Joseph Shepard II

Plot J, Section 7, Lot 2
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

Who says Sheppard and Wilson don’t come together? They do when they’re a married couple. Joseph Shepard II and Elizabeth Willson were long-time residents of York Township. Joseph owned a large 200-acre parcel of land on the south side of today’s Sheppard Avenue between Leslie Street and Don Mills Road from 1849 until 1872. He was a son of Joseph Shepard I who acquired 400 acres of land at the northwest corner of today’s Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in the early 1800s. The concession road fronting the elder Shepard’s property took his surname, though with a slightly altered spelling. About 1860, his son Joseph Shepard II built the general store that stood until the mid-’90s at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue.
   As for Elizabeth Willson, she was a descendant of John Willson I who had emigrated to Upper Canada during the American Revolutionary War. He obtained land on Yonge Street in York Township. All of Willson senior’s sons, John II (who helped build St. John’s Anglican Church, York Mills), Stilwell, William, Isaac, and Jonathon became prominent landowners in the township as did many of their descendants.
   One of the Willson daughters, Elizabeth married into the Shepard family. The spelling of the Shepard and Willson surnames changed slightly when they were affixed to a couple of the township’s pioneer east-west thoroughfares. Joseph Shepard II died on April 24, 1899 at the age of 84.

Mike Filey
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded

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