Reminiscing about Lincoln Junior High on the school’s 95th anniversary brought to mind several well known teachers that may have passed on, but they are clearly not forgotten. In reflecting upon the school’s history, former students spoke of Coach Hal Kinard swatting troublesome students, Mr. Williams standing in the hallway to be sure everyone got to class on time, and Miss Shepardson encouraging students to use both sides of a piece of paper so as not to be wasteful.
One of those former Lincoln Junior High students, Dean Schachterle, has offered up the following guest post about Miss Shepardson and also her brother, Charles — both dedicated educators in Fort Collins. Thank you, Dean!
Dr. Charles N. Shepardson is a familiar name at Colorado State University. Another well-known name in Fort Collins is Miss Margaret Shepardson. Unknown to some local citizens is the brother and sister relationship of these prominent educators. Dr. Shepardson is renowned for his achievements in both education and banking. Miss Margaret Shepardson taught many local students English during her long teaching career at Lincoln Junior High School. The following story elaborates part of their family history and accomplishments.
Tragedy brought a widow and her three small children to Fort Collins in September 1901. The widow was Mrs. Mary Margaret (Chatfield) Shepardson and her children were Charles Noah Shepardson (born January 11, 1896), Margaret C. Shepardson (born November 17, 1897) and Marcia L. Shepardson (born December 24, 1899).
The Shepardson family story must begin with more of their family history and journey to Fort Collins.
Twenty-one year old Miss Mary Margaret Chatfield was living in the 5th precinct of Jefferson County, Colorado with her parents Nathan and Margaret Chatfield and her brother Charles H. Chatfield in June 1880 per the U.S. census. She was the seventh and youngest child of Nathan Stoddard Chatfield and Margaret Prudentia Herrick Chatfield. On March 13, 1895, she married Noah Shepardson. Her life would demonstrate that she was truly a sturdy woman.
A famous cousin of Mary Margaret Chatfield was Isaac Willis “I.W.” Chatfield. He came to Colorado after serving with the Union Army during America’s Civil War as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Illinois Volunteer Infantry. After coming to Colorado, he was prominent in building a railroad from Denver to Leadville, served as mayor of Leadville, then later serving in the Colorado State House of Representatives as a Republican (anti-slavery party). Eventually he sold his Colorado lands and moved to Wyoming. Chatfield State Park was formed in 1976 and traces its roots to I. W. Chatfield.
Edward L. Chatfield was Mary Margaret Chatfield Shepardson’s oldest brother.
Mary Margaret Chatfield’s brother Isaac Newton Chatfield came to Colorado in 1890 to operate a grocery store in Littleton. He moved to Fort Collins in 1900 when he was hired to be the custodian at Colorado Agricultural College’s chemistry building (later known as the botany building, then as old main annex). Isaac N. Chatfield was a prominent member of First Presbyterian Church and lived on West Myrtle Street behind the second church building with his wife and three daughters.
Noah Shepardson was born on March 16, 1871 in Illinois. He met Mary Margaret Chatfield after coming to Colorado as a young man. They were married on March 13, 1895 and had three children (Charles N., Margaret C., and Marcia L.). Noah Shepardson was the son of a Union Civil War surgeon and he was twelve years younger than his wife.
Noah Shepardson was on a steep hill-side near Conifer, Colorado on March 9, 1901, with his horse drawn wagon to cut two red spruce poles to make a rack to haul ties on. Shepardson was turning his wagon to miss a tree on the steep hill-side when a branch from another tree tripped his brake and threw him into the side of the wagon. The crown of his head was struck causing a fracture about the size of a half dollar. When Noah did not come home, his wife sent the hired hand Tom Shields to look for her husband. Noah was found with a serious head injury and brought back home. Dr. Baker of Evergreen was dispatched and determined that there was not much hope for recovery. Noah Shepardson died at about 7 p.m. that same day. Mrs. Shepardson contacted her brother, J. H. Chatfield, in Littleton and he came the next morning to help. Together with six other men, J.H. Chatfield examined the accident scene and determined no foul play was involved. Per an advertisement in the Littleton Independent newspaper, J. H. Chatfield sold insurance and real estate, plus he was a notary public and superintendent of the Littleton cemetery where Noah Shepardson was buried.
