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Bevins Tales - BT6 - 1887 Saw Howard and Myrtle Working Hard on Their Transition

Updated on July 5, 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.

Howard arranged to buy the mule team he had used on the farm

A Mule team working in the field
A Mule team working in the field

Spring of 1887 Found Howard and Myrtle Well Into Their Transition Year

During the long fall harvest season, Howard became fully accustomed to working largely on his own on the farm. He mostly appreciated the times that Ted stopped by to check in and ask if Howard needed anything from Ted. At other times, though, Howard felt those visits were just a bother, a distraction, things were going very well. It had been a good harvest, and Howard knew that Ted felt good about it. Howard was always careful to ask Ted about his work in town, and Ted always had a positive reply. Howard enjoyed the holidays except that it reminded him it was still a full year before he and Myrtle would be getting married, and he would really be a farmer on his own.

During the fall, Howard and Myrtle did take a few opportunities to take Gypsy out with the Shay and ride around the valley. They did each see many things they had never seen before, and these gave them many ideas - both things they wanted to do someday, and, somethings they didn’t! On a ‘January thaw’ in February, they were out for a ride and drove past William McDonald’s farm. He was just coming out of his farmstead riding a beautiful red Morgan riding horse with a blaze on his nose. William said this was his new mare, Blaze, that his parents had given him for his birthday. She was bred, and the foal would be the start of what he hoped would be his Morgan Horse Herd, one day. They talked about that, a bit, and then each went on their way.

Toward the end of February, again, Ted invited Howard to go to the bank to meet Ralph. This time they also invited Lewis, since he was such a critical element in all their lives these days. As a proud father, Ted told Ralph, early in the discussion, that his oldest daughter, Gertrude, had recently been notified she had earned a full-ride college scholarship from her high school work, and would be leaving home over the summer. He, Ellen, and the four remaining children would be moving to town during the upcoming fall or winter, so that Howard and Myrtle could prepare to move onto the farm. Lewis also appreciated being invited so he could see what the bank had listed as the assets that Ted had for his farming operation by now. Some he would keep, some he would want to sell to Howard to maintain continuity on the farm. Lewis had said their trust would assist with the one-time purchase, so that was a positive for everyone involved. They would work on details as the year played out for each of them.

Caroline and Myrtle considered which chickens would go out to the farm

Chickens like would be on the farm
Chickens like would be on the farm | Source

The Planting Season Led Right Into the Summer

Unexpectedly, the weather continued with favorable trends through the spring planting season. Howard muttered under this breath a few times ‘I hope it is like this next year, when I’m on my own…but I know it won’t be!’ It would be especially good news for Ted if they were to get a good crop in and have a good harvest. Whereas he expected to find one of the Wingfield rental houses in the fall to meet their needs, there was an outside chance, with a good harvest, and his new salary, he might be able to buy one. Ellen would be very pleased if they could have a home of their own, he knew. He certainly would be. He and Howard talked about that some, as the summer passed.

Myrtle worked closely with her mother again this year on the chickens and the garden, but this year the emphasis, for her, was how she would transition next year to her own chickens and gardens. Caroline and Myrtle had been out to visit Ellen about once a month to gain some familiarity with what there was on the farm that would become Myrtle’s responsibility the following year. Ellen seemed to enjoy the company, and looked forward to a new life in town, as well. There were many questions and answers going each way. Myrtle had joined the women’s Garden Club, alongside both Caroline and Ellen. There was a small orchard, so that also came into the conversation.

Howard had learned to be careful to take time off from his work and to ‘make a big deal’ out of devoting himself to Myrtle on each of the ‘holidays’ this year: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, the Annual Fair, etc. They did enjoy their time together, so they took that as a sign that they were doing the right things. Along the way, they had together accepted an invitation to become part of the Willing Workers Sunday School Class with the other young couples. That provided another venue for both togetherness and learning opportunities.

Ted and Howard both hoped for a good harvest this year

The harvested a good crop that year
The harvested a good crop that year

Fall Harvest Got Underway

Howard and Myrtle had decided there were a number of things she could do on the farm, during parts of the harvest season, that would be helpful to Howard. It would also give them a chance to really work side-by-side. Ted and Ellen had once mentioned to them that this was really a good way to get to know each other before they got married. And, it turned out to be the truth. They agreed they would pass that tidbit along to another young couple, one day when they had the chance.

With a successful harvest, Ted had decided he would work with Abner Wingfield and Ralph at the bank, of course, to try to buy a house in town. They finished the work with Lewis and Howard, first, to arrange the purchase of several items. First, the team of two mules and the team of two horses were essential, along with five pieces of implements and the larger farm harvest wagon. Ted would keep the small wagon and the other team of horses. Ted kept two milk cows and sold one to Howard. He sold two bred beef cows to Howard and planned to sell the rest at the Sale Barn at the proper time. They agreed on the harvested seed that would be withheld from sale for Howard to use the following spring. Ted and Ellen would take their chickens with them. Myrtle preferred to get some from Caroline that she had already worked with anyway. Their needs were small compared to the large family. They had already decided on a split of garden seeds. With this information in hand, the purchase was agreed to. Ted was then told he could purchase a home they had been looking at and could afford to take back a small mortgage with his current salary. The home was on Lot 2 of Block E. It was an early rental, had outbuildings in place, and had been modified so it met their family needs. They were very happy to get it. They planned their move between Thanksgiving and Christmas, dependent on the weather, of course.

These decisions allowed Howard and Myrtle to make their final decisions around the holidays, as well. They became officially engaged at Christmas time and set their wedding date as February 26. This would allow the proper amount of time to work on the farm house after the Wardens moved out so as to be ready for them to move in, together, on their wedding night.

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 

      12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Between my Dad and you, I have a lot of inspiration!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There is no rest for a farmer...they snatch simple pleasures like taking a ride around the countryside, and truly appreciate that break from the have the heart of a pioneer for sure, Bill!


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