August 10, 1960 Letter William To His Parents

August 10, 1960

Dear Dick and Dad:

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!

Take care of yourselves – Love Bill

1940s Letter William Shepard to Lois Shepard

This letter was written between 1943 and 1949.

Friday

Dearest:
Had a bad day today. Now we dont dare
have any. The cadet standards are up to pre-war
levels and we havent a snow-balls chance
in hell now. Only 50% remain out of the group
now. I expect that I may go too as I know
my flying isnt the best, while not the worst.
I fly to conservative my instructor says. Well
perhaps I am a bit settle down. I cant get
excited over it. I just enjoy it and plod along.
If flying can be called plodding.

I just want you to be prepared if they do
pull up my number. If they do Ill probably
go to a reassignment center and then God
knows what. One thing I’m sure of. If I do
get transferred out of this I want you, If it
looks as if I might go over, to spend a few
weeks with me. Leave the children at my folks.
The thing is to be mentally prepared if something
should happen.

Dont let all this scare you. I am going to
give them a run for their money. Dammit all, I
may not be 18 years old, but Im not hoary and grey yet.

[page 2]
I enjoy flying and can fly and well too.
I know it. My acrobatics are good. Where
I get into trouble is trying to do things my
way instead of the armys. for instance in
a spin today I held the rudder a bit longer
than usuall because the spin seemed faster.
The instructor didnt like it at all. Oh well
Ill try to straighten out.

How are things going in Dayton? Loe[?]
is a working girl. Are you taking over her
household duties? OK by me except I draw
a line after 8:00 P.M. in the evenings. Dont
try to slip in an early one (as if you would).
I was only foolin Dear. I start to write
something down to kid you and it seems to
be off-color when its in writing. Guess Im
am off-color character. Im strictly in a mean
mood tonight so Id better close. I might eat
you up. Not a bad idea Hmmm. Nice dish
anyhow.

I love you always. Can you love a nitwit?
If you can we’ll get along.

Your Bill
P.S. Love to KW & Susie. (her dress is still undone as yet.)

14 May 1957 Letter William Shepard to Parents

15 May 1957
Dear Dick & Dad:

Lois has probably kept you advised of all the news-
so Ill confine my letter to our plans for this
summer. -Our plans are subject to your
wishes so let us know if anything
conflicts with your schedule.

We will leave here July 5th and drive
directly to Thessalon, taking ten to twelve
days and stopping at Couer d’Lane, Idaho-
Yellowstone Nat Park, Grand Teton Nat Park,
Mt. Rushmore Nat Park and across Wisconsin,
to the straits and to Thessalon. We will
spend the last two weeks in July with
you in Canada & then visit with Lois
folks in Westerville for several weeks, then
go to Montgomery.

I have written Herman & Ruth. I
suggested that they try to be in Canada

[page 2]
with us if they could. it would be
nice to have the family together again.
There will be no shortage of sleeping space.
we are bringing six sleeping bags and
air matress!

We bought a camping outfit-tent-stove & the works. We plan to camp all the
way aross the U.S. We will carry it
in the boat with Bonnie and the motor.

The way you can tell when we get
there is by the green boat coming across the bay with six dirty characters
in it. We may stop to wash up before
we get there! We plan to arrive in Canada
15 to 17 July.

Please let us know if this is OK. We
look forward to seeing all of you.

Bill

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.

[page 2]
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

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
[page 2]
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,

page 2
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 instrumental 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.

—————————————————————————————————————

  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.

[page 2]
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.

[page 2]
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