Charles Clement Sheppard           

 

harles C. Sheppard was the youngest son of Morris F. Sheppard, born in Penn Yan 9 June 1808, probably in the "yellow house" on the site of 346 Main Street. He attended the local schools, worked for his father and eventually started in a mercantile career of his own.

During his career he owned at one time or another a great many parcels of land in Penn Yan. He made his great fortune, however, speculating in western lands, and became known as a crafty and rather hard-nosed businessman.

His wife was Jane Bradley, daughter of the temperance and abolition activist Henry Bradley. Three of their children survived him:

    • John Supplee Sheppard, a prominent and influential citizen of Penn Yan;
    • Captain Morris Fletcher Sheppard, who became president of the Yates County National Bank; and
    • Sarah Fletcher Sheppard, who married James Armstrong and successfully carried out her father's many business interests.

Sheppard was very influential in the cause of the Republican party in Penn Yan and Yates County. In his youth he was what was called a "Conscience Whig" or an anti-slavery member of that party. But in 1856 like many in this area, he switched over to the new Republican party with such fervor that in 1860 he was chosen as a delegate to the Republicans' National Convention in Chicago, which nominated Abraham Lincoln, another former Whig.

Closer to home, he was a member of Penn Yan's first public Board of Education, and continued thereon from 1857 (when it was organized) until 1874, serving nine years as the board's president. He contributed heavily to the building of the new Presbyterian Church later in the 1870s, and was a very prominent member of that congregation.

He died in January, 1888, the last survivor of his father's children. Aldrich stated in his 1892 history that, "Peculiar in his ways and methods, as reformers often are, in his intercourse with his fellow-men, we believe that no honest, appreciative person ever listened to his critical counsel and pertinent suggestions without feeling in his heart that he was right," thereby revealing more about the man than he perhaps intended. However, Sheppard contributed a great deal to his home town, and for that we can be grateful.

 

 


Far right: An engraved portrait of Charles C. Sheppard, from an illustration in
History of Yates County, N. Y., edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich
(D. Mason & Co.: Syracuse, 1892).

 

Sheppard was associated with:

Buildings:

   332 Main Street
   338 Main Street

Sites:

   345 Main Street
   The southwest corner