Shepardson family’s move to Fort Collins
Mrs. Mary Margaret Shepardson moved to Fort Collins with her three young children in September 1901 to be near her brother Isaac Newton Chatfield and his family. She purchased a farm house at 218 West Laurel Street, which included an apple orchard and some land. Her brother helped her find employment at Colorado Agricultural College as a cook. Mary cooked a noon dinner, Monday through Friday, for teachers and professors at the college. On Saturdays, Mary and her children took in washing and ironing, plus baking. Sundays were reserved for church. Family members were devout Presbyterians and attended the church at East Olive and Remington until it moved to the corner of South College and West Myrtle.
The college mess hall on south side of Physics building in 1920 may be where Mrs. Mary Chatfield Shepardson cooked noon meals, Monday through Friday, for many years.
Featuring Dr. Charles Noah Shepardson with a biographical timeline (January 11, 1896 to August 25, 1975)
Due to the numerous achievements of Dr. Charles N. Shepardson, I have reduced his life and career to a timeline of bullet points and photos. You can find expanded stories at many different sources.
- Charles was born January 11, 1896 in Littleton, Colorado to Noah and Mary Shepardson.
- He moved to Fort Collins with his widow mother and two siblings in September 1901. Their family lived in a farm-house purchased by his mother at 218 W. Laurel Street.
- He attended public schools in Fort Collins and graduated from FCHS in 1913. He then attended the local agricultural college.
- Charles was an honor student at Colorado Agricultural College (CAC) and selected three times as an All-Conference player as the center on the football team.
- Earned B.S. degree – dairy science, Colorado Agricultural College in 1917.
- Married Jean Virginia “Nellie” Trammel in Fort Collins on August 17, 1917.
- Served overseas as a Captain in the U.S. Army in World War I.
- 1919 returned from WWI and accepted a job as an extension agent specializing in animal husbandry for the University of Wyoming.
- 1920 to 1928, served as an associate professor of animal husbandry at CAC.
- Nellie Trammel Shepardson, his 1st wife, died on August 17, 1920 (no children).
- Married Florence Redifer in Fort Collins on July 31, 1923.
- Earned M.S. degree in 1924 from Iowa State College (Ames, Iowa).
- A building permit was issued to Charles N. Shepardson on August 21, 1924 to construct a nine room bungalow house at 222 West Laurel Street in Fort Collins. It was next door to home he had lived in with his mother and two sisters.
- Charles N. Shepardson eventually sold or donated his house at 222 West Laurel Street to Colorado State University. In 1940, the house was listed as “Home Ec Practice House.” In 1948, it was listed as “Home Management Residence” for Colorado A & M. During my career at CSU, the house was used by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
- Charles N. Shepardson was head of the dairy husbandry department at Texas A & M from 1928 to 1944.
- S. delegate to the World Dairy Congress in Berlin in 1937.
- Director of American Jersey Cattle Club from 1940 to 1943.
- President of the Texas Dairy Products Association from 1942 to 1944.
- Served as a director of the American Dairy Science Association.
- Dean of the School of Agriculture at Texas A & M from 1944 to 1955.
- Chairman of the resident instruction section of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities in 1947.
- Chairman of the World Dairy Congress in 1947 and 1955.
- Member of the Texas Board of Examiners for Teacher Education from 1953-55 and a member of the National Education Association.
- Member of American Science Association.
- Member of Inter-American Committee for Dairy Industry.
- Chairman of the board of directors of the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas before being appointed a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 1955 by U.S. President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower. He was a member of the board of governors until April 30, 1967 and served as a consultant after 1967.
- He established the Shepardson fund at CSU in 1956 with his wife. Its purpose was to encourage young members of the CSU teaching staff to make their professional careers in teaching and to assist them in improving their competence as teachers.
- Colorado State University bestowed Shepardson with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1959.
- Florence Redifer Shepardson, his 2nd wife, died June 15, 1970 in Washington, D.C. She was buried at Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins (the couple had no children).
- Married his 3rd wife, Lillian E. Ferguson, at Brazos, Texas on April 17, 1971.
- Moved to 421 South Howes Street (Park Lane Towers), Fort Collins in 1971.
- Lillian Shepardson, 3rd wife, died April 13, 1973 in Fort Collins (buried in Brazos, Texas).
- Charles N. Shepardson was instrumental in forming a new CSU Foundation for fund raising and served as chairman of the foundation’s trustee board in 1974.
- CSU’s Dean of Agriculture Donal D. Johnson announced that the agriculture building on campus would be renamed Shepardson Hall to honor Dr. Charles N. Shepardson during homecoming week in 1974.
