JOHN CALHOUN SHEPPARD was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina. He studied law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1871. He became a partner in Sheppard Brothers Law Firm in 1875 after practicing law for four years with another firm. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1876 to 1882 (speaker from 1877 to 1882) and Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina from 1882 until 1886, when he succeeded to the governorship upon the resignation of Hugh Thompson to become Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. During his brief time in office, Sheppard was faced with the aftermath of an earthquake that struck Charleston, killing ninety-two people and causing considerable property damage. He was defeated in his effort to secure the nomination for governor in his own right, going on instead to become president of the Edgefield Bank of South Carolina. He was also a member of the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention and served on the state Board of Pardons. He was a member of the South Carolina Senate for a number of non-consecutive terms, serving as President Pro Tempore for four of those years.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.