1875 advertisement for Jesse Shepard concert in Chicago
Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard (September 18, 1848 – May 29, 1927) was a composer and pianist, who also wrote under the pen name of Francis Grierson.
He was born in Birkenhead, England, but his family migrated to Illinois, United States while Jesse was still a baby. Shepard traveled in Europe, finding audiences even among royalty. Shepard impressed the French novelist Alexandre Dumas, fils. Shepard was involved with Spiritualism; he stated that many of his musical performances were the result of the spirits of famous composers channeling through him. Shepard traveled through California in 1876 performing at several of the old religious missions founded by the Spanish. He was invited to live in San Diego by a pair of real-estate developers, the High brothers, who enticed him by promising to build a mansion to his specifications. The result was the Villa Montezuma (named after the ocean liner which brought Shepard to America).
Shepard died on May 29, 1927 while giving a piano performance.