over her heart trying to say the pledge of allegiance. And she loves this country song that I play for her; she can sing every word. Lol! She's such a mini me :) I hope to see y'all real soon!

Mandi's Great Grandmother is Maida Gower Shepard. The family of Maida and the late Eugene Shepard are rooted in San Diego, but in recent years many of them have spread out to other parts of the country. Mandi and her part of the family, including her mother and the other children of my brother Gary, have settled in the area around Weatherford, Texas. They number about a dozen. My mom and a number of others are settled now in Western Washington in the Anacortes and Seattle areas. They number almost 2 dozen. And of course several of us still live in San Diego, but not nearly as many as lived here not too many years ago.

This second picture was taken 21 years ago, in front of Grandma Gower's house on Lynne Street in San Diego. This was the home in East San Diego that was the focal point for many memorable family happenings for the entire second half of the 20th century.

This picture shows Mandi at the bottom at just 2 years old, with her mom Kerri Aquiningoc (in red) and Cindy Shepard. Interestingly Mandi in this picture was just about the same age as her daughter Kambree is now, and her mom Kerri in this picture is very close to the age Mandi is now.

Also in this picture are Nola Gower on the left, with Sean Gower behind her, then Aurora Agnibene Gower with her grandson Thrax and her husband Hank Gower. In the very middle are my parents Gene and Maida Gower Shepard, next to Jason Shepard, Gary Shepard and Kelly Shepard. On the right am I, holding 4 year old Lyndsey Aquiningoc.

When this picture was taken my parents Maida and Gene had already moved to Washington and were back in Southern California for a visit. Within a few years, Grandma Gower, Aurora, Hank and my Dad would pass away, Gary and Cindy would move to Washington, and Kerri, Kelly and Jason would move to Texas.

With all these family movements, and many more, it just goes to show the wisdom of Frederich Buechner's quote at the top of this post. When it comes to family, "You do not just live in the world, but a world lives in you."
- - -
Steve Shepard

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Celebrations, October 18, 2015

The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant.
Every table had an argument going.
~George Carlin

Happy Birthday Vicki Johnston! Today is the birthday of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, in 1933, Vicki was raised in Oklahoma and then San Diego, which is where her family moved in 1942. Vicki and her sister Maida Gower Shepard are the senior members of the family of the late Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. 

The first picture shows my aunt Vicki (seated) with her daughters Gloria and Paula, and Vicki's granddaughter Heather. This picture was taken this past July at Vicki's home in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Vicki's husband Duke Johnston passed away this past summer, so Vicki is still adjusting to life without Duke at their home on Whidbey Island as she struggles with aging issues. She has 4 children Paula Tuzzolino, Gloria Watson, Michael Harrell and David Harrell.

Since this blog is just as concerned with history as it is with the present I'd like to include another picture of my aunt Vicki. This second picture was taken nearly 30 years ago and also shows Vicki (in the middle) with her daughters Gloria and Paula, with Paula's husband at the time Bruce Robson. At the bottom is Paula and Bruce's daughter Heather Robson Cotten. 

Happy Birthday, Korilyn Boyd! Today is the 18th birthday of Korilyn Boyd. She is the 20th of the 21 Great Grandchildren of William and Bura Davis Shepard. She lives across the bay from San Diego in the town of Coronado with her family, including her father Darren Boyd. Her grandmother is Thelma Shepard Boyd of Blue Springs, Missouri.

This third picture, taken earlier this month, shows Kori (on the right) with her mother Vicki and her sister Courtney. Originally from Santee, Kori is a student at Coronado High School. The birthday present she is most proud of is a tatoo on her forearm that she received today as a gift from her mom. Happy Birthday and best wishes to Kori!

Last call for Halloween pictures. If you have a family Halloween picture that you'd like me to include in an upcoming Halloween Photo Presentation, please send it my way, I would love to include it.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Birth, Old Ancestors, October 14, 2015

A new baby is like the beginning of all things -- 
wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.
~Eda J. Le Shan

Greetings to all of you from the good ole U.S. of A. where Cindy and I have returned after our extended travels to Northern Ireland and Scotland on what was, at least partly, a genealogical journey to the homeland of many of our ancestors. Not being able to stay put, today we happen to be in Tucson, Arizona where we are visiting with some friends for a few days.

Insights From A Genealogical Trek. I learned a number of things about family history from our most recent trip to Europe. First, that there is not really a lot to discover about our ancestors from visiting the actual places from whence they came. This is especially true when we are talking about ancestors of many years ago, like our most recent European ancestors who came to this country about 200 years ago. Almost all of what I know about the Irish and Scottish immigrants in our family tree I learned by sitting at my computer in San Diego. The online world has opened up genealogical research to a degree never before experienced. While we were in Northern Ireland, I did visit the very impressive Public Records Office in Northern Ireland (PRONI), which is a major repository of historical records. It was an impressive place and I wish I had spent more time there. But the fact remains that much of what is available there in person is also available online. 

However, there is no doubt that visiting the actual places, in person, that our ancestors came from has merit that cannot be denied. There is a sense of personal connection with the towns and streets and local people and historical sights that has real value though it may be very subjective. When in Northern Ireland, for example, we walked the streets of the little town of Antrim, where ancestor William Gray (1771-1865) was born and raised in the late 18th century. 

Among the local places we visited in Antrim was the Antrim Round Tower, an impressive structure that was there when our Gray forebearers lived there over 200 years ago. The first picture I am including shows the Antrim Round Tower with Cindy in the foreground. When William Gray was a child in the town of Antrim, this tower was already 700 years old! Even at that time it was a relic of the past, just as it is today.

