The Shepherd Canning Business
From what Dad (Talmage Otis Shepherd) and Uncle Harold told me of the canning operation, the
building was on or near the spot where the shed closest to the house stands now.
Our Grandfather (Henry Taylor Shepherd) started it around 1925, and it ended about 1929 or 1930.
He made his profit by charging for a portion of the canning. If someone -- let’s say -- had ten bushels of
beans to can, Grandad would be paid one bushel, and so on. If he did charge money for the canning, I
don't know how that was figured out. I was told they would can fruit, vegetables, and meat in different
Dad said they did a booming trade for a while, until several other families in the area started the same
type of operation. That’s why they stopped. He said the building and all the equipment were there for
several years after that.
I remember hearing that Uncle Floyd and Uncle Jeter used to sleep in the canning shed on the second
floor, and they almost burned it down one night, using a kerosene lamp. I don't know if it fell over, or if it
was placed too close to something that caught fire, but they put the fire out, and saved the building,
and it didn't hurt the operation any.
The only thing that I've always wondered about that operation is this: they used lead to seal the cans, I
wonder if anyone back then got lead poisoning from it.
--Stephen A. Shepherd
28 March 2006