Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day Tomorrow! February 13, 2016

Love doesn't make the world go round.
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~Franklin Jones

Gloria Harrell Watson. Today is the birthday of my cousin Gloria Harrell Watson of Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the second daughter of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston of Chandler, Arizona and is the sister of Paula Tuzzolino and Michael and David Harrell. Gloria was born and raised in San Diego, but has lived most of her life now in Tennessee. Happy Birthday on this Valentine's Weekend to Gloria!

This picture, taken last year in Oak Harbor, Washington, shows Gloria on the left with her mom Vicki and her sister Paula.

Happy Valentines Day! Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, an opportunity to celebrate love, especially within our family. The following slide show includes images of various members of our family, all of whom are kissing, one of the most common expressions of love. You will see wedding day kisses, pecks on the cheek, baby smooches and some other crazy kisses that reflect well this diverse, oddball family to which we all belong. The pictures are of kids and adults, young parents and older lovers, wedding moments, birthday celebrations and everything in between. Each picture includes at least one member of our extended family. How many of these folks can you identify?

"Kiss Me." Enjoy this homage to love within our family, to the music of the 90s band Sixpence None the Richer. 

Show-Me-The-Love Award. Each Valentine's Day I give a "Show-Me-The-Love Award" to a person in our family tree who exhibited extraordinary love in their life. This year the award goes to my 5X Great Grandmother Elizabeth Van Hook Warford (1746-1805).

Elizabeth Warford was a genuine American pioneer, whose life was intertwined with the history of our country and whose loving sacrifice was remarkable as she gave herself for her family and her expanding nation.

She was born in 1746 to Benjamin and Lydia Van Hook, of Monmouth County, New Jersey just 50 miles south of New York City. By the time Elizabeth was 18 she had made her way half way across Pennsylvania to Fulton County where she married Henry Warford, who had served in the Revolutionary War, as did Henry's brother Joseph Warford. Wikipedia says that as a result of their military service, George Washington deeded to Joseph 100 acres of land in southern Pennsylvania that the Warfords turned into a village which later was named Warfordsburg, an historic town that exists to this day.

Much of Elizabeth and Henry's married life was occupied with the Revolutionary war, but Henry spent enough time at home so that he and Elizabeth brought into the world 9 children in the 20 years they were together. Just about the time the Revolutionary War ended husband Henry died, perhaps from war wounds. In any case it created a real problem for Elizabeth who now had 8 mouths to feed and no husband to help.

Elizabeth was a genuine frontier woman. We don't know the details of how she did it, we just know that sometime after her husband Henry died in 1784, she packed up the kids -- who ranged in age from 2 and 18 -- and with help from family and friends, made her way westward across some 500 miles of rugged American landscape. She journeyed through Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and into Kentucky where she and her family settled. They may have traveled by steamboat down the Ohio River which was something of a "superhighway" for pioneers making their way across the western frontier.

They traveled as far as Louisville, Kentucky, possibly because Louisville was the site of the Ohio River Falls, making it impossible for river boats to travel any farther. Elizabeth and her family then settled just east of Louisville in the town of Shelbyville. It was there that Elizabeth lived the last 10 or so years of her life until she died just short of her 60th birthday in 1805. She did live long enough to see her daughter Lydia Warford, in 1803, marry Kentuckian John Williams. Lydia and John are the two from whom we Shepards are descended.

It is hard to imagine the love, courage, and strength of character that it took for Elizabeth to move her family across America and begin a new life. She clearly had a strong love of the frontier, a longing to settle this new land and discover the opportunities available to those who traveled westward. Hers is a remarkable American story with great adversity as well as great accomplishment. She receives the "Show-Me-The-Love Award" for this year.

Here is Elizabeth's lineage for the last 275 years:
  • Elizabeth Van Hook Warford (1742-1805) and Henry Warford (1741-1784)
  • Lydia Warford Williams (1782-1829) and John Williams (1782-1813)
  • John Pouty Williams (1802-1898) and Sally Richardson Williams (1801-1877)
  • Margaret Williams Spear (1845-1904) and James Spear
  • Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951) and James Brooks Davis (1870-1928)
  • Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986) and William Shepard (1888-1976)
  • Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) and Maida Gower Shepard (b. 1924)
  • Steve Shepard (b. 1948) and Cindy Harris Shepard (b. 1948)
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Steve Shepard

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