NPG 4313; John Sheppard attributed to Sir James Thornhill

In 1702, on this day, a young lad was born in London, England.  His parents were average folks, but Jack Sheppard was born into poverty.  His dad was a carpenter and even though he died when Jack was quite young, the boy seemed to enjoy watching his father work and became quite adept at it as he grew.  When his father died, Jack was only six years old and because his mother was unable to support her family, she sent the boy to a workhouse where he became a cane chair builder’s apprentice.

This story is sort of like what happened to my own dad, who happens to have also been born on this day 97 years ago.  My father’s dad was a tailor, but the family struggled to make ends meet in their early years.  Eventually his father left the picture.  No one seems to know what happened to him, but one day he simply vanished.  There is speculation that he had accumulated gambling debt and was killed or ran off to escape being done in.  Whatever the case, there’s a lot of mystery connected with it.

My dad had to go to work at a very young age as well to help support his mother and three siblings.  This seems to be a common thread in the beginning lives of young men during depressed times in history.  My dad lived during the depression.  Jack Sheppard lived in a time when poverty ran rampant on the streets of London.

By the time Sheppard reached the age of 20, had begun to show great promise as a carpenter.  He also was a small man of only 5’4″.  My dad was also short in stature. Jack became popular in the local pubs because of his quick with.  My dad took a second job as a bartender and was good at it too.  People enjoyed his funny personality as well.  By this time in my father’s life, however, he was getting married and thinking about having a family.  Jack had his thoughts on other things.  He took up a relationship with a prostitute and became part of a gang of thieves.

In 1723, he discovered that he could make more money stealing than he ever would be able to legitimately.  During this time he became a master at picking pockets and breaking into locked buildings. Later he used that skill to break out of prison four times.  His story was fodder for many tales to follow.  The Oliver Twist story from Charles Dickens, seems to be directly related to this errant fellow.  Many operas were also based on the story of Jack Sheppard.

My dad never lived a life of crime, but he may have, had he not married my mother.  She loved him more than he’d been loved in life and that love provided the motivation for him to succeed.

Jack Sheppard gained notoriety as an escape artist and because of his humble beginnings, the public made him into a sort of hero for the poor.  His antics finally led to his execution by hanging when he was only 22 years old.  I wonder what would’ve happened to the poor boy, had he continued as a carpenter rather being led astray.



As I reach the end of my years, I find I have a lot of good information stored up in this old decrepit mind of mine. If I don't write it all down, it may vanish and no one will have the advantage of my thoughts. This is why this blog exists. I love the Lord, Jesus with all my heart and soul. I know I'm undeserving of all He's done for me, but I also know that His love is beyond my comprehension. I've always wanted to write. I never kept diaries, but tucked my thoughts in my head for future reference. I use them now in creating stories, plays, poetry and my blog. I continue to learn every day. I believe the compilation of our time spent with God will have huge affect on the way we live. I know I'm a sinner and I need a Savior. I have One through Jesus, Christ. My book, "Stages - a memoir," is about the seven stages of life from the perspective of a woman. It addresses all the things girls and women go through in life as they travel it with Jesus, and it is available on
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9 Responses to IT TAKES A THIEF

  1. What a contrast of two very different outcomes and lives! And you tell their stories so incredibly well, Kathy! Happy Birthday to your dad! ❤ and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • says:

      I couldn’t help but draw comparisons in these two men who came from similar backgrounds. My dad had the spiritual encouragement of loving grandparents as well😀


  2. Love is an amazing motivator. Thankfully your dad was loved :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow what an interesting compare and contrast with your father

    Liked by 1 person

    • says:

      I couldn’t help notice the similarities of their younger years. My dad had issues too as a result of him situation, but being surrounded by those who loved his m and his faith kept him on the right track.

      Liked by 1 person

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