Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend, May 29, 2016

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.
~Henry Ward Beecher

Happy Birthday today to my cousin Michael Harrell. Mike grew up in San Diego, but lives today with his wife Carole in a northern suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. Mike is the older son of Vicki Gower Johnston of Chandler, Arizona and the brother of Paula, Gloria and David.

Paula, Gloria, Michael and David, early 1960s
This first picture is an oldie from the early 1960s and shows Michael with his three siblings. From left to right are Paula, Gloria, Michael and David. This is a classic family photo that you may have seen before, but I find wonderfully appealing. It is also quite appropriate since Gloria passed away earlier this spring.

Memorial Day is a time to remember people in our family tree who served their country well, and in some cases gave their life for the cause of freedom. Among our ancestors are individuals who have served in every conflict in which our county has engaged. Over the years that I have written this blog, I have mentioned numerous ancestors who served in various wars our nation has fought. Today I would like to highlight just a few. Some of them are people whose service you may never have heard about. Others you may be very familiar with.

Henry Warford (1741-1784), Revolutionary War. Here are his descendants, beginning with his daughter: Lydia Warford Williams (1782-1829) / John Pouty Williams (1806-1898) / Margaret Williams Spear (1845-1904) / Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951) / Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986) / Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) / Steve Shepard.

Because of the Warford family's military servicGeorge Washington, in 1776, deeded to them 100 acres of land in southern Pennsylvania that became a village later named Warfordsburg, an historic town that exists to this day. Read more about Henry Warford and his family here.

Benjamin Owens (1734-1808) Revolutionary War, and his Grandson Edmond Owens, Jr. (1795-1864) War of 1812. Here are their descendants, beginning with Benjamin's son: Edmond Owens, Sr.  (1762-1821) / Edmond Owens, Jr. (1795-1864) / Payton Owens (1826-1872) / Elvira Owens Shepard (1864-1931) / William Shepard (1888-1976) / Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) / Steve Shepard.

Edmond Owens, Jr. about 1850
This second picture is from the mid 19th century and shows war veteran Edmond Owens Jr. of Madison County, Illinois.

Benjamin Owens served under Frances Marion, “The Swamp Fox”, during the Revolutionary War, while his grandson Edmond Owens Jr. fought with Andrew Jackson in the famous Battle of New Orleans in January, 1815. These veterans were among the ancestors of my Great Grandmother Elvira Owens Shepard. Read more about them here.

John Williams Sr. (1782-1813), War of 1812. Here are John's descendants, starting with his son: John Pouty Williams (1806-1898) / Margaret Williams Spear (1845-1904) / Caroline Spear Davis (1865-1951) / Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986) / Eugene Shepard (1921-2003) / Steve Shepard.

Another veteran of the War of 1812, John was from Kentucky, and died from wounds suffered during the war. He was the GG Grandfather of Bura Davis Shepard, my Grandmother. Read more about John Williams here.

Augustus Marvin Dearien (1814-1900), American Civil War. Here are his descendants, beginning with his daughter: Finetta Dearien Shannon (1861-1960) / Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004) / Maida Gower Shepard (b. 1924) / Steve Shepard.

This soldier and the next one served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. A.M. Dearien enlisted at the very tail end of the conflict, in 1865, when he was nearly 50. He served in the Arkansas Mounted Cavalry of Clardy's Battalion. Read more about A.M. Dearien here.

Jackson William Gower (1831-1902), Civil War. Here are his descendants, beginning with his son: Leroy Gower 1854-1909) / George William Gower (1873-1944) / Leroy Ertin Gower (1899-1974) / Maida Gower Shepard (b. 1924) / Steve Shepard.

This soldier served in the 27th Regiment of the Arkansas Infantry of the Confederate Army. He survived the conflict and lived into the 20th century. He died just 3 years after the birth of his Great Grandson Leroy Gower (my Grandfather). Read more about Jackson William Gower here.

Lloyd W. Gower (1896-1918), World War I. Unfortunately this Arkansas soldier died fighting in Europe as a young single man and had no children. He was a Great Grandson of the previously mentioned Jackson William Gower, and the older brother of my Grandfather Leroy Gower. Read more about Lloyd W. Gower here.

These seven soldiers in our family's past are just a sampling of the many men and women among our ancestors recent and distant who served their county in military service. These memorable seven served their county well, and deserve our humble remembrance at this time. Each had their own unique story, the full details of which are unknown to us. Yet they are part of the rich tapestry that is our family history. We honor them though they lived before we were born. We appreciate their service and the sacrifice they made. Because of them and their heroic actions so long ago, we live today in freedom and abundance.
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Steve Shepard

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