Joseph Cheput Shepard

1816 – 1915

By Roger Kemps  © 2010



Joseph Shepard was born Joseph Cheput (or Chaput) in Paris, France on July 4, 1816. His family settled in Montreal, Canada (they had a farm on the outskirts). When he was 16, his parents went to town, after warning him not to touch a new horse they had just bought. He rode it anyway and it died. He hid in the bushes when his parents returned from Montreal and then ran away from home and Americanized his name from Cheput to Shepard (or Sheppard). He never saw his family again. His brothers became wealthy and owned Cheput (or Chaput) Department Store in Montreal. Joseph met Rachel Stuart Winters, a widow with two children (John and Annie) from Buffalo, New York and they married on December 2, 1865. They lived in Toronto, then drifted down to Muskegon, Michigan. Joe worked in the woods in Michigan and Two Harbors, Minnesota in the sawmills and as a cook.


Including his two step children, Joseph and Rachel had at least twelve children:


·      John Henry Winters, named after his father, was born on September 4, 1859 in Michigan. When he was quite young, he married Matilda (Tillie) who was 16. After his mother died, John and Tillie tried to keep the family together. However, Tillie and Josie were about the same age and did not get along well. They did raise his brother, Edward. John and Tillie had seven children. John died in Muskegon, Michigan on May 31, 1945 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

·      Annie Putnam was born in 1862.

·      Josephine Lord was born in 1867. Josie raised her sister, Mayme’s child, Frederick. She went to New York for a while and was a child nurse. When her father was in his 90s, she took him to Detroit, Michigan to live with her until he died. Josephine died on May 2, 1928.

·      Isabella was born on April 1, 1868 and died on August 19, 1868.

·      Frances A. was also born on April 1, 1868. She died before the 1870 cencus.

·      Alice was born on December 21, 1869.

·      Lillian Cruse was born in 1870. She had two children; Marguerite and Eugene. Lillian died in 1928.

·      Edward was born on February 22, 1872 and died in Duluth, Minnesota on January 12, 1957. He and his wife, Catherine, had four children.

·      Marey was born in 1874.

·      Rachel Beatrice Eggebrecht was born on February 20, 1877 and died in Chicago, Illinois on April 23, 1963.

·      Mayme Cooper was born in 1878. She had a boy, Frederick, and died when her long hair caught fire while standing in front of a heater.

·      Infant born in 1879.


Rachel Stuart Winters Shepard died in 1879 during childbirth, along with the infant. Joseph was unable to raise the children on his own so they were subsequently raised by different families. Beatrice and Edward were reunited after 57 years in July 1936, see Duluth newspaper article.


Joseph lived with his son, Edward, when he was in his late 80’s. He then lived with his daughter, Josephine, in Detroit, Michigan. Joseph Cheput Shepard died in Detroit, Michigan on June 11, 1915 at the age of 98 years, 11 months, and 7 days. See his Death Certificate for additional details. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Muskegon, Michigan.


The information comes from various sources and there is frequent disagreement about various "facts," including the spelling of last names. See notes.


Reference files:


1860_John_Winters.pdf  see line 22

1870 Joseph Shepard.pdf  see line 24

1880 Joseph Sheppard.pdf  see lines 42 & 43

1880 Edward Shepard.pdf  see lines 46 & 47

1880 Lilly Shephard.pdf  see line 49

1900 Edward Shepard.pdf  see line 8

1910 Edward Shepard.pdf  see line 17

1920 Edward Shepard.pdf see line 54

1930 Edward G Shepard.jpg see line 8

1940 Edward G Shepard.jpg see line 58

1900 Josephine Lord.pdf  see line 47

1910 Josephine Lord.pdf  see line 7

1900 John Winters.pdf  see line 39

1910 John Winters.pdf  see line 67

1920 John Winters.pdf  see line 13

1930 John H Winters.jpg see line 80

1940 John H Winters.jpg see line 61

Abner Shepherd Rachael Winters Marriage Listing

Isabella Shepherd Death Register.jpg see number 212

Frances Shepard Birth Register.jpg see number 204

Alice Shepherd Birth Register.jpg see number 944





Beatrice Edward Reunited.pdf

Joseph_Shepard.jpg  Joseph Shepard and a friend

Eggebrecht notes.pdf

Joseph Shepard Death Certificate.jpg

Oakwood Cemetery Website



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Ancestor Tree



Last updated 6/22/2017





The information comes from various sources and there is frequent disagreement about various "facts," including the spelling of last names. Variations and their sources are as follows:


First name:

Abner - Abner Shepherd Rachael Winters Marriage Listing

Abner - Isabella Shepherd Death Register

Abner - Frances Shepard Birth Register

Adner - Edward Sheppard Birth Certificate

Joseph - Edward Shepard Death Certificate

Joseph - 1870 Census

Joseph - 1880 Census

Joseph - Alice Shepherd Birth Register

Joseph - Beatrice Eggebrecht Death Certificate


Last name:

Shepherd - Abner Shepherd Rachael Winters Marriage Listing

Shepherd - Alice Shepherd Birth Register

Sheppard - 1880 Census

Sheppard - Edward Sheppard Birth Certificate

Shepard - Edward Shepard Death Certificate

Shepard - 1870 Census

Shepard - Frances Shepard Birth Register

Shepard- Beatrice Eggebrecht Death Certificate


Place of birth:

Canada - 1870 Census

Canada - Edward Sheppard Birth Certificate

Canada - Frances Shepard Birth Register

Canada - 1880 Census for Lilly Shephard

Canada - Joseph Shepard Death Certificate

France - 1910 Census for Josephine Lord

France - 1900, 1910 & 1930 Census for Edward Shepard

Paris, France - 1920 Census for Edward Shepard

England - 1880 Census

Germany - Alice Shepherd Birth Register


Date of birth:

1832 - Abner Shepherd Rachael Winters Marriage Listing

~1834 - 1870 Census

~1815 - 1880 Census


John Winters shows up consistently on all three census (1860, 1870 & 1880) and ties them together as the correct families and family members.

Numerous assumptions were made in creating the story and are consistent with the handwritten Eggebrecht notes and the typed version that Arthur Andersen documented.