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Episode OS6 - 3rd 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.

The Principal was introduced on the 4th of July

Local homes decorated for the 4th of July
Local homes decorated for the 4th of July | Source

High School Principal introduced at 4th of July Celebration

At the annual 4th of July Celebration in Oak Springs, the High School Recruiting subcommittee was pleased to introduce Professor Quinton Chambers as the new High School Principal, a title he encouraged the committee to adopt, and they did. Professor Chambers was beginning work with the High School immediately. He came to Oak Springs from his position as Assistant Principal at Cape Girardeau High School in the southeastern part of the state. The Subcommittee chairman said that they were very proud and happy to have been able to get this fine scholar and administrator to come to Oak Springs.

Professor Chambers spoke to those gathered briefly. He said he was very pleased to have been asked to take on this task of starting a new school. He said the townspeople he had met so far were very welcoming, and he appreciated that, very much. He especially thanked Jerry and Polly Potts for having an apartment ready for him, over their stores, so that he could get right to work on his tasks laid out by the High School Planning Committee. He added that as a single person, in his early forties, his sole focus would be on providing the best possible education for the students placed in his charge.

Two weeks after being introduced to the community, Professor Chambers announced in the weekly newspaper that two other teachers would join him on the High School faculty for the first year. Already a member of the community, he said he was pleased to announce that Mrs. Spencer (Flo) Fields, would be teaching English and be a half-time member of the faculty. The second faculty member would be a recent graduate of the State University, Mr. Andrew Gilmore, who would be a full-time faculty member. He was expected to arrive in town by August 1st. Mr. Gilmore was also a single man, and would be occupying the fourth Potts apartment, next door to Professor Chambers.

A nice summer day in the valley

Clouds over the fields
Clouds over the fields | Source

Progress on High School continued

The Wednesday, August 1, edition of the Oak Springs Enterprise carried a lead story on the status of the Oak Springs High School. It was announced that the Planning Committee had been replaced by a permanent Board of Education for the control of the High School. Board members, selected from across the Oak Creek Valley, included Thomas Crane, Karl King, Jane McDonald, Caroline Truesdale and Russell Nixon. Crane would initially serve as President, King as Vice-President, and McDonald as Secretary. Ralph Campbell would serve as Treasurer to the Board. Crane announced that the building was on schedule and that Professor Chambers was confident school would open as scheduled on Monday, September 10.

Crane also expressed sincere appreciation to each and every donor of goods and services to the development of the school. He said that offers continued to come in as the opening of the school approached. For just one example, he mentioned that the Livery Stable, located near the school, had offered to make space available for any student wishing to ride to school and leave the horse there during the school day. Several students had already signed up to do so.

Crane, in concluding remarks, reported that discussions were underway to bring the elementary subscription school under the control of the new Board of Education. Several of the same people were involved, and it seemed to make sense to work in that direction, even before state-enabling legislation was passed for a tax-based school district.

Local residents shared their books

Books to read
Books to read | Source

News of interest from around town

Items from the newspaper and heard on the street…

  • Three full-time workers were now employed at the Weston Wagon Works.
  • At the Diamond Restaurant, a foursome had developed that met every Friday evening for dinner and stayed for social conversation, centered on education, presumably: Professor Chambers, Mr. Gilmore, Mr. Alex McDonald, and Miss Nellie Truesdale.
  • Also from the Diamond Restaurant, a regular late evening diner, Mr. Trey Parks, proprietor of the wagon works, always seems to still be around when Miss Rebecca Cornelius got off work, it was said.
  • Word had it that Dr. Jasper Wood and Dr. J.D. Potts had had conversations about partnering once the new Medical Office building was completed. Work recently began on the Medical Office stone building once the High School exterior was completed.
  • In related news, it had been heard that Jerry and Polly Potts had been considering retirement from their businesses other than the newspaper.
  • Both Keith King and Earl Rhodes, visiting from Jefferson City where they attend High School, spent a week on their parental farms, in the west valley, in late August.

When the High School opened on September 10, it was reported by Professor Chambers that enrollment was actually 20% higher than originally expected. New residents accounted for some of the increase, but the balance represented students already in the valley who decided to participate after earlier indicating that they would not.

Jerry and Polly Potts had an article in the newspaper noting that 22 families and individuals had taken up their “lending library” suggestion, representing 175 books available. More could be used, they said. Persons wishing to borrow books should stop by the newspaper office to look over the list of available books and make the necessary arrangements.

Levi Weston let friends know how pleased he was that each of his nephews, 16 year-old Otis and 21 year-old Alfred, were fitting in well in Oak Springs and indicated they wanted to stay throughout the year, at least. He mentioned to Karl King that Otis seemed to be taking a liking to cabinetry, in his shop, while Alfred seemed to thrive on the sales end of the wagon works business. Each needed more time, of course, to see if they would sustain those interests and continue to build their skills. In the meantime, he added, having the two boys nearby to live and to work with was very invigorating for his own life and outlook, as well.

Note from the author

This is the sixth 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 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


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Always enjoy your visits, Bill. Thanks, so much! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I can't think of a better way to end my day than reading one of your fine stories. Well done, Bill.


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