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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 19, The Kings got their carriage and a letter from Keith

Updated on June 20, 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.

He put the saddle in the back of the carriage

A western saddle
A western saddle | Source

The King family got their new carriage and took a ride around town; there was a letter at the post office

Karl King arrived at Levi Weston's shop to both retrieve his mare, Molly, now well bred, presumably, but also to take possession of his new two-seat carriage. Levi showed Karl the attributes that he was able to build into the carriage, which he said that some people would call a spring wagon. The seats were each built on springs that made for a comfortable ride and also provided some storage space under each seat and in the rear. Levi added that he had provided an additional two feet of storage behind the second seat, to accommodate Karl's wishes. This will be a very practical vehicle for the family. Karl was very pleased with the finished product, and could hardly wait to get Molly and Dolly harnessed up to take it for a ride. The saddle he had taken off of Dolly, for his ride into town, fit nicely behind the second seat.

Arriving back at the farm, the King family was excited to examine the carriage and then to take a ride. They immediately rode into town and rode up and down each street. Before they returned home, they stopped by the post office where a letter had just arrived from Jefferson City. They returned home before they opened the letter.

The envelope actually contained two letters. One was from Ann and the other from Keith. Ann expressed great pleasure in Keith's safe arrival and felt he was getting settled in. He had been there for two days before they sent their letters. She felt they had already fallen into a good new household routine. There was still nearly a week before the first day of class at the school for the boys to prepare for and get to know each other even better.

Keith's letter told briefly of his trip which had gone without incident but had been an exciting experience for him. He felt welcomed by the whole family. Mr. Walters was most pleasant and accommodating, though much dedicated to the needs of his business. He spent long days at his office. Keith was pleasantly surprised to find that he had his own bedroom at the Walter's home. It was small, but more than adequate, and provided a desk, chair and lamp for him to use for his studies, when he was at home. Aunt Ann was a very kind and caring person, he said. The two younger boys, 9-year-old Theodore and 5-year-old Willie were full of life, he said, and he was looking forward to getting to know each of them better before school started. Keith said that Theodore would be going to the same school building as he did. They had gone by the school building. They told him that the high school was on the third floor and the lower grades were on the lower floors.

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Keith had a small room of his own

Was his room in a dormer like this?
Was his room in a dormer like this? | Source

Letters were written to Keith as the King children got ready for their school to begin

The fall term of the Oak Springs school began on Monday, September 18. Both Kate and Kent were anxiously preparing for that day to come. After receiving the letter from Keith, they had each written a short letter back to him, describing what they had been doing since he left, and sharing their own expectations of their school experience. Katherine had also written a letter back to her sister Ann expressing her sincere thanks for all she and her family were doing for Keith. She also added that she looked forward to regular letters from Ann on the progress the family was making, on all fronts.

With the arrival of his new carriage, Karl had talked to Lewis and had negotiated a slightly reduced school fee by offering to provide transportation to the school for not only his two children but also the Dent boy and the Yokum boy. This was a considerable savings for the school, as their coach would have had to make a special trip to these farms, or the students would have just had to walk. Karl felt he owed both Thurkill Dent and Darrell Yokum favors, anyway, so this partially made up for that. Everyone was pleased with the arrangement, especially the children. On the first day of school, Kate sat on the front seat with her father, and the three boys sat in the rear. It became a pleasant trip for each of them.

After the first day of school, Kate reported that there were just the four students, as she had expected in her age group: Charlotte Crane, William McDonald, Vic Campbell and herself. Kent likewise said his class consisted of Jimmy Truesdale, Junior Yokum and himself, as expected. They were each in attendance, and no one additional had appeared on the first day. Both Kate and Kent agreed that now attending school each day would be a very changed experience from recent months, but they were looking forward to it. They still got up early and took care of their chores before going to school. That was fairly easy to do in September, but would get harder as winter approached in October and later.

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Karl picked his corn manually

This corn looks ready to pick
This corn looks ready to pick | Source

Corn harvest began about the same time that school started

Without Keith, Karl knew that he would be hard pressed to keep up with his harvest even this first year. For this reason, he watched the earliest plantings very carefully so that he would be ready to begin harvesting his corn crop, by hand, as soon as it was ready. Katherine had agreed to drive the mules on the wagon as Karl manually plucked the ears of corn from the corn stalks. They had done this before, in years long past, and now, they were prepared to do it again. Young Karla would ride on the wagon seat with her mother, and they would make it a "family affair" and try not to notice how hard they were working.

They had already harvested mulberries and cherries from the orchard. The apples were still a ways from maturity, but it would not be too long. Karl decided he would try to pick apples in the evenings and on weekends when Kent could be a part of that process. He had given his 10-year-old son both the responsibility and a good deal of credit for the apple crop they expected to harvest. It was only fair for Kent to be a part of the completion of that portion of the process as well.

Fall harvest time was never without occasional rainy and stormy days, of course. Rainy days also made going to and from school more of a challenge, but Karl had a top on the carriage, and the youngsters had rain gear that they wore on rainy days. It was just one more challenge of being a farm family. When the fields were too wet to be out harvesting, there were fences to be built and mended. Karl still had not moved all the livestock to what he expected to be their "permanent" locations yet, but he was well on the way to achieving that. He had his list of projects to do, and diligently worked on each one as other duties allowed. Again, this was the life of the farmer, that he loved.

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Note from the author

This is the nineteenth episode of this short story series set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga 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

      Thank you, so much, for your comment and your visit. I grew up on an Iowa farm... but moved away to go to college. Retired to the Ozarks... interesting contrasts and similarities... ;-)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      I was married to a farmer for twelve years. It's a tough but rewarding life.

      Some of my family came from the Ozarks, but I've never been there.

      I enjoyed the story!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I highly value the experiences growing up on the farm, but pretty happy my Dad sent me off to college with the admonition, "I have a lot of years yet to make a living on this farm." Essentially saying, go make your own life, somewhere else!! ;-) Thanks for stopping by, again, Bill. One more episode to "finish off" this "season" - Volume 1! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The work of a farmer is most definitely never done. Those were hardy people back then. No shortcuts and no easy days. Well done my friend.


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