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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP10 - Jake, Along With Family and Friends, Worked Through the Summer

Updated on March 5, 2019
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They were able to get a second cutting of prairie grass late in the summer

Prairie grass made good hay for the animals
Prairie grass made good hay for the animals

Jake And Crew Finished The Four-Wheeled Wagon

It turned out it took us until nearly the last week in July to finish the four-wheeled freight wagon. By the time it was ready to test out, it was also time to ‘raise the cabin’ for the Olson family. Actually, that worked out well. Henry, along with Harry, hitched up the four mules to the wagon and got to drive it around a bit before we all got together to raise the cabin. I only needed to make a few minor adjustments to the wagon until they said it was working fine. At a break in the raising, we let everyone know the wagon was now ready and asked if there were tasks that needed to be done where the wagon would be helpful, so it could be further tested but under real conditions. Just about everyone had a couple of tasks where the wagon might be useful, so Henry scheduled them to further test it out.


The Olson cabin went up routinely, as expected, after a one day delay because of a big thunderstorm that rolled through the valley. We had learned to expect those kind of things from the weather in these mountains, of course. As I noted the storm in my journal, I hoped that this year would be a typical year, because it had been a very reasonable year in terms of heat, moisture and humidity. The crops were growing very well. It even appeared, already, that we would get a second cutting of prairie grass to put up for the winter.


Henry and Harry got right at doing the scheduled wagon loads the next day. The following day after that, they loaded up what everyone had gathered for the next run and headed west to the Big Piney region on their first four-wheeled wagon freight run. I sure hoped the wagon would hold up for the whole trip over and back. I need not have worried, of course. The wagon held up well. The mules did a fine job with both Henry and Harry taking turns driving them with the wagon. One unexpected issue did arise, however. The trail they had been using with the two-wheeled wagons up and down the ridge, right there in the valley, was really too steep for the four-wheeled wagon. They made it going with a light load, but realized it would likely be a problem on the return trip if they had a bigger load. So, on the return trip, Henry and Harry cut south across a pasture on the west ridge before they got into our valley, and found a way off the western ridge into the valley on a much better plane, using a couple of turns. They did have to cut down a few trees to make an opening, as they had done in widening the trail earlier, but they made it work. They were very satisfied with the new trail that came across the western valley nearly in the center connecting nicely directly on the south survey line of their property.

Robert realized the belts that arrived and the gears he had could create a saw mill

Belts and gears can do many things in different configurations
Belts and gears can do many things in different configurations

Jake Was Pleased To Get The Report Of The Return Freight Run


Henry and Harry were excited to report back to me that the wagon worked well, with no issues. I was anxious to check the wagon out, himself, however, to see if I saw any stress points that had not been obvious to the drivers. There seemed to be none. So far, so good. Robert was especially happy to see that among the many items they had in the wagon on the return trip were two belts he had ordered for the mill that had already arrived. Robert soon realized that with those belts, and some gears he had gotten before, that we should be able to rig up a primitive saw-mill…if I would create a saw blade. I did that, of course. Using mule power, we managed to make it work with little delay.


Early in August, the men got together and built two modest pole barns for winter hay. One was on the east edge of the forest between the Patton and Olson cabins. The other was about half-way between the Baldridge, McDonald and soon-to-be-built Truesdale cabins. They were ready when that second cutting of hay was taken from the open grasslands. This would provide sufficient quantities to meet our winter needs.


During the third week of August, the Truesdale cabin went up as had been planned. As the fifth cabin, with the same basic design, it went up quickly and without any delay. Everyone felt a strong sense of accomplishment, with harvest season approaching, that each of the families now would be set for the winter season with regard to housing accommodations.

The Reverend Mr. Jenkins arrive in the valley on schedule

A big black Jack Donkey saddled to ride
A big black Jack Donkey saddled to ride

Jake, Kate, Hugh and Victoria Welcomed The Arrival of Rev. Jenkins

On August 29th, Kate and I along with Hugh and Victoria were greatly relieved to welcome The Reverend Mr. Jules Jenkins back to the Oak Creek valley. He still wore his long black cloak and was again riding his big black Jack donkey, Thunder, and leading a pack mule. He had arrived down the trail from the Big Piney region as before. He agreed to perform the wedding ceremony at 10 am on September 1 as previously discussed. Of course, in the meantime, he preached a sermon for the valley residents, and took a meal at each cabin.


On September 1, it being a clear sunny day, Rev. Jenkins conducted the wedding ceremony promptly at 10 am in the yard of our cabin with everyone in attendance. Following the wedding ceremony and lunch for all, according to his custom, the Reverend Mr. Jenkins having already packed up his goods, headed southeast on the trail along Oak Creek to meet his next flock, where they were sure to be.


After all the appropriate congratulations and other celebratory activities had been completed, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Truesdale took up residence in their cabin in the east valley. Each of the families were now complete.

[See JP11, to follow]

From the Author

This series of stories, JPx, is part of a first draft of what I hope and assume becomes a published novel in support of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories. It features the self-told story of one of the original settlers of the Oak Creek Valley, Colonel Jake Patton. Some, including him, would say he was the leader of the group. He had a very big ego, that is for sure, but he always tried to make it look like what he was doing was for the benefit of the community. And, of course, it was. But, there was always something in it for him, as well. He managed to grow the inheritance he was fortunate to receive from his father into something that left a nice trust fund for his descendants. We’ve already seen some of these stories, earlier, in the Saga tales. Come along, and let’s see how Colonel Patton tells his own story.


Note: I will publish JPx hubs, from time to time. I will write occasional notes at Patreon about Jake Patton. I may write other things elsewhere. These are each a part of the creative process to create the true first draft of a novel. You, my readers, can take part in this effort at www dot patreon dot com slash HomeplaceSagas. Join us there Today.

Learn more of the background of The Founding of Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. These are the kinds of details I am working hard to include in these memoirs.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Getting a second cutting of prairie grass would be huge....the simple things were huge back then....they often meant survival.

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