Just a line to let you know we are OK, only getting good and tired of this winter weather. I’m glad you folks don’t have to endure it as we do. If my summary serves me correctly I believe we’ve only had about 5 days above freezing since the first of December. Day before yesterday the temperature got up to a screaming 33º. I thought I was going to have sun stroke. It has really been miserable working at the shop this winter all the snow and ice has made is so wet and sloppy in the shop, it seems like we get a new coat of about 2 or 3 inches of snow a couple of times a week just enough to keep it messy all the time. According to the paper we’ve had 23 inches so far this winter. It even snowing now with 3 to 5 inches predicted.
[page 2] The shop is hard to heat and keep warm one day we weren’t able to get it over 42º in the shop. I have been wearing so many clothes I can’t hardly walk. And just one more grip and that is a lot of these drivers can’t get their cars started on the cold morning so we get blamed for all their troubles. “Enough bitchin'”. We mailed Kens Christmas packages to him on January 23rd so far we haven’t heard if he received them or not.
We got a letter form Bill today saying he was in the States, had been in Washington and Boston, was on his way to Colorado Springs and then back to Chicago. I suppose to see Ken for a day, he also expects to spend a day here either the 5th-6th or 8th of Feb. If he gets here we will call you so you can have
[page 3] a chance to exchange a few words ad hear his voice. We are really thrilled and looking forward to seeing him, it is a surprise to us and I know it will be to you. So we’ll just sit close to the phone waiting his call.
Did Ed Shepard get down there yet. Dick Rodenfels is leaving Sunday for Miami. We would just love to come down believe me.
Burch is O.K. he says I haven’t seem him as we haven’t had him up since Christmas. The weathers been so bad we just don’t go
[page 4] out unless it’s necessary.
Ruth just got in from her Rebecca meeting and said they about froze to death down there tonite I guess the heater isn’t large enough or sumpin. Ruth took an extra sweater but couldn’t keep her feet warm. Well here I go on this stinkin’ weather again so guess I’ll close shop for now.
Love H. O.
P.S. Send me the recipe for making Pawnhouse. I still got the pigs feet and don’t know what to do with them.
Just a note this morning while I’m finishing my breakfast. Ed Sheppard has been down for a couple of days, went home yesterday. He is looking real good and has gained some weight. Says he will be going down to your place some time between now and the first of the month. He and Ruth went down to see Burch while he was here. Burch is O.K. and doing fine. We have gotten rid of some of
[page 2] our snow. The temperature has been up in the forties the last couple of days. Hope we don’t get anymore SNOW
I got some pigs feet down in our freezer, send me the recipe for making P.H. how do you spell it. (Ha Ha).
We are both O.K. and hope you are the same –Time to go too work. Love H.O.
Mrs. Herman O. Shepard 1012 Hartford Worthington, Ohio
Dear Egghead and Dad:
I know now why you call yourself Egghead, you dated your last letter November 8 and I know you’re not nuts, but it helps a lot ha ha. We will be looking forward to the fruit as I only have about four left. I’ve been eating a lot of them. I’ve had a nice little cold for the last few days and I think a lot of fruit juice is good for a cold. Ruth called Al Maddox today and told him if she wasn’t home for him to set the baskets in the kitchen, so they won’t freeze. It was snowing when we got up this morning and it’s still at it 7:30 PM about 6 inches on the ground now. I took the pictures out of our front living room window at 4:30 PM just to give you an idea how snow looks, look at the drift on the house across the street. It’s up even with their porch floor, our driveway is clean out to about the front of the house from there to the street it’s about 2 feet deep don’t know if I’ll be able to get it out in the morning or not. I borrowed the Polaroid camera from Steve to take a few shots to see if I would like to have one. From the results I don’t believe I’ll buy one they don’t seem to be good sharp pictures. The picture of the group although you won’t be able to tell one person from another was taken last night. Martha Star, Ruth and I had a party for our officers and their husbands. We held it at the Linworth Methodist Church. Ruth and Martha prepared all the food at our homes and then we took it over to the church and serve there. Of course I got in on the dishwashing as did Ken, Martha‘s husband. Ocea Patman and Martha’s mother did their share and as far as I know everything went off well. Our officers presented Martha with a solid brass tray about 14 to 15 inches in diameter and me a metal tray with mahogany finish trimmed with chrome I don’t know what I’ll use it for unless I get a job in a restaurant serving tables.
