I like a man with an iron will,
   Who will do what he knows to be right;
Who cannot be bought, who will not be sold,
   Whose life is a radiant light.

I like a man with a cleanly tongue,
   Who prizes the power of words;
Whose thoughts are pictured in jewels of speech,
   Whose song is as sweet as the birds'.

I like a man with freedom of thought,
   Who accords the same right to another;
Who lies down at night with a hope of reward,
   Because he's not envied his brother.

I like a man whose ambition is high,
   Who hitches his cart to a star;
Who cannot be whipped by a failure or two;
   Who keeps his stock above par.

I like a man who will say, "I'll try!"
   And will lift every pound that he's able;
Who'll divide with a brother the fees for a day,
   That each may have food on his table.

I like a man who says, "There's a God,"
   Omniscent —e'er present—adjudging;
Who tries to do right, discourages wrong,
   And resists idle words without budging.

I like a man whose habits are fixed,
   Whose morals ne'er take a vacation;
Whose week days and Sundays are pillored with hope,
   Who adds to the strength of the nation.

I like a man who is rev'rent and kind,
Good natured, cool headed, well balanced and true;
   Aggressive and yet unassuming.

I like a man who is open and free,
   Who looks you right square in the eye;
Who feels in himself he's a tower of strength,—
   Whose ideals are "treasures on high."

I like a man with rich, ripe blood,
   Whose chest heaves with rugged ambition;
Who laughs at life's toils as he says to the world,
   "I'm always in splendid condition."

I like a man who is willing to fight,
   When the good of society demands it;
Who will gird on his armor and strike at the foe,
   And not act the part of a bandit.

I like a man who looks up and not down;
   Who struggles for many promotion;
Who retires at night and rises at morn
   With a cultured and pious devotion.

The above poetical reasons (excuse the term) which I have given abstractly for liking a man, are, when applied, the concrete reasons why I like Dr. A. C. Shepherd, superintendent of the Sioux Falls' district of the M. E. church. Strong willed, of cleanly thought, ambitious, charitable, reverent, fraternal and kind, he furnishes one of the nearest approaches to my ideal of a man.

Arthur (as everybody calls him, on account of his big-heartIness and democratic tendencies) is a product of Dakota Weslyan University. Born at the little village of Castle Rock, Minnesota, June 17, 1872, he removed with his parents to Casselton, North Dakota, in the fall of 1878, and eight years later settled on a farm in western Davison county, South Dakota.


His early education was acquired in several different country schools. In 1887, he entered the old D. U., at Mitchell. A tall, gaunt youngster, with his arms projecting far out of his coat sleeves, and with his pant legs so abbreviated that he never worried any about the mud, he presented a vastly different spectacle than he does today with his massive, well developed physique, and splendid manly appearance. He seems to have undergone a complete metamorphosis. So much for the benefit of college training. In a speech delivered at Dakota Wesleyan, during commencement, in 1910, he said:

"Outside of those lives that first touched mine, those who taught my infant lips to lisp the Saviour's name in prayer and guided my feeble steps in those long-gone tender years, no other forces or factors on the human side, have done more in the making and moulding of my character, the firing of my ambition and stirring of my soul with a passion to be, and to do something worth while, than these two teachers of my youth, remembered, respected, revered, my friends, to whom I owe a debt not paid, because it cannot be, Prof. L. A. Stout and Miss Noble. No change of time or place, or cirumstance will suffice to erase their names from memory's walls, but enshrined in love's affection cherished in undying gratitude, they will live there forever."


But Arthur's education was in the course of acquisition during the "dry time" in Dakota. Money was scarce. He had to make his own way. After graduating from the normal department, he left school to earn money with which to complete his education, but he never went back.

Still, during his brief scholastic preparation he made a record for himself as an orator. While as yet under eighteen years of age, and but a meager student in the preparatory department, with no training in oratory except that acquired like Henry Clay, during noon hours and on rainy days, in making impassioned speeches to the oxen and other cattle in the old shed, he was called upon to represent Dakota University (now Dakota Wesleyan) in the state oratorical contest. Taking for his subject "The Indian Problem," he went at it to work out for the occasion a formal oration. Professor Friar and Miss Dell Noble (now husband and wife, living at Seattle, Washington,) put into the young fellow's head some ennobling thoughts on the beneficent effects of civilization, and lent their services otherwise as best they could in preparing their protege for the first big event of his life.

Friends helped to adjust his clothes. A tonsorial artist hacked away at his healthy growth of farm-boy hair. He was gotten ready. Everybody said, "He's got the stuff in him."

Quite a number predicted, "He'll win." The night for the contest came. Several well trained college men, ten years his senior, were matched against him. The young fellow finally mounted the platform. Mitchell was loyal to him. His own college gave their "yell." The big, lank country lad caught his breath and finally got started. In three minutes he had reached one of those soul-stirring climaxes, peculiar alone to the natural-born orator, and had fairly lifted his audience—judges and all—from their chairs. The young fellow had gained his first hill top. Holding to this advantage, he maneuvered for awhile, got a fresh start, and before he had finished he had climbed to the top of Vesuvius where he stood momentarily—an uncrowned king— and then left the platform to receive, a few minutes later, the combined verdict of the judges; and the young awkward plowboy of Dakota prairies had been triumphantly started on his pathway for a future public career.


His oratorical victory attracted the attention of the board of education at Mitchell, and he was employed at once as principal of the Mitchell high school, beginning in the fall of 1891. This position he occupied for six consecutive years, and then he resigned to enter the M. E. ministry. His first pastorate was at Alexandria. At the close of the first year, he was transferred to Madison, at which place his salary was doubled. He preached three years at Madison, three at Canton and four at Vermillion. From there he stepped into the distict superintendency and transferred his headquarters to Sioux Falls. His accomplished elder brother, Rev. W. S. Shepherd, who also during his studentship at Dakota University, won the state oratorical contest for his Alma Mater, and who later succeeded his brother Arthur as pastor at Vermillion, is now superintendent of the Mitchell district of the M. E. church. This is the first time in the history of Methodism when two brothers were presiding elders of adjoining districts at the same time. They are two of the strongest preachers in the state, and are loved and revered not only by their constituents but by the general public as well.

Dakota Wesleyan made Arthur a Doctor of Divinity in 1910. For two years he was superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of South Dakota. Last fall he was elected as a delegate to the general conference of the M. E. church.


Dr. Shepherd was united in marriage at Chamberlain, South Dakota, December 21, 1892, to Miss Minnie W. Welch. She died August 11, 1894, leaving a four-months-old baby girl, Frances Maurine, who is now a student at the D. W. U. On February 25, 1897, he was united in marriage to Miss Nellie E. Aitken of Plankinton. To this second union, but one child has been born—a boy, Master Adrian, now fourteen years of age.


Here was another genuine "diamond in the rough," an unsparkling gem, a piece of corroded marble; a big, awkward, farm lad whose soul had been quickened toward things ennobling by an ideal home life, and who, in order to attain to his appointed station in life, needed that still greater influence and polish which comes alone from contact with cultured minds and through scholastic training. A few years at Dakota Wesleyan supplied the emery wheel that ground away the uncouth appearance of youth and set his feet in the pathway of a higher manhood, which he has now attained, and in which all who know him join in wishing him well. Indeed none will be surprised to see him reach the bishopric before he dies. Success!

(Later.—Since the above article was written Dr. Shepherd has resigned his district superintendency and has moved to Oroville, California, to accept the pastorate of the M. E. church at that place. Regrets!)


©2002, Virginia A. Cisewski
All Rights Reserved