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William Shepherd - Sarah

William Shepherd of Prince George's Co., Maryland, carpenter, conveyed, 12 Oct 1717 to Philip Gitting his plantation called "Mt. Arraras," at the head of Beaver Dam Run, and running out at the Eastern Branch (near Washington, D. C.), containing 140 acres; and on the same day Shepherd took title from John Bradford to a tract of land containing 150 acres, situated in the western part of Prince George's County, designated as "Shepherd's Purchase," the same being of a part of a tract called "Chursley Forest". On the 18 Dec 1721 he became the grantor of a part of "Chursley Forest," containing 150 acres, to John Bradford, merchant; and the parcel called "Shepherds Purchase" containing 150 acres was conveyed by William Shepherd to James Brooke, 27 Oct. 1739. This deed bears the endorsement of Sarah Shepherd, wife of said William Shepherd.

William Shepherd, now styled "Seniro" becomes granteee, by a deed dated 16 April 1741 from John Moore, "Planter" and both of Prince George's County to all that tract of land called "Shepherd's Purchase", containing 50 acres and being a part of 'Antietam Bottom,' situated in Prince George's Co., on the bank of the Potomac River, and adjoining in a tract called 'Sprigget's Delight.'"

In 1728 the Governor of the Province was petitioned to divide Prince George Parish and create a new one in the western part of the county; among the petitioners were Thomas and William Shepherd. Thus All Saint's parish came into existence with its church at Rockville (now in Montgomery County), twelve miles farther west. In 1742 there were districts in this parish and that one in which the Shepherds lived was called Antietam Hundred, and among the communicants of All Saint's at this time was William Shepherd, Sr., and William Shepherd, Jr.

William and Sarah had at least four children: Thomas, William Jr., John and Mary.

Thomas Shepherd - Elizabeth Van Metre

When Jost Hite began to dispose of his land in Spottsylvania Co., Va. which had been assigned to him by John and Isaac Van Metre, among the first to procure desirable parcels was Thomas Shepherd, who purchased 222 acres on the south side of the Cohongoluta (Potomac). The record of the grant was dated 3 October 1734, the same year in which Orange County was set off from Spottsylvania County. The grant thus fell within the bounds of the former. Shepherd made his selection at a point on the bank of the Potomac near the crossing afterward called "Packhorse Ford" by the settlers. An additional grant of 450 acres by Lord Fairfax, 12 June 1751 increased Shepherd's possessions. These were supplemented by a purchase from Capt. Richard Morgan, 5 August 1762 of 50 acres; and again on 15 January 1768 when Lord Fairfax conveyed to him 222 acres, so that the combined acreage which Thomas shepherd owned in the vicinity of "Packhorse Ford" aggregated about 1,000 acres; and the settlement which followed, became known as Mecklenburg.

In the meanwhile (1745) Thomas Shepherd's father-in-law John Van Metre, had died and in his will had bequeathed to his daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Shepherd, a plantation of 162 acres called "Pell Mell," which lay on the opposite side of the river in Maryland adjacent to the Antietam Creek, which had been surveyed for John Van Metre in 1743 by Joseph Chapline.

On the beautiful wood bluff overlooking the sinuous windings of the Potomac, and beyond it, the low slopes of the Maryland shore; and on both sides of a small, but swift, run that tumbled down over the rocky ledges of a defile leading to the river, Thomas shepherd founded the settlement, which, in years to come, was destined to honor his name. Less than a mile below was the old "Packhorse Ford" marking the main trail-- the path, which, for time immemorial, the savages had worn deep into the soil from intercourse between the tribes of the north those of the south--but now absorbed by the constantly increasing volume of pioneers passing down and through to the settlements of Maryland and Pennsylvania to be distributed, at this point, over the various India highways toward the south. Thomas Shepherd was shrewd enough to realize the importance of the location and its strategic advantages for trade and barter with the Indians and with the emigrants that flowed, like a stream, over his land.

It is said that his first settlers were thrifty German mechanics. Whoever they may have been, they were encouraged by the enterprising energy of Thomas Shepherd, and as industrious community was soon developed. Then a fort was erected, for the times were full of menace, and the Indians were growing more restless and troublesome under the influence of the French parties.

Thomas and Elizabeth Van Metre Shepherd had 10 children: Elizabeth, David, Sarah, William, Thomas, Mary, John, Martha, Abraham and Susannah.

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by Lee Case
Last updated on Sunday, November 10, 2002