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Bevins Tales - BT1 - The Bevins/Truesdale/Baldridge/Patton/McDonald Tales

Updated on June 7, 2018
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

A new series of stories begins at the flower beds

Flower Beds near the school
Flower Beds near the school

Introduction to this new series of tales in “The Homeplace Saga”

This set of stories picks up in Oak Springs in 1882 when the Bevins family arrived in Oak Springs including young Howard Bevins, the 14-year-old about to become a High School Freshman. He finds himself in the same class as Myrtle Truesdale. This is their story.


These stories, somewhat similar to what we did in the “McDonald Tales” (MTx) series and the “Levi Weston” (Lx of Weston Wagons West) series, view the events and times of Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Valley from a different viewpoint (also, “The Kings of Oak Springs” 80-episode series). We will be filling in gaps in the stories, adding details from another perspective. While the Bevins family, in 1882, had just now entered the community, in a few years young Howard will marry Myrtle Truesdale. Myrtle had deep roots in the valley going back to the founding of the community in 1833. Her story, really, has not been told yet either. This series will correct that. In the process, we will also ‘pickup’ more of the story of Myrtle’s mother, Caroline, for instance, the daughter of Harry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald, as well as Myrtle’s father, Lewis Truesdale.


The “McDonald Tales” followed Daniel McDonald, younger brother of Harry, and Jane Truesdale (daughter of Hugh Truesdale and Victoria Patton, sister of Lewis and Nellie Truesdale) and their son, William. William was the grandfather of Mildred McDonald, the matriarch of the initial novel, “Back to the Homeplace” (set in 1987) in “The Homeplace Saga”. Mildred’s husband, Frank Bevins, was the great-grandson of Howard and Myrtle here. This will “complete the loop,” so to speak, of their lives in this small town. This series is planned to cover one year in each episode so will move along quickly nearing the end of the 19th Century and moving into the 20th Century in Oak Springs and the valley.


These complex interwoven sets of relationships among families in a small, rural community should be very familiar to anyone who has lived in a close-knit community anywhere in the country, or the world, for that matter. Enjoy the stories! ;-)

They spoke near the flower beds

A beautiful flower bed
A beautiful flower bed

Edwin and Esther Bevins arrived in Oak Springs in 1882

Edwin Bevins came to Oak Springs to accept the newly created position of janitor at the Public School. Superintendent Quinton Chambers had chosen him because of the excellent reputation Bevins had in another community. He had started his new position on July 1. The local school had been a private subscription school owned by Lewis and Caroline Truesdale prior to it becoming a Public School under new state laws just a few years earlier. Edwin and Howard first met up with Caroline and Myrtle on the school grounds where the ladies were tending the flower beds (FO13). Edwin encouraged them to continue to look after the flower beds, if they wished, but he was prepared to take over that task as part of his new job. Caroline thanked him, and assured him she would let him know when it was time for him to do that. Meanwhile, they had established that both Howard and Myrtle would each be in the new Freshman Class at the High School in the fall.


Later, Howard and Myrtle happened to meet again, at the flowerbeds, where he told her he was working part-time at the livery stable with Mr. Mason (FO13). He said, however, that he really wanted to get work in the fall on a farm. He hoped to become a farmer. She said she really enjoyed working in the garden with her mother and helping to take care of the chickens that they had, as well. They even sometimes took items they grew to the annual Fair in August, she added. Howard and Myrtle each seemed to enjoy talking with each other about their mutual interests.


Later, talking to Mr. Mason, the stable manager, Howard shared with him that as much as he appreciated his part-time work at the stable, that he would also like to work on a local farm during the harvest season, if that could be worked out. Mr. Mason noted that Howard was a hard worker, and that he would talk to a couple of the young farmers he knew that might appreciate a strong lad to help in the fall.

Her family dates back to the settlement of the valley

A scene across the valley
A scene across the valley

Caroline McDonald and Lewis Truesdale were born in the valley in 1843

Lewis, the son of Hugh and Victoria (Patton) Truesdale, was born in the east valley, on the 15th day of June in 1843. Caroline, the daughter of Harry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald, was born a mile or so east of Lewis, in the east valley on the second day of August in 1843. 1843 was the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the first pioneers into the valley, including the four parents, representing the four surnames of the founding families: Baldridge, McDonald, Patton and Truesdale. They had seen a thriving community grow in the valley, including the town of Oak Springs, prior to the devastation of the Civil War period. Lewis and Caroline had individually attended Secondary School in the Jefferson City area prior to the outbreak of hostilities, and were back in the valley expecting to get married in a relatively short time. They were each only eighteen years of age in 1861 when their lives were seriously disrupted, like so many other individuals and families. In fact, the whole valley was effectively evacuated in 1861-62 as roving bands of rebels, Union troops, and desperadoes passed through the valley and burned and pillaged every house and building. The valley returned to nature over the next three years.


Lewis had joined his grandfather, Colonel Jake Patton, as he raised a Cavalry Regiment for the Union forces. Lewis recruited his former classmates in the Jefferson City area, and others for the regiment. As the war raged on, Lewis rose to Captain of a Company in the regiment, serving across central Missouri. Caroline moved to the Jefferson City area with her parents where her father continued to run his McDonald Freight Line business. This business soon merged with Weston Freight Lines and became prosperous there during the war, and after.


Lewis arranged for a furlough in early 1864 and he and Caroline were married at Colonel Patton’s residence in Jefferson City on March 15th. Many of their ‘exiled’ friends and family from the Oak Creek valley and Oak Springs were able to attend. Their first child, a son, Jimmy, was born back in Oak Springs in February 1866. Their second child, a daughter, Myrtle, was born in February 1868.

Note by the author

This set of stories picks up in Oak Springs in 1882 when the Bevins family arrived in Oak Springs including young Howard Bevins, the 14-year-old about to become a High School Freshman. He was in the same class as Myrtle Truesdale. This is their story.


The stories of the "American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1875)" collection of historical fiction family saga short stories lay the background for the stories of Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Valley. They

have also been published on "The Homeplace Saga" blog (thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com).


“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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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. You've gotten to the very essence of what I write. Thank you for mentioning it. Much appreciated. ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 months ago from Hollister, MO

      We share a love of family sagas, Mary. I hope you take the opportunity to follow more of my story. It is quite extensive, and I love to share it with you and others. Thank you for your comments! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Miebakagh, welcome! I am so happy you chose to read my story. More to follow. Best wishes in your studies! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The thing about these stories, which is both remarkable and very unremarkable, is you could substitute practically any family's name into the story and the plot would be similar. There is a drama within all families which plays out daily. There are relationships and problems and challenges and triumphs, set against a backdrop of everyday life. I think that's why this series is so engaging.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have missed the previous sagas but will try to catch up. Family sagas really interest me. Each one of the families around us have stories to tell and these are always fascinating.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      6 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello William (Dr.Bill), I read history in the University, and I happen to read up history of the United States. I it would be obvious that I am interested in your story.

      This is my first time of reading your hub. I will be watching out for more. Apparently, HubPages will be posting me first. I really enjoy this historical writing.

      Happy hubbing.

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