Home Town or Home Community:
West Plains, Senate, Cypress Hills
This story is about William and Fanny Shepherd’s life in England, their emigration to central Saskatchewan, followed by a second settlement south of the Cypress Hills. The latter was known as West Plains and the life there forms a major part of the Shepherd story. Most of the family eventually left West Plains and the third generation “cousins” spread over much of North America.
A Family in Kent
William (Dad) Shepherd and Fanny (Mother) Shepherd were part of Victorian England. Fanny, born in 1866, was the youngest daughter of Edward Hopper, a baker who later operated a public house.
William Shepherd was born in 1862, the son of an oyster fisherman on the Isle of Sheppy. His first job was in a butcher’s shop in Canterbury, and in 1887 he married Fanny, who was working as a housekeeper. She offered him her dowry of ₤300 to acquire a house and butcher shop combined. In this house, Will, George and Charles were born. They then moved to Deal, where Frances, the one daughter (called Kitty) was born, then Harry, Geoffrey and Tommie. They briefly tried operating a farm, before going back into the butcher business in Ramsgate. William was a lay Baptist preacher, so the pleasure of the family was in walks through the Kentish countryside to local churches.
Then Texas beef began arriving in England. For a while, William refused to sell anything but British beef, but ended up working under the meat packers, Swifts. This made the family think of emigration to Canada.
It was decided that William and George would go first, to try things out. As their train was about to leave the station, in March 1908, Charles put his head in the train window, and said “Don’t come back, Dad”, expressing the state of life for a working family in Victorian England. After six days on the Empress of Ireland they arrived at St. John, New Brunswick, and boarded an immigrant train. The winter snow was still on the ground, and the scenery in Maine, then Quebec and the Great Lakes was intimidating.
A New Beginning
At the immigration hall in Winnipeg they were ticketed to Brandon and another immigration hall. Here they signed a seven-month contract at $10 a month. After six weeks they were attracted by a real estate office called “Read the Land Man.” Read took them by train to Girvin, Saskatchewan to look at 320 acres; nothing down, 20 years to pay, but they declined. At the 24th of May picnic in Girvin they both found good jobs at $20 per month. During the summer, Dad opened a butcher shop in town. Back in England, Fanny took things into her own hands. In early September she arrived in Girvin with five boys, daughter Kit and a piano. Dad extended the size of his home/shop, and the family settled in for its first winter in Canada. When some previously allocated land became available for homesteads, four Shepherd men (over 18) suddenly each had 160 acres, and the family was a major landowner.
The following March they moved the shop out to the homestead, near Stalwart. The sons were enthused about living in this new world; they plowed the new fields, and worked out to other farmers to bring in cash. William was a natural horseman, and loved his animals. The family quickly established itself as a communal enterprise in which each family member found his or her own responsibility. Mother, from the beginning of her life in Canada, was an active community leader. She gave the leading address at the Women’s Section of the Grain Growers’ Convention in Moose Jaw, and wrote a regular column, Mother’s Hens, for The Grain Growers’ Guide.
Will, born in 1888, was 20 years old when he came to Canada. He had known Fanny Howland, a “Ladies Companion” in Kent. Will persuaded Fanny to come for a visit in 1916. Mother Shepherd met her in Winnipeg and bought an engagement ring, wedding ring, and a wedding dress. Will and Fanny were married in February of that same year.
They raised three children, Elgar (Ed), Margaret and Sylvia in typical homestead fashion. In spite of hardships, Fanny lived a comfortable life, helping with garden and farm work. She particularly loved her garden — both flowers and vegetables — and also grew house plants both summer and winter. During the war she knitted tirelessly for the Red Cross. She shared anxieties with other mothers in the community for sons or daughters serving overseas during World War II.
Will was always active in the community, having served on the Board of Davenport School for many years. He was secretary of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool for a while and during the war he helped sell Victory Bonds.
Elgar was born in 1917 and his early life was spent helping out his Dad on the farm. At the onset of WW2 he joined the RCAF and pursued a long career with the Armed Forces, retiring in the late 1970’s in Winnipeg. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 82 after suffering a stroke. While serving overseas he met and married Betty Ritchie who pre-deceased him in 1983. They have two daughters, Patricia and Sylvia.
Margaret was born in 1922 and attended Davenport school before entering the world of hairdressing. This career took her to Moose Jaw where she resided until her death in 2004. During the 1940’s she married Gordon McKay who pre-deceased her in 1984. They have two sons – Bill and Paul.
