Friday, August 18, 2017

Our Shepard History; An Update, August 18, 2017

The pursuit of origins
is a way of rescuing territory
from death and oblivion. 
~Amin Maalouf

Two Linda Shepards. August is the month of two Linda Shepard birthdays. Wednesday of this past week was the 24th birthday of Linda Mae Dawn Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. She is the daughter of my brother Russ and his wife Pam Shepard. Best wishes to Linda! This coming Monday, Aug 21, is the anniversary of the birth of my sister Linda Shepard, who was born in San Diego in 1950. She died in a car accident in 1971, just weeks before her 21st birthday. The younger Linda Shepard was named after my late sister Linda.

This first picture is a composite image of my niece Linda Shepard in 2016 with her mom Pam on the left, and my sister Linda Shepard in 1970 with husband Jerry Clark on the right.Though 46 years apart, the two Lindas are remarkably similar in appearance.

Adding to the Shepard Family Tree. It is not often that I have an important breakthrough in family research. But I have made one in the last few weeks. For many years I was aware of the Civil War soldier William Shepard in our family tree. He was the Grandfather of my Grandfather William Shepard (1888-1976). I have known that the soldier William Shepard was born in 1835 in Belmont County, Ohio, that he served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and that he died in a military hospital in July, 1862 after being wounded in the war.

But of his parents and ancestry I have known almost nothing, until recently. I did have an interesting lead on his parents a couple of years ago. And actually wrote about them in this blog. Recently however I have uncovered more data that makes it clear that I was indeed on the right track at that time. James Cross Shepherd II and his wife Hannah were the parents of the Civil War soldier William Shepard, and are my GGG Grandparents.

Our family name was spelled a variety of ways in the 19th century. Especially in the pre-Civil War years, our kinfolk had their last name spelled Shepard, Shepherd, Shephard, Sheperd, Sheppard, Shepheard, and even Sheepheard. In many instances the spelling seemed to depend simply on the whim of the County Official or Census taker.

Hannah and James Cross Shepherd II. My GGG Grandfather James Cross Shepard II was born in 1813 in Kirkwood, Belmont County, Ohio. His father, James Cross Shepherd I, was from Maryland and migrated with his family into Ohio. The first child of Hannah and James Cross Shepherd was born in Belmont County, Ohio in 1835. He was William Shepard, the one from whom we Shepards are descended. After their second child, Elizabeth, was born in 1838, this small family of 4 decided to migrate to Indiana. But as with many families they did not undertake such an adventure alone. James' brother John, his wife Elizabeth and their children, which may have numbered 6, also made the trek.

This second picture is purportedly John Shepard (1805-1886) one of the two Shepard brothers who migrated to Indiana.

So in 1839 or 1840, this young John and James Shepard clan of perhaps a dozen family members, made their way westward, probably along the historic Cumberland Road, which today is Interstate 70. It was a direct westward route of 350 miles from their home in Kirkwood, Ohio to Montgomery County, Indiana, northwest of Indianapolis. Today you can drive that route on the Interstate in just 7 hours or so, but it would have taken them at least a week, perhaps much longer, in horse drawn carriages on rough dusty roads.

First Stop, Montgomery County. They settled first in the area around Browns Valley, in Montgomery County, Indiana. That is where brothers James and John Shepherd appear in the 1840 U.S. Census as heads of neighboring households. This same 1840 U.S. Census shows that, in the Kirkwood, Ohio community they had come from, James and John left behind several Shepherd family members: their parents Hannah and James C. Shepherd I, and what appear to be 5 siblings or cousins of James and John: Amos, Isaac, Samuel, another John and another William Shepherd. Each of these siblings or cousins are listed in the Census as being heads of households with their own children and/or spouses. James and John Shepherd led a family group of a dozen or so who moved to Indiana, but it was an even larger Shepherd clan that remained in Kirkwood, Ohio.

These new Indiana immigrants must have had their struggles in those early years of the 1840s. In the 1850 U.S. Census, James and Hannah Shepherd and family are shown living west of Lafayette, Indiana, some 35 miles north of where they had first settled. By this time James and Hannah had added two more children to the mix. In addition to our ancestor William Shepard and his sister Elizabeth, children James and John (named after their father and uncle) have come along. Two more children, Jasper and Sarah, would eventually complete James and Hannah's brood of 6.

During these middle years of the 19th century the families of James and Hannah, and John and Elizabeth settled into farming life in Indiana. As far as I can tell, James and Hannah's son William (our GG Grandfather) was the only member of the clan to lose his life in the Civil War, although there are indications other family members served as well.

A Growing Clan of Indiana Shepards. My Great Grandfather William Elmer Shepard (1862-1915) left Indiana for Illinois in 1880 and then, with his wife Elvira Owens and their children, eventually settled in Beaver County, Oklahoma. When he left Indiana he separated forever from his Hoosier kinfolk. And he left quite a number of family members behind. Besides his mother, the widow Mary Sprague Shepard, and his brother Frank Shepherd, he left his Grandparents James Cross and Hannah Shepherd, and a growing clan of other Shepherds living in Montgomery and Tippecanoe Counties.

Sugar Grove Cemetery, southwest of Lafayette in Tippecanoe County, is an historic cemetery in the very area where James and Hannah Shepherd lived and raised their family. This country cemetery is the final resting place for a number of our kinfolk. There are 21 graves with persons named Shepherd or Shepard, almost all of them dating from the 19th century. It is one more indication that there was a sizable number of Shepard family members living in Tippecanoe and Montgomery Counties in the 1800s and even into the 20th century.

Foremost among those Shepards who settled in western Indiana was my GGG Grandparents Hannah and James Cross Shepherd II, pioneers for whom we can be very grateful. Their sacrifices were many but they helped pave the way for the rest of us who were yet to come. They were an important part of our Shepard family movement westward -- from coast to coast -- across the United States.
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Steve Shepard

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