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DuBois-Van Meter-Shepherd History


Louis Du Bois married Catherine Blanghan at the French Protestant Church at Mannheim, in the Pfalz, German Palatinate. This was the German sanctuary where the Huguenots from France and the other persecuted Protestants of Europe went to escape their murder by the Spanish king and his sympathizers. The Du Bois were "Walloons". The Walloon country was on the northeastern border of France which today is included in the French department du Nord, and the southwestern provinces of Belgium. Reference: "Huguenot Emigation To America" by Baird.

Joost Jansen Van Meteren was born 1656 in Gelderland Polder (province), Holland. He married Sara DuBois Dec 12, 1682 in Kingston RDC and died Jun 13, 1706, SalemCo, NJ. He emigrated with his parents on Apr 12, 1662 via the ship "De Vos" (The Fox). Ms DuBois was born Sep 14, 1664, Hurley, UlsterCo, NY and died 1726 SalemCo, NJ.

On June 10, 1663, Minnisink Amerindians attacked and burned the villages of Hurley and Kingston, NY, and took several women and children as hostage. (It may be that this was in retaliation for the sale into slavery of several of their chieftains by Governor Stuyvesant...negotiations to trade hostages were undertaken.)

Catherine DuBois, the mother of Sara DuBois, and her three oldest children, the two children of Matthew Blanchon, Jr. and young Joost Jansen Van Meteren and his mother were among the hostages taken to the Indian fort near the Hogabergh in Shawangunk.

After 10 weeks of captivity they were rescued by Capt. Martin Krieger on Sept 5, leading a group of soldiers from New Amsterdam. Sara's father, Louis DuBois, was believed to be part of the party which rescued 23 hostages. (Some sources state that Sara was among the hostage children but I do not believe she was born yet.)

It is said that this early period of association with the indigenous people led young Joost to a fascination and ease in later dealings with them while exploring the wilderness. He Americanized the spelling of his name to John Van Meter. He explored the "Valley of the South branch of the Potomac" where he urged his sons to settle. His oldest and youngest sons, John and Isaac, obtained in 1730 grants for 40,000 acres from Lt Governor Gooch of VA in then BerkeleyCo, VA. Reference: "The American Descendants of Chretien Du Bois of Wicres, France", Part One, by William Heidgerd.

Jan Jansen Van Meteren, aka John Van Meter, the first white man to explore the "Northern Neck Of Virginia", that area bordering and to the west of the northern reaches of the Potomac River in Virginia. Reference: "Cartmell's History", page 265. On page 266 of the same reference it mentions Thomas Shepherd and some of the other first settlers along the Potomac. His will was proved, Oct. 13, 1745, at Winchester, VA, now WV.

Thomas Shepherd Sr. was a man of vision and settled on the west bank of the Potomac River above the only fordable crossing in that section of the river. His land, 222 acres, was patented, Oct. 3, 1734. A little village grew on the west bank called Pack Horse Ford, and was marked on the maps of the time as on the "Old Wilderness Road", the historic passageway to the territory to the West, used since ancient times by the Indians. Thomas Shepherd platted his town lots at this site and sold them the same as land developers do today.

Thomas Shepherd purchased 457 acres from Lord Fairfax on 12 June, 1751. This land was adjacent on the west of his patent land to present-day Mechlenburg Heights at John VanMeter's (Thomas's father-in-law) 1,786 acre land patent of 1734. (Tract 132, Map 2 of Cecil O'Dell's book). The land then runs south along VanMeter's east line to John Welton's 1734 patent of 442 acres at the southwest line. (Tract 23, Map 1 from Cecil O'Dell's book). On the east of his patent land, Thomas purchased 50 acres from Richard Morgan's 155 acre Fairfax grant. Adjacent to this 50 acres, he bought 32 acres from Fairfax on 15 January, 1768, east of today's Shepherdstown, about one half mile along the edge of the Potomac River.

