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Meet the Folks - Ep. FO3 - … of Oak Springs - Duncan Boarding House 2

Updated on November 23, 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.

The apple pie had been excellent

Apple pie - yummy!
Apple pie - yummy! | Source

The Duncan Boarding House - continued

Last time (FO2), we visited the residents of the Duncan Boarding House in mid-May 1880, and left them just as the evening meal was topped off with a slice of scrumptious apple pie. Reverend Willis Bailey, the Methodist Minister, had excused himself to go for an evening walk around town. Let’s follow him, see what he sees, and listen in as he talks to other folks out on this fine evening.

Bailey stood on the front porch, facing Central Avenue, for a few moments. To his left, beyond a couple of rows of trees separating the properties, was the tavern, with Patton Road, beyond. Straight across the dirt Avenue was Campbell’s Dry Goods store. It was closed for the evening, sitting dark, even though it was still daylight out, with the sun about to fall behind the store. He stepped down in the street, and turned to his right, and soon crossed First Street. On his right, Sylvestor Preston was just leaving his office. They greeted one another. Preston was a distinguished looking gentleman always dressed in a brown suit, white shirt and tie. On the Town Council as well as the leading lawyer in town, Preston was also a member of the Methodist Church board, now. They chatted briefly, and then Preston went to the east, down First Street, and Bailey continued north on Central.

Bailey saw Jerry Potts standing on the walk in front of his shops, on the west side of the street, talking with Quinton Chambers. Both attended the Methodist church, though neither held a leadership position. Bailey crossed over to greet them, “Evening, gentlemen!”

Potts replied, “Evening, Reverend, out for a stroll on this fine night?”

“Yes, indeed. Walking off that fine meal Mrs. Duncan provided, and her special apple pie. It was delicious.”

“She makes excellent apple pie,” Potts replied. “My Polly speaks highly of it! We’re eating late tonight, and I should be getting to it. Good seeing you gentlemen.” He strode around the south end of the offices and headed west, to their house in back.

“Hope I didn’t interrupt your conversation, Professor Chambers?”

“Not at all. We were just talking about that crack in my apartment window upstairs. He said it would be replaced by the end of the week, with luck. I’m off to the Diamond Restaurant. I think you were headed that direction.”

“Yes,” Bailey replied, “North on Central was my general direction, I’ll walk along with you.” They walked beyond the Potts office building, past the gap to the Inman Real Estate Office, and Chambers broke off to cross the street to the east to go into the Diamond Restaurant. Just beyond the Inman building, Bailey came to Second Street, and turned left. The new stone Medical Office was on the north side of the street, at the corner of Central and Second. It was closed now, too, for the night. Ahead, on the left, was the Gideon Inman residence. Across Second Street, to the north, was the Methodist Church. Reverend Bailey decided to cross Second Street and go into the church and spend the hour or so left of daylight, doing something useful inside.

Cigars were popular in 1880

Cigars were in order
Cigars were in order

Men talk in the parlor

Back at the Duncan Boarding House, the rest of the men had adjourned to the parlor, as was their custom, after the meal, for a cigar and some conversation. Clyde Orchard, the merchant, and Dr. Ollie Seaman, the dentist, continued to talk about their respective moves. Ellis Prince, the young teacher, and Seaborn Carr, the Cashier at the bank, enjoyed just listening, this evening, as the other two were excited to see their planning and hard work come to fruition.

“We’ve been so concentrated on getting the changes made in the Grocery department at the store, it will be nice to concentrate on moving into our house for a few days,” Clyde offered.

“And, I’ll be happy getting my office set up, while living here, and not have to think about anything else,” Seaman replied. “I’m still waiting on word of when one last piece of equipment arrives, however,” he continued. “I’m going by the Freight Office, again, tomorrow, to see if they know when it will arrive. I hope the telegram I’m waiting for is there by then.”

“Getting equipment shipped in is a never-ending process, from my experience,” Clyde stated. The conversation continued back and forth between to two, as the cigars burned down.

Two rows of trees south of the front porch

Rocking chairs on the front porch
Rocking chairs on the front porch | Source

Woman talk in the kitchen

Mrs. Duncan and the girls had cleared the dishes from the table and were in the kitchen preparing to wash them. Minerva Orchard slipped into the room, quietly, and stood off to the side. When Amanda Duncan looked up, Minerva said, “If I can be of help, just ask. Otherwise, I’ll stay out of your way.”

“Thank you, Minerva, this has become very routine with us. We can talk. The work gets done, as we go about our jobs, talk or no talk.”

“That meal, and especially the pie, was just superb tonight, Amanda. I hope my Clyde realizes his meals aren’t going to be up to these standards when we get back into our own house.” Minerva was shaking her head, from side to side.

“I’m sure he likes your meals a lot better, Minerva. You’ll fix him just what he likes, not just whatever everyone is eating, like we have here.” Amanda smiled, knowing her food was very good, and satisfying, to her guests.

“I suppose you’re right, on that account, Amanda, but you have set a very high standard. Thank you, so much, if I don’t get another chance to say it.”

Amanda turned, with a dishtowel in her hand, gave Minerva a big hug. “You are very kind. Thank you, so much.” Then, she turned back to drying the dishes the girls handed her.

They had a large dining room

A large dining room
A large dining room | Source

Note from the author

This is the third 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.”

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Larry, your visit and your comments are greatly appreciated! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting look at the everyday life of a specific time and place.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      You are always welcome, Victor. I appreciate each of your comments! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Looking forward to catching up to the rest of the episodes.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you. You keep raising the bar, MsDora. I'll do my best to keep up! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Yes! I enjoy the conversation. The characters seem to have more life when they talk for themselves. Your story only gets better.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Sha, I'll admit this was kind of fun. MsDora gave me the nudge, here, I suppose. Thanks to her, for that one. Again, I've wanted to do more, but needed the assistance, it seems. A cooking class, at the grocery store, perhaps... ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Motels and hotels seem to fill the roles for housing. Nothing like the boarding houses with meals, until you get to elder care, perhaps. Times they are ever changing, for sure. Thanks for the visit and observation!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      It's nice to see some of the residents going about their evening rituals, strolling through town, and interacting with each other. Maybe Minerva should ask Amanda for a cooking class or two.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The old boarding houses are a thing of the past....or are they? If we have any around here I'm not aware of it. Maybe they have just transformed into another entity called by a different name. Well, whatever, another interesting read, Bill.


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