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Episode OS18, 3rd Qtr. 1881 - Life in Oak Springs and More

Updated on November 22, 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.

The flag flew on the 4th of July

38 star flag was in place from 1877 to 1890
38 star flag was in place from 1877 to 1890 | Source

July items of interest

The Annual 4th of July Celebration was held at Centennial Square led by members of the Patton Post of the DAR. The featured speaker this year was State Senator, John Smith, of Salem. He spoke on reconciliation among all Americans, North, South, East and West. Patton Post Commandant and State Legislator Lewis Truesdale introduced him.

Fred Powell, and his wife, Fannie, finally got moved into their new home on Lot 2 of Block H, just north of the Trey Parks residence. The Powell Furniture building was delayed by weather and other problems, but finally opened in May. Fred said they will hold a Grand Opening in August when the rest of their inventory will have arrived. The Powell’s and their children, Melissa, 12, and David, 9, were very pleased to be in their new residence, at last, and reportedly enjoyed attending the 4th of July celebration just a couple of blocks away!

On July 28, 1881, Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden offered a $5000 reward for the arrest and conviction of members of the Jesse James gang.

Reports of the activities of the Jesse James gang had been regular reading fare in both the Oak Springs Enterprise and surrounding local and statewide newspapers. While all of the activity had been many miles from Oak Springs, many residents were still wary and had taken defensive postures as they moved around the valley.

The Valley Fair was very popular

The Oak Creek Valley Fair was a time of celebration.
The Oak Creek Valley Fair was a time of celebration. | Source

August items of interest

The Third Annual Oak Creek Valley Fair took place from dawn to dusk on Saturday, August 6, 1881. With judging of entries starting early in the morning, many entrants had their entries in place over night so as to be sure they were ready. Many folks were ‘camped-out’ overnight with their animals, in particular, for the agricultural animal judging. There was talk among those in the camp that the Fair might include Friday evening activities, one day. Judging was completed before noon, on Saturday. Many people had their picnic lunches so as to be able to view the judged exhibits early in the afternoon. Children’s activities were scheduled throughout the afternoon. The West Valley vs. East Valley ‘tough-of-war’ tradition was continued at 4 p.m. Central Avenue in Oak Springs was designated as the dividing line. To everyone’s surprise, this year, the West Valley team emerged victorious. It seemed the tide had turned in their favor, with new residents participating.

Reverend Arthur Boyd and his wife Claudia moved into the new Methodist Parsonage. They held an Open House on Sunday afternoon, August 7, so that all the parishioners would have an opportunity to see their Parsonage. Claudia Boyd was heard to say that every resident of the valley must have visited. Reverend Boyd said he was gratified at the interest, and most appreciative to the members of the church for their support.

Tuesday, August 9, was Election Day for the Town Council and School Board. In the School Board election, Russell Nixon and Karl King were re-elected without opposition. In the Town Council election, Ivan Toll and R. R. Callahan were elected to three year terms to replace Owen Olson and Victor Campbell who had each announced their retirements after each had served sixteen years on the Council. Many expected a contested race, but only the two local businessmen filed for the election to fill the vacancies.

The Grand Opening of the Powell Furniture Store was held on Saturday, August 20. Fred Powell greeted each visitor and his daughter, Melissa, took registration of visitors for the drawings held each hour during the day for store credit tokens of $1 each. Young David assisted his sister, and Mrs. Powell, Fannie, served coffee and cookies to each guest. A total of 10 tokens were awarded during the day. In addition to the ready-made, low cost furniture available, visitors were pleasantly surprised to see a wide array of everyday small household hand appliances available. Some visitors were heard to suggest that they could now get anything they needed in town among the now existing businesses. Fred Powell said following the Grand Opening that he was very pleased with the reception he and his family had received.

The three local gentlemen, Gilbert Gower, David Derryberry, and Calvin Williams, who issued a call for a Presbyterian minister in the Oak Creek valley, realized that their call had been heard. They received word, late in August, that Reverend Walter Ware, a young man from Kansas City, would be coming in mid-September to work with them to organize a new church.

Baby announcements are always fun

A boy baby
A boy baby | Source

September items of interest

The new Public School Year began on Monday, September 12. Superintendant Quinton Chambers reminded all families in the valley that all children of school age were expected to be in attendance with the entire tax base of the township now supporting the public school. He added that he would be available to discuss this with any residents who felt they had a difficulty with this expectation. Even with the slight increase in enrollment expected, Chambers stated that the School Board and he felt the school buildings and teachers were prepared to meet the needs of the students of the District.

In his Locals Column in the Enterprise, Russell Nixon announced the recent babies born in the Oak Creek valley. Richard Mason was born to G.W. and Margaret Mason in June, the couple’s fourth child. Catherine King was born in July to Edward and Lilly (Johnson) King, joining Talbot and Abby in their family. Proud grandparents in the valley were George and Marcia King and Lawrence and Lucinda Johnson.

Following his arrival, working with the local leaders, Reverend Walter Ware announced in the Oak Springs Enterprise on Wednesday, September 21, that Presbyterian services would be conducted at the Community Building at 1 p.m. beginning Sunday, September 25. He emphasized that all community members were invited to participate in the service whether they had a Presbyterian background or not. The local organizing committee of Gower, Derryberry and Williams would be with him following the service to respond to any questions community members might have for them. Reverend Ware had taken a room at the Campbell Boarding House.

Note from the author

This is the eighteenth episode of this 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 1881, 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 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol 1 and Vol 2 (20 episodes each). 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.”


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      It certainly, MsDora! Thank you for your visit and comment!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      It's a challenge keeping up with all the summer activities in Oak Springs. It's an exciting life!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I might go looking with you, Sha, for the five grand! Let's saddle up! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Carb Diva! It is comments like yours that inspire the continuation of the stories! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Maybe for five grand!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Buildreps, for the fine comment. I try to get my readers involved in the community activities in Oak Springs! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Readership seems to be picking up, some, Bill. Thanks for your continued support. Much appreciated, with regular comments! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Jesse James was a real nuisance in western Missouri, for sure. They wanted to stop him real bad, Sha... would you have been out looking for him? ;-)

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I love your story series. Very well written. Don't stop!

    • Buildreps profile image


      4 years ago from Europe

      An excellently written article, William! I read it with great pleasure, and I'm stunned by the details you included in this article.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a shame more people aren't reading these articles, Bill, because it really is a very honest and accurate accounting of this country's history. Well done!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      $5,000 reward for Jesse James! That was a lot of money back then.

      I'm enjoying watching this town grow, Bill.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much! Always appreciate great comments, as well! ;-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Always a pleasure to read your Home Place series. It's like reading a newspaper of the time. You take us right there with everyday events.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.


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