Sylvia was born in 1928 and after attending school worked for Sask. Tel for 12 years in various centres in Saskatchewan. She married George Gow in 1957 and he passed away in 1980. They have one daughter Nancy (1958) and a son Richard (1962) who lives in Surrey, BC. Sylvia retired from employment with the Department of National Defence ten years ago and still lives in Moose Jaw.
By 1912, the growing family was feeling the need for more space. They could have bought land nearby, but purchasing a second homestead for $80 was allowed. Charles and George set off for Vancouver, but located homesteads near Maple Creek. Family members went in turn to file on homesteads there, adding up to a section and a half of land. In the spring of 1913 they rented a “settlers” railway car, and set out for Maple Creek, then 50 miles south over the Cypress Hills by wagon. Although each homesteader was supposed to sleep on his own quarter-section, the regulation was not enforced, so the family formed a single farm unit on George’s quarter with each family having a separate house. While the single “boys” moved back and forth between Stalwart and the South Country for a number of years, they took root after their marriages. In the end, only Will and his family remained in Stalwart.
Life at West Plains
By 1919, with Geoff and Harry back from the war, the family was settled on the homesteads south of the Cypress Hills. Mother established West Plains Post Office and opened a store with a gas pump. Neighbors would come on Saturdays to pick up their mail and get supplies. Mother got her supplies from Western Grocers in Lethbridge, the shipment arriving on the Saturday train to Senate. Occasionally she would buy things from a second hand store in Medicine Hat and put them in the store for resale. She continued to speak at Women’s Institutes. While there were many changes over the years, the settlement at West Plains remained the focus of the family (and the district) until about 1950.
George, born on March 20, 1890, attended school in Ramsgate, leaving after grade 7. At West Plains he assumed a leadership role and in 1927 married Irene Thompson, a school teacher from the Portage area; they raised Gordon and Eleanor in their house at West Plains. George was secretary-treasurer of the West Plains school board, and usually the MC at community events. He survived the Depression by becoming interested in local history. Fort Walsh was only 20 miles away, the first outpost when the North West Mounted Police moved west. He became friends with RCMP Police Commissioner Stuart Wood, and assisted Wood in the re-purchase of the Fort Walsh property as an RCMP horse ranch. He also became a recorder of the stories of the region’s pioneers and won the Searle Grain Essay prize of $250.
Irene, a third-generation Canadian was born near Portage in 1896. A teacher, she took a position at Merryflat School where she met George. She was an active member of the Women’s Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid and she thought deeply about spiritual matters. George and Irene raised two children; Gordon and Eleanor.
Charles, born 1893, was 24 at the time of the move to West Plains and assumed more leadership in the family. He and his brothers could well see that this was better country for cattle than for dry-land farming. In 1917 they purchased the adjoining F.W. Henry Ranch where Battle Creek ran in a southeasterly direction through the middle of the property.
Charles could see the value of irrigation and was able to develop 50 or so acres by diverting water from the Half-way Coulee. He did much work building ditches and dykes with horse drawn scrapers. He dug a pit, or trench, for silage. He attempted to grow corn. Described as being a “good stockman” he built a barn with a loft, a small house, and a bunkhouse. He always claimed that he would marry an American girl and in 1920 he married Helen Banks, born in Newton, Kansas in 1899. Their first child, Jack, was born in June of 1922. A child Roger died in infancy in 1924. Charlie was born in 1926. Ranching was hard work, but there are photographs showing good times — visits of friends from Kansas City, neighbors, sister-in-law Kitty. Charles was sent to Saskatoon for a short extension course.
In July of 1926 Charles met death through self-destruction, leaving the family to speculate on the reasons. Perhaps Charles was pulled in one direction by a wife who wanted independence for her family, and a mother who wanted a collective of the whole family. In any case, Helen, with the help of both family and hired help, ran the ranch for a while, but then sold it and returned to Kansas City with Jack and Charlie.
Kitty, born 1894, was 22 when the family moved to West Plains and was expected to do much of the sewing and cooking for the hungry men. Her status within the family was probably low. It is recorded that one Christmas she received no presents. But she was always cheerful and, like her brothers, was sent on a course to the University of Manitoba for two years, where she won the gold medal for “General Proficiency in Home Economics”. January 1st 1919, at the age of 23, Kitty began keeping a diary and wrote five volumes ending in 1944.
Tuesday, July 15th, 1919.
