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McDonald Tales | MT23 | 1890 - Legacy of Patton, Truesdale, Baldridge, MacDonald lived on

Updated on March 28, 2016

Jane was implementing her long range plans

Rural Countryside
Rural Countryside

Reflections by Jane Truesdale McDonald entering final decade of the century

Jane (Truedsale) McDonald never took her eye off of history nor what she saw for the future for her and her family. She clearly remembered her grandfather, Jake Patton, saying “When you own the land, you own it clear to the center of the earth.” She seemed to have this in her mind much more clearly, and meaningfully, than her siblings or other contemporaries. With the passing of her mother, Victoria, the prior spring, Jane had many opportunities to judge, in her own mind, at least, the priorities exhibited by her brother and her sister, among others. Brother Lewis, as the male of the family, had been ‘in charge of’ the family assets of Hugh and Victoria Truesdale, which included the Patton assets since Victoria was the only Patton heir. These assets had included land, business assets, and trust assets.

Jane had observed that Lewis always was more careful in looking after the business interests, much as his father had been. Hugh and Lewis always seemed to put their stockbreeding, training and trading ahead of farming and land interests. Jane had used this knowledge, over the years, to acquire more and more land for herself, her husband, Daniel, and her son, William and his family. She had gotten a full share of the Patton land that Victoria had still held. Control of the land, over and above ownership even, had also been a high priority for Jane. Her sister, Nellie, the school teacher, seemed most interested in the preservation of the family heritage, the money, but also the knick-knacks, the artifacts for example, that Victoria had preserved in her home. The portrait of Jake Patton, that hang over the fireplace mantel, for instance, seemed more important to Nellie, for example, than the seat on the trustees of the lands trust that Jake Patton, Victor Campbell, and Gideon Inman had created early in the life of the settlement.

With these elements in place, by early in 1890, Jane accomplished the last major commitment that she had been maneuvering for over the past number of years. She already had the commitment to acquire the balance of the Truesdale land, when it became available. The last key element was the seat on the lands trust that Lewis had been holding, as the family representative. She had managed to convince him that his other business interests needed his full attention, and that it was time that William assume the responsibility of lands trustee. The final nudge had been, she felt, when Ralph Campbell turned his seat over to his son, Vic Campbell, who was the same age as William. The third, and long-time member, of the trustees was Jacobi Inman, who was the real estate professional of the group. They all had faith in Jacobi to see that the lands trust was managed in the best interests of all the families involved. Regular dividends to the families from the trust had reinforced that view.

Joseph celebrated his 2nd Birthday

A two-year-old boy at play
A two-year-old boy at play

Joseph was two years old in June

William and Charlotte McDonald hosted a birthday party for their son, Joseph, for his second birthday, on a late June Sunday afternoon, inviting both sets of grandparents to their farm, Daniel and Jane McDonald, and Thomas and Grace Crane, to join them for the celebration. In reality, of course, this was simply a good excuse for the six adults, good friends and close neighbors, to all take a few hours away from the daily grind of farm life in the Southern Missouri Ozarks’ Oak Creek valley to share stories and socialize before returning to their individual tasks. Joseph was a fine young boy, and a fine excuse to spend a few pleasant hours together with him as the center of attention.

William and Charlotte each continued to participate in their other social and community activities as well of course. William enjoyed his regular meetings with the men at the Masonic Lodge where he now held one of the several rotating leadership roles. Spending these hours with the businessmen in Oak Springs was especially useful and meaningful to William as he realized he was becoming a community leader at a relatively young age. He noticed that people tended to look up to him socially, as well as physically. He appreciated that, and worked hard to earn their trust and respect, while helping the community grow.

Charlotte was active with the women’s Garden Club and continued to have award-winning entries at the annual fair in August. She also found that her status among the women was enhanced by her husband’s growing status among the men.

Both William and Charlotte now held committee assignments at the Methodist Church along with their continued involvement in the young married couples Sunday School Class. Their class had evolved, of course, with most of the members now having young children, as they did. They still enjoyed the camaraderie with this diverse group, and they all had grandparents ready to look after the children, on occasion, for adult only evenings a few times a year.

Would the rural area support a power plant?

A rural scene
A rural scene

Improvements were coming to Oak Springs

The Town of Oak Springs was a progressive community for being such a small town in a valley of the Southern Missouri Ozarks with no railroad connections. Both the Chamber of Commerce and the Town Council, during 1890, were seriously talking about how to bring electric power to the community so that electric lights could be available both for safely and for the comfort of their citizens. A Joint Committee had learned that older, small power plants could now be obtained that would meet the initial needs of the town. Others spoke out for purchasing newer, more efficient power plant equipment recognizing that it would initially be more expensive.

The issue of public versus private ownership of power plant equipment and infrastructure was also a topic of hot debate and differences of opinion. Rural interests of course were low for a township-wide tax for a service that would only be available in the town for the first few years. The property tax base of the town alone was not sufficient to finance the project. No single entity had the resources to overpower the arguments of the others, so a stalemate continued through the year with no resolution in sight as the year 1890 came to an end.

Note from Author

These episodes continue life 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 information 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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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 13 months ago from The Caribbean

      Power to the woman acquiring the land! You bring the occupations and events so smoothly. Interesting!

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 13 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. Your insights and comments are appreciated!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

      Things are really stepping up in the latter 1980s. I'm thrilled to see Jane acquiring land. What better way to secure a family's legacy than land of your own? If I could afford it I'd have bought the two lots next door to me in order to save the wildlife and thwart so-called progress (new houses going up).

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 11 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Must take actions when they are available... or the opportunity passes.

      Thank you, Sha, for your comment! ;-)

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