Ralph Shepard

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Ralph Shepard
1603/6 - 1693

RALPH SHEPARD  was born Bet. 1603 - 1606 in Stepney Parish, London, England, and died August 20, 1693 in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  He married THANK-THE-LORD [PERKINS?] May 21, 1632 in St. Bride, Fleet St., London, England [Parish Register M. S. 6537, Marriages 1587-1653].  She was born 1612 in England, and died 1693 in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

He was a tailor by profession.

Known as a Puritan or non-conformist, he was brought before the Court of High Commissions as a nonconformist on April 24, 1634. No verdict is recorded.. On June 30, 1635 he along with wife and daughter set sail aboard the Abigail for Massachusetts, possibly as a result of that trial.

He was one of the original signers of the town charter of Dedham, Massachusetts.  He also lived in Weymouth, Rehoboth, Mauldin and Concord.  His landholdings in Massachusetts were relatively large and are consistent with that of a farmer.

He is known to have been a deacon and, by inference from the Matthews affair (see below), a ruling elder.

He was buried at Bell Rock Cemetery, Malden, Massachussets.  His gravestone is still standing.

His name is mentioned frequently in town records.  He was quite active in civic affairs, bought and sold land, was involved in some litigations, etc.


Passage from Plymouth England to New England

Source:  Banks, Charles Edward, The Planters of the Commonwealth: A Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: to which are added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which brought them; their English Homes, and the Places of their Settlement in Massachusetts, 1620-1640 (Boston, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press for Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930)  

Abigail of London, Richard Hackwell, Master.  She listed passengers for New England from June 4 until July 24, and sailed from Plymouth, as her last port of departure, about August 1, with two hundred and twenty persons aboard and many cattle.  She arrived at Boston about October 8, infected with smallpox.  Among those coming in this ship, but not listed, were Sir Henry Vane, son and heir of Sir Henry Vane, Comptroller of the King's Household, traveling incognito; the Reverend Hugh Peter, pastor of the English Church at Rotterdam, and the Reverend John Wilson, who was returning to Boston, with his wife, her first appearance in New England (Hull: "Diary" in American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings and Public Record Office MSS., and Drake: Founders, 28, 31-38).

View the passenger list of the Abigail.

I have suspected that since Sarah is never mentioned once they arrive that she may have died from the small pox on their ship.

Shepard Hill?

Source: Corey, Deloraine Pendre, The History of Malden, Massachusetts 1633-1785, Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1898, 160.

"In 1666 Mr. [Benjamin] Bunker bought the house and land of Ralph Shepard, comprising about fourteen acres lying north of the parsonage and meeting house lots on both sides of 'the road to Penny Ferry.'"


The Rev. Matthews Controversy

Source:  Ling, Vinetta Bell Quay, The love of Emeline : where it came from, where it went /  Kalkaska, Mich. (1988).

"The colonial church authorities did not approve the town's [i.e. Malden] choice of Mr. Marmaduke Matthews as pastor and steps were taken to remove him.  On 28 October 1651, Mrs. Thanklord SHEPARD and thirty-five other women of Malden and Mystic Side signed a petition on behalf of their pastor asking that he be permitted to remain with them."  [See below]

Findings of the court concerning the fine

Source: Corey, Deloraine Pendre, The History of Malden, Massachusetts 1633-1785, Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1898, 160.

Concerning the incident with Rev. Marmaduke Matthews at Malden, Massachusetts 1650 ff.:

At the session of the General Court in May, 1655, Joseph Hills, Abraham Hill, John Wayte, John Sprague, Ralph Shephard, John Upham, James Green, and Thomas Call presented a petition, 'in wch they humbly acknowledg the offenc they gaue to the Court & seuerall churches about the ordijnation of Mr. Mathewes,' asking that the church might be cleared of the whole fine or that Joseph Hills and John Wayte ' may be forgiuen their offence, & descharged of the two prts of the fowre [three] charged on them." (Massachusetts Colony Records, iv. (I), 236.)  The petitioners were unsuccessful in respect to the fine; but their acknowledgements, about which which they probably cared the least, were accepted.  Their answer was as follows:

