A native of Adams County, Ohio, Mr. Shepherd was born May 5, 1827, and spent his childhood and youth amid the pioneer scenes of the Buckeye State, acquiring a fair education mostly in the common schools of his native county. In 1841, when he was a lad of fourteen years his father decided to push further westward, and came to LaSalle County, this State, where the family sojourned two years. In 1844 the father and his son, William W. purchased a farm near Orleans, which remained the family homestead for a quarter of a century. The next removal was to the farm now owned and occupied by our subject, where the parents, William and Jane L. (Blair) shepherd spent their last years. A sketch of them will be found on another page in this volume.
The subject of this notice at the age of twenty-five years was first married at Jacksonville, Ill., Oct. 12, 1852, to Miss Susan M. Simpson, who was born in South Hampton, England, April 6, 1831. Her mother died in England and Susan M. came with her father to America in 1844, when a child of thirteen years. She had then received the rudiments of a good education in that well-known institution, Miss Chapman's Female Seminary, near London. Her union with our subject resulted in the birth of five children who are recorded as follows: Morris H., was born March 29, 1854, is unmarried and engaged with his father in operating the homestead; Emma V., was born Dec. 6, 1855 and died June 12, 1857; Benjamin Franklin was born April 24, 1858, and is engaged as a salesman for the Holliday Lock and Safe Co., of St. Louis, Mo.; Kate Ella was born Sept, 8, 1860, and died Sept. 7, 1861; William was born Aug. 17, 1863, and died March 3, 1868.
The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married May 29, 1877, was formerly Mrs. Susan E. Witty, of Mount Sterling, Ill. She was born in Kentucky from which State her parents removed when she was a child one year of age. The Shepherds are members of the Presbyterian Church at Pisgah in which our subject has been Elder for many years. Politically he is a sound Republican and an enthusiastic Harrison man. He has seen much of pioneer life, both in Ohio and Illinois and in the former State, when a boy attending school, carried wood on his back to the temple of learning to assist in keeping it warm during the day. The contrast between then and now, both in Ohio and Illinois, is a marked one and Mr. Shepherd has contributed his full quota in redeeming a portion of the wilderness and converting it to the abode of a civilized and intelligent people.