…… Made a little sleeveless middy from some blue dotted material to wear to Saturdays picnic. Went down to pick green peas but was interrupted by Tom Ringham coming along for tennis. He showed us a new twist and was very decent. I told him of the old joke re the infantry negro and the horse he put over at the Ranch, thus getting back at him for telling Harry York that Walter Pridmore pinched my leg.
In 1921 she married this Tom Ringham, an English-born neighbor and WW I veteran living just two miles to the east. Kitty gave birth to twin boys, Tommie and Dickie, in 1922. Dickie died in infancy but in 1924 Kitty gave birth to a daughter, Joy, who was indeed a joy to all who have known her. But surviving on a single homestead was difficult, and in 1926 Tom left his homestead and took a job with the Soldier Settlement Board, helping veterans get established on farms.
Harry, born in 1896, turned a corral into a feedlot one winter, following a pretty good barley harvest. In the spring he accompanied the fatted cattle to England where he sold them. He also leveled some ground at the bottom of the hill and built the tennis court mentioned in Kitty’s diary. Many people came to play and at times there were more people at West Plains than in the town of Senate. Harry was a charter member of the Reno Legion, the Masonic Lodge, and stood unsuccessfully for nomination to the CCF political party.
In the spring of 1938, Margaret Cooper was hired teacher of West Plains School. She was young, attractive and vigorous. Romance developed between Harry and Margaret and they conceived a son. The family, probably reflecting community standards, could not cope with that development. Harry took his nice new ’28 Chev and with $700 in his pocket, he and Margaret set off for Vancouver, to return only occasionally for visits.
Geoff, born in 1898, was old enough to file a homestead, so a half section was added to the family enterprise. But Geoff was a good student and decided that a career off the farm held more promise and interest. The family sent him to Regina Collegiate Institute in January 1917. He joined the army and attended Khaki University in England and entered the University of Saskatchewan in 1920. Assisted by a loan from his brother Will, Geoff earned a B.S.A. in 1923.
Tommie, born in 1902, attended West Plains School briefly. He became a likeable young man with a ready smile and an interest in other people. One year, probably around 1920, he entered the wild steer riding event at the little stampede that was held at Consul. With the guitar that Harry had given him, Tommie played at dances with his friend Alan Oke. He often visited neighbors and took his guitar and hair clippers. In later years, Tommie, and that guitar, formed the nucleus of a family orchestra. Being the youngest, Tommie would have been given the menial tasks — cleaning the barn, picking rocks, hauling water, fixing fence. But he did the tasks well and had a good working relationship with Harry. In time, he developed into a good stock and horse man.
After Charles’ death and with Helen and her sons in Kansas City, Tommie wrote frequent letters to Helen with funny drawings for the boys. He persuaded Helen to return to West Plains and marry him in February 1929. They repurchased the ranch, but their house was built on the hill near the houses of Mother and Dad and George and Irene. Tommie and Helen raised three children: Joan, Lloyd and Ruth.
The operation at West Plains became known as the Shepherd Brothers. Harry was the mechanic and Tommie was the stock man. George and the hired man did most of the land work done with horses while Harry did land work with the tractor. Harry was a good blacksmith, a good mechanic and fixed most of the equipment. Tommie did the riding and handled the cattle. Later Jack had these responsibilities.
In the summers of 1933 and 1934, the Shepherd boys put their butchering background to work by running a “Beef Ring.” Working from a 1921 Saskatchewan Government bulletin, they set up a 20-member “Ring” that would operate for 20 summer weeks. Each member brought a steer or heifer when his Friday turn came. The animal would be cut into 20 roasts, 20 boiling pieces and 20 pieces of steak.
In 1938 the family undertook a major project to use the spring runoff from Half-Way Coulee to irrigate the “delta”. This work was done with one or sometimes two four-horse teams and a Fresno scraper. Many times Jack would handle the lever on the scraper while Tommie drove the horses.
In 1939 the Experimental Farm at Swift Current came out with two cats and graders to the irrigation plot that Charles had developed back in 1918. The terraces improved the yield of hay in that field by more than a factor of two. This experimental project came at no cost to the ranch, in fact the PFRA paid for the meals for the dozen men. The crew had a van and would take a bunch to Consul for the Saturday night dances. They had nearly finished when WW II broke out, and soon most of the crew had enlisted.
