Greenwood History Part 3... 
The Shepherds

Frank and Amelia had one daughter, Mary Cecilia. She was born in 1826. 

In its extensive collection, Greenwood has two of her childhood dresses and some of her toys, including building blocks and dominos. It's fun to look at these artifacts and picture in your mind Mary Cecilia as a child.

Can you see her skipping along in the garden or playing quietly by the big fireplace in the kitchen? 

It's a bit more difficult to picture Greenwood's current Victorian dining room as a general store. The mahogany sideboard, the Empire sofa, the petit-point fire-screens, and the many other interesting objects in the room provide no evidence of past commerce. However, on the second level, just above the dining room, there is the outline of a trap door on the floor. It's much easier to imagine this area as a storage room, full of store supplies.

1847 marks the next chapter of Greenwood's history. Mary Cecilia Delesderniers married Captain Robert Ward Shepherd that year.

Robert was the largely self-educated son of John Shepherd and Esther Ward, who had emigrated from Norfolk, England. Mary Cecilia and Robert had ten children. This family was also involved with business... but of a different kind!

R.W. was known as both a leader in the community and a pioneer in the development of steam navigation on the Ottawa River. After serving as a volunteer in the 1837 Rebellion, he made his living in the shipping business. He identified the channel through the Vaudreuil rapids and was subsequently given the command of the "Oldfield" steamer. R.W. moved up the ranks in 1857 with his appointment as the second president of the Ottawa Navigation Company. 

R.W.'s entrepreneurial focus, however, was not only on the water. In 1849, Captain Shepherd built "Riversmead," just down the road and east of Greenwood. (Watch for this beautiful house the next time you are driving down Main Road towards the Willow.) When the family moved to their new home, Greenwood became a summer residence. The eldest son, R.W. Shepherd II, and his wife, Margaret Anne Robertson shared Greenwood with R.W.'s sister, Mary Roberta (May) Shepherd, who had married George Ross Robertson. The house was divided into two parts, one for each family, with a kitchen extension added at each end. 

From an archived note written by R.W. Shepherd III, we get a sense of the summer exit from the city...

"One of the highlights of our younger days was the exciting experience each spring when our family moved from Montreal to Como for the summer. My brother, sisters and I were driven to the Company dock on the Lachine Canal by the same old cabby each year. There we boarded the "Sovereign" while she was taking on fuel and supplies. We children slept on board, going up the canal between eight and ten o'clock at night to the Lachine Wharf, where the steamer lay over until morning, proceeding to Como the following day. The sights along the Canal intrigued us, watching flames pouring out of the iron chimneys of the rolling mills, meeting other craft, steamboats, tugs and barges and to smell the steam and oakum on the main deck. All this added to the thrill of the trip."

When Mary Cecilia Shepherd passed away in 1901, R.W. Shepherd II inherited Riversmead, and Greenwood was bequeathed to his youngest brother, Delesderniers (Del) Shepherd. In the next section, we will learn how Del and his wife, Vicky McCallum, put Greenwood on the "social" map due to their lavish and frequent parties.

Click ahead to Greenwood History 4: Home of Cecil and Percy Nobbs. 

Return to Greenwood History.

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