I had to take a quick shot of my exhausted pooch once I had taken him out for his evening walk in Moncton, New Brunswick. We landed (it was quite an undertaking to locate a bed in Moncton last evening) in a Dieppe Super 8…parked close to the airport. Every now and then, there is a tremendous roar as a plane takes off, but generally a most wonderful sleep and rest. This morning we head for the Confederation Bridge and a reunion with Mom’s relations in Summerside, PEI. This is a bittersweet event, given that Mom’s decline in health has not allowed her to be with me. I’m certain that there will also be tears!
I promised my great auntie and uncle a copy of the family research I have just recently completed, so for this opportunity, I am grateful. I had hoped to manage five generations, but have succeeded in most branches of the family, to uncover eight to ten generations. I will be spending the next week visiting the resting places of several of these ancestors and reconnecting with their most-often-heroic efforts to feed their children, stand for their beliefs and remain hard-working for their lifetimes.
When I load the ‘stuff’ into the van this morning, I will be grabbing the family history from the back and setting it on my front passenger seat. I feel that there is huge closure to this process and I am so excited!
Given that I’ve been reading about slavery as it existed in Prince Edward Island and other provinces, I’ve happened upon Noam Chomsky’s work and have spent a good part of this rainy grey evening, listening to his thoughts. Excellent stuff!
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!