THE SHEPARDSON FAMILY
A RECORD OF THE EARLY GENERATIONS IN AMERICA.
BY FRANCIS WAYLAND SHEPARDSON.
Sometime in the year 1628-9, from what ship no record remains to tell, Daniel Shepardson landed at Salem, Mass., being one of a numerous company who sought homes in America at that period of English history. A tradition indicates that he was accompanied by his brother, John, who soon died of lockjaw as a result of a dispute in which a spade was thrown at him by his adversary. Some of the immigrants moved to Charlestown where Daniel Shepardson is recorded as a citizen in 1632. He was not one of the wealthy members of the Puritan body, but was a craftsman, a blacksmith by trade.
"Since the birth of time,
throughout all ages and nations,
Has the craft of the smith been held in repute by the people."
The place of his origin is not known, but members of the family are to be found in Yorkshire, England, now (1907), and, as the name indicates a Scandinavian ancestry, he may have been from that part of the country.
He was not an educated man, but he had so much company in that plight among the early Americans, that it is not specially to his discredit that his will is acknowledged by a cross, with "the marke of Daniell Sheopardson" beneath it. Like most of the Puritans he was intensely superstitious, a believer in signs and omens, and when one day, as he was working at his forge, a stone fell from it and crumbled into powder, he recognized the evil portent and gave to his wife the nails which he was just making, saying, "They will come in handy some day." The nails were kept, and when he died, in Maiden, Mass., 26 July 1644, they were used in the making of his coffin. He had a comfortable home with three acres of ground around it, his blacksmith shop, and fifty acres of pasture and meadow land, scattered here and there, so that his widow, Joanna, who had the use of the property during her lifetime, was quite well fixed for a woman of the day. His family comprised a son, Daniel, and two daughters, Lydia and Joanna.
When the children were ready to marry, Daniel married Elizabeth Call; his sister, Lydia, married Elizabeth's brother, Thomas Call, Jr.; and after the death of their father, their mother, Joanna Shepardson, married the father of the Call children, Thomas Call, Sr., so that the relationship became a little mixed.
An abstract of the will and the inventory of the estate of this pioneer Shepardson have been printed as well as certain orders of the General Court about his property. [In N. E. Gen. Hist. Soc. Reg.]
The second Daniel followed the trade of his father, making his home at Maiden, Mass., for some years. His name appears as one of a number who signed a petition to Sir William Phipps, 17 October 1694, praying to be permitted to establish a settlement at Attleboro, Mass. He seems to have owned land there as early as 1660. He took a prominent part in the town affairs. With this removal from Malden the Shepardson family found its home in a tract of land called "Rehoboth North Purchase", which included what later became the towns of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and Attleboro, Norton, and Mansfield, Mass., places in which the family has been represented almost continuously for more than two hundred years.
The early records of Attleboro, Rehoboth, and Cumberland seem faulty and there is considerable confusion in the first few generations, but there is every indication that all Americans named Shepardson may be traced back to Attleboro, except a few recent immigrants from England.
