August 27, 1956 Letter Bill Shepard to Parents

27 August 1856

Dear Dick & Dad:

I hope that the weather is better in Thessalon than at Moses Lake right now. All day it has been drizzling a cold rain. We cant complain too much, as it seldom rains.

I have been busy building a 5 foot high picket fence around our yard to keep Bonnie & the boys in. Hope to have it finished in a few weeks.

Havent been doing much fishing or boating since we came back from vacation. Two weeks of it must have worn me out. We did have a wonderful time though. Lis has written you about it, i’m sure.

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I wonder what time you are going south this year? Ill try to get a cross- county flight and come down for a week-end when you get settled.

The children are getting ready for school now. K W & Sue to high school. Dave to 2nd grade. Alan will go to Kindergarten. We dont want to push him too much. Tomorrow Lois & I are taking him to a hospital in Tacoma Wash. to have another eye examiniation. We hope that an operation will not be necessary.

I hope you & dad are feeling well Dick. Ill close now & get a letter off to H. O. (Ill shock him too).

Love
Bill

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March 25, 1956 William Shepard to Parents

322nd Fighter Interceptor Sq.
Yuma County Airport
Yuma, Arizona
25 March, 1956.

Dear Dick and Dad:

I know you have given me up as a letter writer. But I do think of you both and often too. The troubles I have make me think of the many you have had with me.

I guess you are getting ready to leave Florida. If it were me, I’d stay until May 15th! It sure is nice here in Yuma. The whole southwest is growing so. Such nice homes here now.

My squadron is here to get rocket firing training. The F86 doesn’t have
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any guns – only rockets.

When I get home in April the ice should be melted and the weather about ready to boat & fish. We are about 1/4 mile from the lake. And there is water all around.

I’m happy with everything but the small house. It is 3 bedrooms, but they are small. Perhaps with summer coming on it will be better.

Your letters sound as if you both like Florida. It is a very comfortable place to live in the winter and I hope you both continue to do it

I’ll close now

Love
Bill
p.s. Happy birthday Dad

April 30, 1955 William Shepard To Parents

30 April 55

Dear Dick & Dad:

Ill answer your letter because soon at Craig, Ill be too busy – and I do want to thank you for sending on the Guns.- We received the next letter too – telling about disregarding the telephone bill.

I called Herman the other evening to tell him to bring me a new 25 H.P. Our Johnson is running fine but remote controls dont work so well on it. And the whole family has been water skiing. It takes a real good motor.

I suppose that you have finished fixing the boat by now,

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and are ready to go north. I think Herman & Ruth are coming down in June. It will be hot, but not so much as July & August.

Went fishing today I we caught a flounder & a sea bass – had them for dinner tonite and they were good. We also caught about 20 hard tails – a fish like a mackerel. Only the fight harder than a bass. They weigh about 1 1/2 pounds.

When you come down this fall it will be fine weather and good fishing too. Well, Ill close now.- See you later

Love bill

William Runs For Office

A couple of years ago I found the coolest newspaper article when researching William Shepard of Westfield, Massachusetts. It has always been in the back of my mind, waiting, I guess, for me to finally say “Hey, I need to blog about this.”

So, finally, here I am blogging about this.

Portrait of William by Gilbert Stuart

On and off for about 15 years, William tried his hand at politics by running for the office of Representative, or Lieutenant Governor, from 1789-1804. It took nine tries before he was finally elected as Representative of Massachusetts, Western District, in 1796 (and again in 1797, 1798, his last win was in 1800).