When we visited Antrim we walked about a mile from the train station to the Round Tower which today has a beautiful grassy field all around it, which functions as a public park for families with kids and dogs, and for passing tourists like us. The Tower was built just about 1,000 years ago as a bell tower for protection from raiders and is known locally as "the Steeple". It is 93 feet high and 50 feet in circumference at the bottom. It was just as much an attraction in William Gray's time 200 years ago as it is today.

New Shepard Baby! Congratulations to  Jessica Bell and my nephew Christopher Shepard on the birth of Finley Grace Shepard early Sunday morning, just 3 days ago. Finley is the most recent birth in our family, and the newest descendant of my grandparents William and Bura Davis Shepard AND Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

Finley's birth is also the 4th grandchild born to my brother Darrell Shepard and his wife Mary in the last 2 years! "When it rains, it pours", as they say. Best wishes to Jessica and Chris and both their families. By the way... Finley being a good Irish name (as is Kellan, another recent birth in our family) just goes to show you that our Irish heritage continues to have its influence on us today!

Thanks to Grandpa Darrell for this picture of Finley, taken at just a few hours old.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Our Scottish Spiritual Roots, October 7, 2015

Every line of strength in American history
is a line coloured with Scottish blood.
~Woodrow Wilson

Hello to all of you from the west coast of Scotland where we are presently in the town of Fort William! We are drawing our extended trip to a close as we make our way back to the big city of Glasgow, Scotland and prepare to fly home in just a few days. 

I mentioned in my last post that our family roots are deep in Ireland and Scotland, with numerous ancestors having migrated to America from Ireland. A number of those Irish immigrants had previously migrated from Scotland to Ireland and then became part of that important, influential influx of Scots-Irish folk to America.

For those of you who are members of the Church of Christ or the Christian Church there is another strong spiritual connection to this land we are visiting. Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander Campbell were two of the key leaders of "the Restoration Movement" of 19th Century America that gave birth to what is known today as the Stone-Campbell tradition, encompassing the Churches of Christ, the Independent Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ. 

The Campbells were among those Scots-Irish Protestants who made a great impact on the religious landscape in America. Their Scottish roots are still felt in the heirs of the Stone-Campbell tradition today. There is much about this small country of Scotland for which we can be very grateful, not just genealogically but spiritually as well.

Among the places in Scotland that Cindy and I and our traveling companion Linda visited in recent days was the Isle of Skye, a beautiful resort area just a ferry's ride from the west coast of Scotland. It feels much like the San Juan Islands of Western Washington: wet and cool, green and lush, a place of great scenery and wonderful trails. 

The first picture (above) shows Cindy and me two days ago on a cool, sunny but very windy day as we hiked a remote trail in the hills of Skye with the enchanting Faerie Pools our destination in the background. I saw no Faeries myself on this hike, although someone else in our little group did. Even so, their presence was felt in this special place of beauty and magic.

Scary Days Ahead. Halloween is just a few weeks away, and again this year I plan to put together a slide show of family halloween pictures. If you have a recent or old halloween picture, of a youngster or an oldster, that you would like for me to include, please send it my way.

This second picture shows Shannon and Emma Wilk of Atchison, Kansas in a frightening pose.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hello From Scotland! September 29, 2015

I am a Scot.
I do not need your approval.
Great things are in my immediate future.
Watch me do exactly what you said I could not.
~ Old Scottish saying

Greetings today from Edinburgh, Scotland where Cindy and I are continuing on vacation. The first picture was taken yesterday and shows Cindy and me in St George's Square here in Edinburgh. In the background is a statue of a Lion, which is a symbol of the country of Scotland, dating back to the time of Richard I, the Lion Heart.

Many of you know about the importance of Ireland in our family history, being the ancestral home of many of those in our family tree. But did you know that many of our Irish immigrant ancestors had parents or grandparents who were from Scotland?

Among our Scots-Irish ancestors is immigrant Thomas Shannon (1686-1737). His American descendant Dexal Shannon was the one who wrote the book "Shannon" which is the closest thing to a definitive history of that part of our family that we have. Thomas Shannon's grandfather John Shannon was originally from Scotland, born here in 1601. 

In another part of our family tree is Jane Alexander McNitt (1665-1691), who immigrated from Ireland to what is now America in 1678 as a wide-eyed 13 year old girl. Her grandfather Robert Alexander (1610-1704) was born in Stirling, Scotland, just 35 miles up the road from where we are today in Edinburgh.

These are only two of those in our family tree who trace their roots to Scotland, this interesting country where Cindy and I are visiting for the first time. 

Happy Birthday, Alexandria!
Today, September 29, is the birthday of Alexandria Cotten, of San Antonio, Texas, one of the direct descendants of the aforementioned Scots Irish ancestors Thomas Shannon and Jane Alexander McNitt. Lexi is the younger daughter of Heather and Sean Cotten, and another one of the GG Grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

This second picture shows Lexi with her mother Heather Robson Cotten. Lexi's grandmother is my cousin Paula Tuzzolino and her Great Grandmother is Vicki Gower Johnston of Oak Harbor, Washington.

Happy Birthday Cathrina! Today we celebrate another Texas birthday. It is the birthday of Cathrina Helms Clark
. She and husband Jerry Clark live today in Lubbock, Texas. On the right is a picture of Jerry and Cathrina with their dog while hiking in the mountains this past summer.

Happy Birthday Kellan! Happy Birthday this Thursday, October 1, to Kellan Christopher Shepard who will celebrate his first birthday! Best wishes to Kellan and his parents Rachel Shepard and Brian Miller, and his Grandparents Darrell and Mary Shepard, all of whom live in Bothell, Washington. 

This final picture, taken at our family reunion back in August, shows Kellan with mom and dad, Rachel and Brian. Kellan's Great Grandmother is my mom Maida Shepard of Anacortes, Washington.
- - -
Steve Shepard