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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 17, Keith King received positive news from Jefferson City

Updated on June 18, 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.

Keith was challenged to study to prepare for high school in the fall

A stack of books like Keith might be using
A stack of books like Keith might be using | Source

The letter about Keith from Ann in Jefferson City arrived with good news

Katherine King had anxiously awaited a return letter from her sister, Ann, in Jefferson City, regarding their proposal to send Keith there to attend high school. They had no idea what the response, when they got one, might be. When the letter arrived, Katherine was almost scared to even read it. The opening line relieved those fears: "My husband, Mr. Walters, will welcome your son, Keith, into our home to further his education in our fair city." Those fine words opened wide the doors to the future Keith and his parents had now come to hope would be his.

Ann went on to say that he believed it would be good for his sons to have the young man, Keith, join their household for a number of years. He strongly believed that each young man, in this day and age, should pursue as much education as his status allowed him to accomplish. Ann and her husband had in fact gone to visit the principal at the high school. The principal and Mr. Walters happened to enjoy a fraternal relationship, so they were not strangers. After Mr. Walters explained that Keith would be living with them, in Jefferson City, and desired to continue his education, the principal was most helpful in letting them know that Keith King would be welcome to attend the school.

Continuing in her letter, Ann provided both a suggested timetable and list of academic achievements that Keith could begin working on in preparation for his arrival, if he had not already completed them. In addition, Ann added that Mr. Walters would consider a part-time position at his establishment, if Keith were interested. The letter, altogether, was more than the King family might have ever expected. They each immediately set about making further plans to carry out the intentions confirmed in the letter. Keith and Katherine each composed responding letters of thanks and acceptance of the offers and the opportunities they represented.

The first novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories

Karl King built a barn on his farm

A barn in the fall like the one built on the King farm.
A barn in the fall like the one built on the King farm. | Source

Karl decided it was important to go ahead and build his barn for the animals on the farm

With only a little over a month before Keith would be leaving for Jefferson City, Karl decided it was important to step up his plans to build the barn for the livestock on the farm. He had planned to build it before winter set in, but it would go a lot smoother if he had Keith's assistance in the construction. The crops were growing well and the weeds were under control. The time was right to do this project.

Karl had identified a relatively flat area on a rise just to the southeast of the house, that was actually the highest point on the north side of the creek, for the future barn. After one consultation with Abner Wingfield to assure he wan't missing some important factors, and he wasn't, Karl and Keith got to work on the foundation for the barn. Building a barn was quite different from building a house, of course. The floor of the barn would be the earth that was already there. Key ingredients, from Karl's perspective were to make the dimensions large enough for four cows, four horses and the two mules with supporting rooms or areas for harnesses and tack, feed, hay and straw. He had already made the decision that it would be one story, with just a loft for storage of some hay and straw, under the rafters. Openings in the floor of the loft would be allowed for the ladder to get to it, and an opening to throw the hay down below. A fork lift would be built into the roof, with an opening on one end, to allow placing the hay and straw in the loft.

Having already worked with the crew in building the house, the construction of the barn actually went smoothly and quickly. Karl and Keith were able to easily do the interior finishing after the exterior was done my the whole crew of workers under the direction of Karl and Abner. Karl was very pleased with the outcome of this project.

The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series

The ladies were quilting on Fourth Sunday

Quilt material like that the ladies were working on
Quilt material like that the ladies were working on | Source

Fourth Sunday fell on July 23rd in 1876

The King family had a lot to celebrate and share with other neighbors and friends as they took the wagon into town to participate in Fourth Sunday in July of 1876. They had finished their house, they had built a barn, and Keith was actually going off to attend high school in the fall, not that far into the future. Katherine was especially pleased to let Nellie Truesdale know of the plans for Keith, since it was their earlier conversation that had really "got the ball rolling" on that.

As they talked, Nellie mentioned that her sister, Jane (Truesdale) McDonald, had recently begun pushing for a local high school, particularly one that might be started in time for her son, William, to attend two years in the future. The more they heard about what was going on around the state, they were beginning to think that it might be possible. Only time would tell, of course. Right now, any such decision would be in the hands of Lewis and Caroline, and Jerry Potts, if the same organization were to sponsor the high school. Whether that was even feasible was not for her to know or determine, Nellie added.

Walking around in the community building, Katherine realized that several of the women were working at a table near one corner of the building. She had not really paid attention to them before, if she had noticed them at all. They were making a quilt together. It turned out, this was an activity that took place at every Fourth Sunday, and had been going on from an early day. By starting a quilt each month during the gathering, with a group of women, it could be mostly finished in the day. If not, some of the women would come back and finish it fairly quickly later on. Each quilt was given to someone who needed it. By this time, most families that had been in the community for some time had one. Each participant contributed material from their own supply. They were each active quilters on their own, of course.

In this month of decisions, Karl had made one more, or he hoped he had. In his earlier conversations, he had become aware that Levi Weston had a fine reputation of building two seat carriages. Karl decided it was time they had one, if Levi could build him one. So, when he found Levi, he didn't waste any time in getting to that subject. They discussed the needs Karl wanted to meet by having a carriage. Levi asked a lot more questions than Karl had expected. Levi said that he had built a lot of carriages over the years, and no two were alike. He liked to build them to the precise needs of each customer. He had a basic plan, of course, but each carriage was tailored to that particular customer. That was the reason for the several questions he was asking. Levi said it would take from a month to six weeks with this current work load, but he would be pleased to build a special two seat carriage for the King family.

The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

Note from the author

This is the seventeenth 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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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Three more episodes to complete Volume One... Thanks for the visit! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Another excellent and interesting installment. I'm enjoying this trip through history.

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