Select Shepherd Miscellany

Here are some Shepherd stories and accounts over the years:

Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, and Shepard Today


Shepherd and Sheppard in England

Henry Guppy in his 1890 work Homes of Family Names in Great Britain described Shepherd and Sheppard as follows: 

Shepherd, Sheppard. These names are distributed over the greater part of England; but are absent or infrequent in the eastern counties south of the Humber. 

The chief centres in the north are in Westmoreland, Lancashire, and the North and East Ridings; in the midlands, in the counties of Warwick, Northampton, and Notts; and in the southwest of England (Sheppard) in the contiguous counties of Somerset and Gloucester. 

It is remarkable that the deficiency in the eastern counties is to some extent supplied by the Sheppersons of Cambridgeshire.  Shepherd also is established in Scotland, but has no definite distribution, and is by no means numerous."

The Sheppards of Purton in Wiltshire

The shield of Samuel Sheppard, displayed on his memorial in Purton parish church, contains three battle-axes.  This appears to be a variant of the shield of the Sheppards of Buckinghamshire (which has a crest of two battle-axes), but that is insufficient to suggest any relationship.   Samuel Sheppard, a mercer, died in Purton in 1782. 

The Sheppard line in Purton goes back to Samuel Sheppard and Elizabeth Carter who were married there in 1669.  From their son Henry came Samuel the mercer who was born in Purton in 1712.

Arthur Shepherd in the Great War

Arthur Robert Shepherd was the son of Henry and Mary Shepherd of Shaw End in Patton, Cumbria. He was born in 1895 and attended Repton and then St Bees School. He entered the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry as a Second Lieutenant in October 1914 at the age of 19.

Unusually he resigned his commission in April 1916 and signed on as a private in the Royal Fusiliers. This was probably to see action - like many of the Yeomans he had been kept in Britain in reserve for the first two years of the war. 

He was sent out to Salonica with a draft of men to fight the Bulgarians in Macedonia.  He joined the 7th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry as a Lance Corporal, but died on 9 May 1917 in the attempt to take Petit Couronne.

The Shepherds were landed gentry and Arthur was their only son

The Indian Attack on the Shepard Household

In early 1675 the sons Isaac and Jacob Shepard were threshing grain in the barn on the Shepard homestead near Concord, Massachusetts.  Being aware of the perilous times - this was during King Philip’s War - the sons had set their sister Mary on the summit of the hill to watch for Indians. 

The ground was covered with deep snow and the Indians traveled with snowshoes.  Eluding the vigilance of Mary who was only about thirteen years old, they swooped down up on the Shepard barn before she was aware of their presence and slew Isaac and Jacob. 

Mary was taken captive and carried to Nashawa (now called Lancaster).  In the dead of night there, so the story goes, Mary managed to take a saddle from under the head of her Indian keeper who was sunk in sleep increased by ardent spirits, put the saddle on a horse which the Indians had stolen at Nashawa, mounted it, swam with the horse across the Nashawa river, and then rode through the forest back to her home

John Shepherd, Revolutionary War Veteran

John Shepherd was born on Olmstead Ridge on the Lancaster road, ten miles from Philadelphia, in 1728.  He served as a soldier during the French and Indian wars. 

At the beginning of the American Revolution he was a widower with one little girl. He left his little daughter in charge of a neighbor and enlisted as a soldier in Captain Caleb Armitage's company of a Philadelphia battalion of militia.  He fought at Brandywine and during the battle was wounded by the premature discharge of his own gun while loading it.  Later he was taken prisoner while on a scouting expedition and was confined to White Church in Philadelphia for some time.  He escaped through the efforts of a party of American troops who made an attack on the church. 

His grandson recollected that he never heard him complain of the treatment he had received from anyone or speak ill of any person.  He often heard him tell of war scenes and speak of his being under General Washington. 

He was strong and vigorous up to 112 years of age.  Another grandson, Olonzo Engle, recalled: 

"There is one incident in my Grandfather Shepherd's life which I recollect distinctly. One morning at the breakfast table father said to brother William and me that he wished us to hurry and finish sowing the wheat as our corn was ready to cut. I was 16 years of age at the time and grandfather was 112 years old. 

When we had finished breakfast grandfather got a long butcher knife and taking it and his chair he went to the cornfield. He worked until the horn blew to call us to dinner. After eating his dinner he laid upon his bed and rested half an hour.  He then returned to the cornfield and worked until night. 

The next morning William and a man named Porter went to the cornfield and measured the ground. They found that grandfather had cut two acres of corn in one day."

He lived another five years and died in 1846 at the age of 117.


James Shepherd and His Family in New Zealand

James and Harriet Shepherd, missionaries, arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1821 and raised the following children there.

James Shepherd
married Selina Mitchell, died 1905 in Keoa
Isaac Shepherd
Kerikeri died 1898 in Keoa
Robert Shepherd
married Juliet Shuttleworth, died 1915 in Kissing Point
Alfred Shepherd
Rangihoua married Emily Faithfull, died 1906 in Waiare
Harriet Shepherd
married John Hows
Richard Shepherd
Kerikeri died 1861 in Waitangi
Thomas Shepherd   
married Loiisa Saies, died 1922
Henry Shepherd
married Ellen Hooker, died 1927

James had been born and grew up at Kissing Point, NSW in Australia.  The following lines came from an anonymous source, possibly sometime in the 1840’s.

“At Kissing Point we dined with Isaac Shepherd, a good old man, who has a son who is a missionary in New Zealand  (i.e. James) and a daughter in Tahiti, the wife of a missionary by the name of Henry J. Shepherd.  He has resided in the colony forty two years and has prospered temporarily as he has grown in grace in which he exceeded most of his contemporaries.”

James himself died in New Zealand in 1882.

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