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Bevins Tales - BT12 - Early 1893 Howard and Myrtle Learned of Many Changes

Updated on August 16, 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.

These were times of change for many in the valley

They were moving off of the farm
They were moving off of the farm

The Garrett Family Moved into the Former Bevins House

The moves of farm rental families around the March 1 rental dates in a rural community are frequently accompanied by related moves and sometimes unexpected occasions. The move of the Garrett family from the farm next to Howard and Myrtle was a case in point, not an exception. Alfred and his wife, Amenah, had still been living with his parents, on the farm. With his new job offer at the Callahan Billiard Parlor, Mr. Callahan had offered to let them stay in one of the rooms over the tavern, next door, and even offered a housekeeping position to Amenah, if she were interested. She was, knowing it would be money they could save leading to a home of their own, one day. They accepted.


Then, as the Willis and Isabel Garrett family looked for housing, in Oak Springs, they talked to Alfred Wingfield about one of his rentals. It turned out that the folks he had rented the former Bevins rental to, after they had moved to the Duncan Boarding House, had left, and that place was available. In addition, Alfred offered Willis a position with his Construction Company as a painter as well as doing maintenance/repair work on the rental properties to make it a full time job. It also happened that Mrs. Bevins now needed to replace a cook, so Isabel Garrett was hired for that position. After all that, everyone was very satisfied with the outcome. In addition, Jason and Penelope (Street) Garrett were pleased to move into the bigger farm house…leaving that cottage empty.


Early in March, Howard developed a severe toothache, so went in to see Dr. Ollie Seaman, the dentist, to see if he could relieve the pain. As he waited to see the dentist, he fell into conversation with Martha Reeves, their neighbor on the farm on the diagonal to the southwest, just south of the Garrett farm. She said her husband, S.L., had been suffering from some bad teeth and had finally come to see the dentist. This was his third treatment, and hopefully last, for a while. Dr. Ollie had been very good to work with, and Martha said was very impressed with both his kindness and his professionalism working with her husband. Howard was pleased to hear that, and hoped he would have good results, as well. It turned out Howard had a back lower right molar that was badly decayed. Dr. Ollie extracted it, and that did relieve the pain Howard had been experiencing.

They celebrated the birthday of each of the boys

A Happy Birthday sign
A Happy Birthday sign

Howard Learned that Talking to the Neighbors was Often a Very Good Thing

In talking to Martha Reeves, Howard also learned that her daughter, Fanny was hoping to marry one of Street boy, Herbert, from just down the road, but they couldn’t until Herbert could find outside work. He hoped to farm, but hadn’t come up with a permanent opportunity, yet. Later, when Howard happened to see Jane McDonald he mentioned that conversation with Martha. Jane said that she knew both of those young folks, and they were good, hard-working people. She would follow up on that information. It worked out that she and Daniel hired them to work at the McDonald farms and live in the Garrett cottage. That would complete their need for more hired hands.


Sort of ‘completing the circle,’ Herbert Sweet’s younger sister, Lula, was also planning to marry Moses Gifford. Moses would be staying on the Gifford farm to continue working for his father, Franklin, there. Herbert and Fanny, and Moses and Lula, decided to have a double wedding. Rev. Millard Long, at the Methodist Church, was more than happy to perform the ceremony out at the Street farm. All the neighbors were invited and it turned out to be a lovely Sunday afternoon spring day. All had a great time celebrating with the two young couples.


In April, young Ora B. Bevins celebrated his 2nd birthday. Howard and Myrtle believed he actually understood what was going on this time, as he was surrounded by his parents and grandparents. Births and anniversaries were always occasions for celebration in both families, and this was a fine example. They were confident that the tradition would continue.

They expected to new doctor to arrive in town before much time passed by

Does this say 'doctor' to you/
Does this say 'doctor' to you/

A New Doctor Came to Town

Myrtle had taken Ora B. into the Medical Clinic to see about a rash he had developed that she could not get to go away. In talking to Florence Wood, Dr. Wood’s wife, and the nurse, Myrtle learned that they were sponsoring a new doctor to join the Clinic. The young doctor, Dr. Jeremy Wilcox, and his wife, Lacy, also a nurse, would be arriving during the summer as soon as they could clear up their commitments in the St. Louis area. She added that they had already contracted for their house to be built at Centennial and Fifth Street, just north of Centennial Square. They cannot back out now, she joked. The treatment they gave Ora B. seemed to work, as the rash went away and did not return.


While she was in town, Myrtle drove the shay around Centennial Square. She had not done that for a while, keeping busy on the farm. She noted that she had yet to visit Key Clothiers since it opened. Howard had been in to pick up his boots from the Pace Brothers, but she had not come. Their Shops each had nice displays. One day, this summer, they would take the time to visit these new businesses, she told herself. She also reminded herself she was not ready to indulge in either the Jewelry Store nor the Photography Shop. Perhaps one day, but not now. Things were going well, but they were being careful to continue to ‘save for a rainy day.’ That day would come, they just wanted to be ready when it did.


It was hard to believe that June brought the 5th birthday for young Joe McDonald. With Ora B. already 2, it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but still, it was. Howard and Myrtle realized that their life was moving forward for them and they couldn’t be happier, it seemed. They had decided to base their lives on simplicity and conservative practices, and that seemed to be working for them. They saw people spending money on things they didn’t really need but they resisted the temptation. What went up, always came down. So, they decided to keep an even keel and life would be better without the headaches and heartaches.

For earlier stories and background on these stories, see this collection

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

      I got carried away, three posts in two consecutive weeks. Won't happen again. Getting a bit ahead, also, so will be out of town at family gathering next weekend. Close out busy summer. Thanks for stopping by, as always!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think I missed one of your blogs this week. My apologies...until the farmers market ends for the year, there will be times I can't catch up. As always, I loved this installment.

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