In May of 1797 he apparently stood up in session and made reply to a speech given by President John Adams a few short weeks earlier. His words were sent to the newspaper by ‘A Customer.’ (Maybe this was done by William himself, to help sway the voters back home in his favor for the next election.) By the way, he was a Federalist.2

…The observations of the Hon. William Shepherd in the House of Representatives, May 27, on the reported answer to the President’s Speech…

Mr. Shepherd did not rise from his seat with an expectation of throwing much light on the subject under debate; but being a new member, he conveyed it his duty to come forward and announce his political principles to his constituents and to the world, and to make some remarks and observations on the subject under consideration that he might be able to justify his own conduct for thus doing, 

“Sir, said he, I do not come forward with an intention to criminate the government of the United States, for in general I believe it has been wisely conducted and well administered. I do not come forward to make researchers into the police of the government of Great Britain, neither do I come forward prejudiced against the republic of France, nor do I come forward with any prepossessed prejudiced against any of the members of this House, for they are the greater part of them entire strangers to me; but Sir, the President of the United States in his speech has informed us that there is an unhappy dispute existing between the republic of France and the United States1, and on that account there is a report Sir, on your honor’s table, which was designed for an answer to his speech, but objection has been made, and an amendment is proposed by the honorable member from Virginia—the question is before your committee, whether we shall admit of the amendment, first; Sir, I will take a retrospective review of the conduct of both nations and remark how France first came to be connected with the United States—because it has been hinted by some gentlemen, that France had no motives to induce her to take an active part with us—but pure benevolence and gratitude to help the poor Americans in their helpless and forlorn situation; but Sir, did we hear any thing from France in ’75, even in ’76 when we wre obliged to fly in every direction before the forces of Great Britain asked and barefooted—so, they did not come to our assistance. In ’77 we were more successful, the face of our affairs was materially changed, we had the good fortune to take and capture a whole British army, but as yet Sir, we received no assistance from France. In ’78 in the opening of the campaign we saw no French to assist us—what did we do at the action at Monmouth, we kept our ground as least in spite of all the force of Great Britain—By this time France had come into an alliance with us, but Sir, let us make a little pause here and enquire whether France had not some motive besides mere goodness to the Americans.

Was it no inducement to France to lop off so considerable a branch of the British government as the United States were —and weaken that government—had ever a nation a stronger motive to induce them to step into our succor.

I will only say, that in the year ’78 Count d’Estaing, planned with others an expedition against Rhode Island. In the operation of which the fleet under his command, was unsuccessful, and he was obliged to quit the harbor, and left the army of the United States on the Island, in a dangerous situation.

I mean not—by making these observations to criminate any one, for I will admit that it was all owing to misfortune, and the fate of war; I shall make no observations until the year ’81, here I acknowledge that the French army and navy of France was of great and essential service to us in the capture of Cornwallis, and I am willing to acknowledge that I felt thankfulness and the deepest gratitude towards that nation of any in the world, from their first alliance with us, to the close of the war with Great Britain. I shall now observe the conduct of France in their own nation—soon after they left America they began a reform in their own government—no man on earth rejoiced more than myself while they were struggling for their just right against the nations of Europe. I rejoiced at every victory they gained and mourned at their defeats; but sir, if they had closed here, I should have rejoiced with them to this moment; happy of us had they stopped here and all Europe besides. I will now observe and make one or two remarks on the conduct of Great Britain towards America at this time—Great Britain complained of our conduct towards them—at the same time they were committing depredations and spoliations on our navigation—and what was the cry of many of the people of this country at that time—join France and go to war with them, how can you bear to have the American flag insulted and degraded; but what was the measure taken by the Executive? why he sent an Envoy Extraordinary and made a treaty with Great Britain—and agreed on the friendly principles on which we should settle all our differences, this however gives uneasiness to France, and it will be well to make some enquiry what are the substantial reasons for this uneasiness, are they not because we did not enter into war with Great Britain , here the executive part of government is called into question for their conduct; will it not be reasonable and just that we should find them guilty of a breach of their trust before we condemn them.

Has any one been able to pint out and show wherein they have gone beyond their powers which the constitution clothes them with. I have heard of none:

But Sir, what measure had been taken by the Executive to remove the complaints of France, have we not pursued the same course which was taken with England, have we not sent a minister to them in order to remove their complaints and settle with them on the most amicable terms. But how has he been replied? why, rejected with insult and they would not even listen to the voice of accommodation.

