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Bevins Tales - BT15 - More 1894 Howard and Myrtle See Changes in Oak Springs

Updated on September 6, 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.

They discussed Nelson becoming an apprenticeship as a blacksmith

A Blacksmith at work
A Blacksmith at work

Dr. Ollie Seaman Supported His New family

During the spring of 1894, as Dr. Ollie moved his new family to their finished home in town, he made a point to spend time listening to his two new step-sons. He learned from 21-year-old Nelson that he would really like to apprentice as a blacksmith. Nelson had assisted his father a number of times on projects that used blacksmith services. He was fascinated. Dr. Ollie noted that Nelson was a solidly built young man who had matured nicely. They arranged to visit with Bryce Taylor and Liam Olson at their blacksmith shop. Actually, there were multiple visits, including some tests of strength and stamina. Bryce and Liam had concluded that Nelson was a worthy candidate for an apprenticeship. Dr. Ollie and Nelson’s mother, Martha, agreed that they would continue to support Nelson through a two-year apprenticeship. Bryce and Liam agreed that if Nelson Reeves completed the apprenticeship satisfactorily, they would be pleased to have him join their shop. They had actually been recognizing the need for a young man to join them and were very pleased young Nelson appeared to meet their mutual needs.

Peter Reeves graduated from high school in May 1894. Dr. Ollie, of course, quickly learned that Peter and Malinda Johnson, a classmate from the west valley farm family, were close friends. Her family had even asked Peter to work on their farm. It became apparent that they were expecting that the two young people would likely marry in a few years. Ollie and Martha were pleased to support this possibility.

Meanwhile, over at the Sale Barn, where Manager J.W. Norton now owned a share of the business, according to owner, Lewis Truesdale, J.W. made a move of his own. His 21-year-old son, Hyram, had been his right-hand man since he graduated from high school. J.W. named Hyram officially the Assistant Manager of the Sales Barn, with the approval of Lewis, of course. Hyram then married Ada Starr of the east valley farm family. Theodore Warden at the Breeding Company made a similar move, naming his son, Isaiah Warden, aged 22, as Assistant Manager. In late 1894, Isaiah married Pernicia Mason. The Wardens also saw daughter, Pearl, go off to college in the fall.

The Town Council wanted to deal with their streets by putting someone in charge

A typical street of the 1880s
A typical street of the 1880s

More Changes Came to Oak Springs

At the June 1894 Town Council meeting two new hires were announced. Elmira Nixon, recently returned from college, was hired as full-time Town Clerk. Second, after some searching, Rufus King, a farmer in the west valley, accepted the position of Street Superintendent. He and his family would move to town to meet the requirements of the position. The Town Council had been debating what to do to improve and add streets through the community. It was decided someone needed to be working on them full time. This culminated the search, but the work was just about to begin. Initially, the Council sent him off to get some specific training, so that everyone would know the best ways to proceed toward their goals.

On a related note, the Town Council voted to complete purchase of three tracts of land to expand the available blocks for development. Two of the parcels were purchased from the pasture lands of Levi Weston, one on the north and one on the south of his property. The north portion consists of two blocks, designated GG and HH, immediately east of the current Block D, running along the south side of Main Street. The south portion also consists of two blocks, designated II and JJ. These ran along the north side of Patton Street, immediately east of current Block P. The third parcel also consisted of two blocks purchased from the Olson Estate from their current farm land. They ran between First Street S and Second Street S, immediately to the east of current Block X. This should allow spaces for new homes and businesses for the next five to ten years, it was estimated.

School Superintendent Quinton Chambers announced at the July School Board Meeting that with the increased funding available for the fall semester he had been able to hire two new faculty members. With increased enrollment, current faculty members had been stretched very thin. He was pleased to announce that both women hired were Oak Springs graduates, now college graduates with a couple of years of teaching experience with excellent recommendations. Nettie Gifford would be teaching in the lower grades and Gertrude Warden would be teaching in the upper grades. Both planned to reside at the Campbell Boarding House.

The workers came in and harvested the crops

The corn needed to be harvested
The corn needed to be harvested

Neighbors Continued to Help Neighbors When Needed

Over on the former Reeves farm, the McDonalds and their farm help managed to get all the crops in as well as the first cutting of hay. Howard even was able to help out a few days. But, they realized they now did need more help. Hired man, Elwin Johnson, now 53, said that his younger brother and his family might be available to help. Jane and William checked them out, offered them the job, and they agreed to come in time for the fall harvest. Normally a farm worker, he had recently been employed in town, and really didn’t care for it. The opportunity to get back on a farm was welcome news to both Darwin Johnson and his wife, Melody. Their three children would also like living on the Reeves place they said.

Word quickly spread around the community of the passing of long time residents Jerry and Polly Potts who were traveling in Greece. His brother, Dr. J.D. Potts, had received word that the couple had become ill from an unknown source and passed away a couple of days apart unable to overcome the illness that struck each of them. Dr. Potts, of course, had been looking after their home and property while they were away. A few months later, he gave up his apartment and moved into that house permanently.

Late in 1894, in the east valley, Riley and Julia Cooper announced the sale of their farm to the Moe Bandy family (they had sold them the Mill several years prior). Before the end of the year, the Coopers announced that they were moving back to Houston, in Texas County, where they still had many relatives living. With that information now public, Jay Bandy and Edith Garrett announced that they would marry on February 25, 1895, and occupy the former Cooper residence. Jay would continue to work with his father both on the farm and at the mill.

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.”


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your visit and your comment, Robustlusty. It is very much appreciated!! ;-)

    • Robustlusty profile image


      10 months ago

      A very good article

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, Mary, I agree. It is fascinating how it ebbs and flows. I've found I get caught up in it, even with fictional characters. I really let the characters tell the story, fill in the details. Along with my research, it sort of has to go in the direction that it goes!! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill, for your visit and comment. It was another age of rapid change, the founding of what we have come to know as the modern world! ;-) I've really enjoyed doing the research on the period. ;-)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      10 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      How a town grows starting with just a few families is always interesting especially the leadership that develops, the culture that dominates, and the development that takes place and how these affect the families.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know why this particular time in history fascinates me so much, but it does,and you have captured it perfectly.


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