The Shepards

 of Escambia County, Florida





The 1820 Spanish Census of Pensacola in the section covering Escambia River lists Henry Shepard as a widower with four children between the ages of 11 and 16.  This would mean all of those children were born between 1804 and 1809.


I have researched the birth years of two brothers, Daniel Mack Shepard and Albert Shepard from the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, Florida respectively.  Daniel was born in 1807 and Albert in 1810.  I know these two are brothers because Daniel was listed in a Notice of Alfred Shepard’s Probate in the 12 Oct 1868 West Florida Commercial.  Daniel was also in the 1830 censuses of Escambia County.


Notes left by Mabel Wilkinson McPhail, great-granddaughter of Daniel Shepard, list four sons of Henry Shepard: Henry, Green, Daniel and Alfred.  The residence of Daniel and Alfred in the Escambia River area in 1830 and their fit to the ages of the four children of Henry Shepard in the 1820 Spanish census are a powerful inducement to believe they are Henry’s sons.  Further proof comes from the censuses which list their state of birth as Georgia.  That would mean Henry Shepard would have had to have been in Georgia between 1807 and 1810.  In the Records of Laurens County, Georgia by Allen Thomas are the following entries for Henry Shepard:


08-00-1808 Named to work on the Oconee River - Little Rocky Road.

02-00-1809 Named JP for District 2.

10-07-1809 Witnessed deed of Robt. Halton.

01-15-1810 Mentions “Magistrate Henry Shepard”.

02-28-1810 Appraised John Green estate.

07-00-1811 $2500 bond secured for guardian of Thos. Manning.

07-26-1811 George Shepard wit. Henry Shepard’s deed from Drury Mannin.

08-00-1811 Replaced as JP by Neill Monroe.

07-17-1813 Dublin Commissioner

09-07-1813 Posted $1000 bond for orphan (Elizabeth) of Travis Fenn.

10-12-1813 Bought lot #295 for $325.

01-00 1814 Involved in estate of Willis Brazeal.

01-00-1817 Paid funds from John Price estate.


Georgia Tax Records list Henry Shepard paying taxes in Jefferson County, Georgia in 1799, 1802 & 1805 and Pulaski County, Georgia in 1816.


So Henry was in Georgia during the period the two brothers Daniel and Alfred were born in Georgia.  He was the only Henry Shepard listed in Georgia or Florida during this period.


In addition, Daniel Shepard donated the land for the Gonzalez Methodist Church and is included in the History of the Gonzalez Church.  That history states that Daniel’s father was Henry Shepard who died of Yellow Fever and was buried at Olive.  There is a 5 April 1823 notice of the estate of Henry Shepherd, deceased, in the Pensacola Floridian (also on 12 and 26 Apr and 3 May.)  There were at least 20 similar notices of others who had died suddenly so this fits with the Yellow Fever cause of death listed in the Gonzalez Church History.  Inventory and appraisal records of Henry’s estate are dated Apr 1823.


Probate of Henry Shepard


                                                            Inventory of 3?