Featuring Miss Margaret C. Shepardson (November 17, 1897 to November 28, 1965)
The following timeline for Miss Shepardson is similar in format to the one above for her brother Dr. Charles N. Shepardson. Since I had Miss Shepardson as my seventh grade English teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in school year 1959-1960, I will include personal anecdotes later to refresh memories of her many students.
- Margaret was born November 17, 1897 in Littleton, Colorado to Noah and Mary Shepardson.
- She moved to Fort Collins with her widow mother and two siblings in September 1901. The family lived in a farm-house purchased by her mother at 218 West Laurel Street.
- She attended either Franklin or Remington schools during some of her elementary school years, but had third, fourth, fifth grades, and high school at 421 South Meldrum. The cornerstone for a new high school at 1400 Remington was laid on May 9, 1924 and the school on South Meldrum became Fort Collins Junior High until 1939, when it was renamed Lincoln Junior High.
She graduated from FCHS in 1917 with a class of 46 students. Their graduation ceremony was held at Colorado Agricultural College’s auditorium in Old Main.
- Margaret earned a teaching degree in 1921 at Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley.
- She taught school at Livermore for two years before two years at Laurel Elementary.
- She began teaching at Fort Collins Junior High School in 1927, which was renamed Lincoln Junior High School in 1939. She taught English for 37 years at the junior high school.
- The Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs awarded Margaret Shepardson “Oscars for Teachers” recognition in 1958 for peers with ten or more years teaching.
- Miss Shepardson was acknowledged at a retirement tea (local news clipping, May 24, 1963).
- She was a member of Chapter AL of the PEO.
- She was worthy matron of the Fort Collins Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star.
- Miss Shepardson was grand worthy matron of Order of Eastern Star in Colorado (1942), the third lady from Fort Collins to hold that position.
- She was a past mother advisor of Rainbow Assembly No. 2 in Fort Collins.
- She traveled extensively in Europe and United States and was part of a two month tour with Christian Herald in 1954 to Mediterranean countries and the Holy Land with highlight of celebrating Easter in Jerusalem.
- She was an active member of First United Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins, taught Sunday School classes, and was a co-leader of Circle 14 of the Presbyterians Golden Circle.
- She was a past president of the Fort Collins Teachers Club.
- Margaret C. Shepardson had a heart attack at home and died at Poudre Valley Memorial Hospital on November 28, 1965. Her funeral service was conducted by Dr. Roy E. Howes at First United Presbyterian Church with interment at Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins.
- The Poudre School District’s Board of Education named a new elementary school in southeast Fort Collins “Shepardson” after former teacher Miss Margaret C. Shepardson in July 1978, as a tribute to her “grace and love for all children.”
Featuring Marcia L. Shepardson Ward, sister of Charles N. and Margaret Shepardson (December 24, 1899 to January 7, 1932)
- Marcia Shepardson was born December 24, 1899 in Littleton, Colorado to Noah and Mary Margaret Chatfield Shepardson.
- She became a trained private nurse after attending high school in Fort Collins.
- She went east after living with her mother and siblings at 218 West Laurel Street in Fort Collins, Colorado.
- She married Thomas E. Ward in about 1929, possibly in Chicago, Illinois.
- Marcia died unexpectedly on January 7, 1932 and was returned to Fort Collins for burial at Grandview Cemetery. She and her siblings did not have any children.
Anecdotes and Trivia
Memories are slowly fading away about Miss Shepardson as a teacher at Lincoln Junior High School and her role as a staunch pillar in the Fort Collins community. I present the following personal anecdotes and trivia to honor the legacy of Miss Margaret C. Shepardson, my seventh grade English teacher.
- On the first day of school, she had each student state their name to classmates. Then she would elaborate by telling the class names of their siblings, parents and other relatives she had taught.
- Since her students were now in a large junior high school, after being brought together from ten public elementary schools and three parochial schools in Fort Collins, she encouraged everyone to meet and become friends with someone they had not known previously. My first new friend was Bert Barela and I met many more new friends, thanks to Miss Shepardson.
- Miss Shepardson often spoke about walking in Fort Collins, which she was prolific at doing. She decried others who would not acknowledge her “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” greeting as they passed one another on Fort Collins sidewalks.
