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McDonald Tales - MT22 - 1889 Life With William and Charlotte

Updated on November 17, 2017
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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.

Joseph received a lot of family attention

A growing baby boy
A growing baby boy

The first quarter of 1889 brought happiness as well as sadness

Great-grandma Victoria and great-aunt Nellie were able to spend time with young Joseph McDonald and his mother, Charlotte, along with his grandma, Jane, just about every weekend, either at his house or at theirs. Babies continue to get a lot of attention, even at six to nine months of age. Joseph was a small baby, but seemed to he healthy, and seemed to enjoy being doted on by his extended family. Father, William, and grandfather, Daniel, enjoyed their time with him, of course, but the women seemed to have a special relationship with this baby, which was not uncommon. As the only baby in the family, Joseph was the center of everyone’s family attention whenever they had time available.

A late spring snowstorm in March caught everyone a bit by surprise. Trees were already beginning to flower and the crocus and daffodils had already made their appearance. Although the extreme cold that went with the storm did not last for more than a few days, a number of folks in the Oak Creek valley, and especially in the town of Oak Springs, came down with colds, and a few even turned to pneumonia. One such person was great-grandma Victoria (Patton) (Mrs. Hugh) Truesdale, now in her sixty-ninth year. Normally a strong and healthy person, Victoria was apparently the victim of an especially strong attack, which she could not overcome. She died on March 28th.

As a fifteen-year-old young woman, Victoria had been one of the original eleven members of the founding pioneers who walked into the valley in the late spring of 1833. Her parents had insisted that she wait until her sixteenth birthday on September 1, and that a pastor be available, before she could marry Hugh Truesdale. They had actually made it happen, and had a wonderful life together, with three children, Lewis, Jane, and Nellie. Victoria had seen the valley grow and the town emerge prior to the war. She had managed the General Store and served many years as Postmaster. Victoria was one of the last to leave the valley as the war descended on Oak Springs, and was among the first to return after the war. Her life reflected the existence of Oak Springs. An overflowing crowd of admirers attended her funeral at the Methodist Church. She was buried beside her husband, Hugh.

The mill changed hands, but continued to serve the community

The falls near the Mill
The falls near the Mill

The graduating class of the high school in Oak Springs in 1889 included some students with familiar names: Hannah Mason, Gerald Nagle, Karla King, Missy Yokum, Rachel Dent, and Stephen Rhodes. For the first time, all graduates of this class announced plans to continue their education beyond high school. Stephen Rhodes planned to return to the family farm, but was going off to study agriculture at the state university first. Karla King and Missy Yokum hoped to become teachers. Hannah Mason and Rachel Dent hoped to become nurses. Gerald Nagle had been accepted to Engineering School.

In the east valley, Riley Cooper and his wife, Julia, sold their controlling interest in the Oak Creek Mill to their former Miller, Moe Bandy, who had been with them for several years, effective July 1. Riley agreed to be available, part-time, for the following year, to assist in any way Moe wished him to. Gideon Inman finally retired from the Inman Real Estate and Insurance business after several years of continued part-time involvement, leaving the operation to his son, Jacobi, as the sole proprietor. Amanda Duncan retired and turned over operation of the Duncan Boarding House to Edwin and Esther Bevins. The name was not changed. Abner Wingfield and Joshua Cox retained their majority ownership in the real property. Edwin and Esther had been involved in a boarding house operation prior to moving to Oak Springs a few years prior.

At the Oak Springs Enterprise, as they had been planning for a few years, Alex McDonald stepped down as Editor, and prepared to leave on a tour of the world. Russell Nixon assumed the Editor title, along with Publisher, as they had planned. Alex would write about his travels around the United States, and around the world, with the stories first published in the Oak Springs Enterprise, but then be syndicated to other newspapers. Eventually, Alex hoped to publish his columns in book form. Alex had enjoyed the travel books by ‘Mark Twain’ and others, and had been planning this move for quite some time. His inheritances plus accumulated savings allowed him the options he needed to actually do it.

The Parks store now offered bicycles

Bicycles of the era
Bicycles of the era

Some other notable changes in the valley

Over the past couple of years, the valley community continued to grow slowly, as most residents hoped and expected. The population grew with a dozen or so new births each year, a few deaths, and a few folks moving in and moving out. Recent deaths of note have included George King, Anna Olson, and Louisa Inman.

Roland Muldrew and Spencer Fields each retired at the Stone Quarry. Archie Archer became the lead stonemason, but Jonathan Quarles was brought in from St. Genevieve as Quarry Manager. Jonathan was a widower with grown children, and resided at the Duncan Boarding House. Roland and Maud Muldrow moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, shortly after his retirement, to spend their retirement years near her family in the warmer climate.

The Fields continued to reside in Oak Springs, where Flo had taught part-time at the high school for many years. Retired from teaching, she continued to volunteer at the high school, especially being involved in organizing the annual graduation and awards and recognitions ceremonies during the school year. Between these events, Spencer and Flo travelled regularly far and wide.

The Methodist Church sent in a new minister in June of 1889, with Rev. Millard Long and his wife, Frances, replacing Arthur and Claudia Boyd. The Boyds had been in Oak Springs for several years and were sent to Joplin for their next assignment. The Longs were well received during their initial gatherings with their new congregation. They had come from a charge in Franklin, Missouri.

Trey Parks, owner of Parks Wagons and Implements, announced that they were now handling bicycles in several models and styles. He urged interested parties to visit with Store Manager, Alfred Weston, for a demonstration as well as pricing. Many adult models would meet the needs of a wide range of potential customers, he added.

Note from Author

These episodes continue live in Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley seeing the activity through the eyes of Jane, Daniel, William and Charlotte McDonald, along with new material and insights. In this series of stories we learn new behind-the-scene insights about this family. These Tales are a part of “The Homeplace Saga” series of stories and continue the early years of the saga.

The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.

“The Homeplace Saga” family saga, historical fiction stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 23 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Such is life, Sha. Thank you for noticing!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 23 months ago from Central Florida

      Wow, lots has happened. The newer generation is taking over where the pioneers left off and bringing with them a new vitality. It's exciting to see.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 24 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Heidi. Your visit and comment are appreciated. Loved making both trailers... just wish more folks would take the time to read my stories! ;-)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 24 months ago from Chicago Area

      I'm so glad to see you're using video book trailers! Hope they're working well to bring new readers to your work. Cheers!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 24 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much. So nice to see your comment come up. Much appreciated. ;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 24 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I Tweeted! Interesting and well-worth the read. I certainly learned something from this hub.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for taking the time stop by and leave a comment! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A wonderful look back, a reflection, of the growth of our nation and the people who were crucial in forming it.