Jack enlisted in Canada’s army in 1942 and saw a considerable amount of action in Europe until 1945. Contracting TB in Italy, he spent 18 months in the Sanatorium in Fort Qu’Appelle. In 1949 Jack married Mary Mitchell. Mary was from a farm near Souris, Manitoba, and joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1944. They took over the ranch in 1950. Jack and Mary had four daughters; Barbara, Sheila, Cindy and Susan.
Charlie, son of Charles and Helen, and born in 1926, was sent to Regina for a couple of years to Balfour Technical School, boarding with his Aunt Kitty. When he came home he did his share of the chores. One day he took the truck and brought home the pieces of an Indian motorcycle. He took it apart, put it together again, painted it, tuned it up and left West Plains to start a new life in Lethbridge.
A Great Place for Kids
In the winter, Tommie would run water out of the well and build a skating rink. Most of the kids learned to skate by pushing a chair on the ice. A high wheeled wagon was moved to the top of the hill, planks installed to make a fast start on a toboggan run. At the bottom of the hill some kind of jump would be constructed so that the toboggan and riders were airborne for some distance.
The school shut down during January because of the problems of winter travel. The summer holiday was shortened accordingly. In the early years, the three-mile trip was made in a one-horse democrat, often with the school teacher when she was boarding with the family. Eventually it became simpler to let the children drive the car.
A major entertainment for the kids was to tie toboggans to the hay rack and be pulled the two miles to the creek where the cattle wintered. After spreading out the straw for the cattle, the men would load up with the more nutritious alfalfa from the irrigated land. Meanwhile the children would skate on Battle Creek, or toboggan on the nearby slopes.
Although everyone lived at West Plains, Battle Creek was very much at the center of their lives. In the summer afternoons the children could walk there for a swim, and ramble along the creek. In the evenings, after work, everyone, including any visitors, would pile into the truck and drive up to the swimming hole. Sunday afternoons, a picnic supper beside the creek would add to the relaxation. Sometimes the picnic would become an excursion to Fort Walsh, further upstream.
Cutting ice (for the ice boxes and making ice cream in the summer) was a fun event that involved the neighbors as well as the family. On Battle Creek, big, rectangular blocks of ice would be cut and pulled out of the water by a team of horses. Then they would be cut into smaller blocks and hauled back to the farm and be put in the ice-house and covered with straw.
The West Plains-Bellfield Picnic (commonly known as Shepherd’s Picnic) was an annual event from about 1920 to 1952. Neighbors within about thirty miles gathered for fun and food at the “picnic grounds” along Battle Creek.
There was a piano at Tommie’s house and another at George’s; both Joan and Gordon took lessons. Later a saxophone appeared, which both Lloyd and Gordon learned to play. Eleanor and Ruth then learned piano, and piano accordion. Joan, Gordon and Eleanor played at times in two local orchestras; one led by George Hodd, the other by Paul Kalmring. These were in much demand for local Saturday night dances, wedding dances, and especially at New Year’s Eve, in Robsart, Consul, Senate and even the Cypress Hills Park. Tommie purchased a set of drums, effectively giving the family its own orchestra. They then got the contract to play for the Manyberries picnic, the first public appearance of the Shepherd Orchestra. Later they played for the Maple Creek Stampede dances.
Back to the Creek
Jack and Mary took over the Ranch in 1950. They lived in Mother’s old store, but discontinued the West Plains Post Office. Their four daughters, Barbara, Sheila, Cindy and Susan were born while they lived in that house.
In 1960, Jack and Mary built a new house on the banks of Battle Creek just above where the picnic grounds were located. Late in 1952 they built a hipped roof barn and a two-car garage. They moved the granary built by Harry in about 1930 and several buildings from the farmyard and located them near the new barn. Jack upgraded the bloodline of the beef herd by buying the best Hereford bulls they could afford at sales in Maple Creek, Medicine Hat, Regina and Whitewood.
As Jack recalls, “About 1957 we formed the Battle Creek Roping Club and we held a small rodeo every Sunday. This was always a fun event and people and cowboys would come for miles around to rope and ride wild cows and steers. In 1959 the members of the club awarded me a sterling silver belt buckle that I treasure. We put on a full scale Rodeo three times to raise money for the Reno Legion. The rodeos at the Battle Creek grounds were discontinued in 1973.”
Sheila, Jack and Mary’s second daughter, married Arnold Mackie in May of 1974. Jack and Mary moved to Maple Creek that summer and Sheila and Arnold took over the operation of the Ranch. They changed the cattle herd to the Black Angus breed and extended the irrigation system.
