Francis Grierson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Jesse Shepard)
Jump to: navigation, search
Francis Grierson
Francis Grierson.jpg
Grierson c. 1890
Born Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard
(1848-09-18)September 18, 1848
Died May 29, 1927(1927-05-29) (aged 78)
Occupation Composer, pianist, writer
Relatives Benjamin Grierson (cousin)

Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard (September 18, 1848 – May 29, 1927) was a composer, pianist, and writer who used the pen name of Francis Grierson.

He was born in Birkenhead, England,[1] to Joseph Shepard and Emily Grierson Shepard.[2] 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).

Lawrence Waldemar Tonner

In 1885, Shepard met Lawrence Waldemar Tonner (1861–1947), who became his friend and supporter for over 40 years. Tonner was born into the Danish Royal family in Thistad, Denmark. He emigrated to the U.S. through Glasgow, Scotland in 1870 and became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1875, in Chicago, Illinois. He worked as a manager, press secretary, interpreter, French teacher, and as a translator and aide for former President Herbert Hoover.[3][4]

Shepard died on May 29, 1927 while giving a piano performance.[5]

Partial bibliography[edit]

1875 advertisement for Jesse Shepard concert in Chicago
  • The Valley of Shadows
  • Illusions and Realities of the War
  • The Invincible Alliance and Other Essays (1913)
  • Parisian Portraits
  • The Humour of the Underman
  • The Valley of Shadows
  • La Vie et les hommes
  • Abraham Lincoln, the Practical Mystic (1919)
  • Modern Mysticism (1899)
  • The Celtic Temperament (1901)


  1. ^ Simpson, Herald P. (Summer 1961). "Francis Grierson: A Biographical Sketch and Bibliography" (PDF). Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908–1984). University of Illinois Press. 54 (2): 198–203. JSTOR 40189785. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ Crane, Clare (Spring–Summer 1987). Scharf, Thomas L., ed. "Jesse Shepard and the Spark of Genius". The Journal of San Diego History. San Diego History Center. 33 (2 & 3). Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  3. ^ Crane, Clare (Summer 1970). Freischlag, Linda, ed. "Jesse Shepard and the Villa Montezuma". The Journal of San Diego History. San Diego History Center. 16 (3). Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  4. ^ McArron, Pat (June 22, 2012). "Lawrence Waldemar Tonner". Find a Grave. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  5. ^ McKinstry, DeeDee. "Jesse Shepard: The Man, the Myth, the Homeowner". San Diego Historical Society. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 

External links[edit]