Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some Notes About Joshua Shepard

It's always nice to find an obituary of an ancestor that reflects how well thought of he was.  Saturday, September 1, 1804, New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), vol 6, issue 285, pg 3. from GenealogyBank.com

My 5th great grandfather, Joshua Shepard (1753-1804), yeoman and Revolutionary War veteran, son of Jonathan Shepard and Love Palmer, died intestate on 22 August 1804 in Alstead, Cheshire, New Hampshire, at a relatively young age, with minor children including my four year old ancestress Martha "Patty" Shepard (b. 1800, married William Porter). Elsewhere in the probate it showed Cyrus Kingsbury was appointed to be guardian of Patty and her sisters Caty (who had turned 9 just days before Joshua's death) and Polly (about 8).  

His death warranted notice in a variety of newspapers at the time, from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.  I'm surprised there were no mentions in Connecticut papers, where Joshua was born, but maybe that is just reflection on GenealogyBank's holdings. 

Using GenealogyBank and restricting the search to "Joshua Shepard" in 1804, I found his death was reported from late August 1804 to mid-September 1804, from Maine all the way down until Doylestown, Pennsylvania (marked red dots).  The green arrow indicates approximate location of Alstead.  Image is from Abraham Bradley's postal routes in 1796 (Abraham Bradley's Map of the United States, exhibiting the post-roads, the situations, connections & distances of the post-offices, stage roads, counties, ports of entry and delivery for foreign vessels, and the principal rivers (Philadelphia: William Harrison, c. 1796); digital image, Library of Congress Geography and Map collection (http://www.loc.gov/resource/g3700.ct003710/ : accessed 22 Sep 2015).

Joshua's wife, my 5th great grandmother Lucy Farnsworth (born 1762), had to go to the court in Jaffrey, Cheshire, New Hampshire (over 36 miles) to file as administratrix.

Lucy (Farnsworth) Shepard's application to be administratrix of her late husband's estate.  This document shows that Joshua's wife was named Lucy and that her brother was Joseph Farnsworth.  This information was already known to me, but it is nice to see confirmation of what I already have. Cheshire County, New Hampshire, Joshua Shepard probate file No. 114, Estate Files, S58-S143, 1793-1807: digital images, "New Hampshire, Wills and Probate Records, 1643-1982", Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8996 : accessed 22 Sep 2015), search "Joshua Shepard."

A transcription:

To Abel Parker Esp. Judge of the probate of Wills &(?) for the County of Cheshire
Respectfully sheweth Lucy Shepard that she was the lawful wife of Joshua Shepard of Alstead in said county deceased whereby administration of the estate of said Joshua by law belongs to her.
She therefore prays that the administration of the estate aforesaid may be granted to her together with her brother Joseph Farnsworth of said Alstead
Dated(?) at Jaffrey the 3d day of Sept. 1804
Lucy Shepard

* Joshua's service record from Fold3.
* This is the most relevant set of laws in place I could find for New Hampshire c. 1804: The Laws of the State of New Hampshire: The Constitution of the State of New-Hampshire, and the Consitution of the United States, with Its Proposed Amendments. by J. Melcher, 1797.  I only briefly examined the work, but put it here in case I should need to consult it regarding the laws of probate.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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