The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 14, Fourth Sunday fell on the 25th in June, 1876
Karl hoped to build a goat fence
Fourth Sunday preparation included Saturday shopping trip
The King family now had more eggs and more milk and cream to sell at the General Merchandise station each Saturday on their weekly trip. This week, they also decided to purchase some smoked ham and some bacon that they could store in their spring house. It would be few months before they would have their own available. Karl also found the type of fencing material he wanted to use around the orchard to keep the goats in. He knew that was always a challenge, but believed he had found what would work. He got enough materials for a good portion to test it out. Fencing materials would always be reused, if the initial use didn't work as planned.
Katherine did see Nellie Truesdale while they were at the store. Nellie assured her that most of the book club members would be at the Fourth Sunday meeting his month, and they were expecting a planning meeting for all those interested. She saw Nellie while checking to see if they had any mail this week. Anna Olson was very busy on this Saturday handing out mail to the folks in town from the country. When it was her turn, Katherine was pleasantly surprised to see a letter from her younger sister. And, it was quickly obvious that her sister had gotten married. She put the letter in her purse to find a quiet spot to read it before they left town.
Katherine's younger sister, Ann, had been a school teacher in a rural school district just east of Jefferson City. At thirty, she was still relatively young, and attractive, but she seemed content in her life as what most people of the day considered to be a spinster. This letter was to let Katherine know that Ann had married a widower named Joshua Walker, the father of two boys, 9 and 5, who had been pupils of Ann at their school. The mother had a difficult pregnancy during the winter, and both mother and child had died, after her prolonged serious illness. Ann had been supportive, of course, and got to know the father very well, as well as the boys. Mr. Walker said he knew it was unusual, but he knew his late wife would want him to find a good mother for the boys. He felt Ann was a perfect fit. They had married on the 3rd of June.
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They took home some ham and bacon
The King family got back to the farm for a late dinner on this particular Saturday
With the ham and bacon in hand, Karl was anxious to get back home from the town shopping this Saturday. They had gotten all the things they needed, and he had work at home he wanted to get done before Sunday. As they ate their dinner, Katherine told Karl more about the news from Ann. She said that Mr. Walker was a merchant in Jefferson City. They had lived in the nearby rural area because his wife did not want to live in the city. With the passing of the wife, Mr. Walker purchased a fine residence, not far from his business. Also, of course, he assumed Ann would no longer be a teacher in that school. She had agreed to be a wife and mother to the two boys. Ann seemed very happy with her new situation.
In the afternoon, everyone did a little extra in whatever tasks they were doing so they would comfortably be able to be gone all day on Sunday, after normal chores. The women worked diligently in the garden. Karl and Keith each spent quality time in the crop fields removing weeds. Kent set out to be sure the goats and the orchard were doing ok. Most everything was fine, except that he noted, for the first time, that on a few of the trees with unusually low limbs, the goats had apparently been feeding on the lower leaves, and even on the bark of the limbs, themselves. Realizing what he was seeing, he inspected a number of the other trees, to see if he had missed other similar occasions. It turned out there were only seven trees affected, from his initial inspection, none of them seriously, it appeared to him.
With that information, he walked across the field to where his father was working and talked to him about it. After a bit of discussion, they agreed that they could re-stake the goats, for the next couple of days, in areas that did not have low limbs, and consider their next actions later. Karl praised Kent for recognizing the problem he saw, and coming to see him about it immediately.
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The book club members organized
Fourth Sunday for June 25 was even better attended than the prior two months
The combination of the upcoming 4th of July gathering plus the fact that most heavy field work was now done contributed to more of the farm families from around the valley attending the gathering this Sunday. They were pleased to get to meet Theodosius and Lillian Rhodes, Earl's parents. They learned that Lillian was a Campbell. They learned that the children of Eli Rhodes and Victor Campbell, in the west valley, had intermarried in three combinations. The others were Ralph Campbell and and Sally Rhodes, Vic's parents, who they had met, and Delbert Campbell and Delia Rhodes, whom they had yet to meet. While they were talking, the subject of Earl going off to secondary school quickly came up. They learned that Eli and Emeline Rhodes, parents of the Rhodes siblings, still lived in Jefferson City. Though now about 70 years old, they were each in good health, and had offered to have Earl live with them during his schooling. In fact, they had said, they would welcome their grandson, gladly. They also discussed the school that Earl would be attending.
Among the announcements of the day, in addition to repeating the details of the 4th of July event, was an announcement for those interested in planning discussions for the book clubs. Nellie Truesdale would lead the group that would meet in the Community Building, northwest corner, at 3 p.m. Karl and Katherine decided to both attend, to gather information and meet the people involved. The children had already scattered to spend time with their friends, of course. Katherine made sure that Karla and Missy were playing near Fanny Yokum, and that Fanny would be keeping an eye on the children while they attended the book club meeting. With that assurance, Karl and Katherine worked their way toward the meeting, talking to people they already knew, and meeting some new ones, along the way.
Besides Nellie, of course, they had already met Lewis and Caroline Truesdale, Alex McDonald, Jane Truesdale, Grace Crane, Neva Dent, Ralph Campbell and Levi Weston, of course. New to them, in the group, was Jerry Potts' younger brother, J.D. Potts, the physician. They were pleased to get to meet him. When Nellie had determined that all twelve people had met, she proceeded with the core of the discussion. She suggested from experience that four was the optimal number for a group, but that three, four or five worked well. Occasionally, six had been tried, but they had usually broken into two sets of three, before they got through a book. She invited Caroline, Jane and J.D. to talk a bit about groups they had been in, since they had been involved the longest. Teaming two "experienced" club members with one or two new people had seemed to work the best, in the past, they all agreed. That assured some continuity moving forward, they suggested. Also, it was up the members of the group to decide for themselves how often and where to get together. They recommended weekly, but they knew that some couldn't commit that much time. It was also mentioned that nothing precluded anyone from being a part of more than one club at a time, if the individual was willing to devote the time.
Grace, Neva, Karl and Katherine were the new members at this gathering. Karl and Katherine agreed that for a first time learning experience, that they did not need to necessarily be in the same group. After quite a bit of discussion, the new folks were placed in the following groupings: Karl, Ralph and Levi; Katherine, Nellie and Alex; Grace, Caroline and J.D.; and Neva, Jane and Lewis. With everyone assigned to a new group, they broke into those groups to discuss each club's activities.
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Note from the author
This is the fourteenth 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.”
Learn more about "The Homeplace Saga" series
- "The Homeplace Saga" Blog
The home blog for "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction family saga stories set in the southern Missouri Ozarks. All updates of the series are mentioned here, regardless of platform. Watch of the release of the forthcoming collection