ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Episode OS4 - 1st Qtr 1878 - Life in Oak Springs and More

Updated on November 25, 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.

It snowed and snowed that winter

Home engulfed in snow
Home engulfed in snow | Source

January 1878 brought snow, winter visits, and planning for the New Year

Keith King enjoyed his holiday visit in the parental Karl and Katherine King farm home but realized that it felt less and less like ‘home.’ He had completed the fall semester of high school in Jefferson City, where he lived with his aunt Ann, and her family. He worked part-time some evenings and on weekends in the mercantile business of her husband, Mr. Walters, and enjoyed that very much. In school, he excelled at his new college preparatory courses, and had begun to look forward to going on to Columbia to the university upon graduation. Life on the farm of his parents had begun to seem filled with ‘sameness’ rather than the many new challenges he faced each day in Jefferson City. Kate, Kent, and Karla, his siblings, were now the focus of his parents’ attention, he could tell; even as proud of him as they were, and said so. Life was moving on.

The day that Keith left on the stagecoach for Jefferson City it had begun to snow and, as it turned out, it snowed for three days, leaving piles and drifts of snow everywhere throughout the Oak Creek valley. Even long-time residents said they could not remember this much snow in January before. And then, the temperature plunged, and remained below freezing for nearly two weeks, some nights below zero. There was no melting of the massive quantities of snow. Folks made do by using up unusual amounts of firewood that they had accumulated. Most felt the need to go cut more, lest they run out, and freeze. Such was life in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.

With all the snow, and the extreme cold, building projects were put on hold, of course. Planning for spring and summer continued, with plenty of time to do it. The High School Planning Committee kept at their work, diligently, their time passing by quickly as the Fall 1878 opening approached, minute by minute. Wingfield and Cox were frustrated that they could not be working on their rental houses, but were already thinking of, perhaps, developing another block in Oak Springs. Word seemed to have gotten out, and they were receiving query letters from prospective tenants. Farmers across the valley, while working hard to feed and protect their animals, were looking forward to spring planting, a couple of months away.

Two babies were introduced this month

Another happy baby arrived...
Another happy baby arrived... | Source

February 1878 was a reversal from January weather

The end of January weather was more moderate, nearly normal for a week or so, and the snow began to melt. This was followed by early February when temperatures soared into the fifties, many days, and there was some flooding from the snowmelt runoff. Many people in the valley felt that false sense of spring that could so often overtake Ozark residents this time of year, with a few warm days. Old-timers, like Blacksmith Owen Olson, however, mostly just smiled and chuckled at such talk, knowing that more winter weather was just waiting over the northern horizon to swoop down and bring reality back to the valley residents.

This was also the winter that Owen had decided to turn over the Blacksmith Shop to his son, Liam. Liam had seemed to overcome the loss of his close friend, David Baldridge, and had become fully engaged in work at the shop. Owen and Anna, both aged 65, though still enjoying good health, recognized that it was time to ‘slow down’ a bit. Each would continue to work, but on a reduced time commitment. Anna enjoyed helping out at their General Merchandise store, though their daughter, Allison, was now in charge. Their grandson, Aden, who would be two in March, also took up much of Anna’s time, so that Allison could concentrate on her store duties. They had other employee’s of course, but both still felt a strong sense of responsibility to see that customers were served properly.

Two babies were announced at the February Fourth Sunday gathering. The first was George Mason, Junior, son of G.W. and Margaret Mason. The second was Abby King, daughter Edward and Lilly (Johnson) King. Both sets of grandparents were in attendance, George and Marcia King, and Lawrence and Lucinda Johnson, of rural Oak Creek Township.

A new blacksmith came to town

A Blacksmith at work
A Blacksmith at work | Source

March 1878 reminded everyone that spring was yet a dream

March 1, it was a Thursday, brought five inches of fresh snow, along with a 20 mile per hour wind, to make life miserable again, for a few days. This time, however, the temperatures moderated after those first days, and stayed mostly in the mid-forties for a couple of weeks. Farmers could begin to make preparations for crop season. Town folks could go about their work in a more routine manner. Firewood could be gathered without urgency.

On Wednesday, March 21st, two young couples arrived on the stagecoach intent on making their new life in the Oak Creek valley. Twenty-four year-old Bryce Taylor, and his bride, Cissy, had come from Franklin, to the north, where he had been an apprentice blacksmith. He had heard that the local blacksmith shop might be able to use an assistant, and they had decided to check it out. They were able to get a room at the Duncan Boarding House, and Bryce made his first visit to Owen and Liam Olson at their shop. Twenty-two year-old Mathias Tombridge was a carpenter. He and his bride, Callie, had come from Rolla, and he hoped to get on with the Wingfield construction crew. They took a room over the tavern until they could determine whether they would be able to stay and find work.

Each of these new arrivals had learned of the possibility of work in Oak Springs from the business members’ committee work the prior year that had sent out letters to friends in communities across the state seeking to draw in new people to the community as the economy seemed to be picking up. These seemed to be the early fruits of those efforts.

Owen and Liam Olson welcomed Bryce Taylor to their shop. Taylor talked about his background, his preparation work and his interest in demonstrating that he could make himself useful, if given the opportunity. Owen and Liam perceived that Taylor was worth giving that opportunity to see what he could do. There was work to be done, and this might just be a great opportunity to see how the shop would work, with Owen cutting back on his workload, without overburdening Liam.

Note from the author

This is the fourth 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 First Quarter of the calendar year 1878, 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

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      3 years ago from Hawaii

      Another great episode!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Following the national Panic of 1873, there was economic growth across the country. It took a while to reach the southern Missouri Ozarks, but they will now continue to grow. Thank you, so much, for your visit and comment, as usual. Neat! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I like how the community keeps growing with new babies and new residents. I can see how they prepare the way for new activities. I'm learning from you.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure! Thank you, so much, for taking the time for a visit. ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I didn't think I'd ever get to this today. I finally just set aside my customer work and made time. Duh! Thanks for another interesting chapters in the ongoing series. I feel like I know these people, and that is perhaps my highest praise.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)