Jake Patton Memoirs - JP22 - Jake Saw Government Function In 1842 In The Valley
Oak Springs now had a Post Office for the US Mail
Jake Became The U.S. Postmaster Of The Oak Springs Post Office
I mentioned earlier that we had applied for a U.S. Post Office to be located in the General Store during 1841, shortly after the official designation of Oak Creek Township. I applied for the name, Oak Creek, but it turned out that name had already be taken elsewhere in Missouri. We then applied for the name Oak Springs, which was also quite descriptive, of course. This was finally approved and became official on March 1, 1842. I was named Postmaster and Kate was named Assistant Postmaster.
Whereas for a number of years, Henry and Harry McDonald had been picking up the mail for the residents of the valley at the post office at the Big Piney lumber camps, he now officially bid on a contract to deliver the U. S. Mail to the new Oak Springs Post Office. He was eventually awarded that contract later in the year, and held that contract for many years. It was a great relief to have those issues settled for our residents and to be able to provide full postal services from the General Store. Everyone in the valley benefited from these changes.
One other governmental issue that was resolved during 1842 was the appointment of a Justice of the Peace for the Township. Based on the recommendation of the three Township Trustees, the Circuit Court did appoint George King as Justice of the Peace. While there was not a lot of activity the first few years, it was important to have the office filled. He was paid by the Circuit Court a small salary plus fees for services performed. The Circuit Court paid on a daily basis for use of the Community Building when an action of the court in the local community was required.
Harry and Sarah were married
Jake Reflected On Life In The Oak Creek Valley In 1842
June of 1843 brought the expected connection of the Baldridge and the McDonald families with the marriage of Harry McDonald and Sarah Baldridge. They had waited much longer that most folks had expected. They were married when each had reached the age of 20, as they said they would. Very determined young people, they made a fine addition to the community. They chose to initially live with the McDonald family in their cabin, with additions.
Again in 1842, there was one new family to settle in the valley. Peter and Elvira Simpson came from the west to settle on the 160 acre plot directly north of the George King land. This was directly south of the second 160 acre plot west of the Victor Campbell home place that he had added in 1839. The Simpson located near a fordable location in the Western Branch creek. I also recall that Elvira Simpson was pregnant with their first child when they arrived in the spring. Their son that they named Elmo was born in September.
With the population of the valley now numbering in the low forties, the regular Fourth Sunday social gatherings continued to be very well attended. Absences were noted, so there were few. I noticed that the influx of new, younger couples from different locations also had a positive impact on the dynamics of the gatherings. Different activities got adopted from time to time based on the different interests that these new, young folks added to the mix of the population. At the same time, most of the traditional topics of discussion and activities continued. It was a very healthy situation for our people and I was proud to have been a part of it.
1842 was a very typical year in the Ozarks in terms of weather, even though I suggested earlier that no year was typical. Good moisture in the spring without undo delay in planting. Warm, even hot, summer, which made for good crop maturation. Dry late summer and early fall which made the harvest very successful. Only a couple of early snowfalls in the early part of the year, and none at the end of the year before the new year came around. Nothing especially note worthy in those regards. May I say I kind of liked it that way?
The valley continued to grow and prosper
Jake Commented On The Continued Success Of The Recent Building Additions
I probably should have mentioned something earlier when I spoke about the building and opening of a tavern to the north of the General Store. I was well aware, also, that the north side property line of the location of the General Store was also a one mile road line designating a section of land. It was just one mile south of the main east-west road through the valley. Therefore, when we laid out the site for the Donagan Tavern we were careful to place it far enough north of the General Store to eventually have space for a major east-west road there, what we would later call an easement.
Ace operated a ‘tight ship’ with his tavern and it was a success from day one. From the day he opened in the spring, he had a regular clientele and the tavern became the regular stopping place for virtually all visitors to the valley. He ran a clean operation and the food was better than most way houses of the day. Hardly a night went by that one or more of the rooms was not rented. Frankly, I was surprised. But, his regular lease payments were very satisfying, I must admit.
Few, if any, of the circuit-riding preachers that continued to pass through the valley stayed at the tavern, but they did appreciate having the Community Building available for their services. I would suggest that their visits were even more frequent because it was available. They continued to camp out or were invited to stay in local homes. I heard several residents comment that it was nice to be able to depend on them to show up regularly for christening newborns and meeting other religious needs.
[See JP23, 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.