The genealogical details so far as known follow:
1. DANIEL SHEPARDSON, blacksmith of Charlestown, Mass., coming from Salem. Admitted to the Church in Charlestown, 8 June 1633. Removed to Malden, where he died 26 July 1644. His wife was Joanna , maiden name and date of marriage unknown. She survived her husband and married (2) Thomas Call, Sr. She died 30 January 1661. Children:
2. DANIEL SHEPARDSON, (Daniel-1) succeeded his father as blacksmith at Malden. He was a freeman of Middlesex County, Mass., 29 May 1674, and took the oath of fidelity 15 December 1674. He married, 11 April 1668, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Call, Sr., and widow of Mr. Samuel Tingley of Malden. He removed to Attleboro where he had fifty acres about half a mile from "Old Town" on the Bay Road. He lived to an advanced age and was long called "old goodman Daniel Shepardson". He came near losing his property at one time as the Attleboro records indicate. So far as known his children were:
3. JOHN SHEPARDSON (Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived in Attleboro until about 1697 when he moved to Rehoboth. He married 9 April 1694, Elizabeth Fuller who was born 12 May, 1678, and baptized 30 May 1679, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Wilmarth) Fuller of Attleboro. Children, recorded in Attleboro:
4. NATHANIEL SHEPARDSON (Daniel-2, Daniel-1) may have moved from Attleboro, Mass., to Rehoboth, where two of his children were baptized, although all are recorded in Attleboro. His wife was Mary -----. From similarity of names and some other circumstances, he may be the one referred to on page 236 of "Hinman's Connecticut Settlers" as "Nathaniel Shippason, widow Mary, of Hebron, estate £207. He died 1718. Children were Jonathan, Nathaniel, John, Elizabeth, Mary, Mercy, Joanna, "and others". Children recorded in Attleboro:
5. DANIEL SHEPARDSON (John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married in Attleboro, Mass. (1) Hannah Richardson, 9 December 1725. She d. 26 September 1726, leaving a son. He married (2) Mary Washburn, 9 May 1728. Several of the sons of this family went to Guilford, Vermont. Children recorded in Attleboro:
6. AMOS SHEPARDSON (John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married Margaret Pidge, 30 March 1732. He died in Attleboro in his 94th year. The boys of this family followed the sea. Children recorded in Attleboro:
7. JOHN SHEPARDSON (John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) "has descendants in the Lake Champlain region" is the only record, January 1, 1907. Where he located is unknown. There are occasional traces of "northern Vermont Shepardsons".
8. JONATHAN SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived in Attleboro, Mass., in Cumberland, R.I., and finally settled in Templeton, Mass., where he died in 1790. He married, 9 May 1730, Abigail Fuller, who was born 6 July 1704, daughter of John and Joanna (Shepardson) Fuller. Joseph Shepardson, who gathered extensive notes about the family, all of which were destroyed by fire before publication, reports that Jonathan's wife, "Merriam, died in 1771 very aged", and says children were Jonathan, born 3 January 1735, Nathaniel and Joanna. The Attleboro records show no other Jonathan of this generation who might be confused with this line, and show children:
9. NATHANIEL SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) probably lived in Cumberland, R.I., near the boundary line. I find no record of his family except of a son bearing his name. If he had several children this lack of records may make confusion in my later notes. January 1, 1907, I am at sea about this line. There is probability of confusion, too, with Nathaniel, son of Jonathan No. 8.
10. JOHN SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married Abigail Richardson and moved to Ash Swamp, later called East Haddam, Conn. The order of birth of the children is not known and there may have been others than the ones named.
11. DANIEL SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived in Attleboro for a while at least, the town records containing this entry, "Daniell Shepardson, Jr., and Mary Peck, dau. of Hezekiah Peck, late of Attleboro, were married by me, the subscriber, 12 November 1753.--Habijah Weld." Children recorded in Attleboro:
12. JOHN SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) removed to Guilford, Vt., of which town he was one of the founders. He was very influential in the movement to make Vermont an independent state. He bore the title "Major". He was made Town Clerk in 1772 at the first town meeting of Guilford. He was a member of the Council in Vermont for several years as also Judge of the Supreme Court. He died of consumption 3 January 1802. His wife, Anna, died of old age 10 (or 11) January 1817, then 87. They had eleven children according to a court record, but names are unknown. One son died at the age of eighteen. No further record.
