October 24, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

 

24 Oct 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

I havent forgotten you. Havent been writing anyone very much lately. Work has been real heavy the past month. 14 to 16 hours a day. Altho there hasnt been much flying.

It is cool here now. Frost in the evenings. Clear blue skies. The days are warm. Typical October weather at home I guess.

I quit work today (Sunday) at 1200 noon. A party of us went hunting pheasants. I shot one. Only had one shot. We saw a lot of them, but they would get up just out of gunshot. They are ringnecks like the ones at home. The Koreans dont hunt, so there are lots of them here. A lot of ducks and geese too.

If I stay here this fall I will probably get to do a lot of hunting. I heard from Ruth yesterday, and she says that everything is going O.K. Havent heard from you folks lately, but I imagine everything is alright too.

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Lois writes every few days that one of the kids is spending a night with you. I know that they enjoy it. And Im happy that I brought the family back to Westerville while I am overseas.

According to the calenday, it is 128 days to go. That is, if I stay in Korea. If I should move elsewhere it would be about 180 days. In any event Ill be home before school is out.

Take good card of yourselves & write when you have the time.

Your son
Bill

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September 12, 1947 William Shepard to parents…

This is Thanksgiving week, so there will only be one entry this week as I have every intention of totally vegging out and enjoying my 4 days off. Lord of the Rings marathon here I come! Have an excellent Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

Officers Mail Section
Scott Field, Ill.
September 12, 1947

Dear Dick & Dad,

There just isnt enough time in the day any more. We seem to be going all the time.

Hunting season is in Nov. Im going out tomorrow after dove & squirrel. Fishing is OK here. We have a mess in the ice box & Im going again Sunday.

I suppose that you folks are catching whoppers. Mine are all little fellows.

K.W. is all happy, he got an erector set (big one) and is busy building most the time. Sue got a rubber doll,

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she likes it too.

We all like it here. My work is OK, takes about 6 hours a day. We have every week end off & thats OK.

The car is running fine and it sure is a blessing. I dont know what we would have done without it. It needs a tuneup now & I think Ill have it done soon.

As soon as you folks get back let us know and Ill ship you a bundle of money. We owe you some, remember? We got the check from Hilliards bank but you were on your way to Canada.

Well I wish you a very good time and Ill see you.

Love
Bill

Jeremiah and Hannah Smith pioneers…

For the most part, when you are researching your ancestors, you don’t very often find much information about their personality or character. Sometimes it can be sussed out from certain types of court or probate records, or land deeds that have special dispensations, or if you are lucky a historical biography is found for them.

In the case of my Michigan Smiths it was a couple of newspaper articles in the paper that shined a sliver of light on their lives. The church history in the article below doesn’t actually say much about Jeremiah or Hannah Smith’s personality per se, but it does tell me about certain aspects of their lives that I would otherwise have to guess at, for example – their faith was important to them.

Jeremiah was born in 1790 in the state of New York. He was the descendant of German ‘Schmidt’ ancestors who emigrated to America in 1709 and Palantine Germans. The family was never well to do, so Jeremiah and his wife Hannah (Houghtaling) had to work hard to feed and cloth their family. At one time Jeremiah, unable to pay his bills, spent a few months in debtors prison when the family was living in Cayuga County, New York. Possibly in an attempt to avoid their debts, or just to try to make a better life for themselves, the Smiths packed up their trunks and headed to Michigan in the early 1840s. Their eldest son, Michael, had moved out there a year of so earlier.

The family seemed to be able to make a better go of it in their new home in Berrien County, Michigan. By 1844 they were meeting in a small log school about one mile west of Coloma, with other pioneers from the area, as the Mount Hope Methodist Society. Both Jeremiah and Hannah are mentioned as members of this first meeting in local historical records.

newspaper_smithjeremiah_MIhistchurch

In the article below we find a fun little tidbit out about Jeremiah – when the local school in the 1990s celebrated Pioneer Day, Jeremiah Smith appeared as a trapper and teller of ‘tall tales’. Just those two words bring to mind all kinds of images and possibilities to the kind of life the family might have had.

newspaper_smithjerimiah.png

Maybe a descendant, still living in the area, has passed this story of our grandfather down to each successive generation, or an old-timer remembered his grandfather talking about old man Smith and his crazy stories. I so would have loved to have been able to hear those tall tales.

gerthuntingcamp
Gertrude Cain John, sitting on the far right, Jeremiah and Hannah Smith’s great grand-daughter, at a deer hunting camp up in northern Wisconsin. She must have had some of that trapper blood.

I am always excited to find articles like these as they help to better visualize Jeremiah and Hannah’s, (and other ancestor’s) lives. They become more than just names on a page with birth and death dates. Something that is easy to forget in the data gathering of ancestors to ones family tree.