Ancestry: David and Kesiah Sheppard

1st Generation

This exerpt borrowed from Island Studies: Black Islanders by Jim Hornby.

Several people who I’ve connected with the last while, do not have access to this book and there are some interesting ‘bits’ concerning these two.  I hope that this will be to some assistance in their research.  My thanks to Jim Hornby.  This information is eloquently shared on page 27.

Mr. Hornby tells us that it is almost a certainty that David Sheppard was brought to Prince Edward Island by Lieutenant-Governor Fanning.  Fanning was, at the time, a Loyalist who was forced to leave North Carolina after the Revolutionary War…and I believe (that is me) that he went on to the State of Virginia.  From there, Fanning “moved to Nova Scotia, and then Prince Edward Island.”  David Sheppard was one of at least four slaves owned by Fanning, who may have been part of the group that moved north to Atlantic Canada.  “Fanning complained, ‘It has actually cost me in removing my servants and baggage to this Island nearly 100 guineas.'”

As  I’ve been seeking information, I have found both a David Shepard and a Kesiah Sheppard on the ship, l’Abondance.  I don’t have any validations stating that these are my two.  It is a possibility.  Here, right out of the Book of Negroes.

“David Shephard, 15, likely boy. Formerly the property of William Shephard, Nansemond, Virginia; left him 4 years ago. GBC.”

Back to Jim Hornby’s narrative.

“David Sheppard’s life is recorded largely in court documents.  In February 1792, he was convicted of larceny.  On July 2, Executive Council accepted a petition that his punishment be remitted.  Supreme Court Minutes for July 14, 1792, note: ‘Davy, a black man, convicted of stealing a saw, was sentenced to receive 39 lashes – but was afterwards pardoned.’  It is possible that Davy was spared because he was the governor’s property.  Historian T. Watson Smith wrote in 1899 that Fanning had given ‘Shepherd’ a farm when he set him free, and while this statement has since been repeated, no corroboration has yet been found.

Sheppard and his wife Kesiah (or Kissy) had several children.  Benjamin (who might have been born before they arrived) was baptized on March 22, 1789.  Catherine was born to David and an unrecorded woman on July 4, 1791.  Anna Maria was born on February 13, 1794, to David and Kesiah Wilson and two more girls followed: Sarah (April 4, 1799) and Mary Millicent (January 23, 1803).

Sheppard’s relationship with his wife was perhaps rocky, because on October 28, 1802, he was brought to court and ordered to post a 20 pound bond to keep the peace – ‘particularly towards Kesiah Shepard, his wife.’ Whether David died soon afterward, settled on his supposed farm, or left the Island, is not known.  In any event, within ten years Kesiah Sheppard was married to another balck man and probable former slave, Samuel Martin, and together they helped to found the black district in Charlottetown.

While David Sheppard’s life remains obscure, his descendants became the most prolific black family name on Prince Edward Island.”

The book that I am referring to above is no longer in print and I am hoping that this offers some assistance.  I thank Jim Hornby for his thorough research as many families knit together their histories.  Given the huge struggles of both the French Acadians and the displaced Black families of early Canada, it is a marvel that we are able to put the puzzle together!

I also wish to thank the Black Islanders of PEI site (no longer linked), for sharing the schematic of the First Generation of David and Kesiah.  My readers will find some strong documentation for the subject here.

It’s Cold Outside

Anders Osborne…have a listen.

I guess I’ll post a photo to look at….hmmm….what/who/where comes to mind?  Once I’ve listened to  one more song, I’m going to go out and nest in the studio.

Max Lounging in the Studio

Branching Out All Over the Place!


She Makes a Great Egg Salad!

I’m bagged.  I stepped into the house and dropped my school bag and laptop.  I went down to my bedroom, traded my work shirt for a plaid pyjama top.  I went to the fridge and pulled out the bowl of egg salad that my daughter had made at 1:00 a.m.  When I shuffled upstairs in the dark and stepped into the BRIGHT kitchen at 1:00 a.m., I asked her if she would please cut out the noise.  She said, “Sorry, Mom.” And added, “You’ll be glad when you have this egg salad tomorrow!”  At the time, I doubted it.

