June 30, 1998
To resume our look at the Shepherd family, pioneer homesteaders in Noble county, today we’ll focus on Jack Shepherd and his wife, Pearl.
M.K. and Elizabeth Shepherd made the Cherokee Strip land run separately on September 16, 1893, and later were married. They had a son, Miram Jackson, born January 16, 1901, on the homestead. They also had two daughters. Juanita Lottie was born in April 1903, and Leslie, born in 1909, died in infancy. The son, Miram Jackson, was known simply as Jack throughout his life. Jack was only a youngster when the family moved temporarily to Mexico in 1905 but he retained fond memories of the experience and knew that he longed to return to the Sumner area in Noble county. In 1918 he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed at San Diego, California.
In 1919, shortly after World War I ended, Jack’s father broke his leg and asked that Jack come home to help manage the ranch. Later, Jack went to Bartletts’ Automobile and Tractor School in Wichita and graduated in 1921. That fall his future bride, Rosette Pearl Jenkins, arrived in Sumner with her father, Henry Alexander Jenkins, and family.
Henry Jenkins was principal of the Sumner Consolidated School for the first full year of classes in the new school, 1921-22. Pearl, born in 1901 in Thayer, Missouri, was one of the teachers, and two of Jenkins’ children, Anetta and Odie, were students. Wilburn, the eldest child, had already left the nest and Juanita, the youngest, was just a toddler. Henry, Pearl’s father, was born in Missouri in 1878 and her mother, Lena Josephine Aebischer, came to the U.S. from Switzerland when she was 18 months old. Pearl graduated from high school in Willow, Oklahoma, and later went to Southwestern Teachers College in Weatherford. She worked at a cotton gin to help defray expenses. After receiving her teaching certificate, she taught school for four years in Beckham, Greer and Noble counties.
Jack courted Pearl in his new model-T Ford and married her May 20, 1922. With the bank’s help, the newlyweds bought 160 acres in Missouri township, 12 miles east and 3.5 north of Perry. They struggled through the first six years in the Otoe, farming, milking cows, separating the milk in a hand separator, and raising turkeys and chickens. But when their only child, Mildred (born March 31, 1923, in Sterling, OK), neared school age, they sold their isolated dwelling in 1928 to facilitate her education. For a year they lived in a two-room schoolhouse across Black Bear Creek from the home place of Jack’s father, M.K. Shepherd. That winter the Bear went on one of its periodic rampages, coming within four inches of the family’s door. The chickens were stranded on the roosts and Jack went in a boat to milk his cows at his father’s place.
The final installment on the story of the Shepherd family will follow shortly.