Thursday, January 12, 2017

A good woman passed away


Subtitled, the artful obituary of Clerenda Jane (Sanderson) Shepperd.

I've written about the Shepperds before --- Clerenda (also spelled "Clarinda") and her husband, John W., were among the earliest settlers in the vicinity of Chariton, arriving by ox-drawn wagon during May of 1851 when the Lucas County seat consisted of six-eight log cabins, a log hotel, the old log courthouse, a blacksmith shop and, on the northwest corner of the square, the Wescott store.

Late in life, John wrote a narrative of those early years --- now in the Lucas County Historical Society collection --- that I published here back in 2012 as "1851: The Shepperds Arrive in Chariton."

The academic achievements of their children are among the remarkable aspects of this family, which grew in Lucas County to include seven children, one of whom --- Adaliza --- died young. One son, Bruce, was a founding faculty member of Drake University, Des Moines, and another son, John Henry, led what now is the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources at North Dakota State University, Fargo, to prominence. A daughter, Juniata, was among the founders of the now-discontinued College of Home Economics at the University of Minnesota.

Their achievements resulted in good part at least from the insistence of their parents --- a blacksmith and a housewife --- that the children rise to their academic potential and acquire as much education as they could. I intend to write more about these academic standouts, two of whom also are buried in the Chariton Cemetery.

But the place to begin is with their parents, who died seven weeks apart back in 1907 --- Clerenda on March 14 and John on May 3. Obituaries of both were published in Chariton newspapers, but Clerenda's --- in The Chariton Leader of March 21, 1907, is the most complete and evocative of the two:

Clarinda (sic) Jane (Sanderson) Shepperd was born near Brownstown, Indiana, July 14, 1833, her parents being from New York state. The experiences of her childhood and early womanhood were those normally incident to a daughter of a rather prosperous farmer's family in southern Indiana. She had a fair amount of schooling and a thorough training with ample practice in the arts of housekeeping with its accessories of spinning, weaving, etc., all of which resulted in the development of a strong, sympathetic, self-reliant character.

In December, 1850, she was joined in marriage to J.W. Shepperd, a young blacksmith. In the spring of 1851 the new family, together with the wife's father and mother and their family, came to Lucas county, Iowa, and took up land in Whitebreast township. The usual hardships of building a home in a new country were theirs, but they entered upon it with zest and soon had a comfortable, though small and unpretentious home. Her father and mother, Elisha Sanderson and Junia (Wright) Sanderson, died in the latter sixties, and were laid to rest in the Chariton Cemetery.

Sister Shepperd and her husband became members of the Christian church in Chariton, Iowa, a few years after coming to the state and have maintained membership there ever since. Of the seven children who were born to them, one, Addaliza Bell, died in early childhood; a second one, Clara J. (Hays), died some fourteen years ago, after accomplishing very much of a woman's work. the other five were all present at the funeral services.

One remarkable thing about this family is that all of them are college graduates --- and most of them have taken several different degrees, which they attribute largely to the self-sacrifice and devotion of their mother and father. Bruce is a professor in Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa; J.H. is Dean of Agriculture of the State University, Fargo, North Dakota; Juniata L. is Professor of Domestic Science in the State University, Minneapolis, Minn.; G.W. is a farmer at Moscow, Idaho; Mary Powers is a farmer's wife, Ogallah, Kansas.

All who knew Mrs. Shepperd recognized her as a gentle, patient, industrious, sympathetic, loving and self-sacrificing woman. Funeral services were held at the old homestead March 16, 1907, conducted by D.L. Dunkleberger, pastor of the Christian church, Chariton, Iowa.

1 comment:

Tim Shepperd said...

Thanks for publishing my great-great-great-grandmother's obituary. They don't write 'em like that anymore!