                                                            articles belonging

                                                            to the estate of

                                                            Henry Sheperd


                                                            Henry Shepherd


                                                            Clark Jackson


                                                            filed 22’ Sept r 1823


We the undersigned having been appointed by the

-?- Circuit Court of the County of Escambia to

appraise and make an inventory of the personal

Estate of the deceased Henry Shepherd have accordingly

to the best of our judgment agreed upon the following

valuations -?- all the slaves & effects -?- produced VA


1 Feather Bed worn -------------------------------- $4 -----

1 Bed stead -----------------------------------------  3 -----

1 pine table -----------------------------------------  1 --- 50

1 Wheel --------------------------------------------  3 -----

1 empty Trunk --------------------------------------   --- 50

1 Violin ---------------------------------------------  1 ------

4 Borers --------------------------------------------  1 --- 25

1 Compass ------------------------------------------  ---- 12 1/2

1 Square bowl 1 drinking glass 1 bowl --------------  ----  37 1/2

1 old Blanket ----------------------------------------  ---- 25

1 Tub -----------------------------------------------  ---- 18 3/4

1 Chissel 1 Axe without handle -----------------------  ---  75

1 Jack plane 1 Saw 1 Tin pot ----------------------- 2 ------

3 Chairs -------------------------------------------- 1 --- 25

1 Iron pot -------------------------------------------  ----  37 1/2

1 Sieve 1 earthern pot -------------------------------  ---- 37 1/2

1 Negro woman and Child ------------------------ 650 -------


                                                                             $669.93 3/4



Pensacola, 4’ April 1823

                                    Octavious Mitchel

                                    H Michelet


NOTE: Octavious Mitchel was a Commissioner of the City of Pensacola

             Henry Michelett owned the Auction Store where the Slave and

             her child were sold on the 3rd Monday of Sep 1823 at 9:00 AM

             Clark Jackson was the administrator of Henry’s intestate estate.




                     Escambia County,


          To all whom these presents shall come  Greeting.

       KNOW YE, That whereas                                      of the County and

Territory aforesaid hath this day obtained letters of administration on the estate of  Henry

Shepherd                           deceased, and whereas it is required that appraisers be appoin-

ted to examine and report an inventory of the personal estate of the said deceased.


     NOW KNOW YE, That    ????? Daniells,Octavious 

Mitchel --- Henry Michelet --------------------------

are  appointed to view, appraise and make an inventory of all the personal estate to them pro-

duced, belonging to the estate aforesaid, witness the Honbl.           

                        Judge of the Circuit Court, for the County aforesaid this 1st

day of     April                         182 3


                                                            indecipherable name  Clk


This now allows us to move on to Daniel Shepard.

Next Generation


Daniel Shepard

of 1819 Escambia County, Florida




Ten years later in 1830 Daniel is shown in the census in Escambia County with his wife Mahala Townley whom he married 27 Jan 1827 and four children under ten.  (Mahala’s parents were Luke and Rebecca Townley.  Luke died in 1826 and is buried in Pine Barren Cemetery.  Rebecca remarried to William Richburg and lived to be 100.  She is buried next to Luke.)


Daniel and Mahala had eight children: Malinda, William Green, Martha, Edmund Ratio, Julia Ann, Frances Jane, Eujenia and Mary Ethelia.  Malinda, my direct ancestor, married John Wesley Bowman 29 Jan 1852 in Escambia County, Florida.


The Civil War greatly impacted Daniel’s family.  On 22 Jul 1864 Union forces attacked Fort Hodgson, a Gonzalez stronghold.  The Confederates were outnumbered and forced to flee.  The Union forces burned the little fort, as well as Daniel Shepard’s home nearby.  In addition,  Daniel’s son, William Green Shepard was shot through the head with a minié ball during his service with the Confederacy.   Though he survived the wound, it affected him for the rest of his years.  And Daniel's son-in-law, Bynum Jordan, was killed.


Mahala died in 1868 and is also buried in Pine Barren.  In 1870 Dan married Mahala’s widowed sister, Welthy Townley Hobbs.  Daniel and Welthy were married for 15 years until his death 1 Jun 1885.  Together they helped found the Gonzalez Methodist Church.  During the first year of its existence, the church was known as Shepard's Church but in 1877 was given the name of Powellton Church. I have autograph books from the early 1880s with entries made by Daniel.  He had a strong, graceful writing style and expressed in the entries he made into his grandchildren’s’ books a deep and abiding faith in God.


Church records state, “In Gonzalez the significant pre-1900 gifts were provided by the Shepards.  Recall that their first gift of land was for the school.  In the mid-1880s they made their second gift, this time directly to the church.  Daniel and Welthy  gave land, "in consideration for the love we bear for the cause of Christ."  Wealthy left her mark on the deed Professor Tate had written out.   Daniel, in his 77th year, left a shaky, feeble-looking signature.  Six months later Daniel Shepard passed away.”  He is buried in the cemetery at Gonzalez.  The committee for the Shepard Church entered into the church record a set of resolutions which read in part:


Therefore be it Resolved:… That in the death of Brother Shepard, the community has lost one of  its best citizens; a family consisting of four generations its patriarch, and the church one of its most devout members…. Resolved:  That these resolutions be transcribed in the church register and that these pages be sacred to the memory of Daniel Shepard.


A photograph of his second wife, Welthy, still hangs in the library of that church.