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Cornelius "Boots" Shepard

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Information about Cornelius "Boots" Shepard

Profile image of Cornelius "Boots" Shepard

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Railroad Chef

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Green
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/11/1915
Birth Location:
Sedalia, Missouri

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Railroad Chef

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Green
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/11/1915
Birth Location:
Sedalia
See how Cornelius "Boots" Shepard is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Railroad chef Boots (Cornelius Orville) Shepard was born on July 11, 1915, in Sedalia, Missouri to Mabel Smith Shepard and Raymond Shepard. Shepard has traced his ancestors back to slavery and many of his relatives attended the now forgotten George R. Smith College, which was a popular Methodist institution named for Sedalia Missouri’s founder and the college’s benefactor. The school was a magnet for black people for miles around. Shepard was a very strong willed child; he received the nickname “Boots” when he refused to take off a pair of his new boots before going to bed. Shepard attended Franklin Elementary School and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1935.

While attending high school in the 1930s, Shepard met his future wife, Loreatha Mae. The couple raised eleven children and emphasized the values of family and hard work. In 1935 Shepard moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where he found a job as a cook on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q). He worked for thirty-five years on the railroad and was the youngest chef at CB&Q Railroad during his tenure. This was a great accomplishment because African Americans were rarely promoted to the position of head chef on the railroads. As a chef, Shepard also traveled to Chicago where he worked on the California Zephyr. As a resident of Lincoln, Shepard joined the Newman Methodist Church and became an active member for seventy years.

Cornelius Orville Shepard died on November 17, 2007 at the age of 92.

Cornelius Orville Shepard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 4, 2007.

See how Cornelius "Boots" Shepard is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cornelius "Boots" Shepard's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his maternal grandparents and great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his neighborhood in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his parents' education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard talks about his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls his early work experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his community in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls the racial discrimination in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers his education in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls his involvement in sports
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers playing high school football
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls his parents' influence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers moving to Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls being hired as a railroad cook
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes working on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his duties as a railroad cook
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard talks about his marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls bringing his wife to Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers raising his family in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard talks about the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes his support for his wife's family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard talks about his railroad career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls cooking for special events on the railroad
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls cooking for private parties in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls the creation of the Burlington Northern Railroad
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes the racial discrimination in the railroad industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard remembers filing a lawsuit against the railroad
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes the decision of his lawsuit against the railroad
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls instances of train hopping
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls the death of his grandchild, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls the death of his grandchild, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard recalls suing a photographer for racial discrimination
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cornelius "Boots" Shepard describes how he would like to be remembered