Saturday, September 13, 2014

Family History 16: Eli Shepherd Supplement

I've already written about the Shepherds in this series. As this series comes to a close, I wanted to wrap up my further attempts to figure out this line.

1. Elijah Washington Shepherd (1839-96)
My grandfather's dad, Washington, died when my Grandpa was still 12. Washington applied a few times for some sort of pension or disability for injuries sustained during the Civil War. A cavalry horse ran over him, it seems, while he was escorting an unruly soldier back to camp in Arkansas. He seems to have sustained some sort of back injury that he carried with him the rest of his life.

On his pension application, he says he was born in Alamance County, North Carolina on March 25, 1839. This is a curious statement because 1) Alamance County wasn't founded until 1850, 2) all the census records have him born in Indiana, and 3) his parents seem to have been married in 1834 in Scott County, Indiana. Like so much of our history-telling, I think he was giving a truth, but he got a little confused.

I think his father's family was from North Carolina in the Randolph/Guilford/Alamance County (then Orange County) area, but I seriously doubt at this point that Washington himself ever set foot in North Carolina, unless it was passing through during the war.

In 1840, Washington and his two older sisters, Nancy and Ibe Jane, were less than five years old and living in Scott County, Indiana. Both of his parents were illiterate. I don't know what they were going for with "Ibe." She is variously listed in censuses as Ibia (1880) and Ibby (1900), even Ibbia.

By 1850, they had moved to Clay County and had two more girls: Emma (1847) and Louisa (1850).

In 1860 when the census was taken, Washington was working as a day laborer just over the border in Crawford County, Illinois. On August 31, 1861, he enlisted as a Private in Company C, Indiana's 11th Infantry Regiment. I wonder if he was motivated by financial reasons.

After the war, in 1867 he would marry my G-Grandmother Seba. They would live in Sullivan, Indiana. In 1870 he is listed as a "brick moulder." Both he and his wife were illiterate at that time.

By 1880, my Grandpa Shepherd's two older sisters had been born--Marquerite (1877) and Nora (1880). Now he is listed as a Blacksmith. This census suggests he could now read and write, but that Seba couldn't write. She died in 1890 and he died in 1896.

2. Wesley D. Sheppard
Parallel to Washington is either an uncle or a cousin named Wesley, born in the Guilford County, North Carolina area, July 17, 1823. He would marry Catharine Patience Reynolds on March 21, 1850 in Guilford County, and they would immediately leave for Indiana that year.

His name, and the name of his third son, Charles Wesley Sheppard, suggest to me that he was Methodist. Catharine, however, was of Quaker background, although she married out of unity when she married him. Her family had a strong connection with the Center Friends Meeting in Guilford County. She was still 23 when they married. Although she married out of unity, a very nice obituary for her when she died in 1911 suggests she continued to have good ties with the Quaker community back at Center.

I know almost nothing of where Wesley had been prior to his marriage. He must have lived in the area long enough to get to know Catharine. Sometimes I wonder if his family had already headed west and he came back for her.

A contact has added more information to this puzzle. Another individual has a letter from Catharine to a niece of Wesley. Her name is Theresa Sheppard, born in Randolph County, North Carolina in 1843. I have not been able to come up with any Sheppards, Shepherds, or close in Randolph County after 1810, so it's clear to me that the census records are incomplete.

In the letter, Catharine apologizes for not getting to see Theresa when she last visited Guilford, but she had no transportation. She is writing post-Civil War, I suspect in the late 1860s, because she mentions that a cousin of theirs, George Washington Shepard, had died in the war fighting for the South. There are other clues in the letter that I haven't fully figured out. 

One key clue is that Catharine had not heard from "Father Shepard" and "feared most of them dead.." This might suggest to me that Wesley's father had continued west beyond Indiana (or had remained in Kentucky). I'm assuming he would have been Theresa's grandfather.

Here are some other clues, however. Theresa herself seems to have had Quaker associations. This suggests to me that the Shepherds were in fact Quakers in origin, although perhaps not always good ones. My searching of the records suggests that the realities of frontier life often required men to be less than perfect Quakers, especially when war called.

To finish the Wesley story, we pick him up in Sullivan County in the 1860 census. He is listed as a farmer. On July 1, 1863, he is listed in relation to the draft. I'm getting a sense that no one wanted to mention that they were born in North Carolina in that time period.

In 1862, he is listed as a wagon wheel maker in Brick Mill, 12 miles east of Sullivan. In 1864 he died and was buried in Pleasantville Cemetery, Sullivan County. Apparently he was stabbed in Kentucky or Tennessee somehow and died later of infection.

Catharine would then move to Linton and spend most of the rest of her life in Greene County.

3. William Shepperd
There are two William Shepperds living in Randolph County, North Carolina in 1810. I suppose that makes it simple. One of them was probably my ancestor. Both of them have two sons who are less than 10 years old. If my GG-Grandfather Eli Shepherd was one of these two children, then we have the beginning of the family tree I know.

