"Before the start of the Revolution, James, [his brothers] John and Robert moved to Wilkes County, N. C. James settled on the north side of the Yadkin River opposite the mouth of Moravian Creek . . . " -- David H. Reece, "Thomas and Nancy (Stanton) Shepherd", Heritage of Old Buncombe County, Vol II (Doris Cline Ward, Editor), 1987, p. 337.
David Reece goes on to say, "James fought in the Revolutionary War, attaining the rank of Captain which title he retained as a member of the N. C. Militia after the war." However, other research suggests that his son, James Shepherd, Jr., was the captain and that James Shepherd, Sr., indeed served in the war but was not a captain. (For more information about the historical issues, click this link to see a recent statement by Shepherd descendant Brodrick Shepherd.)
"According to manuscripts of General William Lenoir published in Paul Gregory's Early Settlers of Reddies River, James fought in the Revolutionary War, participating in at least four campaigns. He served under Captain William Lenoir in the Expeditions to Ransomers, June 17 - August 20, 1780. James also served under Captain Lenoir in the Expedition to the New River, November 22, 1780. . . . James was also among the members of Captain Joel Lewis Company of light horse from Wilkes County on an expedition against Colonel Ferguson (Kings Mountain Expedition), September 7 - November 7, 1780. He also served under the command of Captain Herndon on a tour of duty to the Catawba River (Catawba River Expedition), August 30, 1780."
"A 1787 census of Judd's District, Wilkes County, NC, indicates that James owned two slaves. In 1786, James was taxed for 210 acres of land. By 1795 he was taxed for 1,008 acres."