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Bevins Tales - BT10 - 1891 Howard and Myrtle Welcomed a Son

Updated on August 2, 2018
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Their son was born in April

A baby boy
A baby boy

Howard and Myrtle Saw Their Son Arrive in April 1891

All went as hoped and Ora B. Bevins arrived healthy and happy to the Howard and Myrtle Bevins family in April 1891, right as the planting season was getting well under way. Nothing was more important to them than their son, of course, so missing a few days of farming to assure that their son was well attended was no sacrifice at all. Both sets of grandparents, of course, were more than willing to help in any way possible. Ora B. was a first grandchild for each couple. Caroline was most helpful, of course, with few other responsibilities that required her time.


Esther Bevins, on the other hand, actually already had her hands full. She and Edwin had recently been asked by Abner Wingfield and Joshua Cox to take over management of the Duncan Boarding House. Abler and Joshua retained ownership, of course, but with Amanda Duncan’s retirement, they needed someone experienced, available and competent to take over the management and operation of the Boarding House. Edwin and Esther had done so prior to moving to Oak Springs. With the ongoing operation in place, with some staff available, Esther was primarily in charge as Edwin retained his position with the school, but did maintenance and other activities after hours and on weekends as required. They considered it an excellent opportunity. It was decided not to change the name of the boarding house so as to maintain continuity with the public.


Myrtle and Caroline worked well together, of course, as they had been doing so for years on many projects. Properly caring for a baby was certainly a ‘new project’ for each of them, but one that received their total attention and love. Howard was careful to be available as needed, but otherwise to stay out of the way, mostly. He and William had talked about that on numerous occasions, and it worked out well this time. Howard found that spending quality time with his son and wife were more important than spending a lot of time with them. That worked out well with Myrtle and Ora B. as well.

Alex returned to Central Missouri via the railroad from San Francisco

Men by a passenger train in the 1800s
Men by a passenger train in the 1800s

Alex McDonald Returned to Oak Springs from his Overseas Travels

In May, Alex McDonald returned by train from San Francisco to south central Missouri to complete his trip around the world. On his return, he soon learned that he was now a celebrity of some note, based on his newspaper accounts that appeared not only in Oak Springs but had been syndicated to other newspapers, large and small around the region. William and Charlotte hosted an extended family gathering to welcome Alex back and to hear some of his stories first hand. It was actually the first time that Howard and Myrtle were able to take Ora to an activity away from home. With so many people there, they decided it was best not to stay too long, but it was a nice outing, and it was nice to see Alex so happy and home from his travels.


Howard was able to get his crops all in for the spring, working around the weather and his time assisting Myrtle, and Caroline, with the baby, of course. He had scaled back some activities just a bit, knowing he would have a bit less time to devote to them. It worked out well, and he tried hard to focus on quality where he might be short on quantity this year.


Through Caroline, they continued to monitor the projects that Alex had undertaken since his return. He had said he would be writing a book on his return, but it turned out the popularity of his columns called him in a bit different direction. Russell Nixon had been getting an overwhelming number of requests for Alex to come to various communities to give lectures. At first he was anxious to do a few, but Caroline said after a month or so that it was becoming a burden for him.

Alex traveled around the region giving lectures

Farmland in the valley
Farmland in the valley

Alex Found a Solution to his Dilemma

Nellie Truesdale had offered herself as a solution to Alex McDonald and Russell Nixon’s perceived frustrations. Nellie and Alex had worked together well as teachers in the local school. She suggested that she take over the correspondence and scheduling of his lectures and travels so that he could better concentrate on his writing. Russell would continue to handle the syndication contacts. Already, Alex realized that he could continue to write travel articles about the places he went to make lectures, if he were properly scheduled.


Soon, Nellie was scheduling him for three lectures in a location about three times a month. While he was there, he could visit local attractions, to write more columns. Between trips, he could concentrate on writing his first book. If the book were done, he could be selling books at his lectures. Completing the book as soon as possible was a high priority. Nellie was able to redo and simplify the marketing materials that Russell and Alex had tried to do. She also received all the mail and returned all the requests with well thought out proposals for visits in the future. She found that she enjoyed the work every bit as much as she had anticipated.


Nellie had resigned her teaching position by July 1 and now worked with Alex and Russell on a full-time basis. Each of them found they could do what each did best and each enjoyed their work as they were more productive. ‘Alex McDonald, World Traveler Enterprise’ became a thriving business, now based out of Nellie’s house. She used both the return mail and the telephone to set up lectures and meetings between Alex and local leaders to assure his time in each location was spent optimally. Looking months ahead, Nellie also blocked out time for Alex to take longer trips, even overseas, to visit desirable spots he had skipped over in his earlier travels. In a few cases, he also wanted to return to sites of his earlier visits, to get a more in depth opportunity to enjoy them and write about them. Howard and Myrtle followed his adventures, both in the Oak Springs Enterprise and in occasional home time personal visits. They found his travels and stories exciting, but they preferred to spend their time at home on the farm with their son.

Note by the author

This set of stories picked 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 

      11 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Young folks can handle it, I'm sure. Thanks, Bill, for taking these precious moments to comment on my story!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So much going on...so many exciting adventures...so many decisions which will affect their entire lives.....I'm exhausted reading this chapter. :)

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