Carl & Elaine (Grove) Rhodes' Genealogy Pages

Thomas Shepherd

Male 1705 - 1776  (71 years)


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  • Name Thomas Shepherd 
    Born 1705 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1776  Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I297  Carl
    Last Modified 20 May 2012 

    Father William Shepherd,   d. Prince George County, MD Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Sarah 
    Family ID F183  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Father William Shepherd,   b. Abt 1679 
    Mother Sarah,   b. Abt 1683 
    Family ID F181  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Van Meter,   b. 1715, Somerset County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1792, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Married Abt 1733  Monacacy, Frederick, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. David Shepherd,   b. 1734,   d. 2 Feb 1795, Ohio, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years)
     2. Sarah Shepherd,   b. Abt 1736,   d. 18 Oct 1780, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 44 years)
    +3. Elizabeth Shepherd,   b. 3 Oct 1738, Mecklenburg, Frederick County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1788, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
     4. William Shepherd,   b. Abt 1741,   d. 1824, Wheeling, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 83 years)
     5. Thomas Shepherd,   b. Abt 1745,   d. 1792, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 47 years)
     6. John Shepherd,   b. Abt 1750
     7. Mary Shepherd,   b. 1752,   d. 31 Jul 1812, Brooke, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
     8. Martha Shepherd,   b. 1752,   d. Abt 1825, Brooke, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     9. Abraham Shepherd,   b. 1754,   d. 7 Sep 1822, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
     10. Susanna Shepherd,   b. 1758,   d. 13 Apr 1835, Wheeling, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
    Last Modified 18 Jan 2014 
    Family ID F182  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • "SHEPHERD AND RELATED FAMILIES" by Frank Shepherd (1858-?) Pub. 1943
      (Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN) "Washington Co. MD was set
      off from Prince George County. It would appear that Capt. Thomas had
      in all probability, been living in MD before his marriage to Elizabeth
      Van Meter....It is supposed that the Shepherds came to this country
      from England...in 1890 Mrs. Abraham Shepherd of Shepherdstown had in
      her possession by inheritance a piece of ancestral plate upon which
      was engraved a crest or coat of arms that almost an exact copy of the
      one that has been used by the Shepherds of Devonshire, England for
      many centuries." "In a will of a Thomas Shepherd probated in Cecil
      County MD we find: 'To my cousin, Thomas Shepherd of Columpton in
      Devonshire in the Province of Old England, the sum of fifty pounds.'"
      "The spot Thomas Shepherd and his wife chose for their home was on
      the west bank of the Potomac River about a mile above the Packhorse
      Ford, the only fordable crossing for many miles either way. It had
      been used by the Indians for centuries and at that time by the 'Old
      Winderness Road' traveled by the settlers on their way up the Valley
      of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, KY, Tenn. and Georgia.
      It became the historic artery thru which flowed the stream of
      emigrants that settled up this country." "To the original 222
      acres--the homestead--Thomas Shepherd added by purchase on June 12,
      1751 from Lord Fairfax 450 acres,...1762 from Richard Morgan 50 acres,
      ...1768 Lord Fairfax deeds him 222 acres more. Thus by purchase they
      had acquired almost 1000 acres. Elizabeth...inherited from the estate
      of her father John Van Meter III, 300 acres a part of his homestead in
      Frederick County VA...in addition 160 acre tract in Prince George County
      MD...they possess more than 1400 acres of land." "Thomas Shepherd
      was shrewd enough to realize the value and importance of a location
      along this Old Wilderness Road and its strategic advantages for barter
      and trade with the Indians as well as the white settlers who were
      pouring over his land like a stream on their way to points further
      south." "Before Shepherd had settled here a few German mechanics
      from Lancaster and York County PA attracted by the latent waterpower of
      the little stream....to encourage them to become permanent residents
      he put a dam across the stream and put in a sawmill and gristmill for
      them to work in. Shepherd himself was a miller by trade and some of
      his sons in later years followed the trade." "To protect his own
      family (from the Indians) and the people in the little village
      springing up around them Thomas Shepherd built a fort in the center of
      it to which they might flee in times of any Indian trouble. This fort
      was built of stone but in 1812 this was replaced with a brick
      building. It would seem probable that it was the building of this
      fort that gave him the title of Captain Thomas Shepherd." "The
      village was first called Mechlenburg by its German...The name was
      changed to Shepherdstown after the death of the founder in 1776.
      Shepherdstown is said to be the oldest chartered town in the state."
      "It was here that Thomas Shepherd and his wife spent their entire
      married life. In their religious beliefs they attended the Episcopal
      Church...Thomas and his sons were ardent patriots and took an active
      part in political life. They were men of ability and...strong
      partisans of the colonists....They were among those who advocated a
      complete separation from British authority. When the struggle came,
      four of his sons were in the army (David, Col. on western frontier;
      William, Westmoreland militia and western border; John, pvt. in 4th VA
      Regulars; Abraham, Capt. in vicinity of home and at Cambridge, Mass.).
      Capt. Thomas did not live to see the final outcome of the war, but
      died in the summerof 1776...Both he and his wife are buried int the
      family cemetery in the village....Capt. Shepherd was tall and rather
      slender in form."


