1676 Chelmsford Middlesex County Massachusetts, USA
Sep. 14, 1736 Groton Middlesex County Massachusetts, USA
Sheple, a phonetic spelling, was variously spelled "Shepley", "Shipley", and "Shapleigh".
All of John's family (John Sheple, father; Susannah Wheeler, mother; and at least two unknown siblings) were massacred by the Abenaki Indians during one of the attacks on Groton on July 27, 1694, a skirmish brought on by the French and Indian Wars. Only Capt. 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, Capt. Jonathan Boyden.
John Sheple was elected as a Representative of Groton to the House of Representatives: May 30, 1716 May 21, 1717 May 28, 1718
Elected Town Clerk of Groton: March 3, 1730 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.
Information Sources: -------------------- - An Historical Address Delivered at Groton, Massachusetts, February 20, 1880, at the Dedication of Three Monuments erected by the town. By Samual Abbot Green, a Native of the Town. - An Historical Sketch of Groton, MA, Samuel A. Green, 1894 - Article by Roger Angell in The New Yorker - History of the Town of Groton, Including Pepperell and Shirley, From the First Grant of Groton Plantation in 1655 Caleb Butler, 1848 - John Gibson, His Descendants, 1634-1899 Mehitable Calef Coppenhagen Wilson, 1900 - History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts Rev. Wilson Waters, 1917 - American Biography, A New Cyclopedia, AHS, Vol. V, 1919, pp. 319-320 - Geneological and Family History of the State of Maine, George Thomas Little, Vol. IV, 1909