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Episode OS7 - 4th 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.

A new drug store was coming to town

The mortar and pestle is one of the internationally recognized symbols to represent druggists
The mortar and pestle is one of the internationally recognized symbols to represent druggists

October 1878 news items

State Representative Lewis Truesdale was pleased to announce a state grant to the High School Board of Directors that would help support the full-time faculty status of Mr. Gilmore and other school expenditures. Duties under the grant would be to prepare a full report on the implementation of the High School in Oak Springs, including challenges faced, successes and failures experienced, and full details of planning and implementation for the benefit of other communities facing the same task. Mr. Gilmore would be responsible for gathering information and drafting the report, under the supervision of Professor Chambers. Board President Crane and the rest of the Board would be responsible for approving the final report to be sent to the Legislative Education Committee.

Martin Wilhite arrived in town and purchased Lot 1, Block G, between the Diamond Hotel and the Town Square. He announced his intention to build a stone store that faced both on Central Avenue and on Third Street on the Town Square. He would be the owner and the Druggist for the establishment to be called Wilhite Drug and Sundries.

Just a few days later, Augustus Ward, also new in town, purchased Lot 2, Block F, directly west across Central Avenue from the expected Wilhite Drug location. He announced we would build a Confectionery/Bakery. He said he wanted a stone building, so it would not be built until spring, however.

Both Wilhite and Ward made clear that they had come to Oak Springs after hearing that the local business community sought new and different businesses to locate in their community. Each said their families would be joining them later.

The two doctors will work together

A modern stethoscope.
A modern stethoscope. | Source

November 1878 news items

Dr. Wood and Dr. Potts announced in the Oak Springs Enterprise that they would be practicing medicine together in the new stone Oak Springs Medical Office currently under construction. They expected to be able to occupy the building by the end of the month.

With the harvest in, Jourdan and Martha Sullivan, in the west valley, were pleased to have a visit from their son, Julian, with his wife and two young daughters, for a week. Their home was in Houston, and it was the first trip back to the farm since the late war for Julian and the first visit ever for his wife and daughters. Julian was also reunited with his sister, Shirley, now the wife of T. J. Toll, of Oak Springs. They, of course, have a son Earl, nearly two years old. Jourdan and Martha had visited Julian and his family in Houston, but this was his first time back to the family’s home farm.

Bryce and Cissy Taylor rented the first of the WIngfield/Cox rental houses completed on Block E. Taylor was now fully employed as a blacksmith at the Owens Blacksmith shop. Mathias and Callie Tombridge rented the second, as soon as it was ready. Tombridge was working full-time as a carpenter with the Wingfield Construction Company. Both ladies had found part-time work in local establishments, as well. Joshua Cox serves as rental agent for all four houses on the Block.

There was a special cattle sale

Stock cattle
Stock cattle | Source

December 1878 news items

A special cattle stock sale was held at the Sale Barn the first Friday of December. Daniel McDonald put the sale together from his own herd and that of the Baldridge family that he managed this past year, and is contracted to manage in the future. The intent of the sale was to dispose of selected animals that were, essentially, duplicates in the combined herd, to make effective and efficient management possible. McDonald noted that all of the animals in the sale were of high quality; they just didn’t fit in with the current philosophy used for the herd. Some of the proceeds would be reinvested in the herds as well as returning profits to the owners.

After the sale, in an interview with Daniel McDonald, he said he was very pleased with the results of the sale. Much of the best breeding stock was picked up by others in the valley to continue to improve their herds. There were also a good number of buyers from outside the valley, which he said was also gratifying and made the decision to hold the sale seem very good. In further discussion, he added that he was a bit surprised at how much he was personally enjoying getting involved in the stock breeding business. He thanked his wife and his sister-in-law, in particular, for encouraging him and helping him through the steep learning process he was still experiencing.

In a final comment, McDonald expressed special appreciation to the three hired hands that had continued to work hard on the combined Baldridge and McDonald land, both with the cattle and with the crops, that allowed him to spend the time he had been able to in the past year with the cattle business. These three men were: Orville Anderson, Julius Swenson, and Elwin Johnson. Their tireless dedication to their work, year around, was invaluable, he said… but don’t tell them I said that, he added, with a smile. We will tell them, of course, the reporter added.

Aron Cunningham, oldest son of Jed Cunningham, in the west valley, became betrothed to marry Bonnie Die, daughter of Jasper and Leannah Die, at a holiday party at the bride’s home. A summer wedding is planned.

State Senator Hugh Truesdale, following an evening of partying around the holiday season, was taken seriously ill at his home on First Street South. His wife, Victoria was with him. He passed away on the morning of December 31 at his home, with Dr. Potts attending. Dr. Potts reported that it appeared his liver had given out, as the cause of death. Truesdale was the last of the first adult settlers in the Oak Creek valley. The others in the original party were just children at the time. His contributions to the entire valley were countless. Everyone agreed he would sorely missed in the community.

Truesdale, 65, was survived by his wife, Victoria, and three grown children: Lewis, and his wife, Caroline; Jane, and her husband Daniel McDonald; and Nellie Truesdale, along with grandsons, Jimmy Truesdale and William McDonald.

Many fine animals at the stock sale

A Hereford Bull
A Hereford Bull | Source

Note from the author

This is the seventh 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 Fourth 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

      Thank you MsDora! I grew up around quite a few of these "hired hands" - I need to find a way to work in more of their stories... thanks for the encouragement! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      The details impress me; they add an authentic tone to the story. I like the little bit of McDonald's voice through his words to the three hired hands and wish for more conversation. You're so good at building interest.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      It is mutual, I'm sure. Thank you, for each and every visit and comment! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know, I'm late, but better than never. Nice job once again. I learn about my craft from reading your chapters. They help me with setting the scenes and describing in more detail what is happening on the periphery. Thank you for the lessons.


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