I toasted the two pieces of frozen bread and then slathered it in egg salad. (I am glad.) I plunked down on the red sofa…oh, wow, did that feel good!  A glass of cold milk.  Mmmmm.  I went over, in my mind, what the week had been all about.  I thought, “Finally, I finished Moby Dick!  An accomplishment….yippee, a new book tonight!”  I was relieved that the art work had all been delivered to the church gathering-area, but sad that I had to cancel my date with sister-friends, to attend tomorrow’s Asparagus Festival in Innisfail.  Yes!  There really IS an Asparagus Festival!  I will have to go to the Church hall instead and actually display the art work tomorrow morning.  I just didn’t have the energy after teaching all week, grading, recording, managing, and then transporting art.

It has been raining steadily for four days here in Calgary.  It’s grey and wet and still, I face that hour-long play time in the wet, in my gum boots, with Max.  I avoid.  It’s so warm in here.

As a way of avoiding, I turn on the computer.  Little beeps…lights come up on the screen.  I don’t know why, but I decide to explore some random sites of interest on WordPress.  I come to Gillian Holding of Leeds.  I know nothing about Gillian Holding.  Do you?  But, a short time later, I’m wandering about from one page to another and falling madly in love with her work.  My shoulders sit back in place…I no longer slouch.  Max, nudges me from behind and brings me several toys, in hopes that I will ‘catch on’.

I log into Skype.  Mom and I have a five o’clock date.  Hmmm….she’s forgotten.  I decide to leave Skype UP and continue to view Gillian’s blog.  I find a common spirit.  I find encouragement.  I feel a spark of motivation to complete a sketch tonight.  This is good.

Thank you for these words, Gillian.  I don’t know you, but your insights are real and generous.  Thank you…and I hope you don’t mind, that before I take Max for his time at the off-leash, I should share your words.

About Gillian Holding

“I am a contemporary visual artist living and working in Leeds trying to juggle family, work and dog walking and often not really getting it right anywhere. Add to this mix the absurdity of the world I live in and observe around me, and it all leaves me with a burning desire to document my experiences and insights (such as they are) by every means possible. Then maybe, just maybe, I can make some sense of it.”

Thanks also, Gillian, for the survey of favourite reds….mine is Cadmium Red Medium…some would call it Bright Red!


Our father bought us each a ukelele when we were very young.  We had grown up with him playing the ukelele, banjo and guitar.  Someone had given him an old Gibson guitar.  Oh my!  How beautiful it sounded!  I wanted to learn how to play guitar!  I worked for The Deluxe in North Bay, Ontario that summer, the sort of place where we served ‘the regulars’ and knew who liked their coffee double-double.  We served rice pudding and a special at lunch, you know the sort of place I’m talking about.  You likely can imagine what my uniform looked like as well.  I wish I had a photograph to post! 🙂  It’s a pity that I didn’t live in the digital and phone-cam generation. Those of us from that generation do not have the photos of ourselves that you young folk have!  Back to the story, though! 

I had my eye on a guitar that sat in a store front window and I saved for an entire summer so that I could buy my Yamaha guitar.  As well, I bought a capo and a Gordan Lightfoot chording book.  I was in heaven!  Gordan Lightfoot taught me how to play guitar! ;0)

Listen, he’s coming to Alberta…or so I heard on the van radio this morning.  There are many concerts coming up.  Tomorrow morning Pearl Jam tickets come up for sale on Ticketmaster.  I’d love those!  Kings of Leon…Santana….sheesh….but, for some sappy sentimental reason, I think that my heart is with Lightfoot.  I’ll have to think on it.  He taught me how to play guitar!

ART!!! and WHALES!

Alright…so, the last fifty pages of  “Moby Dick” are churning up everything in me that gets excited about writing, nature, humanity and strength of human spirit, adventure and art!  I knew that there was some reason I was drawn to this VERY difficult read!  Ahab is presently suffering the apparent blows of a whale with WILL!  It is a superb challenge that is going on at this point…unbelievable!  It took 430 pages to bring me to this magical place!  But….I am here!  Engaged!  Challenged! Thoughtful!

One year I considered organizing a group exhibit with my Grade Nine art students.  At the time, I spoke to them about the demise of the Beluga Whales of the St. Lawrence seaway.  I demonstrated and talked about, at length, my process.  And then….we made art!  The exhibit has never happened…but, I hold on to the future possibility.


2008 Student Sketch

I was marking sketchbook drawings today in my Grade Seven art class!  Amazing!  I suggest, “Use all of your space OR crop!  Develop everything about it!  Date your work!  You are likely to be a famous person one day and they will auction your work, knowing that it was done soooo many years ago and so likely, it is really valuable!  Use at least five values.  I want to read black, white, dark grey, medium grey and light grey!  I want to squint at each and every drawing and see these five values.  And…I’m going to make you squint at your drawings too!  Explore something different every time you draw!  Do you scumble? smudge? hatch? cross hatch? stipple?  Look at your marks!  Wowsers!  The content of your drawings?  Does this have meaning?  What do you love about this subject?  What frustrates you about this subject?  MAGIC!  Every term….10 completed sketches…that means…by the end of Grade nine, you will have three sketchbooks and ninety drawings!  This will make an archive and you will be on your way!  Wait and see how much you have discovered about your visual world in just three years!  Amazing!” 

