Biography of Henry Wardwell Shepard


Shepard, Henry Wardwell (deceased), was born in Ellisburgh on the old homestead, a son of Thomas Brown Shepard, grandson of Thomas Shepard and greatgrandson of John Shepard, who was for seven years in the Revolutionary war and spent his life in Bennington, Vt. Thomas Shepard came to Troy, N. Y., where he owned a block on River street and was a merchant there for several years, after which he came to Oneida county and settled on 300 acres of land, that had upon it an old fashioned caravansary and there for several years he kept a hotel. In 1825 he and a son-in-law, Philip Wheeler, were induced to come to Mannsville, Jefferson county, by Newton Mann, who had preceded Mr. Shepard to that village and on his way back to Oriskany remained over night at Shepard's inn, and informed him of a tract of land which belonged to the Colonel Wardwell purchase and could be bought at a bargain. Mr. Shepard and son-in-law then came to Mannsville and bought 1,000 acres of land which they divided; Mr. Shepard here spent the remainder of his days. In youth he learned the axe maker's trade and it was said that no man in the State could temper tools better than he. In politics he was a Democrat and his son, Thomas Brown Shepard, became a prominent Abolitionist and afterwards a Republican; he was offered the supervisorship of the town, but refused, preferring to live the life of an independent farmer. He spent his days on the old homestead, which he owned after his father's death. His son, Henry Wardwell Shepard, inherited the homestead which is now owned by the family. Henry W. was for some years a merchant in Mannsville, buying out James I. Steele, and after a few years became acquainted with Robert Seaman of New York City, a member of the celebrated firm of Park & Seaman, and he sold out his business; he was also for a short time engaged in business with G. A. Huggins, who invented a milk can bottom, which Mr. Shepard purchased and had patented, the development of that patent being left to what is now known as the celebrated Iron Clad Co. of New York city. Mr. Shepard passed through many vicissitudes of fortune, but finally established the company on its present basis. Mr. Shepard was in the Ashtabula disaster in the same car with P. P. Bliss; he lost a foot and the shock is supposed to be the cause of his health failing, and he died in June, 1892. Not long before his death he sold his interest in the Iron Clad Co. to his partner, Robert Seaman who is now manager of the firm. In 1866 Mr. Shepard married Charlotte L, Green, daughter of Henry Green, and granddaughter of Col. Henry Green, a native of Vermont, and one of the early setlers of Ellisburgh. Mr. and Mrs. Shepard had two children: Thomas G.. born October 15, 1868, and was for many years connected with the Iron Clad Co., but at present resides on the homestead; and Jennette G., born October 6, 1874, and married G. Ralph Husted, an artist of Mannsville, N. Y.

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