      U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
      about Thomas Shepherd
      Name: Thomas Shepherd
      Gender: male
      Spouse Name: Elizabeth Van Metre
      Spouse
      Birth Place: NJ
      Spouse Birth Year: 1715
      Marriage
      Year: 1733
      Number Pages: 1

      Capt. Thomas Shepherd's Land holdings and Connection with Geo. Washington

      Thomas Shepherd Sr. was a man of vision and settled on the west bank of the Potomac River above the only fordable crossing in that section of the river. His land, 222 acres, was patented, Oct. 3, 1734.

      A little village grew on the west bank called "Pack Horse Ford", and was marked on the maps of the time as on the "Old Wilderness Road", the historic passageway to the territory to the West, used since ancient times by the Indians.

      Thomas Shepherd Sr. platted his town lots at this site and sold them the same as land developers do today. Thomas Shepherd purchased 457 acres from Lord Fairfax on 12 June 1751. This land was adjacent on the west of his patent land to present-da y Mechlenburg Heights at John VanMeter's (Thomas's father-in-law) 1,786 acre land patent of 1734. (Tract 132, Map 2 of Cecil O'Dell's book). The land then runs south along VanMeter's east line to John Welton's 1734 patent of 442 acres at the sou thwest line. (Tract 23, Map 1 from Cecil O'Dell's book). On the east side of his patent land, Thomas purchased 50 acres from Richard Morgan's 155 acre Fairfax grant.

      Adjacent to this 50 acres, he bought 32 acres from Fairfax on 15 January 1768, east of today's Shepherdstown, about one-half mile along the edge of the Potomac River.

      Thomas Shepherd petitioned the Orange County Court on 26 February 1737/38 requesting to be discharged as constable-Sherundo as soon as Richard Morgan was sworn in his place. He built a grist mill and sawmill on his 222 acre patent land, and by 1 776, he had a new mill erected on his 457 acre grant land.

      Permission to establish a ferry across the Potomac River was granted by an act of the Assembly of Virginia in October 1762 to Thomas and in November 1762 he was authorized to erect the town of Mechlenburg. After his death (in 1776) the name wa s changed by an act of the Virginia Assembly to Shepherdstown. The first lots in the town were sold on 21 July 1764.

      These were the times of George Washington, land surveyor and Virginia militiaman. Captain Thomas Shepherd Sr., based on the records, was an acquaintance of George Washington. Voting records for the election of the Commanding Officer of the Virgi nia Militia exist showing that Thomas voted for George to be Commanding Officer.

      His will was written 23 March 1776 and was proved on 20 August 1776. He bequeathed the sawmill and acreage to son William, the grist mill and acreage to son Thomas, the new mill and acreage to son John, the remaining land to son Abraham, two acr es and house to wife Elizabeth, a Mechlenburg lot to grandson Thomas Thornburg and 100 pounds each to his daughters Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth plus lots in Mechlenburg to Susannah and fifty pounds to Martha.

      Elizabeth's will was written July 10, 1786, and was probated June 18, 1793. It is recorded in will Book #2 at Martinsburg, Berkley County, WV. When Thomas, her husband, died, he left a large estate.