The Family Beyond West Plains
What follows are summaries of what happened to the second and third generations after they left West Plains.
Geoff earned his Ph.D at Harvard and became Professor of Agricultural Economics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and married Eleanor Murray in 1931. Geoff became a leader in his field, wrote several books and, following WW II, advised a number of foreign governments on agricultural policy. He died in 1984 and Eleanor in 1992, leaving five children.
Gordon, born in 1933, studied at Harvard Medical School then joined Yale University. His research is on how nerve cells signal each other, and one of his books, “Neurobiology” has been translated into several languages. Gordon married Grethe Gadegaard from Denmark and a Fullbright scholar of library science at Vassar. They have three children; Gordon, Kirsten, and Lisbeth.
Geoffrey, born in 1936, became an economics professor like his father. He married Theo Bobrinskoy from Chicago, and they have four children, George, Frederick, Helen and Edward. Geoffrey taught at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; his research focused on monopoly and competition. Theo has been a tournament-quality tennis player.
Douglas, born in 1938, married Margery Lentz and they live near Denver, Colorado. He works at Goodwill as a collection center attendant at various locations around Denver. Marje is an elementary school teacher and usually teaches 1st and 2nd grade. Douglas and Marje have one daughter, Matha.
Alison, born in 1942, obtained her Ph.D. from Harvard. She married Sherman Lewis, III, in 1967 and they have two children, Sherman and Eleanor. Sherm became Assistant Professor at California State University, Hayward, and Alison took a job with the Eden Youth Center. She was a commissioner of the Hayward Library and is currently assistant to an Oakland County Commissioner.
Margaret, born in 1946, is the youngest of the Shepherd cousins. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1969, married David Friend during a blizzard and moved to Boston. Margaret acquired a handwriting skill and has written over a dozen how-to books on calligraphy. David has been the principal of several computer software companies. They have four children, Jasper, Zachary, Zoe and Lilly.
Kitty and Tom with children Tommie and Joy, left West Plains in 1926 for Swift Current and then Indian Head before arriving in Regina in 1933 where Tom worked for the Great West Life Insurance Company. Dad Shepherd stayed with them in Indian Head after his surgery in Rochester, where he died in 1929 and is buried. After retiring to Saskatoon in 1950, Tom died there of lung cancer in 1958. Kitty moved to Burnaby and had an apartment in Tommie and Betty’s house.
Tommie, born in 1922, contracted rheumatic fever in his mid-teens. Christian Science and sulfa drugs were credited with his miraculous recovery. After WW II he married Betty May in 1947. After many moves, they settled in Burnaby, B.C. and started A & B Tableware Rentals. Tommie died suddenly in 1986. Betty earned her 20-year pin at Sears. There are two sons, Douglas and Gordon.
Joy, born in 1924 earned a degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto and studied Art at Iowa State University. In Ames she became the co-host of a live, and very popular, children’s program The Magic Window. In 1953 she married Fritz Munn the owner of a family lumber yard in Ames. They raised three boys, David, Stephen and Erik. Fritz died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1985.
Harry and Margaret arrived in Vancouver in 1938. Harry worked as a carpenter, but after a heart attack took less strenuous jobs. He was a timekeeper and first aid person for the local transportation company.
Barry was born in 1939. Harry died of a massive heart attack in 1952 at the age of 55. Margaret bought homes, fixed them up, and sold them at a profit. She died in 1971.
Barry attended the University of British Columbia and later earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, in nuclear physics. During a post-doctoral appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratories on Long Island he met and married Bärbel Becker from Hamburg, Germany, in 1966. They raised two sons, Stephen and Nicholas. In 1968 Barry began a long career with IBM that took him to San Jose and Austin. He was Editor-in-Chief of two series of books on computer graphics standards. Barry died in 1996.
Charlie settled in Lethbridge, Alberta in 1946, to work at various jobs, before starting with Rossiter Agency (a customs broker) in 1956, becoming sole owner in 1980. Charlie married Freda Erno in1949. They raised three daughters, Rhonda, Darla and Terri, but divorced in 1983. In1987 Charlie married Muriel Yuill, a niece of his Aunt Irene. In 1966 he began construction of a bright red home-built 2-seater airplane. He would trailer it to the airport, unfold its wings and set off for distant places.