Several gentlemen have reproached us with ingratitude and speak of it as the most heinous sin a man can commit, I admit it to be one of the greatest sins, but where have we been guilty, have we taken away their property, have we unsubtle them in the person of their minister. Then why are we to be drawn to a confession of guilt when we know we are innocent—again let me ask where is our courage, our magnanimity, our confidence, if we dare not say of them what we know to be the truth; shall we not say they are wrong when we know they are wrong.”

Some gentlemen have said that the speech is a declaration of war, it does not read so to me, that it is sounding the war whoop, I have heard no war whoop, I have heard nothing hostile but against our own government, and gentlemen who have endeavored to criminate the Executive have proved their incompetence, they have not been able to produce evidence of a single fault, they are driven to act like the men who were brought as witnesses to condemn our favor, their testimony is nought and they are driven to make any outcry of crucify him, crucify him, and take his blood on their own heads, in order to get him given up into their own power. Are we in doing this, acting either wisely or prudently? I think we are doing neither.

He expressed the degree of satisfaction it would give him to find a more general unanimity in the house, but he despaired of seeing it, on this account he would prefer the report, to the amendment, not but what he was willing for the sake of conciliation to alter some things in the address. He hoped they would agree to put the country  in a state of defense as the best best of avoiding hostility, this was an old adage, but it was as true as it was old. There was nothing he dreaded so much as going to war either with Great Britain or France. He knew his constituents were to a man opposed to war, he knew they would relinquish every thing but one in order to preserve peace—that is their independence. That would eternally disgrace them, and they were determined never to be disgraced—He knew his constituents would never be induced to quarrel with the government, and he was certain they were pleased with its administration—he could also assure the committee they would concur very readily in any measures Congress might adopt on this trying occasion.

William Shepard – speech
Here is a bit of the newspaper article.

The most likely reason that it took so long for William to win an election, or even get votes (in several earlier runnings he had only 1 vote), was because of his being instumental in the defeat of Shay’s Rebellion. The people of Massachusetts had long memories, and vindictive feelings about his role in the event. In fact anonymous neighbors, and bullies, threatened and assaulted himself and his family for years afterward:

excited against me the keenest Resentments of the disappointed Insurgents, manifested in the most pointed Injurys, such as burning my Fences, injuring my Woodlands, by Fire, beyond a Recovery for many Years – wantonly & cruelly butchering two valuable Horses, whose ears were cut off and Eyes bored out before they were killed ~ insulting me personally with the vile Epithet of the Murderer of my Brethren, and, through anonimous Letters, repeated by threatening me with the Destruction of my House and Family by Fire.- which kind of Injuries I occasionally experience even to this day.

William Shepard

There were others though that respected his willingness to serve his community, in many local offices, and defend the state of Massachusetts “at all hazards.” They understood that you don’t give in to terrorists, which is exactly what the Shay’s Rebellion participants were.

One of these men recalled his presence and military bearing at militia exercises and drills, which inspired admiration and respect:

When I recall his large, imposing figure, bedecked with his trusty sword and crimson sash…and heard the whispers ‘there’s the general,’ I remember the awe, notwithstanding his genial face, with which he inspired me.3

Unknown

The haters were in the minority long enough for him to be elected four times as a representative of Massachusetts.

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  1. See the following website https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-29-02-0308#TSJN-01-29-0314-kw-0001 for more on the issue of Adams and the French.
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/federalism
  3. http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/shaysapp/person.do?shortName=william_shepard

April 2, 1955 William Shepard To Parents

745 Oak Ave
Panama City Fla
2 April 55

Dear Dick & Dad:

We are all settled down now. Have a nice home. Lois has told you about it I suppose. It is 3 Bedrooms=one floor, on a lot about 200 x 200. The yard is wonderful for Dave & Alan. They dont come in at all, except to eat & sleep, and they are brown as berries already.

Most the work is done around the house and Im lookig forward to fishing the next month. I dont suppose it will be quite as good as Biloxi. But the water is beautiful clear.

We bought an all fibre-glass boat because of the salt water. So we are ready to vacation. I still go to Craig for 4 weeks on 1 May. so I have 4 weeks to relax and fish.