13. ZEPHANIAH SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived in Attleboro until about 1770 when he moved to Guilford, Vermont. He attended the first town meeting there 19 May 1772, and was made a constable, an overseer of highways and an overseer of the poor. He was called "Lieutenant". He married (1) Ruth Hills (b. 1 July 1733, d. 16 October 1782); (2) Demaris, widow of David Church. She d. 28 July 1787, aged 54; (3) Mrs. Lucinda Chase of Halifax, Vt., 1 June 1798. She d. in the "Chinesee" country, 30 September 1809. He d. 16 October 1804. Children:
14. STEPHEN SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married Lucy Fisher of Attleboro, Mass., and moved to Guilford, Vt., where he was constable in 1774 and commissioner of highways in 1776. He was captain of a company in the Revolutionary War. AIl I have about his children follows:
15. AMOS SHEPARDSON (Amos'4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) moved from Attleboro, Mass., to Northfield, Mass., in 1793, and to New York state in 1820. He married Rebecca Whitcomb and had children:
16. NATHANIEL SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-4, Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived at Arnold's Mills in Cumberland, R.I. He married (1) Sarah -----, who died after 1771, and (2) Elizabeth -----. He was known as "'Squire Shepardson". Children:
17. JONATHAN SHEPARDSON (John-4, Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) has descendants in Smyrna, N.Y. The family moved from Connecticut to New York many years ago. His only son was:
18. JONATHAN SHEPARDSON (Jonathan-4, Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married in Attleboro, Mass., Miriam, daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Carpenter) Follett, who was born 11 February 1733-4. In 1768 the family moved to Templeton, Mass., having lived a while in Cumberland, R.I. They removed in 1790 to Royalston, Mass. They both died the same day, 3 December 1804. Children:
19. ISAAC SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-4, Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) lived in Wrenthan, Mass., where he committed suicide by hanging. Children:
20. ANCEL SHEPARDSON (John-4, Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) married, 25 July 1782, Charlotte Colgrove, who was born 20 February 1762, and died 23 February 1850. He died 9 February 1840. They lived in Middletown, Rutland County, Vt. and in Fairfax, Franklin County. Children:
This completes the record of the first five generations of American Shepardsons, so far as I have been able to compile it. There are several places where it is faulty. In some of the families of the fourth generation there probably were other children born after removal of the family from Attleboro. I have a record running back to an Ezra Shepardson of the fourth generation. I have another running back to Samuel Shepardson, born in Attleboro, 10 February 1757. I suppose him to be of the family of John Shepardson (fourth generation) whose descendants are found in the Lake Champlain country. In printing the records I have indicated where my information about a line ends. But the facts now show that it ought not to be difficult to trace out all American Shepardsons and place them properly in order. Anyone who has records of births, marriages and deaths of Shepardsons should send them to me for preservation and possible publication at some future day.
FRANCIS W. SHEPARDSON
5592 Kimbark Avenue,
February 1, 1907.
John Eaton Shepardson, a civil
engineer on the Southern and Western R. R. and Albert R. Shepardson,
of Reading, Mass., are working with me in this study.
THE SHEPARDSON FAMILY
BEGINNING WITH THE SIXTH GENERATION IN AMERICA.
BY FRANCIS WAYLAND SHEPARDSON.
Under date of February 1, 1907, I printed an 8-page leaflet giving such records as I had available of the first five generations of American Shepardsons, descendants of Daniel Shepardson of Salem, Mass., 1628-9, later of Charlestown and Malden. The story is now continued in such lines as I have been able to trace. My object in printing these leaflets is to put into permanent form for some future family historian, records which might otherwise be lost. Corrections or additions should be sent to me for future use. A few scattered notes on the fifth generation, not given before, are added. The reference numbers are to the leaflet of February 1, 1907.
6(ii). ZEBEDIAH SHEPARDSON (Amos'4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1), b. 17 November 1737; m. Deborah Cook, int. pub. in Norton, Mass., 7 August 1762. He is called "Captain" in record of his death in Rehoboth 12 May 1810. He was probably the one mentioned in the Mass. Revolutionary rolls who was commissioned as commander of the schooner "Resolution", a privateer, 20 July 1778. Zebulon Shepardson, 1st Lieut. on same vessel, may have been his son. No record of children except two daughters named in his will.
