Bevins Tales - BT13 - Later 1893 Howard and Myrtle Learned More About the Family in the Community
They talked about their life in the rural Ozarks valley
Howard and Myrtle Were Invited to Visit With Lewis and Caroline
Howard and Myrtle had been invited by Lewis and Caroline to their home for an early Sunday evening meal in town. They suspected that Lewis and Caroline wanted to talk about something, but they had no idea what it might be. After supper, and getting Ora B. occupied by himself in a corner, they sat down to talk. Lewis did most of the talking, but Caroline chimed in from time to time. They said they wanted to first, tell Howard and Myrtle how proud they were of them. Five and a half years into marriage, they seemed to be doing quite well, and had a fine son to be proud of.
Second, as they were each now 50 years old this summer, it was time to sit back and assess where they were in life, and how the future looked. Lewis stressed that Howard and Myrtle probably already knew everything he wanted to say, but this was a chance to put it all in a package, to be sure they hadn’t missed anything. He went on to point out that his intention was to continue to develop the three businesses he had so that if anything should happen to him that Caroline would be taken care of…and there would be something for Howard, Myrtle and Ora B. in the future, as well.
He said he was being careful to set up the three business independently, with strong managers, so they ran themselves and created positive cash flow as well as strong profits. Each of the managers were getting equity in their business so that they would think of it as ‘their business,’ as well. Profits flowed through to Lewis and Caroline, as well as each manager, on each of them. The three businesses, of course, were: the Sale Barn, the Livery, and the Breeding business. He added that from the Patton/Truesdale line, of course, they still had the 160 acres where the Reeves family currently farmed. He said that would likely be sold to Jane and her family at some point, in the future, as with the Garrett place. Howard and Myrtle agreed that would be the plan. They talked a bit about the Trust Fund, with which they were already familiar. Lewis added that he planned to continue as State Representative as long as the voters wanted to continue him. Howard and Myrtle were relieved that that was the extent of the news shared, as they discussed the evening on the way back to their farm.
He worked with team of mule his entire adult life
Tragedy Struck on a Nearby Farm
As the fall harvest was about to get underway, tragedy hit the S. L. Reeves farm family. S.L. was hitching up his mules, like he did just about every day of his life, and one of them started bucking. He was unable to get out of the way, and one of mules kicked him in the head, and he died, instantly. His son, Nelson, was nearby, and saw the whole thing. Nelson had recently graduated from high school, so he was old enough to be able to get his wits about him and got the mules secured. He had moved his father’s body away from the animals, but even he knew it was too late to do anything more, as he went to get his mother, Martha.
The entire community grieved, of course. They all knew this kind of thing would likely happen sometime, but they had been lucky to that point. No longer. A community member had died, and left a widow with three children, on a rental farm. Following the funeral, all the neighbors pitched in to finish the harvest, as rural neighbors do. Lewis and Caroline were especially careful to be sure Martha was not left alone and was comforted as much as was possible, under the circumstances. Little noticed at first was that one of those offering comfort early and continuing was the local dentist, Dr. Ollie Seaman. With the close contact they had developed during S.L.’s earlier dental illness, he seemed to feel a special connection. He spoke regularly with Lewis as to how he could help the family in this time of need.
As the fall months passed, it turned out that, they each being about the same age, Dr. Ollie and Martha developed a fondness for one another that only this type of tragedy can nurture. By the year-end holidays, among other decisions being made by the family, Dr. Ollie and Martha decided that S.L. would approve of them marrying, so that the children would be able to remain together as a family. Lewis had assured them that Martha and the children could remain in the house as long as they needed into the spring, if necessary. Jane had agreed that she and Daniel, along with William and Charlotte would buy the farm effective March 1, 1894 along with the animals and equipment that the Reeves family no longer needed. Dr. Ollie would have a home built in Oak Springs for the new family during the spring of 1894.
They were hoping to bring a new church to their town
Year End Holidays Caused Folks to Think About Their Religion
As the year-end holiday season of 1893 arrived, David Derryberry and Calvin Williams began talking again about a Presbyterian Church in Oak Springs. It had been a few years since they had tried before and found it wasn’t supported yet. Some new families had moved in. Many of those who had supported the church before were still here. Was there enough change to make a difference? Rev. Long at the Methodist Church did a fine job, but they were still Methodist services and practices, not Presbyterian like some of them had grown up with.
Each of the men took a letter addressed to the state level of the church around to those they knew might support a Presbyterian Church to get signatures as a support commitment and request to ‘try again.’ They collected a total of 22 signatures of heads of households. Would that be enough? They decided it was the best they could do, at this time, and they decided to give it a try. Their request was for a pastor to be assigned for a year, to give it an honest chance. Perhaps it would fail, again. However, they knew that if they didn’t try, and put the request/call in, they certainly would not have a church of their own anytime soon. They sent the letter off, with a hope and a prayer. Perhaps it actually would work this time.
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. After they married, they became a part of the larger community, of course.
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.”