Weston Wagons West - Ep. L27 - Levi Weston surveyed his surroundings

They built and sold wagons and farm implements

A wagon of the 1880s
A wagon of the 1880s

Alfred and Otis decided to remain in Oak Springs

With the Ozarks weather cooperating, Levi, Alfred and Otis took the stagecoach north to Jefferson City to spend the 1878 year-end holidays with the Weston family members there. During their visit, Alfred and Otis made it official with their parents that they wished to make their homes in Oak Springs, promising to visit them back in Jefferson City regularly. Given those decisions, the return trip to Oak Springs after the first of the year required more planning. Alfred owned a wagon and each young man still had horses at their parents ranch. Levi agreed to drive the loaded wagon back south, and the young men each rode a horse and trailed another, with packs, to get most of their personal goods moved. They completed the trip ‘home’ to Oak Springs before any snow fell.

Karl King stopped by Levi’s shop one crispy January morning to talk Morgan horses, as he regularly did. On this particular day, however, both Levi and Karl slipped into more a philosophical discussion than either had expected. They spoke about how this town had been growing. Levi mentioned that his house and shop would soon be surrounded by family property. His cousin, Trey Parks was working at purchasing both the lots across Second Street north of Levi’s. Trey would build his residence directly north of Levi. The lot to the west would become part of the Wagon Works, a sales office, for now, perhaps. The Wagon Works was already taking up all the space between Levi’s shop and Levi’s uncle Hiram’s Harness Shop to the west. Levi continued to expand his horse barns to the south of his shop and residence, through to First Street. Hiram had built his residence to the west, at the corner of First Street and 1st Avenue E.

They also talked about the farm and pasture land that Levi owned to the east of his place. Levi said it ran from Patton Street on the south to the new Main Street, on the north - fours full block, in ‘town talk.’ Main Street ran along the north side of Centennial Square a block or two to the west, of course. He mentioned that his farm essentially formed the eastern border of Oak Springs. He noted, in passing, that one day the town would likely want to expand into his farm. He added that they would have to wait a few years, however. They shared a chuckle at that comment.

They sold farm implements

An 1880s plow by Deere & Company
An 1880s plow by Deere & Company

Trey Parks opened the new sales office

By Tuesday, April 1, 1879, in fact, Trey Parks had bought the land, built the Parks Wagon and Implement Sales Office, and opened for business. He also hired Alfred Weston as the full-time Sales Manager to both run the Sales Office and head up sales for the entire Wagon Works. Trey had also arranged to become a retail dealer for Deere & Company plows and other farm implements for the area. The west end of the Sales Office lot was just one block south of the southeast corner of Centennial Square. It was also just one block east of Central Avenue. Before long, Alfred had a full display of the wagons they built as well as samples of the Deere products surrounding the Sales Office.

The community turned out in full for the Grand Opening of the Sales Office. One person swore he saw every man in the valley there at one time or another during the daylong event. Trey told Levi later that they had received an unusually large number of orders for both new wagons and various pieces of farm implements. He felt very gratified at the response to the hard work they had all put in to get the Sales Office open by the first of April.

With the arrival of new things in the community there were inevitably some things that came to an end. One of these that Levi hated to see, but understood, was the end of the “Fourth Sunday” tradition. At the community gathering on the 27th of April, it was announced that this would be the final formal event. Begun in 1833 by the first settlers, the tradition had lived on in Oak Springs. But, times had changed, and attendance had waned. The newspaper was now the place where community news was shared, along with church and school activities.

The fair had pie judging

An apple pie winner
An apple pie winner

The First Annual Oak Creek Valley Fair was held in August

Simeon Bishop headed the committee that put on the First Annual (they hoped) Oak Creek Valley Fair on the first Saturday of August. Levi served as a member of the committee. The committee had been meeting regularly since spring to organize this first attempt at a community fair. Some of the committee members had some experience from their previous locations, but most were new to the tasks they faced. They were careful to keep it fairly simple for the first year.

The Fair was held in the Town Park in the southwest corner of town, south and west of the Community Building from noon until dusk on that Saturday. For that first year, judged exhibits were limited to pies, cakes, breads, jams and flower arrangements in the Community Building. A few prized livestock animals were on display by invitation, but there was no judging. There were several commercial and non-commercial exhibits set up to view all afternoon. A few organized games were available for the youngsters while their parents viewed the exhibits. A musical program was presented prior to the closing fireworks display.

The committee took feedback and suggestions from those in attendance and immediately began planning for the Second Annual Fair for 1880. Levi and other committee members also talked to their patrons in the following days and weeks who had not attended the fair about what might be done to entice them to participate the following year.

Note by the author

This episode continues the Jacob and Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. The Levi and Jacob families were included, from time to time, in the ‘Life in Oak Springs’ and ‘The Kings of Oak Springs’ stories elsewhere here on HubPages. Those stories occurred during the 1876-1886 time frame. This present series is reliving that period but from the viewpoint of this Weston family, through this second set of 20 episodes.

As noted in Episode L1 of this series of historical fiction family saga stories, all of the characters in this episode are fictional. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Jacob and Levi Weston characters, as well as the McDonalds, were first created as a part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20 episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

Some of the stories of the "American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1875)" collection of historical fiction family saga short stories have also been published on "The Homeplace Saga" blog, found at the link, below, including those introducing Levi and Jacob Weston.

These first 20 episodes of the Levi Weston story have been compiled into an ebook: “Weston Wagons West: Levi Weston, L1-20 (1823-1874).” Thank you for your support.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

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Comments 4 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

I would be in heaven if I could be an apple pie judge. Seriously, what a great job that would be....just a side note.....good to see another chapter...thanks for keeping history alive.


DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

DrBill-WmL-Smith 7 months ago from Hollister, MO Author

Thank you, Bill. I can taste that apple pie, for sure. I'll be an eater rather than a judge, thank you very much! ;-)


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 7 months ago from Oklahoma

Very enjoyable read.


DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

DrBill-WmL-Smith 7 months ago from Hollister, MO Author

Thank you, Larry, very much! ;-)

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