Thomas Shepherd petitioned the Orange County Court on 26 February,1737/38 requesting to be discharged as constable Sherundo as soon as Richard Morgan was sworn in his place. He built a grist mill and sawmill on his 222 acre patent land, and by 1776, he had a new mill erected on his 457 acre grant land. Permission to establish a ferry across the Potomac River was granted by an act of the Assembly of Virginia in October 1762 to Thomas and in November 1762 he was authorized to erect the town of Mechlenburg. After his death (in 1776) the name was changed by an act of the Virginia Assembly to Shepherdstown and the first lots in the town were sold on 21 July 1764.

Shepherdstown is situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, and archeological evidence indicates Indians camped in and around the area long before the Europeans. Several major battles between warring tribes are said to have occurred at or a few miles downstream.

Once known as Potomoke, it eventually became known as Mecklenburg in the 1730s and was chartered in 1762 by the Virginia General Assembly.. It was renamed Shepherd's Town in 1798 in honor of Thomas Shepherd (1705-1776), an early settler and founder. After the Civil War, the community was officially recognized as Shepherdstown. The mill that Thomas built in the 1700s still exists today. Photos of the mill can be seen here.

His will was written 23 March 1776 and was proved on 20 August, 1776. He bequeathed the sawmill and acreage to son William, the grist mill and acreage to son Thomas, Jr., the new mill and acreage to son John, the remaining land to son
Abraham, two acres and house to wife Elizabeth, a Mechlenburg lot to grandson Thomas Thornburg and 100 pounds each to his daughters Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth plus lots in Mechlenburg to Susannah and fifty pounds to Martha.

A bronze plate attached to the iron fence at the Shepherd burial grounds at Shepherdstown, WV: In Memory of Thomas Shepherd, 1705-1776, Founder of Shepherdstown, Early American Settler & Patriot, Father of Five Sons Who Served in the Revolutionary War. Placed by Lafayette Chapter Sons of The American Revolution, Akron, OH.

Grave markers at the cemetery.

In Memory of Elizabeth Van Meter Shepherd 1715-1792, Wife of Thomas, Sr.
In Memory of Thomas Shepherd II 1743-1793
In Memory of Sarah Shepherd Thornburg 1736-1780, daughter of Thomas, Sr.
In Memory of Thomas Thornburg Sr 17-- 1789, husband of Sarah

The above are all small, simple granite stones.

Thomas's will dated 3/23/1776, Will Bk 1, pp 61-65.

Elizabeth's will was written July 10, 1786, and was probated June 18, 1793. It is recorded in will Book #2 at Martinsburg, Berkley Co., WV. When Thomas, her husband, died he left a large estate.

Sons of the American Revolution marker:

In memory of Elizabeth Van Meter Shepherd, 1715-1792, wife of Thomas Sr.

Plaque on cemetery fence:

In memory of Thomas Shepherd-1705-1776-founder of
Shepherdstown-Early American Settler & Patriot-Father of five sons who served in the Revelutionary War.

Placed by Lafayette Chapter, Sons of the American Revelution, Akron, Ohio

The Shepherd family, the family of Capt. Thomas Shepherd I or Sr., did well financially and the original "Pack Horse Ford", later called Mecklenburg by mainly German inhabitants, became the town of Shepherdstown, in honor of its founder, by petition to the Virginia legislature. These were the times of
George Washington, land surveyor and Virginia militiaman. Thomas Shepherd Sr., based on the records, was an acquaintance of George Washington. Voting records exist showing that Thomas voted for George to be Commanding Officer.

Reference: Pioneer Ohio Newspapers 1793-1810, by Kaen Mauer Green, The Frontier Press, Galveston, 1986. Page 198, Volume III, Saturday, 21 August 1802, No. 118:

David Shepherd, (bn 1777, son of Thomas, Jr.,) in Chillicothe, reports the theft of a horse. Deliver to his brother, Thomas Shepherd, living in Shepherdstown, Berkely County, Virginia.

