Thomas Shepard, the “soul-melting preacher” of the gospel in New England during the early years of settlement in the Massachusetts Bay, was born on November 5 1605 in Towcester, which he calls a “profane, ignorant town” in the region of Northampton, England. The youngest of nine children, he was separated from his parents at four years of age due to the plague and went to live with his grandparents in the country. His mother soon died, after which he suffered in an unhappy relationship with his stepmother who “incensed [his] father often against [him]”. He also suffered abuse from his first schoolmaster, Mr. Rice, who “was exceeding curst and cruel and would deal roughly with [him]”. His father died before he was ten …
McGill, Carla Ann. "Thomas Shepard". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2001; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4053, accessed 19 April 2015.]