George sold out in 1950 and he and Irene moved the family to Saskatoon. With enough money to buy a house, but with little income, they operated an unusual co-ed boarding house for University students. In 1953, George was appointed Curator of the Western Development Museum, then in an unheated aircraft hanger on 11th Street West. His dedication helped the museum survive during this early period, but he was still active long after it moved to its present site near the Exhibition. In 1965 he published West of Yesterday, and soon after, Brave Heritage. He died in 1978, with his funeral service held on the main street in the WDM. Irene pursued her spiritual quest through the Christian Science Church. She also served in the WDM Ladies Auxiliary, and lived until 1985.
Gordon, born 1931, left West Plains in 1945 for Luther College in Regina, and the University of Saskatchewan in 1948. He married Marian Morgenroth in 1953. After a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, he returned as a faculty member to Saskatoon, where Ted, David and Paul were born. After moving to York University in 1969 he launched rockets and satellites, for which he has won awards. Gordon and Marian were divorced in 1986 and in 1987 Gordon married Marianna Gerdjikova, a Bulgarian space scientist.
Eleanor, born in 1936, also attended Luther College before joining her parents in Saskatoon and attending the University of Saskatchewan. She taught school, and in 1958 married Andy Rutherford. They raised two children, Warren and Dawn in Saskatoon. In 1979 Eleanor began a 15-year career with the CBC, retiring in 1995.
Tommie and family, in 1950, moved to Lethbridge, Alberta, where Charlie had located. He built a home on the new south side of the city, but his carpentry skills were not very marketable. Tommie took a job in the stable of the local dairy, but eventually the dairy phased out the horse-drawn wagons. He suffered periods of severe depression and was committed to the mental hospital in Ponoka. Ruth and Lloyd, while students in Edmonton, visited Tommie occasionally. He died there in 1958. Helen with her urban upbringing in Kansas City, adjusted much more easily. She found work as secretary and bookkeeper. She returned to oil painting as a hobby and several of her paintings hang in the Galt Museum in Lethbridge. Helen died in 1986.
Joan, in 1950 married Dick Roper, a biology graduate she met at McGill University. They moved to Dick’s native Jamaica where they both taught school. In 1953, during a polio epidemic, she died suddenly at the age of 22. She was seven months pregnant at the time. Helen, who had been planning a trip to Jamaica to be with Joan for the birth of a grandchild, instead traveled there for Joan’s funeral.
Lloyd was fifteen when the family moved to Lethbridge. In Edmonton he met Florence Lavers, a physiotherapist from Collingwood, Ontario, at a church Young Peoples group. He graduated in Engineering in 1956, worked for a year in Quebec, then returned to Edmonton. Florence and Lloyd were married in 1957. Lloyd entered the graduate Physics program at the University of Saskatchewan, earning his Ph.D. in 1963. He has had an undistinguished but well-paid career in the private sector in the United States. Florence and Lloyd have two sons; Philip and David.
Ruth was fourteen when the family moved to Lethbridge, and attended three years of High School there. After two years at the University of Alberta she taught in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Edmonton. Ruth married Terry Ferguson, an Engineer from the Lethbridge area in 1958, and they moved to Venezuela where their three children were born, Brian, Laurie and Bruce. They returned to St. Albert where Ruth completed her B.Ed. degree and became a great music teacher in the public schools. She and Terry divorced and later Ruth married Doug Whiffin. She was baptized into the Mormon Church and has remained an active member.
Jack and Mary moved to Maple Creek in the summer of 1974. They built a duplex house and have lived in it ever since. In 1978 Jack took a wheelwright course offered by the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon. He then started restoring and repairing horse drawn vehicles. Later he was asked to help instruct the annual wheelwright course at Saskatoon. This he did for twelve years.
Jack rented some pasture and acquired several horses. With a democrat that he had rebuilt he went on several wagon treks. From 1983 to 1989 he had the driving concession at Fort Walsh and hauled tourists from the fort to the Massacre grounds. In 2002 he sold all his horses, ending perhaps 70 years of loving and owning horses.
From June 1974 to December 1977, Jack was President of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association. Jack has been a legion Member for 50 years and has often spoken to school children about remembrance. Mary worked for fifteen years as a house keeper at the Maple Creek Hospital and is now retired. She does a lot of traveling to curling and figure skating events.
This is a story about the Shepherd immigrant family and its special relationship with West Plains, a settlement ten miles north of Senate, Saskatchewan. Neither West Plains nor Senate exists today. All members of that immigrant family have passed on, but their descendents and spouses, numbering about 160 in 2000, are spread from coast to coast in North America and overseas. Beginning in 1980 they have held a reunion every five years.