Jake Patton Memoirs - JP24 - Jake Shared His Views of the Transition Year 1844
Livery Stable customers had a choice of conveyance options
Jake Found the Work of Ralph Campbell Especially Useful in 1844
I recall 1844 as being another year of transition in the central valley. Ralph Campbell had come in from the west valley to be a continuing presence in the mule breeding operation, of course. But, as I mentioned earlier, this was not a responsibility that took up all of his time. He needed to be there when he needed to be there, but most of his working hours were actually available to do other things. I took advantage of that opportunity to hire him to help out with building the Hotel and then in making the Livery Stable a reality.
When the Hotel was far enough along to be at least partially usable, among the young folks we hired to assist with meals, housekeeping, and desk work was Sally Rhodes, oldest daughter of Eli Rhodes from the west valley. With full knowledge of what was ‘going on’ we were not surprised when Ralph and Sally announced that they would like to get married and continue to do the work they were doing. Actually, we went beyond that over the following months. They did get married, and they did continue to work for us very well wherever work needed to be done. Kate and I also arranged for them to sharecrop a farm of 40 acres to the west of the Livery Stable and Hotel. They built a small house that they could add onto later if they desired. It worked out well for everyone.
During this same time, with help from everyone involved, we got the Livery Stable organized and running for those occasion people who needed one. This was becoming a demand, and with the horses and mules we had available, we found a way to meet that demand and, perhaps, encourage it. I’m sure some would say it “was ahead of its time,” but it worked out for the Campbell’s and for me. That was really all that counted, as far as I was concerned.
Ralph and Sally were married in the Community Building
Jake Appreciated the Cooperative Work of the New Local Businesses
Actually, I should have mentioned that Ralph and Sally were the first couple to actually be married in the Community Building. They were ready so that when a traveling circuit preacher came by, they were ready to have the ceremony on the following Sunday afternoon. He was happy to stay around to conduct the ceremony. I know for sure the delay in his departure was very good on his pocket book. Everyone came from across the valley, and a good time was had by all. As happened most days here in the Ozarks hills, the weather cooperated, and the afternoon festival and ceremony became an all day affair for most families.
As the year passed by, again, as I recall, the cooperation among the General Store, the Donagan tavern, the Patton Hotel and the Livery Stable was exceptional. Each operation wanted the other to be successful along with themselves, so that everyone thrived. We had managed to have a number of types of wagons, carriages, buggies and shays available at the Livery Stable so that even local folks could rent what they might like for a leisure ride, even if they didn’t have that particular conveyance of their own. I think a number of the locals actually surprised themselves in finding it was nice to have these services available.
We were also careful to make it known by some signage at the Mill, as well as word of mouth, that a Livery Stable was ‘available in town.’ We didn’t get a lot of business, but a little…and it grew over time. It was a very good decision to move ahead with this service early on. Folks just often don’t know what they want until it is made available to them.
Owen was doing most of the blacksmith work these days
Jake Had Begun to Think About His Future Role in Local Politics
In 1844 I continued to occasionally visit nearby communities, as I had done since arrival in the valley. I wasn’t directly involved in politics, but I was beginning to realize that keeping up and growing those contacts laid a good foundation should I decide to go in that direction. It was not by accident. I always had good business reasons for the trips, but the continued personal contacts were the greatest benefit, in the long run.
I was able to do much of this because Owen Olson was doing so well with the blacksmithing part of our business. I spent quite a bit of time in my gunsmithing shop and less and less time with actual blacksmith work. Of course, I had also added my interests in the other businesses we were creating, as well. Kate ran the General Store and did more postmaster related business than I did, even though I still had the title. We had part-time folks at the Hotel, though I was around regularly to be sure it was running smoothly. Ralph ran the Livery Stable, but I had my finger in it from the start.
Over time, we had begun to get some county money to help us with road projects. We had not yet built any bridges, but had not yet felt a real need. Those who needed the information knew where to ford the streams they needed to cross. When the water ran high, you just didn’t need to get across right then. High water never lasted very long. Although it would vary some from season to season and year to year, water levels were fairly predictable, and, again, those who needed that information most kept track themselves quite well. One day, a couple of bridges would be required over Center Creek and over the Western Branch, but that was still in the future. For now, keeping the roads smooth and graveled was the primary interest of and responsibility of the three Township Trustees.
[See JP25, 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 Homplace 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.
Learn more about the Founding...
This book has the full, original set of short stories on the Founding of Oak Springs in the Oak Creek valley for first settlement in 1833 to the Centennial celebrations of 1876