Jake Patton Memoirs - JP18 - Jake Discussed the Events of 1838
Both New Families Located On The West Branch Creek
Jake Noted That New People Were Arriving In The Valley On Recommendations
The spring of 1838 represented the first year, one of many to come, I might say, where the word of current residents of our Oak Creek valley actually encouraged others of their acquaintance to pick up stakes where ever they currently lived and move here, permanently. Victor Campbell and Eli Rhodes had known each other as young men in Kentucky many years before. As they each had gone about their individual and family lives, they had kept in touch through regular letters, as was the custom in those days among literate folks. As Victor explained it to me, Eli had taken a real interest when he learned that Victor and Camilla had actually moved here to the Oak Creek valley in 1836. He had increased his correspondence and asked lots of questions. As Victor tells it, by the fall of 1837, Eli had decided to make the move as well, and bring along a young couple they had sort of ‘taken under their wing’ who wanted to join in the venture.
This, then, is the background to the arrival of two wagons from somewhere in Kentucky that arrived in the valley in early March of 1838. Eli Rhodes and his very pregnant wife, Emeline, along with their existing three children, Delia, 9, Theodosius, 6 and Kaitlin, 3, as I recall. In the other wagon were George King, 18 and his new wife, Marcia 16. With their parents approval and encouragement, George and Marcia had married prior to leaving. Victor also told me later they had been given a stake to buy their own 160 acres about a mile from Eli along the Western Branch southwest of Victor’s land. Victor had worked with Robert to survey these plots once he learned they were really coming, and Eli had agreed to follow Victor’s suggestions on location of their land.
Choosing how close or far apart from existing settlements to choose a farm was beginning to require some planning. It would get more so as time went by, of course. The place they chose for the King couple, got example, was 160 acres with the creek running through it. However, George would only be using a fraction of the land anytime soon. That worked well for the site chosen, as only about a quarter of the land was on the side of the creek where they would build their cabin. It was good farm land whereas the land on the other side of the creek was wooded and partly on the side of a hill. A mile down the river, where Eli settled, all of his 160 was away from the creek and generally good farm land. To the southwest, across the creek, there was a wooded area on the hillside, where they could harvest the wood they would need.
The 4th of July Celebration was a memorable summer activity
Jake Shared Summer Activities
Emeline Rhodes gave birth to a second son, in early June. They named him Luke. He seemed to be a strong, healthy young man. By the last week of June, Eli was ready to go south to record his deed, and that of young George King, at the land office. He invited me to go along, as he knew I would appreciate the opportunity, and might be of some assistance. It turned out that Eli had everything in good order for both George and himself, but we did have an interesting trip with no particular incidents of note. I will mention that both Eli and George mentioned, on our return, that folks down there were just a bit ‘different.’ I replied to Eli that this was one of the reasons I wanted to keep making the trips down there. To keep in contact, and not let them forget we are up here in our valley.
We especially enjoyed this 4th of July celebration with the new people now attending regularly. They mostly all attended the Fourth Sunday gatherings regularly, of course, but 4th of July is a special time we all seem to remember more. Also, each new family that arrived had a new and somewhat different connection to the founding of our nation. We worked hard at being sure those stories were shared for the benefit of everyone. We enjoyed being able to host the celebration again this year, especially with folks now living all the way across the valley from east to west.
In Mid-July, Laura McDonald had a son, sixteen years following the birth of Harry. They named him Daniel. Henry later filled me in on the details of the problems they had with child births over the years. I had known she had been ill on several occasions, but was totally unaware of the whole story. A good reminder of how little we sometimes know of the personal lives of some of our closest friends. What goes on behind closed doors…
The harvest of 1838 was not up to their expectations from prior years
Jake Shared the Contrasting Weather Of 1838 Compared To Prior Years
The summer of 1838 was remembered as one of heat and drought. It hardly ever rained in July and August. By the time it did rain, it was mostly too late to help the crops much. We did get decent harvests, but nothing like the prior five years since we came into the valley. Early precipitation had been adequate to get the crops going, but we didn’t get that ‘end of season’ boost that we had become accustomed to. We had known there would be one of these years, but had kind of forgotten, after that five year stretch of great weather.
And, wouldn’t you know, the fall turned out to be cold and damp. And it snowed the last week of November and again the second week of December. While we didn’t appreciate it, it was a great reminder to pay attention to the weather. Our local climate is temperate, but it does occasionally exhibit some extremes, and we need to have planned ahead to meet the needs of those unusual times. Much better to be prepared than to only react to things as they happen. At least, that is my goal. Not everyone subscribes to this view, and I understand that. But, for me, planning ahead is a critical part of life, and it has served me well over the years.
[See JP19, 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.
This is "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga, historical fiction stories
- "The Homeplace Saga" Blog
The home blog for "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction family saga stories set in the southern Missouri Ozarks. All updates of the series are mentioned on the blog, regardless of platform.