On the Porch

Cyrus P. Shepard was born in the state of New York on Nov. 13, 1839. Shepard descends from family members who served in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Handed down from generation to generation was an old fife. The fife had been carried by members of the family in the wars mentioned above. The musical instrument was lost in a battle during the American Civil War, while being carried by another family member, Myron Shepard.

In 1861, Cyrus started out West with the intention of locating in Missouri, but he proceeded to Wisconsin. As Arthur P. Rose describes in “The History of Lyon County” published in 1912, Cyrus manifested the same loyal spirit as was shown by his ancestors by joining the boys in blue. Cyrus was mustered in as an enlisted man in Company D of the Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry, under Captain Polleys of La Crosse. Cyrus was promoted rapidly to the rank of captain of his company, and he participated in many battles. A few of the battles include: Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Tupelo, siege of Vicksburg, Champion Hills, Edwards’s Ferry, Nashville, and Mobile among others. He was in service until his muster out at Mobile on October 11, 1865.

After the war ended, Cyrus returned to New York and rented his father’s farm. In 1868, he moved to Stillwater, where he engaged in the mercantile business for several years. While in Stillwater, Cyrus married Anna D. Cowan on January 12, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Shepard had the following children: Cyrus, Eugene, Ernest, and Veda. In 1877, the family moved to Worthington, where he was a dealer in lumber, fuel, and agricultural implements.

In 1886, Cyrus was appointed register of the United States Land Office, during President Cleveland’s first administration. The office was located in Worthington, and Cyrus oversaw the territory of the country between the Mississippi River and the South Dakota line. He held office under appointment until the office moved to Marshall. He was reappointed by President Cleveland as register and moved to Marshall. He held the office in Marshall from 1894 to 1904 when the office was relocated to St. Cloud. After the office moved to St. Cloud, Cyrus decided to retire and remain in Marshall. In his retirement, he was in charge of the county recorder’s office. Cyrus and Anna’s son Ernest served as Lyon County Auditor for a few years. Their daughter, Veda, was a stenographer in the office of Minnesota Governor Adolph Olson Eberhart.

The photograph featured this week is a cabinet card featuring a copy of a photograph of Cyrus taken during the American Civil War mounted on it. The cabinet card photograph was produced by photographer, Clifford C. Kenney, who traveled with his photography equipment. He operated in Morton, Mankato, Echo, Redwood Falls, Marshall, and Cottonwood. He established a branch gallery in Cottonwood. The photographer stamp on Cyrus’s cabinet card photograph has “Kenney, Marshall, Minn.”, and it was likely produced around 1900.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. The Lyon County Museum is open to visitors. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.


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