We haven’t heard anything from K.W. But are looking for him to be here for the holidays. I received a letter from Ben Hott (he is the one that moved to Bayshore Gardens) he says there is a lot of work around Sarasota doing home maintenance, painting and etc. Said the field was wide open, in other words a handyman or jack of all trades, he said he was going to look out for me, maybe he’s got something in that kind of work. What do you think? He said he made $95 one week doing that kind of work. I would have to have a truck, ladders, spray painting outfit, steam cleaner etc. or about $3000 to be fully equipped to handle most of the jobs that would be available. I’m going to write him for more details and information etc.
Have you got your Christmas shopping done? We haven’t even started or even bought our cards yet. Ruth has been busy with Job’s Daughters and this party we had last night, next week we have a regular meeting Wednesday night and installation of the 1961 officers next Saturday night. By the time we squeeze in the Christmas shopping and all those details it will probably be another nightmare for the next two weeks. This about winds me up for now so till next time, so long.
How is everything at Safety Harbor? All right I hope. You’ve been home long enough that you should know all the news, good, bad and indifferent. So we’re looking for a nice long letter to bring us up to date.
I suppose you’re wondering how I got along with my first meeting. Well I got along O.K. and we had six candidates to start their degree work. There were a couple of items of business that came up during the business part of the meeting that I didn’t foresee, nevertheless I got along all right. Maybe I’ll be lucky for the whole year.
We had our first frost last night and it was a dandy. I suppose that will be the end of the sweet corn and good homegrown tomatoes. We had a mess of sweetcorn last Saturday night and thought about you while we were eating it.
We had two “stinking” weekends at the lake. Week ago last Sunday we didn’t get out on the lake until 2 PM due to high winds and rough water, but manage to catch 40 nice jumbo perch, and yesterday we didn’t get out period. The wind was blowing out of the north like a Gail and it rained off and on all day. I hope we get a couple more days as time is getting short. Will probably be pulling the boat
In another couple of weeks.
The grand chapter R.E.M. meetings are being held this week in Columbus, Wednesday and Thursday to be exact. The ladies are being entertain at a brunch Wednesday morning and some other activities are planned for the afternoon then will join for a banquet in the evening. I say that’s ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for the gals. I always enjoy the grand chapter meeting so I hope this will be a good one. Tell dad I’ll see Harry Sark there and will ask him about the Postal Service.
Believe it or not I think Charlie and June are going down to Saint Petersburg for their vacation and will probably arrive there next Monday. Charlie says they are going to look you up. But don’t hold your breath
Ruth took your watch down to Rogers jewelers last week and the repair man told her the main spring was OK and that it had been full of water etc. so she is taking it to Jack Dennick here in Worthington for his examination and will report to you later. Ruth thought the man at Rogers was “full of you know what”.
Ruth hasn’t been downtown since you left and hasn’t got 10 your birthday gift. So we’re enclosing a check and you can apply it to whatever you like, such as a fifth, Maidenform bra, new car, dress, or the grocery bill. Well I’m bout shot my wad so will close for now.
Happy to hear you are settled at the cabin. Just be sure that you don’t start any more construction jobs. I’m rather sorry to hear that other people are building at the beach I had the idea but you know how it is.
Lois is probably written you about her coming over. I think she will leave Ohio just after October 1. At least that is what they tell me here.
We have a brand new three bedroom apartment in Kaiserslautern. It is the nicest I’ve seen in these parts. We will probably move on the base next spring.
The beer and food taste so good here I have a hard time keeping my waist line down. I weigh the same I did when I left Ohio 200 pounds.
We will send you some pictures when Louis gets the camera over.
