Biography of William H. Shepard

William H. Shepard. When William H. Shepard left college he chose the work which seemed most congenial and for which he had the greatest apparent adaptability, and entered a bank in Illinois. For thirty consecutive years he has applied himself to the subject of banking, and his business success and prominence is largely due to this concentration of effort along one line.

Mr. Shepard is now vice president of the First National Bank of Coffeyville, and is identified with several other important concerns which might be classed as public utilities in that part of Kansas. His branch of the Shepard family came from England and settled in New York State prior to the Revolution. His grandfather Chauncey J. Shepard was born in 1801, lived for a number of years in Vermont, was a farmer and died at Norfolk, New York, in 1881.

William H. Shepard, Sr., father of the Coffeyville banker, was born at Norfolk, New York, October 19, 1836. Three months after his birth his parents moved to Fairfax, Vermont, where he grew up and where he married. He taught school there, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and almost at the outset of his professional career moved west to Cambridge, Illinois, where he was engaged in the successful practice of his profession the rest of his life. He died at Cambridge, October 5, 1888. As a republican he represented his home district in the Illinois State Senate for two terms. He was a member of the Masonic Order. The senior Mr. Shepard married Mary Jackson, who was born at Westford, Vermont January 30, 1840, and is now living at Kansas City, Kansas. The second of their two children was Frederick J., who died when one year of age, and William H. Shepard, Jr., is the only survivor.

William H. Shepard, Jr., was born at Cambridge, Illinois, May 13, 1865, was educated in the public schools of that city, graduating from high school in 1883, and then entered and pursued the regular academic course in Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois, where he was graduated in 1887.

On returning home from college he was granted an opportunity to learn the banking business, beginning at the bottom, in the First National Bank of Cambridge, was soon made bookkeeper, and held that position until the fall of 1889. For about two years after that he was cashier of the bank at Florence, Alabama, and then in September, 1891 arrived in Coffeyville.

This city has been his home and the stage of his larger business activities for a quarter of a century. Beginning as teller in the First National Bank he was promoted to assistant cashier in 1894, to cashier in 1900, and since 1905 has been vice president.

In the meantime his energies have been extended to other affairs. In March, 1904, with his brother-in-law, George W. Chain, as partner, he took up the manufacture of ice, and the Shepard & Chain Ice Company now supplies the bulk of the artificial ice consumed in Coffeyville and by the railroad companies, and also in several of the surrounding towns. Mr. Shepard is president of the company with George W. Chain as secretary and treasurer. They have one plant of thirty tons daily capacity, located at the corner of Spruce and Fourteenth streets, while the other plant, with a daily capacity of fifty tons, is east of Coffeyville, where the Missouri Pacific crosses the Verdigris River. Each plant has its own storage house.

Mr. Shepard is also manager and treasurer of the Coffeyville Gas and Fuel Company, whose offices are at 110 West Eighth Street. He became manager of the old People’s Gas Company in January, 1905, and remained with the reorganization under the present name of Coffeyville Gas & Fuel Company. This company supplies Coffeyville with natural gas obtained from the Kansas Natural Gas Company. The other officers of the company are: W. C. Hall, president; and C. M. Ball, vice president.

In politics Mr. Shepard is a republican. He is past master of the Keystone Lodge, No. 102, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of Coffeyville Chapter, No. 89, Royal Arch Masons, Lochinvar Commandery, No. 52 Knights Templar, Abdallah Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Leavenworth, and belongs to Lodge No. 775, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Shepard and wife reside at 804 Beech Street. On April 12, 1894, at Coffeyville he married Miss Elfrida Hoffman. Her parents Charles and Minnie Hoffman are now living retired at Coffeyville.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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