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Meet the Folks - Ep. FO14 - … of Oak Springs - 1885 Brought New Businesses

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.

A professional photographer moved to town

A camera like the photographer might have used
A camera like the photographer might have used

Improved economy in 1885 brought new businesses to Oak Springs

Russell Nixon, Publisher of the Oak Springs Enterprise, sponsored the arrival of photographer Darrell Nagle to Oak Springs in the late spring of 1885. They had met each other at a statewide convention the previous fall, and found common interests. Nixon prepared the space between the print shop and the barbershop for a photography studio in his building. Nagle specialized in family portraits, weddings and children’s photography, he said. Nixon felt his business would be a fine addition to the community.

With the children all in school, during the school year, Nagle’s wife, Marie, planned to be in the shop during the daytime hours on a regular basis so that Darrell could be available for both appointments and for free-lance photography work, which was becoming of interest to a growing number of customers he had been developing. Nixon felt it was a business opportunity worth developing.

Nagle and his wife, Marie, were able to rent one of the Cox-Wingfield rental homes for their family of four children; sons aged 14 and 10 and daughters 12 and 7. While continuing to build a few houses in town, Abner Wingfield also built a new home in the east valley on a lot on the Riley Cooper land for his new Miller, Moe Bandy. Moe and his wife, Mary, and their two children, a boy of twelve and a girl ten-years-of-age, arrived at the Mill in mid-May, shortly after their house was finished. Riley said he was very pleased to be able to attract such a well-qualified person to assist him at the mill and grow with the business. He added that he knew the family would add greatly to the community and enjoy living in the valley very much.

A jewelry shop arrived as well

A period jeweler in his shop
A period jeweler in his shop

A Jewelry Store opened south of the bank, on the Square; a Saddle Shop on the west

Shawn Lay became the new Jeweler in Oak Springs, opening his business on Central Avenue just south of the bank, facing Centennial Square, on July 1, 1885. He had purchased the south half of Block B, building a stone building for his Jewelry business on the east half and building his residence, facing Third Street, on the west half. His wife, Sarah, and his three children had moved with him in June, coming from Rolla, where he had operated a small jewelry shop inside a general merchandise store. He said he had been saving his money so he could open his own stand-alone business and looked forward to a good future in Oak Springs. Their three children were 9 and 15-year-old boys and an 11-year-old girl.

Similarly, Joel Gray purchased the south half of Block D on the east side of the Square. He built his Saddle Shop on the west side of his property, facing west, on 1st Ave. E. and on the Square. To the east, facing on Third Street, he built a fine residence for his family. Along with his wife, Mary, they had an 11-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.

Simeon Bishop, with the Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the new businesses with enthusiasm. He noted particularly that the Jewelry Store and the Saddle Shop opening on Centennial Square enhanced what was still expected to become the new ‘center’ of the business community. Joseph Cox, a Town Council member, added that the new families moving into the community were a sign of strength for the future for the entire valley. On a similar note, School Superintendant Quinton Chambers reported on a recent student population survey, at mid-year, that showed more than ten youngsters in each of the age groups 1 through 5 for the first time in town/school history. He added that the future was bright as exhibited by this growth information.

There were a number of weddings

A wedding cake
A wedding cake

Marriages promised continued population growth in the valley as well

In June of 1885, Peter Wingfield and Stefanie Street were married after a long courtship. In May, Albert and Delta Wingfield, along with son David, moved to their new home on Main Street in Oak Springs. That cleared the way for Peter and Stefanie to move into the Wingfield family farm home as their own. Albert, Peter and David each continued to split their time between the farm and their construction company that continued to keep a crew of workers occupied the year around. David Wingfield and Rachel Stark were a couple who expected to marry in 1886. They planned to live in a house north of Main Street, when they were ready to make that move. Rachel had begun to work for the construction company in the office, keeping the books, coordinating purchasing, and working on estimates.

In the west valley, Israel Adams and Lula Die finally got married after many years of courtship, as well. They had built a cottage on the east edge of the Adams homestead along the Houston Road. Israel would continue to work the family farm with his parents. Rhoda Adams was heard to express great pleasure to have another woman in her family, at long last.

Also in June, Junior Yokum married Lillie Rhodes. Junior had worked on the Rhodes farms for a few years, and once they decided to marry, Junior and Lillie were able to move into a cottage on one of the Rhodes farms. The space became available after some shuffling of Rhodes family housing units had occurred. The young couple was very pleased with the opportunity. The Rhodes family was excited to welcome Junior as a full member of the extended family, which they said he had earned by his diligent work for them, which they expected to continue. Junior’s parents were very proud of the accomplishments of their son, as well, and pleased that he was becoming a part of the Rhodes family, while also welcoming Lillie to their family.

Note from the author

This is the fourteenth episode of the short story (FOx) series, Meet the Folks | … of Oak Springs. This one moves us to 1885, coinciding with the end of the Kings of Oak Springs series. Each episode will explore, at first hand, some folks who lived in Oak Springs, c. 1880s. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. These episodes are set in the 1880s 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 40 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs" Vol. 1 and 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.”

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure, Sha. And lots and lots of babies... ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      I love that retail shops are beginning to surface. The economy is recovering and variety is bringing a breath of fresh air to this growing town. Lots of marriages should keep Darrell Nagle busy for a while. What better way to build a portfolio?

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I enjoyed welcoming them to town, as well. It was nice to see some new businesses go in around Centennial Square. Thank you, Dora, for your visit and comments. They are always to welcome. ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Welcome, the photographer, the jeweler and saddle maker! The business area is growing. I love how you grow the community and keep the tale moving.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      It did have it's appeals... Thanks for your visit and comments! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As always, a great example of historical fiction. I've mentioned before that I think this would have been an exciting time to be alive....I might have been born in the wrong century. :)


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