Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dr. James Edward Shepard (1875-1947)

(click on photograph for larger image)

Photographs: (1) historical marker in Durham, North Carolina; (2) Dr. James Edward Shepard; (3) Durham home of Dr. James Edward Shepard and wife Annie Day Shepard; funeral program for Dr. James Edward Shepard.

James Edward Shepard (1875-1947) was the founder of the National Religious Teaching School and Chatauqua in Durham, North Carolina, and for many years served as its president. Today the school is known as North Carolina Central University, part of the greater University of North Carolina. The North Carolina Central University main library is named for Shepard, and a full-body statue stands on the campus. The James E. Shepard Foundation, named in his honor, continues to provide scholarships to worthy black students at the school.

Shepard also was one of the initial investors in the black-owned North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company (Durham, North Carolina). He served as head of the North Carolina Colored Teachers Association, director of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank of North Carolina, and was a member of the North Carolina Agricultural Society. He received honorary degrees from Muskingum College, Selma University, Howard University, and Shaw University. Shepard served as the only black speaker at the World Sunday School Conference held in Rome in 1910.

His home in Durham is on the National Register of Historic Places.

While Shepard accomplished much and deserves recognition in his own right, it is his connection to a Caswell County family that makes his story relevant for this website:

Thomas Day (1801 - c.1861), well-known Caswell County artisan lived in Milton and was married to Aquilla Wilson. The couple had four known children, including Thomas Day, Jr., who was born in Milton around 1837.

This Thomas Day, Jr., married Mary Virginia Washington (born c.1837). Two daughters resulted: M. Day (born c.1859); and Annie Day (born c.1879).

It appears that Annie Day first married a Robinson, but this has not been confirmed. What has been confirmed is that she was the only wife of Dr. James Edward Shepard (1875-1947).

For more on Dr. James Edward Shepard (1875-1947) see the Caswell County Family Tree.