Enjoy your vacation north and I hope that Florida is warm this winter. I’ll try to write next month, although my pen isn’t very long!
It’s been so long since I’ve written, maybe I can get this one to you before you leave Tuesday. We are looking forward to seeing both of you and hope you have a safe trip north.
We have our last eastern star meeting next Wednesday night before summer recess, maybe you can make it. I’ve been working on the boat every chance I get, still have many things to do i’ll try to enlist dad maybe he can speed me up a little. I didn’t realize I was getting myself into such a project.
I am enclosing a couple of dollars for you to bring me a few jars of Damson Plum jam (Deep South Brand) if it isn’t too much trouble.
We were up to our cottage at East Harbor last week and for the first time this year, between rains it took me a day and a half to cut the grass. Everything was O.K. up there and all her friends were O.K.
Had news from Birch that he is improving and even has an offer of a job at the golf station in Westerville if he is able to take it. Well Ruth is scratching a note. So till next week when you arrive.
I am keeping my promise to tell about all the women in my tree by working my way back in time, starting with my great grandmothers. It has been a while since Charlotte Hatch, but here is my second one.
She was known by family and friends as ‘Dick’. What can one say about Dick. Most of what I know about her has either been told to me by her granddaughter, gleaned from looking through all the old family pictures, researched, or heard in one poorly recorded interview from about 1982. The person that I recollect was what you would call a ‘character’. She very short statured, loved cocktails, and wore awesome eyeglasses when she was older.
This is her life, as well as I have been able to piece it together.
Rachel started her life journey September 19, 18881. She was the second child, and second daughter, of Osborn and Eliza (Stackpole) Hays, and had been named in honor of her grandmother, Rachel (George) Hays. Osborn and Eliza would eventually have 10 children together, but from what I recollect hearing, Rachel was always her father’s favorite.
‘Dick’, as she became nicknamed by the family, grew up in Grant Township, Wetzel County, West Virginia. In fact her family lived there their whole lives, farming, and making a living off the land. She was a tomboy, and always had a preference for boys to keep company with. I guess she didn’t have much use for girls. The hills and landscape that she grew up in probably made for great exploration and tomboyish proclivities.
As was typical of children during the time she was growing up, she only went through the 8th grade2 in school*. Which means she was about 14 when she was done with learnin’. As the Hays family had settled in the Pine Grove area of Wetzel County, it would seem likely that Dick attended the Pine Grove School (although we don’t know that for sure). It was known in its early years as Free School.
Of course over time, as is wont, she got older. Then along comes William Atkinson Shepard, a newly minted teacher who recently arrived in Wetzel County, having received his teaching certificate from a Normal School, (although at this time we don’t know which one). Family rumor has it that this is how Dick and he met. It is not likely that they met because he was her teacher, because he would have been about 16 years old or younger in order for that to happen, which is doubtful. So it is possible that they met when she went to pick up some of her younger siblings from school. Maybe the locals took turns having the new teacher to dinner to get to know him, or they met at church or a local festivity. We might not know the exact how of it, but she definitely took a shine to him.
A quote from Dick’s son William:
My father, William, had received “higher education” beyond the customary 8th grade and attended normal school which prepared him to become a teacher. He taught in several places, and I think his last was in Jacksonburg, where he taught several of my aunts and uncles (Hays). He met and married Rachel Ann here.
–William A. Shepard, Dick’s son
They were married by the Rev. Reid of the M. E. Church in New Martinsville, Wetzel County, on March 9, 1907.
Their first child, Herman Osborn Shepard, was born November 28, 1907 (pretty much 9 months later). That was fast work.
The birth was a hard one for Dick, as Herman was quite a large infant when he was born and Rachel was a small woman. Her injuries were such that Herman was raised by Dick’s parents in his early years, so that Rachel could recover her health. The doctor’s also told the couple that she shouldn’t have any more children, as the next one could kill her. This news must have put much stress on their early years of marriage. Decent birth control was not readily available to folks then like it is now.
