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Episode OS3 - 4th Qtr 1877 - Life in Oak Springs and More

Updated on November 25, 2017
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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.

The McDonalds agreed to manage the cattle herd

Cattle in the field
Cattle in the field | Source

More changes following the deaths of David Baldridge and Michael Duncan

It has been learned that Daniel and Jane (Truesdale) McDonald have entered into an agreement to operate all of the land holdings of Henry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald in Oak Creek Township as well as manage the cattle herd owned by Sarah McDonald (formerly jointly owned with her brother). It is believed that a buyout agreement is also in place, but that could not be confirmed by press time. Harry McDonald had continued to take on increased responsibilities with the Weston and McDonald Freight Line, based in Jefferson City where they lived. The two youngest McDonald children, Mahala and Rebecca, lived in the Jefferson City area, as well, and were known to have married and now had five young grandchildren between them for their grandparents to enjoy.

Riley Cooper, General Manager of the Baldridge Mill, on Oak Creek, has announced that he is now ready to resume discussions with customers in the valley who may have trees to harvest for the mill. Only certain trees will be of interest, of course, but Riley said he is especially interested in talking to the land owners that either he, David, or in town Store Manager, Simeon Bishop, had talked to before the untimely death of David Baldridge. They will continue to be selective, but will soon be ready to start buying more trees.

We have now confirmed that Coleman and Roy Cox have agreed to farm the land owned in the west valley by Mrs. Amanda Duncan and her late husband, Michael Duncan. They had helped her put in the crops in the spring and will now also do the harvesting for their neighbor under a formal agreement. The boys’ father, Town Councilman Joseph Cox, was assisting Mrs. Duncan with a permanent move into Oak Springs before the winter sets in. Mrs. Duncan had been staying with Mr. and Mrs. Cox in Oak Springs since the passing of her husband, in March of this year.

Building continued in Oak Springs

The side of a rental house built in Oak Springs.
The side of a rental house built in Oak Springs. | Source

Homes and buildings continued to be added across the valley

In late October, a new boarding house was completed on Lot 1 of Block O and it will face on Central Avenue. Its central location in town should make it very attractive to prospective boarders. From several inquiries it was learned that Abner Wingfield and Joshua Cox jointly own the building and land. Wingfield had built the building with his construction crew. To be known as the Duncan Boarding House, it is to be operated by Mrs. Amanda Duncan, widow of Michael Duncan. She will open the House by November 1, having moved in from the farm west of town, under a contract from the owners. It was also learned that Joshua Cox had entered into an agreement to purchase the Duncan farm.

Trey Weston announced that the Weston Wagon Works building on East Second Street is now complete and he is building farm wagons for his customers. This building is located just west of the Levi Weston Farrier and Cabinet Shop and just east of the Hiram Parks Harness Shop.

At the first meeting of the Town Council in November, Lewis Truesdale and Hugh Truesdale appeared on behalf of their family and Jerry Potts appeared on behalf of the High School Planning Committee. The subject of discussion was the proposed land donation by the Truesdale family for a new High School Building and whether that land should be annexed into the Town. Lewis said that he, and his wife, Caroline, had initially announced that they would donate a piece of their land north of the Patton Road for the school. Further discussions after that announcement had resulted in a modification of the proposed land donation. Jerry Potts spoke up to say that the Planning Committee had asked about the land on the south side of the road, directly west of the current Patton School. Hugh than said that land belonged jointly to several members of the Truesdale family under Jake Patton’s will. It had not been developed, and perhaps it was time to make better use of it. As the several persons involved in those discussions grew, the new proposal came out of those continuing discussions, and it was now time to involve the Town Council.

Looking at the Town Plat, the land in question now could be seen as a 4 Block plat sitting directly west of Town Block Q and U in the extreme southwest corner of the town. Block U, on the south, is designated a Town Park, largely undeveloped, but used for parking horses and wagons along the stream out of the Patton Spring pond when there are large activities at the Community Building, such as Fourth Sundays. Block Q, on Patton Road, has the Patton School, the Lewis Truesdale house, the old Truesdale/Patton cabin, the Blacksmith Shop and the Patton Spring and pond in the southwest corner. The Truesdale family members are now proposing to donate what would become the 4 new Town Blocks west of the southwest corner of the current Town Plat and ask that they be annexed to the Town Plat. The 2 Blocks (perhaps Blocks WW and XX) along Patton Road would be donated for school grounds and the 2 Blocks (perhaps Blocks YY and ZZ) would be donated to the Town for extension of the Town Parks. These Blocks YY and ZZ have streams running through them and need to generally be protected in a natural state, in any event. Following further discussions, the Town Council took the proposal under advisement for later consideration and action.

Town Plat of Oak Springs, end of 1877

Map of Oak Springs, end of 1877
Map of Oak Springs, end of 1877 | Source

Action taken by the Town Council in December

At the December meeting of the Oak Springs Town Council, the Council voted to annex the 4 Block ‘Truesdale Annex’ to the Town Plat, designating the 4 Blocks as Block WW, XX, YY, ZZ, as suggested. The Council also voted to accept ownership of Blocks YY and ZZ as westward extension of the Town Park. They recognized and approved the use of the Block XX for building a High School facing on Patton Road west of the existing Patton School. Block WW would be available for future school uses.

With the land issues sorted out, the High School Planning Committee charged the Building subcommittee with moving ahead to complete plans for the building and to set a schedule for construction in the spring to be ready for a Fall 1878 opening of a 3-grade High School, with the fourth grade to be added in the Fall of 1879.

Abner Wingfield and Joshua Cox received approval from the Town Council to buy Block E for the purpose of building 4 Rental Houses for future residents of Oak Springs, to encourage new arrivals in the coming year of 1878. Construction was to take place in the Spring of 1878, subject to weather, of course.

Note from the author

This is the third 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 Fourth Quarter of the calendar year 1877, 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

      I appreciate your visit and your nice comment. Your support, Victor, is greatly appreciated! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Another nice episode, Homeplace!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Audrey, thank you so much for your comment. I love to get this kind of feedback. Thank you again, so much! ;-)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Oak Springs is my kind of town. You do a great job of bringing the reader in to the growth of Oak Springs, visually. Enjoyed this and will share.


    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That had to be such an exciting time, watching a town grow and neighbors, all with stories, all with something to add to the community. Nicely written piece of history.


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