Friday, February 13, 2015

Tomorrow Is Valentine's Day! February 13, 2015

Don't talk to me about Valentines Day.
At my age an affair of the heart is a bypass!
~Joan Rivers  

Happy Birthday Gloria! Happy Birthday to my cousin Gloria Harrell Watson of Knoxville, Tennessee on this Friday the 13th! Gloria's mother Vicki Gower Johnston lives in Oak Harbor, Washington. 

All of my cousins, including Gloria, spent most of their growing up years in San Diego, and now live in diverse locations throughout the western United States. Gloria left San Diego some 40 years ago and, being in Tennessee, has not had much contact with her cousins over the years. I did receive an email from her recently in which she said she is doing well. She had a couple of stents placed in her heart last fall and is still in Cardio Rehab. Best wishes to Gloria for a continuing recovery and for a wonderful birthday!

Happy Valentines Day! Following is an updated musical photo presentation for Valentine's Day tomorrow. It shows various members of our larger family, smooching, snuggling or otherwise showing their affection for one another. May it be a way of helping you celebrate Valentine's Day!


"Show Me The Love." Valentines Day is a perfect opportunity to recognize people in our family tree who have shown love in their lives to other people. As I think about the people I have discovered from our past, one person comes to mind who showed outstanding love in his life. Unfortunately we don't know a whole lot about many of our family members of generations past. But we do know a significant amount about this particular fellow. 

His name was Richard Gray and he is my GGG Grandfather. Here's my lineage to him: me / Maida Gower Shepard (b. 1924) / Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004) / Samuel Pickens Shannon (1858-1930) / Peggy Ann Gray Shannon (1829-1899) / Richard Gray (1803-1882). 

Richard Gray was born in South Carolina to an Irish father and an American mother. After moving to Mississippi he married Polly Gilmore and with her had at least 4 children, including the woman whose GG grandson I would one day become, Peggy Ann Gray. 

About the time the Civil War started, the Gray family began moving westward from Mississippi, most of them to Stone County, Arkansas. Daughter Peggy Ann Gray Shannon and her husband David Reid Shannon, however, moved to Louisiana, where David died in 1864 serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Peggy and her 7 children were left to fend for themselves under dire circumstances. 

Word got back to Peggy's 62 year old father Richard in Arkansas of her plight, and his heart was touched. He accepted the difficult task of traveling 400 dusty miles -- probably in a wagon -- from Mountain View, Arkansas to Sugartown, Louisiana to gather up Peggy and her children and move them to Arkansas. What else but a father's love for his only daughter could make a man do what he did? 

Moving Peggy Ann Shannon and her 7 children from Southern Louisiana to Northern Arkansas in the aftermath of the Civil War was no easy task. It was a slow, difficult journey that must have taken weeks. The South had been decimated in the war, people were desperate, poverty was rampant and travel had great risks. To undertake this journey required a heart full of love, a pocket full of greenbacks, and lots of help. The help Richard received from his sons -- Peggy's brothers -- James, Samuel and Lawson, who made the journey with him to rescue their family. 

As a result of Richard's venture of love, the family was reunited and they lived out their lives on homesteaded property west of Mountain View, Arkansas. Richard died in 1882 at 79 years old, and is the first burial in Gray's Cemetery near Timbo, Arkansas. Richard Gray gets my vote for the "Show Me The Love" award.
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Steve Shepard

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