IRA SHEPARD, a New Yorker of New England stock, who after many years of active industry is now at the sunset of life, enjoying the restful quiet of his pleasant home in Oneida, was born in Paris, Oneida County, June 19, 1807. His father, Asa Shepard, was born in Connecticut. Reuben Shepard, a farmer, father of Asa, was probably a native of the same State, being known to have emigrated thence, and to have been one of the pioneer settlers of New Hartford, Oneida County, where the remaining years of his life were passed. Coming to this State when a young man, Asa Shepard bought a considerable tract of land in the town of Paris, and devoted himself energetically to its improvement. Removing about the year 1827 to Oswego County, he spent his last years in the town of Volney. His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Gilbert, was born in Connecticut, and died in Oswego County, New York. She had been twice married, and had reared ten children, nine sons and one daughter.
The subject of this sketch well remembers when much of this part of the Empire State was a virgin wilderness, when there were neither railroads nor canals to facilitate journeying and transportation. He was early familiar with the healthful toil and the hardships as well as the pleasurable pursuits of pioneer life. Naturally, his first work was on his father's farm. This he left at about the age of fourteen to become a millwright, at which trade he served an apprenticeship of five years, and afterward worked two years. At the end of this time he purchased a mill in the town of Lenox, which he operated for about twenty years. He next engaged successfully for a number of years in the malting business in Oneida. He now lives retired from all these activities, enjoying the fruits of his early and long-continued toil.
In 1833 Mr. Ira Shepard married Mary Avery, a native of Paris, Oneida County, who died in 1870, leaving four daughters, only one of whom, Julia A., now survives to cheer the darkened home and minister to her father's needs in his declining years. The others, who have followed their mother
to the Silent Land, were Mary E., Susan, and Sophia, all of whom were married and had children. Mr. Shepard always votes the Republican ticket, but has taken no further part in politics, having never held office.
The accompanying portrait of Mr. Shepard is that of a man who lagged only a little behind the century in coming into the world, and whose physical and mental strength give him fair promise, if one may venture so to speak of anything so uncertain as the tenure of life, of seeing the century through. The fourscore and six full years of his pilgrimage which he can now look back upon have been years of wonderful achievement, such as the world never saw before. And he has done his part.
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