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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Shepard, Charles Biddle

by Gertrude S. Carraway, 1994

5 Dec. 1807–24 Oct. 1843

A miniature portrait of Charles Biddle Shepard. Image courtesy of Tryon Palace.Charles Biddle Shepard, state legislator and congressman, was the son of William and Mary Williams Blount Shepard of New Bern. An older brother, William Biddle, was a congressman and state senator from Pasquotank County. Charles Shepard was named for his uncle, Captain Charles Biddle of Philadelphia, who on 25 Nov. 1778 at Beaufort had married Hannah Shepard, the daughter of merchant Jacob Shepard. Among the Biddles' children were Commodore James Biddle, U.S. Navy, and Nicholas Biddle (1786–1844), president of the U.S. Bank. After studying at private schools in his native New Bern, Charles Shepard was graduated from The University of North Carolina in 1827. The next year he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in New Bern.

In 1831, when Charles George Spaight, the youngest of the three sons of Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr., died before taking his seat in the North Carolina House of Commons, Shepard was named to fill the vacancy; he subsequently won reelection. As a Democrat he served in Congress from 4 Mar. 1837 to 3 Mar. 1841, then resumed the practice of law in New Bern until his death. Following the funeral from Christ Episcopal Church, his remains were interred in Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern.

On 20 Dec. 1830 he married Lydia G. Jones, of New Bern, the daughter of Frederick Jones. She died on 24 Nov. 1833, leaving a son. On 24 Mar. 1840 he married Mary Spaight Donnell (28 Sept. 1817–30 Apr. 1883), the daughter of Judge John Robert (1789–1864) and Margaret Elizabeth Spaight Donnell (1800–1831) and the granddaughter of Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.

One of their daughters, Mary Spaight Shepard (18 Mar. 1843–1 Jan. 1892), married James Augustus Bryan (13 Sept. 1839–30 Jan. 1923) of New Bern; they were the parents of Colonel Charles Shepard Bryan (1865–1956). The other Shepard daughter, Margaret Donnell Shepard, married Samuel Steward Nelson. All were buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern.

A miniature portrait of William Shepard (1765-1810), father of James Biddle Shepard and Charles Biddle Shepard. Image courtesy of Tryon Palace.References:

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1971).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Christ Church records, Craven County records (New Bern).

Raleigh Register, 31 Oct. 1843.

Tombstone inscriptions, Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern.

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851).

Who Was Who in America: Historical Edition, 1607–1896 (1967).

Additional Resources:

"Shepard, Charles Biddle, (1808 - 1843)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Lemmon, Sarah McCulloh. The Pettigrew Papers volume 2. Raleigh [N.C.] : State Dept. of Archives and History. 1988. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Donnell Family Papers, 1795-1869 (collection no. 01154). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed June 10, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Portrait, Miniature--Charles Biddle Shepard. Picture., Accession #: P.TP.1969.010.004." Early 18th century? North Carolina Tryon Palace.

"Portrait, Miniature--William Shepard. Picture., Accession #: P.TP.1969.010.005." late 17th/early 18th. North Carolina Tryon Palace.

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