This collection contains several items related to the work of San Francisco pension attorney James L. Shepard (born Jan.
1843 in Bergen, New Jersey; died Apr. 10, 1917, in Oakland, Calif.). The primary item is a ledger book of clients containing
559 chronological name entries from Nov. 9, 1891 to Nov. 7, 1892 of Civil War veterans that identifies them by name, service
unit, residence, pension application/certificate numbers, disability and other data. The collection includes a partially-completed
form filled out by Abby (aka Abbie) L. McChesney (nee Abigail Lincoln Hunt; Aug. 31 1856-Oct. 5, 1917) of San Francisco, Calif.
, widow of Robert Watson McChesney (Aug. 17, 1831-Nov. 23, 1908), full 2nd Sergeant in Company B, Iowa 36th Infantry Regiment.
Also included are a memo from Ray Owen, researcher, to Tony Hoskins, Local History and Genealogy Librarian, dated Agu. 5,
2014, providing a summary of information on Shepard, and several pages of background information printed from Ancestry.com
and other sources.
Prior to an Act of Congress in 1892, a veteran had to demonstrate a service-related disability to be eligible for an "invalid"
pension-- the only type available to veterans. Many petitioners engaged the service of an attorney, commonly called a "pension
attorney" (the 1892 Act eliminated the disability requirement, though "invalid" pensions could result in higher allotments).
James L. Shepard of San Francisco and Oakland was one such "pension attorney," apparently working on his own in San Francisco
in 1891 and as a partner of Shepard & Norton, Oakland, Calif., in 1892. Shepard was married to the much younger Eliza London
Shepard (1866-1939) and they were listed as living in Oakland with their two children in the 1900 Census; Eliza Shepard was
the step-sister of Jack London. James E. Shepard had reportedly accompanied Jack London to the Yukon during the 1898 gold
rush. Their marriage ended in divorce before Shepard's death in 1917. Eliza Shepard and a son, "Irving," moved to Glen Ellen
and was associated with his ranch and the construction of the "Wolf House." She remained associated with the London estate
and Jack London's widow, Charmian, until Eliza's death in 1939.