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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 21, Karl visited with Levi Weston, Ralph Campbell, and Alex McDonald

Updated on December 23, 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.

Fall was in the air

The Ozarks trees were a golden color this fall
The Ozarks trees were a golden color this fall | Source

Karl King stopped by Levi Weston's shop after dropping off the children at school

{Karl and Katherine (Pa and Ma) King were 36 in 1876, newly arrived earlier in the year in the Oak Creek valley of the southern Missouri Ozarks. Son, Keith, 14, is off to the high school in Jefferson City with his Aunt Ann and her family. Kate is 12 and Kent is 10, attended the subscription school in Oak Spring. Karla, 5, is at home on the farm, just west of Oak Springs, with her Ma and Pa.}

It was Thursday, during the first week of October, when Karl decided to stop by for a visit with Levi Weston. He wanted to keep Levi updated on the pregnancy of Molly, his Morgan mare, and discuss a couple of minor issues with the two-seat carriage Levi had built for them. He also knew that Levi would know about a few issues that Karl had on his mind, that he could work into the conversation easily. It had rained hard overnight, and the fields were too wet to be in for most of the day. It was a good day to do some visiting.

Levi was pleased to hear that Molly was doing fine and appeared to "be with colt" so to speak, according to Karl. Karl reminded Levi how happy he was to have a quality Morgan stallion available in town with which to breed Molly this year, and Polly, next year. As Levi was making a couple of small adjustments to the carriage, Karl asked Levi what he knew, that he could share, about the ramifications for the Mill, and across the valley, actually, of the sudden, unexpected death of David Baldridge. After obviously pondering his response, Levi said that he was only aware of a couple of things that he had learned just recently, that were becoming common knowledge. David Baldridge and Riley Cooper had entered into an agreement, a couple of years back, it seemed, that had given Riley Cooper a "right of first refusal" to buy the Mill, if and when David decided to consider selling. The agreement, drawn up by a lawyer, also included the current situation, as it turned out. Levi said he understood that Riley was currently working out terms with Sarah, David's sister, on doing that. In the meantime, of course, Riley was continuing to operate the Mill, it was a busy season, for the benefit of everyone. Levi said he knew that Sarah, and her entire extended family, including all the McDonalds, were still devastated by this turn of events. Most of them were not ready to talk about it, very much, even yet.

In passing, Levi did mention that he knew that Victor Campbell had appointed his son, Ralph, as a bank director, to replace David Baldridge. Levi said he had been expecting that, before too much longer, anyway, because Ralph had already been elected a Vice-President, and was beginning to prepare to the successor to Victor as President. The Campbell family now owned controlling interest in the bank, so this was really just a formality, it seemed. Karl thanked Levi for his assistance with the carriage, and knew it was time to move on.

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

The students asked for more books

Eighteen century books
Eighteen century books | Source

Karl dropped by the Campbell Dry Goods Store and ran into Ralph Campbell while he was there

After leaving Levi's shop, Karl decided to stop by the Dry Goods Store to see if he could pick up another work shirt for the fall season. As he was looking at the selection, he was pleased to have Ralph Campbell come up and greet him. Since Karl's daughter, Kate, and Ralph's son, Vic, were in the same class at school, the conversation easily went to that situation. They readily agreed that each of their children were doing well in school and enjoying their classmates, William McDonald and Charlotte Crane, as well. Ralph offered, "Did you hear that Thomas Crane, Charlotte's father, had been appointed Eastern Valley Trustee, replacing David Baldridge?" Karl smiled and replied, "No, but they couldn't have picked a better person." Karl continued, "Did I hear you were appointed to the Bank Board, as well?" Ralph smiled, kind of dipped his head, momentarily, and replied, "Yes, Dad said it was time. He wants me to get more involved with the bank." Karl reached out his hand, "Congratulation. I think Victor showed real good judgement. You'll make a fine addition to the Oak Springs Savings Bank." Ralph accepted the hand shake, "Well, thanks. I'll certainly do my best." They chatted about that a bit.

Karl said, "You know, my Kate has really taken to talking about history and literature since she started having classes with Alex McDonald in the afternoons. Has Vic enjoyed them, as well?" "Oh, my," Ralph said, "Yes he has. We were surprised, as well. He had always been a good reader, but now he is asking if we had some books I was really surprised he had even heard of."

They talked a bit more before Karl made his selection and paid for it at the counter. Karl was impressed that Ralph came across as so humble, but, Karl knew where was a very strong, intelligent person behind the face Ralph showed the public. It was always good to talk to Ralph Campbell, Karl said to himself as he left the story.

The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

They met on the wooden walkway

A sidewalk that was a wooden walkway
A sidewalk that was a wooden walkway | Source

Karl met Alex McDonald on the boardwalk outside the store coming from the print shop

"We were just talking about you, Alex." Alex seemed taken aback. "All good," Karl said, immediately. "Ralph and I are both pleased that Vic and Kate have shown such an interest in history and literature with you as their teacher." "Oh," Alex exclaimed, "That is good to hear. All four of the students in that class are exceptional students, at least so far. It is a pleasure to work with them." They chatted about school some more.

Shortly, Karl remembered to say, "I was so sorry to hear about your Uncle David, Alex. It must be very hard on your whole family." "Thank you, Karl. Yes, my mother is taking it especially hard, of course. They were so close, especially after losing their parents in that freak carriage accident. She feels so alone, now, even with all our family around. Losing Thomas, in the war, never hearing from Patrick, losing her parents, now her only brother. She is a strong person, but how could anyone stand up after all that." Karl responded with appropriately sympathetic words, but even he chocked up, just thinking about the tragedy that had hit this one family. In the back of his mind, he was thinking about what Darrell Yokum had said about Patrick, but he kept it to himself. A better time will come, he hoped, when that can be checked out.

Karl took his leave, giving Alex a pat on the shoulder and wishing him well. Karl returned to the carriage, and got Molly and Polly headed home. He had a lot on his mind, thinking back over those several conversation, as he rode back past the school house and into the country. In a little over a mile, he was home and would share his conversations with his wife, Katherine.

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

Note from the author

This is the twenty-first episode of this short story series, and the first of what is now Volume Two. The stories are 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 first 20 episodes of this series have now been compiled into an eBook, titled:

"The Kings of Oak Springs: The Arrival Months in 1876 Vol 1." 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.”


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so very much. I love my characters, and work hard to make them real for the readers. I hope you'll continue to read the stories and comment. ;-)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Very well written and present. I enjoyed reading this and I enjoy our characters.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, DDE, I really appreciate your visit. I love to follow the adventures of my characters in the little world I have created. Nice to have others enjoy them, as well! ;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have told an interesting story and with great thought.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for the visit and the comment. Working on the next one... ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      This is a great story. Can't wait for your next hub.


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