My genealogical journey began with a missing great-grandfather. 

This is a page of my Baby Book. My mother, Mary Margaret Shepardson, filled it in with one exception, her paternal grandfather. 

Her parents, Catherine McKenzie and Winthrop Shepardson were divorced in 1930 when she was 4. Her father’s family  disapproved of the marriage and  cut off all communications after the divorce. My mother often said that as a child she would look through the local phone directory looking for other Shepardson. I started my research in the early 2000s to fill in that Shepardson gap for her. 

Among her direct ancestors:

Daniel Shepardson, a blacksmith, who arrived in Charlestown, MA about 1633.

William Bradford, of Plymouth Colony, arrived 1620.

Peter Hobart, of Hingham, MA, arrived 1635.

Roger Conant, of Salem, arrived 1625.

I was lucky enough to be able to tell her about her Mayflower connection before her death in 2011.

Divorce, 1930s Style

“17 Divorces Given in Dedham Court”

“Catherine M. Shepardson of Quincy was given a decree from her husband, Winthrop E. Shepardson of Springfield, on the grounds of cruel and abusive treatment. They were married Sept. 28, 1925, and have one child, of whom the mother was given custody and $80 a month for its support.”

The Boston Globe, 4 Nov. 1930, p. 5

According to my mother (the child mentioned), family lore was that all parties agreed to the testimony of “abusive treatment”, given by one of Catherine’s sisters, in order to hasten the divorce proceedings.

I’ve been looking for this for 15 years. Now that I have a date and the court, the next step is to try to get the court proceedings.

Happy Birthday, Momma

My father always said that he never forgot our birthdays because one of us would always remind him.

Mary Catherine Raymond
Mary Margaret (Shepardson) Bence (1926 – 2011)
Catherine Lee Bence (April 12 )
Raymond Everett Bence, Jr. (1925 – 1994)
Catherine Mary Winthrop
Catherine (McKenzie) Shepardson (1898-1980)
Mary Margaret Shepardson (April 12 1926 – 2011)
Winthrop Earl Shepardson (1904 – 1976)

Union Congregational Church, East Braintree – 150th Anniversary Celebration, Spring 1961

My mother was great at labeling group photos, this one was no exception. Thanks, Mom!

union cong church 150th 1961

1st Row – Left to Right
1. Patricia Weetman
2. Helen Lavery
3. Peg Bence
4. Grace Crispin
5. Faith Lowry
6. Polly Nickerson
7. Jan Johnson
8. Rev. E. Johnson
9. Lois Harvey
10. Norma Tompkinson
11. Marge Erickson
12. Helen Dawe
13. Marge Young
2nd Row – Left to Right
1. ? Walsh
2. Lucy Meyer
3. George Cumming
4. Marjorie Fitch
5. Warren Olafsson
6. Gena South
7. Connie Newton
8. Lang
9. Susan Johnson
10. ? Moffat
11. Shirley Bewley
12. George Young
13. Sally Day
14. Hugh Saucha
15. Alice Cumming
16. Abner Tompkinson
17. Warren Ford
18. Roberta Lang
19. Robert Lang
Top Row – Left to Right
1. Walsh
2. Joseph Hale
3. Mr. Andersen
4. Jim Dewing
5. Cummings
6. Nelson Barden
8. Beth Adams
9. Betty Crowe
10. Alden Adams
11. Scotty Dawe

Union Congregational Church, East Braintree – Young Adult Choir, early 1940s

 union congrgational choir 1940s

I wonder if the stars on the banner hanging from the podium represent church members serving in the military. One of them is a lighter color, possibly indicating someone who has died in action.

The back of the photo had the following notations courtesy of my mom, Peg (Shepardson) Bence.

First Row – Left to Right
1. Barbara Borden – S
2. – S
3. Doris Davis – S
4. Janice Young – A
5. Jean Collier – A
6. Ruth Haines – SSecond Row – Left to Right
Director Alice Seamans
1. Ruth Bailey – A
2. Margaret Collier – A
3. Peggy Shepardson – AS
4. Laura Gifford – S
5. Clara Nott – S
6. Doris Stovald – SS
7. Beverly Simpson – S
8. Pauline Perrualt – A
9. Dolly Knug – S
Rev. Mr. Justice

Third Row – Left to Right
1. Shirley Marsh – S
2. Madelaine South – S
3. Gordon Cummings – B
4. Kenny Mc – B
5. John Arthur Simpson – B
6. Gordon Stovald – B
7. Warren Loud – BS
8. Ralph Pratt – B

Avia Ellstrom – A
Mr Alfred Blythe – BS
Myron Pratt – TS
Norman Allison – T
Bill Pratt – B (In the Navy)

S – Soprano
SS – Soprano Soloist
A – Alto
AS – Alto Soloist
B – Bass
T – Tenor
BS – Bass Soloist
T – Tenor Soloist