Preface by Roderick Nelson Hodgman, Editor
Those who read this history and genealogy of the John Shepherd family may wonder how it came to be written. It had its conception in the Shepherd-Engle Reunion Association, a brief history of which will be given.
In the fall of 1890, William Engle attended a family reunion held near his home. In the weeks following he frequently spoke of the pleasure it would give him to meet his kinsfolk in such a gathering. One day his daughter, Mrs Adelaide Carman, said, "Father, I will provide the dinner for such a gathering in my home, if you will furnish the guests." The result was that on December 25, 1891, a happy company of forty of the children, grandchildren of Margaret Engle, gathered in the pleasant home of Mrs. Adelaide Carman in Berea, Ohio. The occasion was so highly enjoyed by those present that it was decided to meet annually, and the Engle Reunion Association was organized that day with W. H. Carman as president, and Mrs. Amoret Enos, secretary.
The second reunion was held in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Mrs. Emily Delong. There were present, seven children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild of Margaret Engle. The third reunion was held at the home of Mrs. Amoret Enos on the old Engle farm in Royalton and was attended by a large number of the descendants of Margaret Engle.
In 1895 it was decided that the joys of these reunions would be increased by enlarging the membership of the Association so as to include all the descendants of John Shepherd. Hence invitations to the next reunion were sent to the descendants of Jane S. Beels and Rebecca Burroughs, daughters of John Shepherd. This reunion was held September, 1896, at the home of William Engle in Berea, Ohio. It was attended by nearly one hundred of the descendants of John Shepherd. The name Engle Reunion Association was changed to Shepherd-Engle Reunion Association. By this title it has since been known. Reunions are held annually in the homes of the members of the Association.
These reunions did much toward fostering and perpetuating family ties. Interest in the past history of the families was awakened. Who were our ancestors? Where are the many descendants of John Shepherd living today?
To answer some of the many questions constantly arising, a committee was appointed at the reunion of 1908 to prepare a history of the family. This committee consisted of R. N. Hodgman, Charles E. Odell, and Mrs. Martha Enos. Sickness prevented Mr. Odell from acting on the committee. Mrs. Enos prepared a sketch of the Engle Family. Upon R. N. Hodgman devolved the task of securing the history and genealogy of the numerous branches of the John Shepherd family. The writer claims no special fitness for the work except a fair share of patience and perseverance that has upheld him through five years of delving among family records.
This volume is incomplete. No one appreciates the fact more than the writer. Had the work been undertaken a half century earlier it might have been better, but even then we question whether it would have been complete.
The work of preparing this book could not have been accomplished without help from many sources. The writer tenders his sincere thanks to the many who have cheerfully and patiently answered his letters of inquiry. Special thanks are due Mrs. Charlotte Engle, Mrs. Maude B. Lane and Miss Zoelah M. Burroughs for their valuable assistance.
This volume contains the record of none whose names are written on the World's Scroll of Fame, but it does contain the simple annals of many "who through faith wrought righteousness, obtained promises, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight" for truth and holiness. The world is happier and better for their having lived in it.
"Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a clout of witnesses, let us (who are of the present generation of John Shepherd) run with patience the race set before us, so that when our work is finished the world may be better for what we have wrought."
R. N. Hodgman
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Shepherd Reunion Group