Vol. V, Monday, 3 September 1804, No. 220:

David Shepherd says he is a candidate for sheriff in Ross County (Ohio). John and David Shepard (Shepherd) came to Muhlenberg Twp., Pickaway Co., from Chillicothe, about 1807.

Reference: Pickaway County History. From the History of Ross and Highland Counties, Ohio (published 1880) page 67.

Sheriffs 1806, David Shepherd; 1808, Wiliam Creighton.

Minute Book-Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at Chillicothe in the County of Ross. Fourth Wednesday in Sept. 1800.

Ordered that Jno Guthery receive $12 for surveying road from Chillicothe to County Line & Saml. Davis & Wm. Marguis $9 each as viewers and Arch"d Guthery & Louis Dunlap each six dollars as chain carriers & David Shepherd six dollars as marker.

Pickaway Co., Ohio, and Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois.

David was an early sheriff of Ross Co., Ohio, 1806 &1805, a surveyor, rancher, & tavern and innkeeper. Went bankrupt in Ross Co., and was given a 160 acre farm in Pickaway Co., by his old friend, the commanding officer of the militia that David had served under. David Shepherd is mentioned in an early history of Champaign Co., IL, as being one of the early pioneers to die a few years after settling in the county.

John B Shepherd, bn June 22, 1804, son of David Shepherd, left Pickaway Co., Ohio, in 1836, and went to Champaign Co., Illinois, with his parents and siblings. John had ownership at one time of the E1/2 ofSE1/4 of Sect. 10, in Vermillion County, Illinois. His brother, Paris Shepherd, owned the E1/2 of SW1/4 of Sect. 11. Proof that he came to Iowa before 1856 is in the 1860 census where his son John is age of 5 years and was born in Iowa. Probate included $10.00 cost for coffin; $35 due from sale of house in Virginia/Paris Shepherd est.

On May 14, 1840, John B Shepherd married Malinda Berkshire, born 10/18/1819 in Harrison Co., KY.

John Taylor Barton bn 1770, CulpepperCo, VA, d 1831/1846 KentonCo, KY md. July 25,1821 HarrisonCo, KY to Mary Polly Berkshire Children: Nancy d bef 1852; Amelia b c1823/25, d c1867/70 md Jackson Goldman; Robert bn c1825; John Rich bn c1830; Eleanor md Bailey Johns, Sr; Malinda BERKSHIRE bn October 18, 1819, d 1/5/1901, md 5/14/1840 John B Shepherd.

Malinda was born several years after her mother's first husband, Greenberry Berkshire, died. There is no proof who her father was, but several of her descendants believe that it is quite possible that Taylor Barton is actually her natural father. Thurza, whose parentage is also unknown and Malinda's sister, was not mentioned in Taylor's will. Malinda was called "My daughter" in Taylor's will and was listed first as Malinda Berkshire. She was raised in the Barton family until both parents died.

And that is as far back as I've gotten with my Shepherd family, with much thanks to my newly found 3rd cousin, Jim Clark, whom I found by sheer luck and a little perseverence. Jim is responsible for taking me back 3 generations from my gggfather, John B Shepherd. My descent is from Thomas, Sr & Elizabeth Van Meter, Thomas Jr & Susannah Hulse, David & Elizabeth Betz, John B & Malinda Berkshire, Harriett & Abner Webster Hall.

There are those who will tell you that Thomas Sr was descended from William Shepherd and Sarah Cochran. Others claim he is descended from one of the 3 brothers who first arrived in Boston. At this time I have yet to find proof for either claim. So the search goes on.

For an excellent history of Fort Henry and the role of Col. David Shepherd, Shepherd's Fort, and the mansion, now called Monument Place, built by Moses Shepherd, son of David, go to Landmarks

Inquiries,additions, corrections? Email me at:

nelhatch@hills.net

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Lastupdated September 26, 1999