The drawings I saw today were amazing!  I especially loved an elephant that a young lady drew and I suggested that its whimsical profile would pop forward more if she pushed what was behind it into a darker value!  I had her step back as we explored that idea…and she squinted…and she nodded her head! (I will photograph her elephant tomorrow!) And…as I finished my personal conference with each and every artist, I recognized each by having the class salute their achievement with applause.  It was a grand celebration!



This week I’m gathering up art works from six different schools, in order to showcase the work of some of the students in our Parish.  The art will be transported over the next couple of days to our Church Hall for their big event, a wine-tasting called Puttin’ on the Ritz.  I’m taking this opportunity to say how much I appreciate the teachers who guide students in CREATIVE EXPRESSION within any of the fine arts, but particularly, the visual arts!  It is so crucial that we, as a public, continually advocate for the arts.  In a climate of cut-backs, sometimes it is difficult to sustain a quality program and the public needs to always keep in mind what art, music, drama and dance do for society and especially, the individual!  Following a thirty-year career as an arts educator, this matters to the core of me!  Artists, teachers, musicians, dancers and thespians…..we love you!  Rock on!

My Business Card :0)

Pheasants on the Golf Course

Ok, so, I’ve actually heard people say, “Bloggers have nothing to say!”  Cough!  Sputter!  How dare you??!

I just got home from my river-walk with Max.  It was pure magic!  Yes, the sky IS grey and there IS a constant drizzle! My eye glasses begged for a wipe…but, I just pushed them lower and lower on my nose!  As you likely know, Calgary is infamous for its zillion-and-one golf courses.  I’m letting you know right now, I don’t golf and I have several environmental and OTHER reasons for why I cringe at each siting of another golf course being developed by our river.  But, I know…I know…some of the people I know, absolutely love to golf!  They live and breath golf…they travel for golf…they book days off for golf…they date golfers…talk golf…drink at golf clubs…so, far be it for me to say ANYTHING negative about golf courses!  So…I’ll move on to my blog.

I want to write about the pheasants on the golf course, as well as make other observations of our time down by the river this evening. First of all, the Bow River is at least ten feet up from where it was last week.  We were walking on river rock last week and Max, the border collie, was neck-deep, chasing sticks.  Tonight, as I struck a path through the wild rose bushes and tall grass, Max eagerly took a nose dive off of the bank, anticipating, I’m sure, his hunt for the perfect stick.  Instead, he lifted off of the bank and landed in fast-moving river water.  He did a quick about face, bounding up the river bank and charging about like a kook.  It was so funny that I let out a belly laugh.

It was interesting watching the birds this evening.  With the huge mosquito population this season, the birds, like dive-bombers, were swooshing down just above the water surface, feeding steadily and in huge number.  I took Max down to the foot bridge and watched the birds for a long time from the half way point on the bridge. 

I don’t know how those geese protect their babies!  Two pair of geese were VERY busy coralling their family of countless babes, attempting to keep them tucked in to the wee eddies, but dealing constantly with the rushing water and the apparent contradictory spirits/choices of the young ones.  In the end, the two families separated, clamouring onto the grassy bank.  Amazing how one family headed one direction and the other, in another. How do those downy babes know their own parents?  AWESOME!

A beautiful male pheasant let out his call, again and again for the duration of my walk.  I stopped and watched him a couple of the times along the way.  Two magpies swooped again and again in the pheasant’s territory and I knew that the brightly-coloured male was likely defending a nest.  I marvel at the challenges for wildlife and know that in the end, it is all really a matter of which BEAST is stronger.  So much of what I observed today was about instinct.  It was just so fantastic to be party to a taste of it.

Finally, there were several pheasants on the golf course!  I can not tell you how comical this was, given the particular way that pheasants move or ‘make tracks’.  They were evidently feeding, and in this situation on wide open MOWED greens, I’m certain that they became immediately, more vulnerable.  All of the colours were such a contrast and the time that I spent watching seemed so surreal.  Nothing about what I saw, the dance of these birds, made sense.  Ours is a remarkable world!