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McDonald Tales - MT24 - 1891 in the Oak Creek Valley and Oak Springs

Updated on November 17, 2017
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Alex visited Paris, France, on his trip around the world

The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 for the World's Fair in Paris
The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 for the World's Fair in Paris

Alex McDonald returned from his first around the world trip

In May of 1891, Alex McDonald, former Editor of the Oak Springs Enterprise, now Special Correspondent, returned to Oak Springs from a nearly two year adventure that actually circled the globe. He had been sending back to the Enterprise regular columns about his visits to cities, towns and countries on each of the four continents he visited on this trip. He had first gone to New York City, thence to London and several European stops. He then proceeded to a number of stops in northern African and then worked his way across Asia, arriving back in the USA at San Francisco and traveling by train back to Missouri.

Alex soon learned that he was now a celebrity of some note, whether he wanted that status or not. He had planned to sequester himself, as he had done before this trip, to begin working on his book of his travels. However, he quickly realized he was being inundated with requests for appearances and lectures on his trip, not only from local organizations but also from communities far and wide, large and small, where his columns had appeared through the successful syndication efforts spearheaded by publisher Russell Nixon. Nixon and McDonald soon realized that Alex really needed a business manager to handle all the correspondence and requests he was getting if he was ever going to be able to work on his book. In addition, Alex planned to resume his travels… he knew now there was so much he missed on his first circuit of the world.

William and Charlotte were among the first to invite Alex to their house for a private, family meal and gathering. As first cousins, this was a natural thing to do, and ‘family’ included about fifteen people, it turned out. These included his and her parents, of course, as well as Alex’s sister, Charlotte, her husband, Lewis Truesdale, and their daughter and her husband, Myrtle and Howard Bevins. Among those invited was Nellie Truesdale, Jane (Truesdale) McDonald’s sister, local school teacher, and long time close friend of Alex. It wasn’t long before Nellie was caught up in the adventure Alex had created for himself and his discussions with Russell Nixon about the many requests for appearances he was getting.

Alex returned across the country by railroad

A Railroad Baggage Car in 1891
A Railroad Baggage Car in 1891

Alex McDonald and Nellie Truesdale reach a business agreement

With the end of the school year only days away, Nellie offered to help Alex, and Russell, with the ‘problems’ they saw facing them. She said that she was quite capable of organizing this chaotic set of information he was receiving and free Alex up to only do what he did best. He agreed that under those circumstances, he would be pleased to make some appearances, prepare and deliver a few lectures, and do some traveling to a few selected communities, if it were organized for him. Each of these visits would also supply more materials for his travel columns, and he could get to work on his first book. The next evening, after school, they also met with Russell and began to work out a division of responsibilities. Both Alex and Russell were pleased to accept Nellie’s offer of assistance, and suggested it would likely be more than a full time job, if she did all she said she would be doing.

Among their discussions, Nellie admitted that she had been thinking for a year or more that she would really like to be stretching out and doing something more than teach school, as much as she enjoyed her years doing that, and meeting and working with new students each year. This opportunity had just seemed almost to good to be true. She also admitted that, like Alex, she didn’t really need a regular paycheck anymore, with her inheritances and savings as well. Alex and Russell said they appreciated that, but that her services would be well rewarded, monetarily as well as in appreciation. The syndication was growing and with it comfortable cash flow for each of them. Assisting Alex to be more effective, would only add to that cash flow.

Soon, Nellie’s house became the central focus of ‘Alex McDonald, World Traveler Enterprise.’ Marketing materials were prepared to go out to the syndicate Russell had created directing all correspondence to a Post Office Box, contents of which were brought in bags daily from the Post Office in short order. A new telephone number for the World Traveler Enterprise was also installed, at Nellie’s house, and included in the marketing material and on all correspondence. She immediately set about contacting all the persons who had sent queries, whether Russell or Alex had contacted them previously or not. This time, they received back a coherent reply based on the marketing material and the appearance parameters the three of them had determined would work best for Alex.

Alex traveled by Stagecoach, as well

The StageCoach still provided local travel
The StageCoach still provided local travel

Planning quickly stretched out to many months in advance

It soon became apparent, within a few weeks, actually, that Alex would have to make a decision as to when he wanted to take a long trip again, assuming he did, because bookings for appearances were filling up the months ahead quickly. He could only make about three sets of appearances each month and still have time to be ‘at home’ working on his book, and preparing more lectures. They did schedule several appearances/lectures on each of these trips to a clustered location, but they still piled up quickly, as requests kept coming in.

By July 1st, Nellie had put in her resignation to the School Board to terminate her teaching career. She knew, for sure, that she had found her new calling. She met regularly with both Alex and Russell so that they all three were fully aware of what was coming up next and what the planning was for the future. Russell and Nellie took turns editing and providing critiques to the lectures that Alex prepared. It became a thorough and very successful series of exercise processes that they adopted. Nellie also became very proficient at arranging travel and accommodations for Alex on each of his lecture trips. Each was provided with some time to visit and explore sites in the local area so as to add to the material Alex had for future use. And Alex assured himself that the work on his first book was moving toward an early conclusion.

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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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Looks that way, Sha! Thanks for your visit and comment! I enjoy and appreciate each one!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      This is exciting! Alex not only got to see other parts of the world, but in writing about his travels, he's now in demand. With his own entourage of capable folks to handle all the details, he has an exciting - and perhaps exhausting - career ahead of him.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      So far, so good. He has earned it. How will he handle the lecture circuit? Time will tell. Thank you for your support of a positive outlook! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a great opportunity for Alex! Everything positive and upbeat in his world.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I know the feeling, Bill! Alex was still much younger, had the money, had the time, had the curiosity... good combination to do what he did!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You've got to love traveling a whole bunch to go around the world in 1891. Two years sounds about right to me. Maybe when I was younger I would have considered it. Now I don't like going to the grocery store. LOL


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