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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 5, The Bevins Trust Was An Integral Part Of Their Family Life Now

Updated on April 10, 2018
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.

Beautiful summer days did not mean joy in every home

Summer in the valley was full of sunshine
Summer in the valley was full of sunshine

Introduction 5 of 5

Finally, we need to discuss the status of The Bevins Trust, to set the stage for the rest of our stories. The Trust was created in November of 1986 upon the death of Mildred according to her instructions. All assets of the estate were placed in the Trust. The will assigned 80 acres to be available to each of the four siblings for the two years to use to demonstrate their commitment to the benefit of the Trust in the view of the Trustees. The Trustees initially consisted of Carter Ogden, one person he was to appoint, and the three outside trustees. The siblings were not initially aware of who the actual Trustees were. They were just to go about their business of demonstrating their commitment to the family. They did know that the land assets were 800 acres of prime farmland plus perhaps a thousand acres under leases, options, etc. plus a good sum of cash, total not disclosed. They were free to ask the Trustees any questions, through Carter Ogden the attorney. Questions would be answered if they did not violate the provisions of the will and the Trust.


From that very first day in February of 1987 when they saw the video will, were informed of the parameters of their two year commitment, and made their land selections, Jason Winslow became a steadying influence along with Carter Ogden. Jason, in essence, became the spokesman for the siblings and their families as well as a positive guiding force. Beverly and Peter were the only ones with real issues and each of them were handled well by Carter and Jason over a short period of time. After a few months, when it was obvious to Carter and the Trustees that the commitments that were hoped for were actually there, they began to release more information that benefited the siblings in their work. They announced that George Chambers, Lyle Cunningham and Virginia Hollingsworth were the outside Trustees along with Carter and another attorney in his office (a bit later, banker Harry Flanders was appointed to this position). By that time, Jason had already become close to George, because he had been Frank’s closest friend, and Jason perceived, correctly, that he would have the best insight into what Frank and Mildred had been thinking. George had not revealed that he was a Trustee, but their growing personal relationship certainly helped the process along. Similarly, Virginia, who lived diagonally across the highway from the “Homeplace” farmhouse was befriended by Karen. Karen knew that she had been Mildred’s best friend. It was also an obvious evolutionary thing.


In the intervening years, the Bevins Trust had been very successful. They were helped by the national economic environment being positive as well, of course. Bart was placed in full charge of all agricultural pursuits as well as of land acquisitions and contracts. Four slots were eventually added to the Trustees and Bart became one along with Karen. Peter had been allowed to physically go back to Oregon for a while, and Jason was put on as Trustee representing Peter’s interests. Paul, of course, was added as well representing his children’s interest. As the summer of 1996 began, Christopher Ogden had been commissioned to interview all interested parties to compile a Ten Year Report for submission to the Trustees by November 1996 along with recommendations for possible activities and actions of The Bevins Trust moving forward. [This concludes the 5-Part Introduction.]

The corn was growing in the valley as summer flourished

Corn in the field in the valley
Corn in the field in the valley

Paul and Heather discuss a Trustee’s committee meeting

Paul Gates stopped at Pyramid Pizza and picked up a large pepperoni pizza to share with Heather following his long day of meetings with The Bevins Trust Trustees. Heather was pleased to share the pizza and spend some time with her father. They had each been putting in long hours in recent days, it seemed, and a quiet meal together would be a good time to catch up with what the other had been doing and thinking about. With it being summer and Heather now 15 years old, Paul had begun to share information with her from the monthly Trustee’s meeting and other meetings that he felt she should know. Everyone in the extended family was impacted by The Bevins Trust decisions. The more relevant information each person had available to them, the better decisions each of them would make. This was a key part of the contribution Jason had made as they had originally determined that The Bevins Trust would benefit the entire extended family if they all made good decisions.


Today, there was sad news in what Paul had to share with Heather. Christopher had shared with the Trustees that his father, Carter, was told he only had six months to live. An initial diagnosis of a brain tumor had been determined a couple of weeks earlier, but the full extent of the news had only been learned in recent days. Carter was still fully mentally functional, for some time, but already he tired very easily, and when he was tired, other physical and mental functions were, and would become, more limited, the doctors had said. The only treatments currently available were to make him comfortable with his situation, they would not reverse the inevitable. They talked a bit about Christopher and Don Kirk, the other partner in the law firm. This wasn’t something that Heather needed to be concerned with now, but needed to be aware of for the future as she interacted with Christopher and his family from time to time.


Among other things, Paul also mentioned that the Trustees had talked about the Internet Provider Service, Winslow and Bevins IPS, business that Matt would be heading up, upon his in arrival in town later in the month. They talked a little bit about how the Internet being available directly through a cable connection rather than the current telephone dial-up service would change their business at the Mill. It was something Heather was just learning about and she found the discussion very interesting.

The Trail Ride came back across the pasture

A pasture in the summertime
A pasture in the summertime

A typical horseback trail ride with six guests

Early on the afternoon of Saturday, August 17, Diane and Heather were returning from a short trail ride with six guests on six of the company horses. As they approached the stables, Heather noticed Christopher and young woman she didn’t recognize with Jennifer. They were just leaving as the trail ride reached the barn. As usual, Diane was in the lead position, followed by the six guests, and Heather was in the trail position. The ride had been one of the medium variety. This was a group of six women who scheduled this same ride, one weekend each month, from April through October. Diane had gotten to know them well. Cletus was there to help them with horses as they arrived. When everyone was dismounted, Cletus and Heather led the horses to their stalls, and Diane accompanied the guests to the semi-circle of straw bales where the guests were seated for the ‘end of trail ride’ discussion. Each trail ride began with a safety instruction and a brief orientation. Each trail ride ended with a similar closing discussion about what they had done and seen, and some carefully chosen parting words. Appropriate state regulations and liability discussions were always the same words included in each trail ride. Diane took the lead this day, but Heather was also well trained on these words and could also do the discussion, even at her age. Even though this was a regular group, Heather could hear Diane saying the essential same words to the group. The sound drifted across the barn as she spoke.


This day, Heather stayed with Cletus to take care of the horses following their ride. Sometimes, she would go back and join Diane to finish with the guests. Diane said with this group, today, she would handle it on her own. Talking with Cletus, Heather learned that Christopher had brought out his new dog, a black and brown four year old female named Chase, to stay at the stable. The girl with him was Nicole Evans, granddaughter of Doc Evans. Doc had arranged to get the dog for Christopher. When they were done with the horses, Heather and Cletus spent a few minutes getting to know Chase. She was a fine dog, and would make a good addition to the stable. Heather realized that outsiders probably just considered Cletus a part of the stable because of his appearance. He did look like the stereotypical Ozarks hillbilly, of course. But, Heather knew him as a trustworthy full-time employee of the Bevins farms, very knowledgable of horses, and humans, and a dear personal friend.

[Continued in Episode HG 6]

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. These episodes parallel the timeline of “The Homeplace Revisited” novel in this series.

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      8 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. If only I could figure out some other aspects of sharing these stories! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: your attention to detail is admirable. With each chapter you give a tutorial on how to write a series.

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