Her husband was working in the steel mill in the town of Parkersburg by 1910, and possibly sooner. I imagine a school teacher’s wages were not all that great to raise a growing family on, so he decided to try for better wages. However, by 1912 they had moved to Ohio and were living in Columbus, where William started working as a clerk for the US Post Office with the rail road. He continued in this line of work until he retired in the 1950s as a supervisor. This job, no doubt, helped the family get through the depression with less damage than those around them.
Rachel was a typical woman of her time. She stayed at home, raised her child and kept the home. For other income they bought properties and made money renting the lots, or homes. It didn’t make them rich, but they were able to buy a home in Florida to retire in, and land in Canada to make their summer vacation spot. (A spot that is mentioned many times in family letters.)
1919 might have been an especially tense and worrying year for Dick and Dad, because Dick found out she was pregnant again. She was due in late December to early January. And on January 4, 1920 she delivered a healthy baby boy, William Atkinson Shepard, jr. Dick did okay too. There was no long hospital stay to recover from the delivery, so she was able to give junior her undivided attention, and she had her 13 year old son to help. This would be the last child that they would have though, possibly the second pregnancy caused problems we are unaware of–and Dick didn’t share that part of her life with her children, or grandchildren.
The Shepard family moved over the years in and around Ohio. In 1920 they were in Pickaway County, in 1930 it was Franklin County, in 1940 Delaware County. But no matter where they moved, Dad was always working for the US Postal Service for the railroad, in fact he told his sons that when they were older to get jobs working for the government, because they were the most steady and secure. One of them heeded his advice.
Over the years they visited with family and friends (Dick was remembered by others as a very gracious and hospitable person), built their own cottage, from scratch, on Thessalon Lake in Canada, (and went there often to fish and barbecue), then they retired to a cute little house in Safety Harbor. The cottage in Canada they sold in the 1960s, and Dick gave the money from the sale to her sons.
She was quite a pill, was Dick. I, no doubt, don’t even know a single percent of the shenanigans she could get up to. The only story I vaguely remember hearing happened shortly after her eldest Herman, started dating his future wife, Ruth Kring. Apparently Dick, (no doubt with malevolent glee), decided that Ruth needed taking down a peg or two, because she somehow made sure that they conveniently ran into an old girlfriend of Herman’s. I guess that’s how she kept herself busy while Dad was at work.
When Dick and Dad moved to Florida to officially retire, Dick kept busy with the Woman’s Civil Club and her Order of the Eastern Star Safety Harbor Chapter (No. 173).
MOVIES AT WOMAN’S CIVIL CLUB HALL NOV. 7TH On Monday, November 7, at 8 P. M., a program of free movies at the Woman’s Civic Club Hall will present the Rich Plan __ Frozen Foods. Attendance will give the Commercial Award credits. Light refreshments will be served gratis. Movies of the Cape Coral Development, near Ft. Myers will also be shown by Mr. Jerry Flynn… The new members received at the meeting of October 14 are: Mrs. William Shepard…Members please add these names to your Blue Books. Several former members expect to attend the Club meetings this year.
SAFETY HARBOR CHAPTER 173, ORDER OF EASTERN STAR, INSTALLS Mrs. William A. Shepard was installed as Worthy Matron of Safety Harbor Chapter 173, Order of the Eastern Star…in ceremonies recently held at the Masonic Temple here… Mrs. Shepard stood under an arbor made of fresh red roses while Thomas Peasley, Past Grand Patron of the State of Maine, sang, “How Great Thou Art.” Mr. and Mrs. Herman Sheppard, son and daughter-in-law of Mrs. Shepard, came from Worthington, Ohio, to be present for the ceremony and Shepard presented his mother the gavel she will use throughout her term of office.
O.E.S. RUMMAGE SALE MAY 4TH The O.E.S. will hold a rummage sale Saturday, May 4, in the lot next to Clark’s 5&10 store. Anyone having clothing or other items they don’t use bring them to Mrs. Rachel Shepard, 305 7th Ave. N., or the day of the sale.
