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Meet the Folks - Ep. FO1 - … of Oak Springs - Parks and Weston
Would you build a home here?
Hiram Parks ran the Harness Shop
First, I must credit writer friend, Shauna (bravewarrior), for the nudge that got this series of more personal stories about the ‘good folks’ of Oak Springs started. Several similar ideas had been rattling around in my head for a few weeks, but nothing had happened. Then, on reading the “Dent Goat Herd” story, prompted by the Bill Holland image, Sha made some pointed comments about my stories, that provided that ‘nudge!’ Thank you! The OSx series of chronology events in Oak Springs will continue, but this is an opportunity to ‘step back’ and look a little closer into the lives of our Oak Springs residents and families - Meet the Folks!
Hiram Parks was introduced in Episode 38 of “The Kings of Oak Springs” as the first cousin of Levi Weston when he first came to town to open his Harness Shop in the summer of 1877. His son, Trey (actually Hiram III - Hiram is actually II, but dropped the II when his father died), arrived at the same time to open a Wagon Works between the shops of Hiram and Levi. Then Trey built a residence across the street. Then, in short order, he built a retail outlet, Parks Wagon Works and Implement Store, next door. Soon, Levi’s nephew, Alfred, was running this retail outlet for the wagons and John Deere implements. Alfred’s younger brother, Otis, was working with Levi in his businesses.
He listened to his own drum beat
Trey Parks moved to the beat of his own drummer
Trey Parks came across, even at age 25 when he first arrived in Oak Springs, both as ambitious and a hard worker, but also very independent in his thinking, and as a person who knew his own mind. Some considered him brash, but it did not seem to stand in the way of him getting things done, by himself and through others. He seemed to understand how others perceived him, and got them to do things ‘his way,’ by believing it was ‘their way.’
With the assistance, largely financial, of his partners, his father Hiram as cousin Levi, Trey quickly got his Wagon Works up and running with a handful of employees doing commendable work under his direction. Trey worked hard and smart, himself, but he was also a social being who enjoyed a good time. Trey also knew that while towns folks found that both Hiram and Levi did excellent work that they needed, they also knew the two men were each of the Jewish faith and practiced their faith quietly in their homes. Trey was raised in the Jewish faith but was not an active practitioner as were the older men. He was always very careful to treat everyone as professionally as he could.
Early in his tenure in the community, Trey met a young woman, Rebecca Cornelius, at the local restaurant. Rebecca was also new in town. Her parents managed the Diamond Restaurant, and Rebecca served was a waitress. Trey soon discovered that if he arrived for his meal late, she would get off her shift about the time he was finishing her meal, and they could have some quiet time, together. They were physically attracted to each other, immediately. However, in a very short time, they realized there could be more to their relationship. They liked to talk, and soon found they had more in common than they might have expected.
Both Rebecca and Trey discovered that they were actually spiritual people and strongly bound by their family ties, even though neither found religious rituals necessary to realize fulfillment in their lives, individually, or together. Buggy rides around the valley, and picnics in the forest, were some of their favorite times together. They also enjoyed getting their families together for meals, and social times together. These were a challenge, at first, but soon, all the participants were enjoying the gatherings.
They had a family celebration
Life transitions continued in the Parks and Weston families
As time passed, those feelings of togetherness grew stronger. Judge Coffee, at Town Hall, married Trey and Rebecca, early in 1881. Alfred Weston and Rowena Cornelius, sister of the bride, stood up with the couple.
The marriage of Trey and Rebecca was celebrated at their residence on Second Street with their extended family in the valley present. These included her parents, Ralph and Inez Cornelius, her sister Rowena, his father, Hiram, and cousins, Levi, Alfred and Otis. Family values permeated the celebration and would continue to be the bond that kept them all close. Looking back, this gathering was seen as the springboard that began the relationship that developed between Alfred and Rowena.
Meanwhile, at the shops, work moved ahead successfully as well. Just as Alfred was thriving in Sales at the wagon and implement shop, Otis was thriving working with his uncle Levi. They were the good match with their interests and skill sets that all had hoped would be the case. Levi was an excellent mentor, and Otis actually seemed to enjoy learning the intricate details of Levi’s trade.
At the Harness Shop, Hiram received a new challenge a few weeks after the wedding, when his grandson, Monroe Tripp, age 16, arrived as his new apprentice. Monroe was sent by his mother, Hiram’s oldest daughter, to get a fresh start, under his grandfather’s tutelage. Monroe was a bright boy, had learned his reading, writing and numbers well, but seemed to spend too much time with the wrong crowd in the city. Since he was good with horses, and handy with his hands, the family hoped that, perhaps, the change of scenery in the rural community, with his grandfather, would change his life direction. Monroe said he actually looked forward to the new opportunity. Hiram privately said, “We’ll see. He’ll get a chance. That is all I can do.” It had worked well with Alfred and Otis; the family hoped it would work with Monroe, too.
Note from the author
This is the first episode of a new short story (FOx) series, Meet the Folks | Of Oak Springs. Each episode will explore, at first hand, some folks who lived in Oak Springs c. 1880. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. These episodes are around the 1880 time-frame, following by a couple of years the 40 episodes of “The Kings of Oak Springs” stories. That series had followed the time period of the “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These FOx episodes provide depth and background stories for the entire "Saga" series.
The first 20 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into an eBook, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs: The Arrival Months in 1876 Vol 1." The second 20 episodes will become Vol 2. See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”