SHEPHERD, SHERMAN, SMITH
Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 11:01:50
From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
James Shepherd was born in Hagerstown Maryland, March 15, 1800. At the age of one year his parents moved to Clinton County Ohio, where he grew to the age of manhood and learned the shoemaker’s trade. On March 7, 1821, he was married to Jane Sherman, and lived in Clinton County until 1827, when, with his wife and two children, he moved to Salem then in Sangamon County Illinois, where he worked at his trade, and also milling, farming and other pursuits. He was twice elected Tax Collector of Sangamon County, and moved to Springfield in 1838 or ‘39.
He was a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. During the campaign of 1840, he was engaged as assistant editor of the State Register, and made several speeches in the county advocating the election of Martin Van Buren to the Presidency. In May of 1843, he made a trip to the Territory of Iowa, looking for a location to establish a newspaper, and selected Keosauqua, Van Buren County, as the point, and in the June following, sent his eldest son, Jesse M. and J.L.T. Mitchell, both printers who had learned the trade in Springfield, to take charge of and run the paper, the first issue of which appeared July 3, 1843, and was called the Iowa Democrat and Des Moines River Intelligencer, which they continued to publish until July 1, 1844, when he purchased the interest of J.L.T. Mitchell, and dropped the latter part of the name, continued the publication of the Iowa Democrat with firm name of James Shepherd & Son, until 1847, when he bought Jesse M. out, and became full owner, and continued its publication until 1850, when he sold the office. On the removal of his family to Keosauqua, October 8, 1844, he went into the hotel business, in the Des Moines House, near the courthouse, now torn down, and ran it one year, and in the spring of 1847 bought the Keosauqua House, on Front Street, which he continued to run until 1866, when he sold it and went on a farm, and two years later bought a house on First Street, and opened out in the hotel business again, which he continued to run until the death of his wife September 22, 1870. In 1845 he put in a bid for and was awarded the contract to carry the mail from Keosauqua to Ottumwa, and also to Bloomfield. He was twice a candidate for the legislature, but failed of an election, but was frequently elected to minor offices, and was a Justice of the Peace for years. In 1860, he in connection with his son, James S. bought the Des Moines News published in Keosauqua, being the same printing press and office he shipped to this place in 1843, which paper they continued to publish until the fall of 1865, when they sold the office.
In the fall of 1870, just after the death of his wife, his daughter, Mrs. Delazon Smith, arrived from Oregon, and in December, on her return, he accompanied her to her home in Albany, Linn County, and was with her at her death January 1, 1871. From Albany he went to his son, Jesse M. in Baker City, Oregon, where he remained until the fall of 1871, when he returned to Keosauqua and again took charge of the hotel until 1878, when he again made a trip to Baker City, Oregon, in the spring, and returning home again to Keosauqua in the fall, where he remained until his death, September 14, 1880.
Mr. Shepherd was made a Master Mason, and received the chapter degrees in Springfield Illinois and in 1845 was a charter member and first Master of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, and continued its Master for a number of years. While in Illinois he was Colonel of a regiment of State Militia, and his sword is now the property of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, by his gift. He was also one of the first members and High Priest of Moore Chapter, No. 23, at Keosauqua, and was a zealous Mason and a prominent member of the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of the State. In early life he was converted and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and continued faithful until called home to his Master. In the latter years of his life he was commissioned a local preacher, and was a worthy worker for Christ. He was the father of twelve children; six sons and six daughters, all of whom, except five sons, had preceded him to that heavenly home, where their mother had gone to give them welcome. Of the five sons still living, three are now engaged in the newspaper business, the eldest, Jesse M., in Baker City, and the youngest, Stephen H., at Vale Oregon, and James S. at Mt. Ayr, Iowa; the other two, Charles W. is a Methodist Episcopal minister, member of the Iowa Conference, now stationed at Winfield, Iowa, and the other Lewis C. is a harness maker and resides at Mt. Ayr. In politics, James Shepherd was a Jacksonian Democrat, and although not a politician, as that term is understood today, he was an earnest advocate of his convictions, a forcible speaker and writer, and ready at all times to meet his opponents either on the stump or through the press.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.
Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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