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Episode OS14 - 3rd Qtr 1880 - Life in Oak Springs and more

Updated on November 23, 2017
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.

Oak Springs celebrated Independence Day!

House decorated for the 4th of July celebration
House decorated for the 4th of July celebration

The 4th of July Celebration was well done

Red, white and blue balloons
Red, white and blue balloons | Source

July items of interest

The 4th of July in 1880 fell on a Sunday so activities were scheduled at Centennial Park starting at 2 p.m. and running until dusk for families participating, concluding with fireworks. Augustus Ward planned the activities of the day, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and the Town Council. He chose “Celebrating our Veterans” as a theme. He had noticed in reviewing prior 4th of July celebrations that as patriotic as they all were, none really brought attention to the many Civil War veterans who lived around the Oak Creek valley and in Oak Springs. He had already been surprised, he said, that there was not an organized G.A.R. post locally. With that realization, and the encouragement of many he spoke with, he joined with several other veterans to form one.

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Jake Patton Post was formed during June and made their first public appearance on the 4th of July by presenting U.S. and Missouri flags to open the ceremony at 2 p.m. J.W. Norton and G. W. Mason carried the flags flanked by Willis Garrett and Theodore Warden. Each of these men had served in Jake Patton’s Cavalry Regiment during the war, in the Company commanded by now State Representative Lewis Truesdale, who gave the keynote address for the afternoon celebration. Lewis had agreed to serve as first Commandant of the Jake Patton G.A.R. Post. During his speech, Truesdale recognized each and every veteran in attendance.

The Oak Creek Valley Fair Association announced the Agricultural Competition categories for the August 7th event. Crop categories would be displayed in the Community Building and Livestock categories would be displayed in the new Pole Barn that had been built near Patton Pond to the southwest of the Community Building. Judging would be completed in the morning. That way, awards and ribbons presented could be on display in the afternoon for viewing by the general public. Simeon Bishop, Association President, announced that J.P. Polk organized the Livestock Competition and Sally (Rhodes) Campbell had organized the Crop Competition which included both Garden and Farm Produce products and plants.

Following the Rhodes/King wedding in June, Russell Nixon spent some time talking with George King and Theodosius Rhodes as well as Victor Campbell about the early days in the west valley and their families’ lives since then. Eli Rhodes and Victor Campbell had known each other in Kentucky before the Campbell family moved to the Oak Creek valley in 1836. The Rhodes family followed in 1838 after exchanging letters. The George King family also arrived on the Western Branch creek in 1838. Ralph and Sally (Rhodes) Campbell moved into Oak Springs, of course, as did George and Marcia King, fairly recently. Still living on and working the farms are Delbert and Delia (Rhodes) Campbell, Theodosius and Lillian (Campbell) Rhodes and their children, Vance and Alice (King) Rhodes, recently wed, Edward and Lilly (Johnson) King and their children, Rufus and Daisy (Die) King and their daughter, Bonnie, Coleman and Ada (Bishop) Cox, and Roy and Pearl (Bishop) Cox - the latter two couples each expecting their first child, in coming weeks, or days. The Nathan Bishop family arrived in 1849. The Bishop families were now well integrated into the neighborhood as well.

They held a Special Election

A ballot box
A ballot box | Source

August items of interest

On August 3, the first Tuesday of August, a Special Election regarding the establishment of a public school taxing district for Oak Creek Township was held. The first question was a simple Yes or No vote, phrased per Department of Revenue rules, on the establishment of a township-wide taxing district to support a public school system within the district under the legislation and rules set by the State of Missouri. The second question on the ballot, allowed by the rules, was contingent on the results of the first. If the vote totals on the first question were for ‘No,’ the vote on the second question would be a ‘for information only’ vote. If, however, ‘Yes’ prevailed on the first question, the second question was a choice between a vote for the current board, five members listed by name, or a vote to hold another election to elect a different set of persons to be the first Board of Directors for the new school district established by the first vote.

Following the School District Special Election the results were announced as a 65% vote ‘Yes’ to establish the district. The second question vote was to elect, by a 54% vote, the five persons listed on the ballot: Thomas Crane, Karl King, Jane McDonald, Charlotte Truesdale and Russell Nixon. The second vote was a surprise to many people around town, with two women ‘elected’ to the initial board. Most said that probably accounted for the difference in the percentages of the two vote counts. However, the vote showed that the majority felt these five persons, including the two women, had done a good job with the subscription school and that they should be given a chance to continue their work in the new taxing district. Future elections would provide opportunities to vote for or against individuals, it was said.

The Oak Creek Valley Fair held on the 7th, the first Saturday of August, was deemed a huge success. All those who participated in the competitions or who simply attended and enjoyed the many activities available seemed to agree on that. At different times during the afternoon and early evening, music groups performed, children’s games and activities were conducted, and a fireworks display closed the event at dusk.

The Town Council hired a Town Marshall, Andrew Fetter, who would also serve as a Deputy Sheriff for Oak Creek Township under an agreement with the County Sheriff’s office. Mr. Fetter had been serving as a Deputy Sheriff and was already familiar with Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley, even though he lived in Eminence. Fetter would move to Oak Springs, initially taking a room at the Duncan Boarding House, and begin his official duties on Wednesday, September 1.

Three more baby announcements

Another happy baby!
Another happy baby! | Source

September items of interest

Russell Nixon reported three new babies born in the west valley, in July and August, that had expanded the Cox and Bishop families. George Bishop was born to Joey and Margaret Bishop in July. David Cox was born to Coleman and Ada (Bishop) Cox in August. Also born in August was Edith Cox, to parents Roy and Pearl (Bishop) Cox. Grandparents in the local area were Joseph and Tetisha Cox and Nathan and Sharon Bishop.

Work had been completed on the stone federal government office building at Main and Central. George King, Postmaster, announced that the Post Office would open there on Monday morning, September 13.

Note from the author

This is the fourteenth episode of a new short story (OSx) series, Life in Oak Springs. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This episode is for the Third Quarter of the calendar year 1880, following the 40 episodes of “The Kings of Oak Springs” stories. That series had followed the time period of the “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These OSx episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.

The first 20 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into an eBook, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs: The Arrival Months in 1876 Vol 1." The second 20 episodes will become Vol 2. See the link, below, to get yours.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Sha, I have names and ages for 282 on the list at this point. I would assumed there would be some transients, workers, and a few others coming and going that I haven't counted. Great question, as well as a challenge.

      I my Iowa hometown, in the newspaper, in the 1880s, it was a big deal when two wives ran for school board election to replace their husbands. They lost, on close vote. But, the topic was on everyone's mind. I'm trying to bring that in, at the right levels of authenticity. Great comments! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, MsDora, I work hard to make the stories and setting as real to life as possible! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm glad women were elected to the School District Board. It only makes sense. Thankfully, the townsfolk realized the valuable contribution they'll make.

      How many people now officially live in Oak Springs?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      It's interesting the way you bring out everyone at these functions--another real life effect.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Customer deadlines are critical. Thanks for the visit! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always an enjoyable read, Bill, even when I'm in a hurry. I'm meeting customer deadlines but needed a break, and you provided an interesting and pleasurable one. Thank you!


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