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Margaret Shepard

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At a Glance

Margaret Shepard of New Bern, NC, who attended the Burwell School in the late 1840s and is listed in the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 [1], was a student of exceptionally distinguished ancestry [2].


Margaret Shepard's great-great-grandfather was N.C. Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, [Sr.] who married Mary Jones Leach c. 1795. Their son was N.C. Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, [Jr.] who served from 1835 to 1836 and was Margaret's great-grandfather. Richard Dobbs Spaight, [Jr.]'s daughter, Margaret Spaight, married Judge John Robert Donnell, Judge of the N.C. Superior Court from 1819-1836 and UNC trustee for thirty-five years.

One of the Donnells' five children, Mary Donnell, married the Hon. Charles Biddle Shepard of New Bern, NC. Charles Biddle Shepard took an AB at UNC in 1827 and received an MA in 1830. He served in the N.C. General Assembly, 1832-1833, and was a member of the U.S. Congress from 1837-1841.

Charles Biddle Shepard and Mary Donnell had two daughters: Margaret Shepard, who attended the Burwell School in the late 1840s and married Samuel S. Nelson, and Mary Shepard , who married James A. Bryan [3] [2].

Biographical Data

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.
  2. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  3. The Alumni History of the University of North Carolina.