Sad to say, but what I remember most about great grandpa Shepherd was that he was a quiet man. I only saw him whenever we made the trip to Quincy and that was not that often. So, I never really got to know him. My grandma, Edna (his daughter) never really said much and how I wish I had been inquisitive enough to have asked questions back then. I find this is often the genealogist’s lament!
Robert Elmore Shepherd was born in La Grange, Missouri on November 28 , 1880 to parents, William H Shepherd and Nancy A Jenkins. Robert and Mary E Davis were married on August 27, 1902 in La Grange, Missouri. They would eventually have seven children, four of which we had never heard of before I began doing this digging! Charles Henry was born in 1903, Edna Louise (my grandmother) was born in 1904, and Mabel Amelia was born in 1906. The other four children all died very
young. Mildred was born and died in 1908. Norma Estelle was born in 1909 and died at the age of four. Robert Russell was born and died in 1919 and Mary Elma lived for five days in 1920. I didn’t know of these other siblings until Cindy and I discovered their common tombstone in Marks Cemetery in La Grange. That was quite a shock as I don’t remember of Grandma ever speaking of other siblings.
Grandpa and Grandma Shepherd had taken in a young child named Russell Mansperger and raised him from a young age until he died of drowning in a Quincy swimming pool. That is something I remember Grandma definitely spoke of....especially when she was telling us kids to stay away from the river when we lived by it in Sherwood Park!
According to Mom’s notes, he and grandma had worked at a button factory in Muscatine, Iowa. If that is true, I am thinking that may have been before they were married as traveling to Muscatine from La Grange after they had a family would have been difficult in the early 1900s. It would have to have been the very late 1890s when they were in their late teens.
Grandpa Shepherd seemed to have been very handy. Mom said
he was an excellent furniture maker. But mostly he seems to have been a painter. This photo to the right shows him painting the grape arbor at their home in 1929. He retired in 1952 from the Quincy school system as a maintenance man; the family had moved to Quincy, Illinois about 1918. He had been a member of the painters’ union.
Robert passed away in Quincy at the age of 86 on November 11, 1967. I wish I had gotten to know more about him. I cannot imagine the pain of losing four children in addition to Russell, who was just the same as a son to them. And great grandma died fifteen years before him. Mom had written a story in her notes about the time that great grandma, grandma (Edna), and her sister, Aunt Belle went to visit relatives in Kentucky. They were gone about two weeks and after they returned, great grandpa got down on his knees and begged her, “Don’t ever leave me alone that long again!” I can only imagine that when she was gone for good, that had to be devastating to him. Maybe that’s why I remember him most as a very quiet man.