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Episode OS9 - 2nd Qtr 1879 - Life in Oak Springs and More
Flowers among the stones mean Spring
April items of interest
Trey Parks issued a community-wide THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Grand Opening of the Parks Wagon and Implement Sales Office on Tuesday, April 1. He said, “It felt as if every single person in the valley must have stopped by” for the gala event. He especially wanted to thank his employees, family and friends who volunteered to help out with the open house celebration. In addition, Parks said they received an unusually large number of orders for new wagons and farm implements that certainly seemed to justify opening the new business. They would all be working hard to fill each of those orders as quickly as humanly possible.
Thomas Crane, President of the Oak Springs School Board, announced that the merger of the two private, subscription schools in the community, the Patton School for elementary students, and the High School, had been completed. The existing Board, constituted for the High School, would henceforth manage both entities. He added that the Board looked forward to the completion of the current year and that everything was in place for the High School to operate the full four grades starting with the fall term. One additional part-time faculty member would be added during the summer before the start of the fall term.
On April Fourth Sunday, on the 27th, it was announced that “Fourth Sunday,” as it had been conducted for many years in Oak Springs, would no longer be held. Attendance had waned in recently years and months, and it was time for a change. Individuals and families could certainly continue to get together, if they wished, but there would no longer be a formal program or organized activities.
During Fourth Sunday announcements, the Reverend Willis Bailey was introduced. He had been appointed by the Methodist Church hierarchy to come live in the Oak Springs community to help the citizens with interest to form a congregation. Sufficient interest had been expressed to the church, it was said, that this organizing effort was felt justified. Rev Bailey would be meeting with families and individuals expressing interest in joining this new congregation. He had already met with those attending the Sunday School earlier in the day, and had received a number of invitations to get together. He added that this early level of interest was encouraging.
She gave out cake decoration coupons
May items of interest
The Ward Confectionery/Bakery opened on Tuesday, May 1, as planned. Each visitor was treated to a free cupcake and lemonade. Mrs. Ward offered the first 15 persons to order a decorated cake for an event a 15% discount. All the discount coupons offered were taken up before noontime. There was a steady stream of patrons visiting the new shop throughout the day. Augustus Ward reported that the first day guests consumed 114 cupcakes. He added that the majority of the visitors also bought additional products, which the Ward family very much appreciated. He reminded everyone to keep watching for the weekly specials that would be posted in the store each Monday morning.
Without a senior class, there was no graduation ceremony for the High School as the first year was completed. Late in May, however, the faculty and students did hold an open house where they invited their parents, family and friends, that is, everyone in the community who was interested, to come see the exhibits they had put together to show some of the work that had been done during the year. Refreshments were provided from the Ward Confectionery/Bakery.
It was learned that two more previously unoccupied 160-acre farm plots along the Salem-Eminence Road south of the Houston Road had been purchased. M.L. McKinney purchased the northeast quarter of Section 37, on the west side of the road. J.H. Miller purchased the farm immediately to the east, across the road from the McKinney property, the northwest quarter of Section 38.
State Representative Lewis Truesdale noted in a comment on recent legislative action in the State Legislature in the weekly newspaper that although his tax-based local school district bill failed by one vote in the recently ended legislative session, he was confident that sufficient votes would become available in the next term to get the legislation passed and into law.
Spring gave way to Summer
June items of interest
The 4th of July would fall on a Wednesday, this year, which always made it harder to plan for a celebration than if it fell nearer the weekend. A committee had been put together by members of the business community and they were said to be busy planning an event that would draw a lot of people, especially now with Fourth Sunday activities being no more. Jacobi Inman had agreed to chair the committee.
Also coming out of the discussions about the 4th of July celebration was talk of a possible Oak Creek Valley Fair or Festival, possibly for later in the summer or early fall this year, or the following year, for sure, if not this year. Simeon Bishop, manager at the Baldridge Feed and Lumber store, had agreed to be the contact person for those with ideas to contribute to this concept. Volunteers would be sought to serve on a planning committee.
In an announcement in the Oak Creek Enterprise, School Board President Thomas Crane stated that Alex McDonald had resigned his part-time position as a teacher at the Patton School so as to be able to work full-time for the Oak Creek Enterprise. With knowledge of this change, Crane also announced the hiring of Mr. Ellis Prince to fill both the half-time High School faculty position as well as the half-time Patton School position created by the resignation of Mr. McDonald. He added that the Board was especially pleased to have identified the distinctive qualification and experience of Mr. Prince to meet these needs. For the past three years, Mr. Prince had been with schools in Houston. The Board extended their heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Alex McDonald for his service to the students at the Patton School during his time there.
It was learned that Keith King was home on the parental Karl King farm for a two-week visit. He told friends he would be returning to Jefferson City for his final year of High School and then planned to attend the State University after that. Also, Earl Rhodes had graduated from High School in Jefferson City. His parents had attended his graduation, and he had returned to the valley with them. He told his friends that he planned to stay in the valley and work on the family farm.
Note from the author
This is the ninth 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 Second Quarter of the calendar year 1879, 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.”