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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 10, Karl and Abner Worked on House Construction

Updated on June 10, 2014
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The symbol for building a house

The walls and roof of a house in hand made symbols
The walls and roof of a house in hand made symbols | Source

Karl and Abner moved forward with house planning and construction

Following his Sunday consultation with Abner Wingfield on his house construction, Karl, along with his son, Keith, used the ensuing week to prepare and plant one more patch of farm land. This one they planted to half oats and half soybeans. Karl had decided they would be needing more oats and beans to feed the livestock as well as more real straw, for bedding. This would be the last field planted for this year. It was time to move to cultivating the growing corn, removing the weeds, for their field work. Over the weekend, Karl and Keith worked on getting the materials for the house organized, so that they could get right to work when Abner arrived on Monday. It appeared that the weather would continue to be hot and dry. Still, they kept the tarps on the critical wood, of course, just in case.

Abner did arrive on Monday morning, and the weather was good. A slight breeze helped, as the heat continued. Abner, Karl and Keith got right to work cutting and constructing sections of the house frame to be ready for the "raising" of the walls. By mid-afternoon, Abner suggested that Karl send Keith to let neighbors Thurkill and Darrell know that they would be ready for the "raising" of the walls on Wednesday morning. Keith saddled up Molly and set out on his mission to the neighbors. When he returned, he said both men would be there, ready to go Wednesday morning.

The plan for the first half of the house was for a story and a half. The upper floor would be a loft for sleeping and some storage under the rafters. The roof would be constructed so that a dormer could be added on each side, later. The front door would be off-set right of center to allow a ladder to the loft on the left side leading to a landing just left of center where a person could stand full upright in the loft at the top of the ladder.

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They raised the frames for the walls upon the foundation flooring

The walls were created with wooden framing
The walls were created with wooden framing | Source

The five man crew got right to work on Wednesday morning

Abner proved his worth to Karl on Wednesday as Abner directed the work of raising the wall frames in an efficient manner using his crew of workmen effectively. Before noon, they had the walls and initial rafters in place and had finished the work on securing them. Adding the rest of the rafters was finished before they broke for lunch. Katherine and the other children served each of the men so they could rest and be ready for the afternoon refreshed and ready to go. Each looked on their morning accomplishments with pride as they ate their noon meal and prepared to finish enclosing the structure through the afternoon and into the early evening. Rain clouds had appeared in the west as they were finishing, but held off until Thurkill and Darrell had left for home.

The whole family gathered inside the structure as the rain came down. After the heat of the past week, the rain felt, and smelled, just great to each of them. There were many spots where the rain dripped through between the first boards on the roof, but it seemed just fine, for now. The rain was not hard, and the wind did not blow strongly, so Abner, Karl and Keith felt good about the progress they had made. They enjoyed talking over what they had done, and what would be done next. Abner had planned to stay through Thursday, so they hoped they would be able to get done what was needed, and planned, by the end of the following day.

The rain ended as darkness fell over the farm. They built up the fire in the fire pit, and stood around it, drying off and avoiding a chill as night-time enveloped them. They would all sleep well in their tents at least one more night before they would be ready to begin using their new "house."

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Finishing the roof

The roof was finished off with wooden shingles
The roof was finished off with wooden shingles | Source

Initial finishing touches were added while Abner was still available

Abner worked all day on Thursday installing the windows and doors and the other items he knew he could do more efficiently before leaving the rest to Karl and Keith to finish. They could have done some of what he did, but his skill made quick work of some tasks that would have taken the other men much longer. And, it likely would not have been done as well. Karl and Keith fully appreciated what Abner was doing. And, of course, they each learned a lot from just have a skilled and experienced carpenter in their midst, plying his trade.

The three men worked as long as the light would allow. Fortunately, the sun had been out again, all day, and it did not rain further allowing them to accomplish even more than they had hoped. By night-time, the King family was comfortable in moving their sleeping materials into the house for a first night under the new roof of the new house on their new farm. It was only temporary, of course, but if felt really good to each one of them. Serious progress in their new home was now a fact that they could see, feel, and experience with each of their senses. Just the smell of the fresh cut wood was exhilarating.

Beginning on Friday, each member of the King family had new responsibilities for small and large tasks to begin making the house their home. There was inside and outside wall work to do, there was more work to be done in the loft to make it usable. When the wood work was finished, there was painting and papering to be done. Karl had ordered a new table and six chairs from Levi, as well as a sideboard and two other small cabinets for this small space. Space would be allowed for these items as they planned the other finishing touches, as the days passed by. Karl and Keith got back to putting some needed time into field work as they continued to work on "finishing" the house. Each family member, young and old, took great pride in each new task as it was completed… then began on their next task.

On their trip to town on Saturday, Karl was able to pick up the items that Levi had made for them. Once they were placed in the new house, it felt even more like home. The first dinner around their new table was an experience they all remembered for the rest of their lives.

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Note from the author

This is the tenth episode of this short story series set in the Ozarks Mountain setting of “The Homeplace Saga” family saga of historical fiction. This story begins in 1876, following the time period (1833-1875) of the forthcoming “Founding of the Homeplace” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”


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