Here is a theory. William Shepperd, born about 1780, was living in Randolph County, North Carolina in the year 1810. At that time he had two sons. One was my G-Grandfather Eli Washington Shepherd. The other's name is unknown to me at this time.

At some point, William moved on perhaps to Kentucky, taking Eli with him. Perhaps the other son was a little older and stayed behind in Randolph to start a family. He would have Wesley in 1823 and probably two other sons whose names I don't know. One of Wesley's brothers was the father of Theresa mentioned above. Another brother, perhaps named Zacheus, had a son named George Washington Shepard, who died fighting for the South in the Civil War (another theory is that Zacheus was Catharine's brother rather than Wesley's).

Then Wesley's father would also head west, perhaps to Indiana and perhaps beyond. I can only speculate whether he took Wesley with him and then if Wesley returned to marry Catharine in 1850.

Meanwhile, Eli (Wesley's uncle in this scenario) made his way north from Kentucky and we pick him up in 1840 in Scott County, Indiana. It is here that he married my GG-Grandmother Lucy, and it was likely here in 1839 that my G-Grandfather Washington was to be born.

4. Lucinda Stark
One of the most interesting theories I have developed has to do with my GG-Grandmother Lucy, the wife of Eli. Their paths seem to have crossed in Scott County, Indiana. Her family, in my theory, were Quakers who had migrated to Indiana from Kentucky after migrating there from Pennsylvania. I don't know whether she and Eli had met in Kentucky. One record actually has him born in Kentucky but I haven't conceded that yet.

She married a man named John Curtis in 1826, perhaps in Kentucky. They moved to Indiana and she had at least one son from that marriage, a Jonathon in 1832. But her husband must have died.

So she then remarries to Eli in 1834. She was a few years older than him, it seems. In 1840 they are still living in Scott County and the thread I mentioned above takes over.

After Eli died, some time in the 1870s, she goes to live with her son Jonathon Curtis from her first marriage, who is now living in Jasper County, Illinois. She is living there in the 1880 census.

5. Back to Ireland
I am obviously not sure that Eli Shepherd's father was one of the Williams in Randolph County in 1810. There are lots of other Shepherds in Guilford County at that time, but they don't fit the family memory. The Shepherds/Shavers of Guilford/Alamance were German. Our family memory is Scotch-Irish, with Quaker connections.

Let me tell you another story.

a. In 1729, Solomon Shepherd Jr. transported himself from Ireland to America by serving as an apprentice of the ship. He was from Tyrone, Ireland, from the Grange Quaker Meeting near Charlemont County. His father was Solomon Sr., and his father was one John Shepherd. They were Scotch-Irish.

Solomon Jr. would serve as a Quaker minister. He married Jane Wilson in 1733 at New Garden Quaker meeting, Pennsylvania. He died about 1749 after they had four children: John, Sarah, Solomon III, and Elizabeth.

I can account for the movements of his children. John and Solomon III went west in Pennsylvania to Redstone County. In 1790, John was disowned by the Quaker community at Fredericktown. Those lines don't connect to me.

What is curious is that Solomon Jr's wife Jane actually moved to Guilford County in 1767. She moved there with her daughter Elizabeth to New Garden Quaker Meeting in Guilford, North Carolina. She would marry a man named Stephanas Haworth in 1768 and they would live out their lives there, dying in 1807 and 1804 respectively.

They moved there because the other daughter, Sarah, had moved there in 1762 when she married one William Brazelton from Maryland. They would then move to Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1790. Since Sarah and Elizabeth took on the names of their spouses, their lines can't connect to me.

b. However, Solomon also had a brother, William Sheppard, who came over from Ireland in 1739, also a Quaker. In fact there seem to have been a number of Quaker Sheppards swimming around Pennsylvania in the mid to late 1700s.

My current hypothesis is that some of his descendants also made their way south to the Guilford area. Some of them, like the William that was the father of Eli, were just passing through. (Could he be the grandson of the William Sheppard who came from Ireland?) Others stayed in Guilford.

For the moment, I'll have to leave it at that.

Earlier posts:

1. The Revivalin' Twenties
In the Year 1920 (Dorsey Schenck, also see here)
From Quaker to Pilgrim (Harry Shepherd in 20s)
The Great Generation (my parents)

2. The Depression Thirties
Dutch Reformed Past (Samuel Schenck)
North Carolina Flashback (Eli Shepherd, also supplement)
Wanting to be Rich (Oscar Rich)

3. Passing Generations
Old German Baptist Heritage 1 (Amsy Miller, with clarifications here)
Old German Baptist Heritage 2 (Salome Wise)
The Dorsey Stream (Pearl Dorsey)

4. A New Family
Joining Two Streams (my parents)
A Young Family

5. The Closing Sixties
Prophet, Pastor, and Professor (Harry Shepherd)
The Wright Stuff (Seba Wright)
Flashback to Jamestown (Champion Shelburn)

6. Tales of My Life
Memories of Childhood
Notes for my Children

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