The Court doth well approue & accept of the petiors acknowlegments of their iregular acting in those time, but vnderstanding yt much, if not most, of the fine being payd for, & yt the rest is secured, & should long since haue been payd in , the Court doth not thinke meet to graunt the petionors request herin.' (Massachusetts Colony Records, iii. (I), 389.)

 and the petition of the women

Source: History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, vol 3, page 462-3, 487.  Compiled by D. Hamilton Herd.  Published in Philadelphia by J. W. Lewis (1890).  Entry: Malden

The petition of many inhabitants of Malden and Charlestown of Mistick side humbly sheweth:

That the Almighty God, in great mercie to our souls, as we trust hath, after many prayers, endeavors and long waiting, brought Mr. Matthews among us and put him into the work of the ministry; by whose pious life and labors the Lord hath afforded us many saving convictiouns, directions, reproofs and consolations; whose continuace in the service of Christ, if it were the good pleasure of God, we much desire; and it is our humble request to this honored Court that you would be pleased to pass by some personal and particular failings (which may, as we humbly conceive, be for your glory, and no grief of heart to you in time to come), and to permit him to employ those talents God hath furnished him withal.  So shall we, your humble petitioners, with many others, be bound to pray, &c., 28-8-51.

Mrs. [Joan] Sergeant Margaret Pementer
Joan Sprague Han. Whitemore
Jane Learned Eliz. Green
Elizabeth Carrington Mary Rust
Bridget Squire    Eliz. Grover
Mary Wayte Han. Barret
Sarah Hills    Eliz. Mirrable
An. Bibble Sarah Osbourn
Eliz. Green An. Hett
Wid. Blancher Mary Pratt
Eliz. Adams Eliz. Green
Rebec. Hills Joan Chadwicke
Sarah Bucknam Margaret Green
Thankslord Shepperd Helen Luddington
Fran. Cooke Susan Wellington
Eliz. Knowker Joanna Call
Bridget Dexter Rachel Attwood
Lydia Greenland Marge Welding

Children of Ralph Shepard and Thank-the-Lord are:

  1. SARAH SHEPARD , b. August 06, 1633, England; d. Bef. December 22, 1719.

  2. THOMAS SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1635, Dedham, MA; d. September 17, 1719, Milton, Massachusetts; m. (1) HANNAH ENSIGN, November 19, 1658, Malden, MA; b. Bef. July 06, 1640, Hingham, Massachusetts; d. March 14, 1697/98, Charlestown, Massachusetts; m. (2) JOANNA, Bet. 1698 - 1700.

  3. JOHN SHEPARD, b. 1637, Massachusetts; d. December 15, 1699, Concord, Massachusetts; m. SARAH GOBLE, 1660; b. Abt. 1638; d. 1717.

  4. ISAAC SHEPARD , b. June 20, 1639, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; d. February 12, 1675/76, Nashobo, Massachusetts; m. MARY SMEDLEY, December 10, 1667; b. June 07, 1648, Concord, Massachusetts.

  5. TRIAL SHEPARD, b. December 19, 1641, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; m. (1) WALTER POWERS, March 11, 1659/60, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; b. 1629, of Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; d. February 22, 1707/08, Littletown, Middlesex, Massachusetts;.

  6. WALTER SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1643, of Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts; d. 1719.  

  7. ABRAHAM SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1648, of Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts; d. February 22, 1715/16; m. (1) JUDITH PHILBROOK, 1672; m. (2) JUDITH PHILBROOK, January 02, 1671/72.

  8. THANKS SHEPARD, b. February 10, 1650/51, Malden, Middlesex, MA; d. WFT Est. 1680-1745; m. PETER DILL, December 13, 1669.

  9. JACOB SHEPARD, b. June 08, 1653, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; d. 1676; m. MERCY.

  10. RALPH SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1656, of Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts; d. June 26, 1712.  

  11. DANIEL SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1659, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; d. December 21, 1686; m. MARY BRICE, 1686, Massachusetts.

  12. MARY SHEPARD, b. Abt. 1660, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; m. THOMAS HARRIS, September 17, 1688.



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