John Shepley, III (1676 - 1736)

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Birthplace: Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death: Died in Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Managed by: Cynthia Stableford
Last Updated:

About John Shepley, III

Sheple, a phonetic spelling, was variously spelled "Shepley", "Shipley", and "Shapleigh".

All of John's family (John Shepley, father; Susannah Wheeler, mother; and at least two unknown siblings) were massacred by the Abenaki Indians during one of the attacks on Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts on July 27, 1694, a skirmish brought on by the French and Indian Wars. Only Captain John Sheple, then age 16/17, survived.

The inscription on the Shepley Monument at Groton states: "The Indians massacred all the Sheples in Groton save a John Sheple, 16 years old who the[y] carried captive to Canada and kept him 4 years, after which he returned to Groton and from him descended all the Sheples or Shepleys in this vicinity."

(A drawing of the monument by A.B.Coburn can be found on p.184 of Samuel A. Green's Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground, Groton, Massachusetts, 1878. The monument was built by J. Fiske in 1835).

John was carried off by the natives to Canada where he was held captive for 3.5 years, picking up their language and customs before being rescued (some reports state that he left reluctantly) and returned to Groton. He soon married Lydia Lakin, daughter of John and Mary Bacon Lakin, and had five children. He became an important statesman in his town, holding many offices of trust and civil and ecclesiastical responsibility, and was the subject of much history and legend regarding his ongoing relations with the natives. After John Sheple's death, his widow Lydia married her cousin Elizbeth Lakin's widow, Captain Jonathan Boyden.

John Sheple was elected as a Representative of Groton to the House of Representatives: May 30, 1716; May 21, 1717; and May 28, 1718. He was elected Town Clerk of Groton: March 3, 1730 and March 5, 1734.

Children of Capt. John and Lydia Sheple:

- Jonathan (b. Sep 1, 1700) m. Lydia Lakin Dec 26, 1728, d. William & Elizabeth Lakin

- John Jr. (b. Apr 1, 1703) m. Elizabeth Boiden/Boyden

- Jane (b. Apr 6, 1705)

- Mary (b. Dec 20, 1712)

- Nathaniel (b. Nov 16, 1714)

- Joseph (b. May 22, 1721)

Famous Descendants: Hon. Ether Sheple(y) (1789-1877), formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Maine.

Picture of the grave marker for the Shepley family

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John Shepley, III's Timeline

1676
1676
Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
1700
September 1, 1700
Age 24
1700
Age 24
Chelmsford, MA
1703
April 1, 1703
Age 27
Groton, MA, USA
1705
April 6, 1705
Age 29
Groton, MA, USA
1712
December 20, 1712
Age 36
1714
November 17, 1714
Age 38
1721
May 22, 1721
Age 45
1736
September 14, 1736
Age 60
Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
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Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts