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Shepard, Mrs. Christy A. 1843-1936


Posted By: Linda Ziemann, volunteer (email)
Date: 11/29/2017 at 20:21:07

**In October there was a "feature" story news item with a nice photograph of Mrs. Shepard. Then just a few months later January 1936 the same photograph was published with her obituary. I am sharing both articles on this page.**

Des Moines Tribune, October 15, 1935

Mrs. C. A. Shepard, 92, Newton Pioneer.
[Photo of the 92 Yr old woman with her knitting in her lap, included with this article. The photo caption read, CAME WEST.]

The pioneer romance of a roaming lieutenant and a Cass county innkeeper’s daughter was recalled Tuesday by Mrs. Christy A. Shepard, 92, last week, as she sat at her knitting at 1418 Nineteenth st.

Mrs. Shepard, then Christy Drake, whose father greeted each stagecoach as it drew up to his Grove City hotel, was 19 at the time, she said. Lieut. W. W. Shepard, injured in a fall from a ledge in Virginia which prevented his joining in Sherman’s march to the sea, had resigned from the army and was “going west” to buy property.

In Des Moines, Shepard met an old doctor who spoke of his acres in Cass county and was invited to be a guest. They stayed the night at the Grove City inn and were driven by Captain Drake the next day to the doctor’s home, eight miles west. But the lieutenant did not stay. Instead he rode back to the inn—because Christy was also riding in the old spring-seat wagon.
In two months they were married.

Mrs. Shepard, who long since has quit knitting stockings and mittens for her children but still knits wash cloths, was born in 1843. Her father moved the family by covered wagon to Newton, Ia., when Christy was 10.

“In all the early days, I never did see an Indian. I don’t know where they could have been. The main problem was keeping the wolves from the door—literally,” she said.

Mrs. Shepard’s father built a cabin at the edge of Wild Cat grove on the Skunk river. It had no windows or doors—a blanket was hung across the doorway.

While her father drove to Muscatine for doors, the wolves came, clawing at the blanket. Her mother built a fire in the center of the little cabin near the doorway and kept it bright during the night as her children huddled in the corners.

Mrs. Shepard, now a great grandmother, remembers clearly those early Iowa days. Seven weeks were necessary for the covered wagon to travel from Ohio to Newton, now a two-day journey by automobile, she said.

Des Moines Tribune, Monday, January 6, 1936

Mrs. Shepard Is Dead at 92
Came to Iowa in Covered Wagon.

Mrs. Christy A. Shepard, 92, died Monday morning at the home of her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Ella E. Shepard, 1418 Nineteenth st.

Mrs. Shepard was born in Ohio in 1843 and was brought to Iowa by her parents in a covered wagon in 1853. They settled south of Newton in Jasper county and her father later operated a stage coach inn at Grove City, southeast of Atlantic.

Mrs. Shepard had lived in Des Moines since 1902.

Funeral services will be at Dunn’s funeral home at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with burial in Stuart, Ia., the same day.

Mrs. Shepard was the mother of five sons, two of whom, R. B. Shepard of Atlantic, Ia., and C. A. Shepard, of Council, Idaho, are still living. She is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. A. H. Walker of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mrs. Emma Cromer, Des Moines; a brother, Frank Drake, San Diego, Cal.; and 20 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.


Polk Obituaries maintained by Jan Bony.
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