There were Shepherds Living in the Same Country

There were Shepherds Living in the Same Country  Luke 2:8

Back: Christine, Momma Carra, Daddy Pud, Claudine Front: Betty, Helen, Rachel

Claude E. Shepherd had been called Pud (rhymes with good) for as long as anyone can remember.  It’s a mystery where this nickname came from.  He was called Pud by those who knew him, daddy Pud by his children, uncle Pud, cousin Pud, etc.

Carra and Claude Shepherd

Claude married Carra E Garman on December 1, 1923. Both were from Catawba, Virginia as were their parents. Claude was born on November 7, 1904, to John and Mollie Shepherd. There were seven boys and two girls in the Shepherd family.  Carra was the ninth child of 17 children born on September 4, 1900, to William and Luemma Garman. That family had nine boys and eight girls.

After Claude and Carra married, they lived with Claude’s parents in Catawba Valley. Their first child, Rachel was born there on September 18, 1924.   Not long after Rachel was born Claude and Carra moved to a large home on Catawba Creek road on the Andrews Farm where Claude would work as the manager for many years.


The family would grow quickly with the next births being the arrival of twin girls, Christine, followed 10 minutes later by Claudine on February 7, 1927.  Twin girls was a historic event. Out of 66 children born to 14 families of William & Luemma Garman, there would only be one set of twins.  In time, Claudine and Christine would be referred to as the “Catawba Twins.”

Two years later on February 9, 1929, Betty would be born. They would have one more child, and Claude would assume I am sure that it would be a boy. Wrong. In March of 1933 a redheaded baby girl, Helen, would arrive to complete the family of five girls. All five were born at home delivered by the Catawba midwife, Ms. Lawson. Rachel and Helen were redheads like their dad, while the twins would be brunettes and Betty would have jet black hair as daddy Pud would say.

Over the next quarter century, this family of five would journey through hardships, the Depression and World War Two. Not that they were alone in that respect because all the families living in Catawba Valley, Virginia would do the same. Travel with me now as we go back in time to see how this family reflects on their lives.



The Shepherd’s house on Andrews Farm Artist: Helen Shepherd

After marriage and starting a family, Pud became manager of the Andrew’s farm and moved the family of seven into the large farmhouse that was on the Andrew’s property.  Back in that period, most folks lived on farms and had large families to do the work, being it was quite helpful to have a good mixture of boys and girls. The Shepherd family was complete with Daddy Pud, the only man in a home with six ladies.  Have mercy!

Most all families in that day had similar living conditions. No indoor plumbing, no electricity, minimal heating, and no grocery store are things that most all people, today, find unimaginable. But those of us raised in those harsh times know how it was and are better today because of it. The Shepherd family had one advantage that others did not. Water was piped into their home from a nearby spring, and that water was as cold as could be and the sweetest tasting water this side of heaven. Other families had to carry water to their homes, sometimes for long distances and at times uphill.

The Shepherd’s house had large rooms and was very spacious. It was a beautiful farmhouse with a porch that had a nice view of Catawba all around you—– there really is no such thing as a bad Catawba view.  The girls slept on straw tick mattresses. A straw tick is a large cloth bag stuffed with straw and sometimes corn shucks or leaves. That was your bed. No frame, forget having a box spring, just a bag stuffed with straw lying on the floor. No problem getting out of bed. The girls would get excited when once a year Daddy Pud would put fresh straw into their mattresses. On occasion, parents might have a feather bed but not so the children. Not enough feathers to go around, I suppose. The only heat at night in the winter would come from a fireplace or cook stove. Mostly at bedtime one would put on heavy clothes and pile on quilts to stay warm.

Without electricity, there were no lights although electricity would come years later, and when it did, there was just a light bulb in the ceiling with a pull cord. Oil lamps were used sparingly, and they were a source that one had to handle carefully. Oil lanterns were all school-age children had to read and study by after dark.   Things that we take for granted were nonexistent in the Valley.

ChrisRachClaudBetHel SunSchool
Christine, Rachel, Claudine, Betty and Helen ready for church


B Christine, Kathleen Taylor, Helen Shepherd, Hilda Taylor, Jo Taylor, Harold Taylor, Willis Taylor Front Eloise Taylor, Fred Taylor, lola Peggy Melvin Taylor

Cousins.  Back: Christine Shepherd, Kathleen Taylor, Helen Shepherd, Hilda Taylor, Jo Taylor, Harold Taylor, Willis Taylor Front: Eloise Taylor, Fred Taylor, Lola Taylor, Peggy Taylor and Melvin Taylor


Claude’s Model T

While caring for the livestock was part of the girl’s responsibility, Batty came up with a way to feed three lambs at one time.  Holding one bottle in each hand and holding one bottle between her knees.

Betty feeding 3 babies at a time

Betty feeding 3 lambs at the same time.

Rachel, Betty, Christine, Claudine, Helen

To read more about the Shepherds, click here for the E-book.

Like articles like this? Then you would love Echoes From Catawba Volume 1, Growing Up In Catawba Valley, Appalachia. 

Click here to order Echoes From Catawba Volume 1  hardcover, collector’s edition: $27.99, includes shipping.  Also available on Amazon. Paperback: $18.99 and Kindle: $5.99

Also available at the Salem Museum Book Store in Salem, Virginia and The Emporium on Main Street in New Castle, Virginia.

2 thoughts on “There were Shepherds Living in the Same Country

    1. Thanks for your nice comment, Judy. Your Mom and I are first cousins and I love her dearly. It was a real joy for me to write that article talking with Betty, Chris, Claudine and Helen. I think the world of all of them. Tell your Mom Ted says hello. —-Ted

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