Ashley Chapter 147 members heard comments by Mrs. Bess Evans, past matron, on her attendance at a meeting of a Florida chapter of Order of the Eastern Star. Mrs. Evens’ sits, Mrs. Rachel Shepard, is active in that Florida chapter, Safety Harbor No. 173.
1975-04-16 Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, p26
I don’t know what Dad did, when he retired. Maybe he walked to the ocean and fished everyday. He was the quiet type, at least when we were around, so one never knew what he got up to.
Dick lost her husband on April 19, 1973. They had been married for just over 66 years. (Unfortunately, our family was overseas and unable to attend the funeral.) She was a widow for 13 years before she died April 27, 1986. I heard tell that she spent many a Friday evening at the local bar flirting with all the old widowers after Dad died. As I mentioned before, she did enjoy cocktails.
I have an audio recording (be sure to download it) that I have had digitized of Dick talking to her niece Evelyn Conning (1980sish). It is about 30 minutes long, and is of very poor quality. The interviewer definitely wasn’t a professional, and there were no questions asked that I would have asked. But it beats having nothing. Too bad we don’t have one of Dad, apparently he told great stories.
I am very glad that I was able to meet my great grandmother, and I was at an age that I can remember her these many years later, even if only vaguely. I definitely remember her voice, and hearing it on the audio recording helps to bring back those fond memories of my visits to their house in Safety Harbor, Florida. (You can read my post on their house here.)
*Here is a great web page that gives an excellent synopsis of rural schools in the latter part of the 1800s: http://www.heritageall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Americas-One-Room-Schools-of-the-1890s.pdf. ————————— SOURCES: 1. Rachel Hays birth entry, 19 Sep 1888, General index and register of births, Wetzel County, West Virginia, page 74a. Parents O. Hays and Eliza Hays. 2. 1940 US Federal Census, Genoa Township, Delaware County, Ohio details; SD 17, ED 21-17, Sheet 3A, Enumerated April 4, 1940; household 48, home owned [by parents], not a farm, lines 33-34 . What is the highest grade finished is one of the questions on census. 3. W. A. Shepard and Rachel Hays marriage, 1907; Marriage Record, book no. 13, page 180; West Virginia, Wetzel County, Clerk of the County Commission.
How is the land of Sunshine? Ill bet its OK. Weve had about every kind of weather since we got home, three different snow storms, a couple of rains with a little sunshine mixed in here and there but the temperature hasn’t been above 50 degrees at any time and its been down to 20 degrees several nights. Oh! to be sitting out in your back yard. At least we have that to remember.
We got all our pictures back and are going out to Lucile and Ralphs to show them tonight also to see Luciles. The roll I had to start in my camera must have been older than I thought because all the pictures are colorless, how ever the roll I bought at the Sears store in Tampo is good.
The pictures of your formal turned out good also the ones I took by flash out in the
[page 2] yard turned out fair they should
have been taken about an hour earlier. Thats what we get for sight seeing to long. Lu, Ruth and myself, thats the day we bought the tree. Hows our tree doing anyhow? any fruit yet? Ha Ha. Ill bet Dad could have killed us for bringing that tree in for him to take care of.
Ruth and I were to Grove City O. F. S. inspection last night, the first in our district, ours is the last, on June 17th so you can be here to see it. I’m making it a date for you. We are going to attend as many inspections as possible, I think you can pick up a lot of pointers that way besides meeting the officers of the different chapters personally.
How does it feel to be alone after everybody went home. You sure had a gang for a while including us. I think it is much better to have one set at a time but what else could you do.
[page 3] We enjoyed visiting with Edna & Hod and I hope all of us didn’t drive you nuts. How is the front porch project progressing? I suppose its finished by now and you are using it by now. I can picture all of us sitting out there reading the Tampa Tribune, first thing every morning. Speaking of the paper all of the Columbus paper are on strike and have been since the day after we got home so the only paper we are getting is the Tribune once a week. We really miss the papers as the news you get on the radio and T.V. only hits the high spots and don’t give any of the details besides we miss the ads etc. Ruth misses the “Funnies”.
Dick Rodenels has been in MIami sinc I came home and is still down there for another week. I hope he is enjoying the weather. Maybe he’ll can me when he gets back.
[page 5] there was a woman customer in the shop last week who had applied for a job in the new Wards store at “St. Peter” when she was there about Christmas time and she had a call from them to be there ready for work this Monday which is tomorrow. She said the store was to open soon and that they wanted her to help with the stock as of now. So that shows a northerner can get a job in Florida. She said they had told her she would be paid $50.00 per week plus a bonus on sales, not bad I don’t think.
We haven’t heard any news from Lyida[Lydia] this past week. Jupe[Jesse?] is supposed to let us know when she will be released from the doctor so we can get her. I’ll try to keep you informed of any developments. How is Edna and Ray making out? I imagine Edna would like the south better if she was well.
[page 5] We bought a bag of tangelos on our way home they were the large red ones and so good. They are all gone and only a few grape fruit left so I’m hoping maybe you could send us a basket about half & half of each. Now Im only hinting but if you do send some try to get the grape fruit a little on the green side as some of the ones we brought home were soft and spoiled (only 2) of course we bought the bag and didn’t inspect them. Well with that bit of begging I’ll close for now and hope this letter finds you both well & happy
Just a line to let you know we arrived home safe and sound. It was 1083 miles from you house to Lucilles in Gahanna [Ohio]. We drove until 10:10 PM Monday and covered 679 miles then started out again at 6AM from Yadkinville N.C. and drove the rest of the way home arriving at Lucilles at 4:50 PM We didn’t have a bit of trouble and the weather was all good except on the W Va turnpike where we had a light snow. The temperature here this morning was 25 degrees.
We found everything here O.K. so all I got to do now is get on the ball and get back to work, which shouldn’t be to bad after a nice vacation like we had. Lucille said that was the first real vacation she had ever had, one that she could remember for ever, and we all want to thank you
[page 2] for making it possible.
We left Ralph a bag of grape- fruit and some oranges. of course they wanted to know all about you and dad and how things were in Safety Harbor. We ate supper at Lucilles and then went up to Mom & Pop Krings where we had to give them all the news and we got home about 11 P.M. Ralph and the boys got along O.K. so Lucille felt relieved about them.
I called Dick Sheridan to night and he says every thing at the shop is O.K. so I suppose I still got a job. “darn it”.
Well I’ll sign off for now as I don’t know any other news to write. Love to all Ruth & H.O.
22 July 58 Dear Dick and Dad I was happy to hear from you. And to know that everything was alright. Be sure that neither one of you do any lifting or hard work. I wish I were with you to enjoy the quiet and to fish. It is anything but quiet in Europe these days.
Yes, I have an apartment, or rather, I will have one soon. It is being built and is near completion. Lois and the children will probably leave Worthington between September 10th and Oct 10th.
I hope Kenny can have time to visit before Lois leaves. We cant be sure about anything for a few weeks. Then Lois should hear something definite.
[page 2] My work is keeping be busy, but I have seen some of the country. It is much like Ontario. Pine forests and streams. The towns are small. It has been cold most of the time. About 50 degrees today. And it rains most everyday.
I had to buy a car here so that I could get around. And when Lois comes, our Chevrolet will be a month behind her. As long as we live in town (Kaiserslautern) she will need the car anyhow I bought an old 50 Desoto. It may be 2 years younger than your Chevy, but it is old.
I haven’t heard much from Kenny, but he is like me when it comes to writing
[page 3] Germany is as nice as everyone described it. the people work hard, yet they seem happy. The houses are nearly all built of concrete block. As soon as Lois brings over the camera, Ill send home some pictures. they go in a lot for heavy food. Potatoes every meal I had sauerkraut and smoked tenderloin tonight. It was good, only they boil the sauerkraut until it is tasteless.
Well, its about time for the bed. Ill have to get up early to fly tomorrow. Take care of yourselves – you are the only parents I have Your Son Bill