- Students were not allowed to chew gum in her class, unless she provided it. Therefore, she would occasionally give each student a piece of “Chiclets” gum at the beginning of class, then before class change she would walk the aisles to ensure each student discarded the gum in her waste basket before going to another classroom.
- Near the end of each school year, Miss Shepardson would give her students a slide-show of her many trips to Oberammergau, Germany to watch live actors performing the “Passion Play” to begin each decade.
- Despite my lack of concentration while Miss Shepardson was teaching us how to diagram sentences, she wrote “fine boy” on my report card at the end of the school year.
- She remains one of my all-time favorite teachers.
- Although I do not know what Miss Shepardson’s middle name was, I suspect that it was Chatfield after her mother’s maiden name.
- One of Miss Shepardson’s best friends was Catherine Somerville, an FCHS “class of 1917” classmate. Catherine’s mother, Amelia Somerville, died in 1906 at age 39, which probably fueled a wonderful friendship of two girls that had lost a parent to death.
- Before Catherine Somerville’s father Frank Atwell Somerville died in 1922, he married Alpharetta DeVotie Lemon Somerville. The couple lived at 424 West Mountain Avenue.
- Miss Shepardson’s good friend Catherine Somerville married Henry Howard Kob. Their son was Alan Kob, my eighth grade wood shop teacher at Lincoln Junior High School.
- Miss Shepardson resided at 218 West Laurel Street until early 1927. Shortly after the death of her mother on February 15, 1925, the house on West Laurel Street was listed for sale. Miss Shepardson used her assets from the sale of home at 218 West Laurel Street to travel extensively.
- It’s unknown where Miss Shepardson was living between 1927 and 1940. But from 1940 until her death, she resided with the widow Mrs. Alpharetta “Alpha” Somerville at 424 West Mountain Avenue.
Miss Margaret C. Shepardson helped make Fort Collins a great place to live!
Exhibit 1 – Charles Shepardson’s death notice was published in Coloradoan on August 22, 1975.
Exhibit 2 – This photo was used for Margaret Shepardson’s funeral brochure.
Exhibit 3 – Photo shows Nathan Stoddard Chatfield, daughter Mary Margaret, & wife Margaret Prudentia Herrick. Courtesy of Terry & Margaret “Peg” (Chatfield) McCarty posted at find-a grave.
Exhibit 4 – Map source: The Chatfield Story: Civil War Letters and Diaries of Private Edward L. Chatfield of the 113th Illinois Volunteers, by Terry M. McCarty.
Exhibit 5 – Fort Collins historic photos archive – house at 218 West Laurel Street in 1948, purchased by Mrs. Mary Chatfield Shepardson circa 1901 and demolished in 2013, plus a google capture from 2016 showing Peck Apartments built there in 2014.
Exhibit 6 – CAC Physics building and mess hall are shown on east side of oval in this 1920 CSU historic photos archive image (UHPCSNP_10328).
Exhibit 7 – CAC football in 1916, Charles N. Shepardson, CSU historic photo archives (UHPC_1072).
Exhibit 8 – My photos show Charles N. Shepardson house at 222 West Laurel Street in Fort Collins.
Exhibit 9 – CSU historic photos archive (UHPCSNP_9471) showing new agriculture building in May 1940, plus my photos of that building in September 2017 (now named Shepardson)).
Exhibit 10 – FCHS in 1921, Fort Collins historic photos archive (H24122).
Exhibit 11 – CSU historic photos archive (UHPC_4145), public school at 421 South Meldrum.
Exhibit 12 – Retirement party for Miss Shepardson was held in May 1963 at Lincoln Junior High School. Fort Collins historic photos archive: H09800; H09799; and H09801.
Exhibit 13 – My photo on July 4, 2017 of home at 424 West Mountain Avenue.
Fort Collins City Directories at Museum of Discovery / Ancestry.com / Find-a-grave website
The Greeley Daily Tribune – August 10, 1975; Fort Collins Coloradoan – August 15, 1974; Fort Collins Coloradoan – August 22, 1975; Fort Collins Coloradoan – July 11, 1978; and Tringle Review – July 19, 1978
Home of the Champions: The History of Fort Collins High School 1889-1989 by Robert H. Pike, M.D. (published by Lambkin Enterprises)
The Chatfield Story: Civil War Letters and Diaries of Private Edward L. Chatfield of the 113th Illinois Volunteers by Terry M. McCarty with Margaret Ann Chatfield McCarty (published by BookSurge Publishing)