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Bevins Tales - BT3 - 1884 Was a Year Filled With Normal Family and Friends Activities

Updated on June 21, 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 talked about land issues in the valley

A farmscape with clouds
A farmscape with clouds

The spring of the year was fairly normal for a change

Easter Sunday, April 13, after church, Victoria and Nellie Truesdale hosted dinner for their extended family. They didn’t all get together often, but it was always nice when they did. Lewis, Charlotte and Myrtle always enjoyed visiting his mother’s home, that she now shared with Nellie, since sometime after Hugh passed away. It was a fine stone home, built in the residential neighborhood on the south side of town. Daniel and Jane (Truesdale) McDonald were accompanied by William and his wife, Charlotte, of course. Lewis was home from Legislative duty. He usually had interesting stories to tell of goings-on in Jefferson City and this time was no exception.


During the afternoon, Lewis and Jane stepped outside into Victoria’s garden for a talk. Only a few of the flowering plants were yet in bloom, but they were there to talk confidentially about land deals and legislation, not gardening. Jane was the family member most interested in land. She and Lewis conferred regularly about family land, land legislation, and what was going on around the valley with respect to land acquisitions and available land. Lewis filled her in on the latest changes and updates with the local Oak Creek Valley Land Trust of which Lewis was now a Trustee. He mentioned that they had hired Kate King, soon to be Kate Campbell, as full-time Secretary of the Land Trust. Ralph Campbell at the bank had recommended it so as to assure all paperwork was kept up to date. They discussed some recent legislation as well before rejoining the others inside.


Meanwhile, Howard Bevins was hard at work on the Warden farm learning and doing the work of preparing the land for seeding the new crops for the year. He worked right alongside Ted Warden, to learn first-hand what it took. He missed a few days of school, but was always there when they couldn’t get into the fields. Everyone knew Howard was learning to be a farmer, so they seemed to be okay with it. He was a nice young man, earnest and hard-working. This being his second spring working on the farm demonstrated that he was serious about the work. Many tasks he was now able to complete on his own. This year he had focused on learning the when and the why of various decisions required to get the crops in on time and properly completed.

Howard continued to work at the stables as well as on the farm

Horses near the stables
Horses near the stables

School activities wound down as the summer got underway in 1884

At the end of Myrtle’s Sophomore Year, the High School Graduations exercises were bitter sweet for her family. This would have been Jimmie’s graduation and these were his classmates receiving their diplomas. In the middle of the ceremony, they did have a nice tribute to Jimmie as their departed classmate. Otherwise, it was a traditional, intimate gathering with only a handful of graduates, of course. They included Kent King, Jimmie’s best friend, and his neighbor, Janice Carver. They were a couple now, and expected to settle on the King farm in the West Valley in the not too distant future.


Kent’s older sister, Kate, and her fiancé, banker Vic Campbell got married in June at the Methodist Church. Many considered this the social event of the year, as he was Vice-President of Oak Springs Savings Bank. Vic had recently graduated from the Bank Management Program in St. Louis. Grandson of one of the bank’s founders, Victor, he was being groomed to be in line to take over as bank President in a few years from his father, Ralph. They had recently completed renovation of the former Victor Campbell stone home, near the Truesdale stone home, where Vic and Kate would now make their home following their wedding.


Saturday night in a small town was typically the one night of the week that most stores stayed open for folks to come in off the farm to do their shopping. It was a fairly new phenomena but the local businesses and patrons seemed to be supporting the idea fairly well. Howard and Myrtle found that they were able to show up at the Confectionary around 7:00 or 7:30 pm, it was still light, and no one thought anything of it. Of course, ‘everyone’ knew what they were doing, but, as long as they mingled with the other folks, ‘everyone’ supported their meetings. Howard had more time available during the summer, of course, when he mostly worked at the stable. During the school year, being in classes together, they saw each other regularly. They were looking forward to their Junior Year in High School as summer drew to a close, and he would be very involved in the harvest work on the Warden farm, again.

Howard assisted with the harvest on the farm through the fall

A farmscape in the valley
A farmscape in the valley

Alex McDonald became Editor of the Oak Springs Enterprise on September 1

Alex McDonald was the younger brother of Caroline (McDonald) Truesdale, of course. Caroline was very proud of her brother’s accomplishments following the trauma of the Civil War. Alex and his grandfather had actually stayed in the valley throughout the years of the conflict, living in the caves above Oak Creek, living off the land, as they ‘looked after the land’ across the valley. It turned out they had stored the family’s fair sized library in the caves. With his grandfather’s encouragement, Alex had earned himself a fair eduction during that period of time just by reading every one of those books, many more than once. Enough so that he was even asked to teach certain courses in the early days of the subscription school. He was especially good with literature and history. He had also become a good writer from reading so much.


Later on, he also had honed his skills working with Jerry Potts at the Oak Springs Enterprise, first as a reporter and then as an assistant in the Print Shop as well. He wrote copy, he sold ads. Then, when Russell Nixon agreed to purchase the enterprise from Potts, part of the deal was that Alex would become Editor of the newspaper on September 1, 1884. It was an interim step for Nixon as he learned the business. Alex would also train Nixon on the details of the work of the Editor but it was assumed Alex would stay on in that capacity even when Nixon took over full control as Publisher, per the purchase agreement. It was a five-year deal.


At Thanksgiving time, with the crops harvested, the Truesdale family again was invited to Victoria’s place for the afternoon. It included the full traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. Lewis knew very well how Howard and Myrtle were getting along together and becoming a couple. He also knew how well Howard was doing in his work at the farm and at the stable. Therefore, he got permission from his mother to invite Howard Bevins to the festivities. Everyone agreed it was a good idea, especially Myrtle.

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 

      5 months ago from Hollister, MO

      That is the essence, for sure, Bill! Loved your recent family story, as well. I appreciate each of your visits!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What I love most about your stories, Bill...history is a background, but at the core of each story is family....family is the driving force always...and I love that you live these stories in your own family life.

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