6(iv). ELIJAH SHEPARDSON (Amos'4, John-3, Daniet-2, Daniel-1), b. 8 May 1741; m. Mary ----- who d. in Providence, R.I., in 1794, aged 50. He probably followed the sea, as he is called "Captain" in record of d. at Seekonk, 9 November 1787, of "mole on the throat". His father's will, probated 1 December 1795, mentions "heirs of Elijah", of whom one was:
10. JOHN SHEPARDSON (Nathaniel-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) m. Abigail Richardson and moved to Ash Swamp, later called East Haddam, Conn. She was b. 18 April 1709, daughter of William and Rebecca (Vinton) Richardson. The "Richardson Memorial" says she m. John Shepard 8 August 1728, and d. 30 November 1730, but this is the date my records give for her marriage to John Shepardson. Her sister, Hannah, m. Daniel Shepardson, John's brother. Dates are wanting in this line. He m. (2) Hepsibah Lord, daughter of Sergt. William Lord of East Haddam, signing an agreement regarding the estate of the latter, 29 October 1736. The order of birth of the children is not known and there may have been others besides the ones named. Children:
12. JOHN SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) m. at Norton, Mass., 17 January 1754, Anna Blanchard, daughter of Stephen and Abigail (Pratt) Blanchard. About 1760 he removed to Guilford, Vt., of which town he was one of the founders. He was made Town Clerk in 1772. He was very influential in the movement to make Vermont an independent state. He bore the title "Major". He was a member of the Council in Vermont for several years and was also Judge of the Supreme Court. He d. of consumption 3 January 1802, in Brattleboro. His wife d. of old age 10 January 1817, then 87. According to a court record, they had eleven children, but names of some are unknown, and no dates seem available.
14. STEPHEN SHEPARDSON (Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) m. Lucy Fisher of Attleboro, int. pub. in Norton 17 February 1759. He moved to Guilford, Vt., where he was constable in 1774 and commissioner of highways in 1776. He was captain of a company in the Revolutionary War. He may have had other children besides:
15. AMOS SHEPARDSON (Amos'4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1), m. in Norton, Mass., 14 August 1755, Abigail Pratt. They lived in Eastham, Mass. Four children are recorded in Norton and a fifth was b. in Mansfield. There was trouble in the family and after separation from his wife he married again and went west, perhaps to New York state. There are some confusing details about the records. I have data about an Amos Shepardson who located in Florida, Mass., and has descendants at Pittsfield, and other data about a man of the same name who located first at Northfield, Mass., and then went to New York in 1820. I find a tradition that Amos may have died at Hague, N.Y. The Florida, Mass., Amos is said to have d. there, but there is no record of his death. One report says Amos had eleven children by his two wives. I give the children of Abigail Pratt, and the other two records also. The correct details may appear later. The Mass. Revolutionary rolls seem to show that this Amos was a soldier. Children:
15a. This was the complete family of Amos and Abigail Pratt. An Amos Shepardson who enlisted in the Revolutionary army from Mansfield, Mass., and later from Mendon, Mass., m. at Medway (or Milford) Mass., about 1 October 1778, Hannah Norcross, daughter of Peter and Johanna (Morse) Norcross. He lived afterward at Florida, Mass. Children:
15b. Another Amos Shepardson moved from Attleboro, Mass., to Northfield, Mass., about 1793, and about 1820 moved to New York state. He married Rebecca Whitcomb, who was b. 4 April 1760, daughter of Thomas and Anna (Whitney) Whitcomb, and had children:
25. SAMUEL SHEPARDSON (John-5, Daniel-4, John-3, Daniel-2, Daniel-1) m. Anna Barney, daughter of John Barney. He lived in Guilford, Vt., dying on the farm his father occupied before him, 28 February 1813, after an illness of eight days from spotted fever. He was a freeman and town clerk of Guilford, 25 March 1782-3; moderator of town meeting, 1794; constable in 1790, 1797, 1801; was called "Captain" in 1795; was collector in 1784, 1790, 1795; district clerk, district No. 14, 1810; member of Vermont Council, 1803-1808; register of probate in 1806, and presidential elector in 1808. He was called "Major" at the time of