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Dad- please send the guns on down to me. Hope you can remove the old addresses and any reference to my overseas address, so they wont possibly be sent back by a mistake. Insure them for $200 apiece. And I am enclosing 10.00 for postage. If it isnt enough let me know. Should be about right.

Congratulations on reaching your 69th birthday with good health. Lois & I cant seem to find anything you would like so we want you to pick out your own present-that is what the other $5 is for.

We will write you later-Goodbye for now

Love
Bill

October 31, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1954_10_31


31 Oct 1954

Dear Dick & Dad:

Just after writing you a letter, I received yours of the 15th. In fact Im not sure if I received yours before or after I wrote last. Anyhow this letter will bring you up to date.

I am now at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa for several weeks, after which I shall return to K-55 at Osan Korea.

The outfit moved here to Kadena, and I was transferred out just prior to their leaving. I will be as Headquarters 5th Air Force at K-55 when I return, about 12 November.

The cool weather had just started when I left K55. Here at Hadena it is windy, but not cold. About 60º-65º.

Sorry to hear about Bess. Hope that she is alright by now.

Give Doshi & Burch my regards, and dont work so hard.

Looks like Ill be home early in March. So Ill try to write a few more times before then. But remember that I was behind the door when the pens were passed out. — Bill

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

August 21, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

 

21 August 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Its a good thing that you dont hold your breath until I write! But I do try to get in a few. By the time I write Lois & the kids I’m usually written out.

I have been flying a lot during the last few weeks. Nearly all in jets. Dont fly the C-47 much anymore.

It has been unbearably hot since the 1st of August. I cooled off a little yesterday, but it is back at it again today. We had a hurricane called “Grace” that tore up southern Japan several days ago. It just barely reached here with light winds, so may be it will change the weather.

Lois wrote that she and the kids had a fine time in Canada and a good trip home. I want to thank you again for giving them a vacation.

When do you plan to come back to Westerville? You may have told me, but I forget. Really, I guess the best time of the year is in the fall. I would enjoy it the most. Hunting

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and fishing would certainly be better then.

Is everything going all right? I wonder if it is. I mean if you & Dad are both OK?

I dont have any real news, but I wanted to write a line. Havent had a letter from you for a while, but guess I owe you one.

Take care of yourselves

Love
Bill

August 5, 1954 William Shepard to Parents

5 August 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Lois & the kids are undoubtedly on their way home by now. I just want to thank you for having them up. From what they wrote, I know they all enjoyed it.

Work has been pretty heavy again. I let up on the office work for the last part of July and did nothing but fly. When my jet training was finished & had to go back to the office. So Im about caught up now. Ill be flying part the time & pushing a pencil the rest. Id rather fly now.

By the news, Canada is the place to spend summer. The heat has certainly been terrific hasn’t it?

We have had it cool – only the last month it has been raining very heavy. – 6 inches in 5 hours several times.

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There isnt very much news. I just wanted to write to let you know I was around. –

Its only about 6 months until I start home. Cant get finished soon enough to suit me, but I cant complain – I picked this business.

Take care of yourselves

Love
Bill

July 10, [1954] William Shepard to Parents and Son Kenny

10 July

Dear Dad & Dick & Kenny

You wouldnt know a week ended. We are working right on, as it looks as if the weather would be good. Good flying weather is scarce in Korea during July & August, so we must make the best of it.

Lois writes me that she expects to start up about the 25th of this month. I hope they all have a good time.

Wish I could taste some of the lake trout now. Perhaps next year I can.

Getting a lot of flying time now. Will get about 25 jet hours & 10 conventional this month. Like the jets best. They sure fly easy.

Down to weight now and have stopped dieting — Im at 180# now and so help me Ill try not to get any heavier. Feel so much better when Im not fat.

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Kenny — have you been catching any fish? And how about wild game? Is there any around? It has been so long since Ive been up there I have forgotten how it looks. Why dont you take some pictures?

You know I bought a .35mm projector the other day. It is a TDC with automatic slide changing – a beauty. So we dont have to borrow any more.

No real news so Ill close the letter. Wish you all good health and good fishing.

Bill