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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 23, A stranger spoke at the October Fourth Sunday gathering

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.

Gideon took down the names of interested people

Taking notes, and a Bible
Taking notes, and a Bible | Source

The October Fourth Sunday gathering was well attended even though harvesting was still going on

The five members of the King family, Pa, Ma, Kate, Kent and Karla, arrived at the Community Building in Oak Springs about an hour before the scheduled mid-day meal for the Fourth Sunday community gathering in October 1876. Harvesting had been going well, the day looked like it would be fine, and they decided they deserved one social day even in this busy season. They were pleasantly surprised to see that many other families in the Oak Creek valley had made a similar decision. As mealtime approached, more families had arrived than usual for a fall Sunday afternoon. By the time the sun reached its apex, most everyone was in shirt sleeves, even those who had worn their jackets coming to the gathering place.

Gideon Inman called for everyone's attention as the ladies had most of the food in place for those sharing in the community dinner. Some families chose to eat their own, but most just contributed to the community table and all ate from it as well. He welcomed everyone, and commented on the status of the harvest that allowed so many to be present. Gideon then said that there was only one major announcement today, and he felt it should be made before the meal started. This got everyone's attention, of course. He then introduced a couple no one had met before, a Silas and Rhoda Adams. Mr. Adams spoke.

"Mrs. Adams and I are visiting in your valley for a few days in hopes of possibly moving to your fair community in the coming spring. One thing that we feel is missing, that would help us make a positive decision, is a Sunday School. We understand why there is not one, but our major question for you today is: Would there be adequate support for a Sunday School if someone took the leadership to form one?" Mr. Adams then went on to describe what might be done to form a Sunday School, that it would have perhaps a half dozen classes, by age, including adults. He said if there were support, he would be more than happy to provide the leadership necessary if volunteers were available to teach classes, and, of course, enough people willing to participate.

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Fourth Sunday gathering took place in the park

Oak trees in the park in the fall
Oak trees in the park in the fall | Source

The gathering had questions for the speaker

When Mr. Adams finished speaking, Gideon asked for questions from the audience. The first question could be expected: What would this cost and who would pay it? Mr. Adams said the only costs to get started would be for materials, which would not be substantial. A collection would be taken up from those interested, each week, and it should be possible to work on pennies per person per week. He said he would have some materials to share to get them started, if there was interest. The second question was also easy to expect: What denomination would the Sunday School be? Mr. Adams suggested that it would be non-denominational Protestant Sunday School, focusing on Christian education. They would probably use materials from the Methodists because it was inexpensive and easy to obtain. He added that could be subject to change, of course. A committee of interested adults would make those kinds of decisions, he added. Volunteers to serve on the oversight committee were also needed and encouraged to participate, he said.

Gideon then asked for a general show of hands, one per family he added, right now, how many might be interested in following up on Mr. Adams' idea, not making any firm commitment, of course. He gave the people a few moments to think about it. Four or five hands went up, immediately. Slowly, another five or six were added. Gideon said: "Thank you. I see about ten families, at this point. Let's do this. Discuss it among yourselves over dinner and after, as you can. Louise and I have invited Mr. and Mrs. Adams to eat with us. After we get done eating, at our table, I'll have a pad of paper. For those who decide you are interested in considering the idea, of any age, please come and give us your name, and the name and ages of the members of your family that might consider participating. Single folks and young couples are urged to participate, as well. We'll also answer individual questions, too, of course."

As they often did, Karl and Katherine King were with Thurkill and Neva Dent as well as Darrell and Yokum and their families for the mealtime. After getting the children's meals started, and their own, it was not long before the adults got around to the "Sunday School" issue for discussion. Thurkill, speaking for his family, said, "We really have no interest at all, at this time. Neither of us have much interest in getting involved in church related activities. We have our personal beliefs, based on how we were brought up, and we'll just keep it that way." The others nodded their understanding. Darrell spoke for his family by saying, " We have a Family Bible, we read from it from time to time, such as our people always did. However, we have little interest in coming down off of our hill just for mingling with others for another hour. We'd prefer to read to the children ourselves during that time, I suppose. Fanny nodded yes, as did the others. Karl said that he and Katherine would probably go sign up as possibly interested, but reserve a final decision until they knew more about it. All agreed that sounded like a good approach. They then went on with their meal, and talked about the harvest and their family activities.

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The children were all at play

Little boy at play
Little boy at play | Source

Karl King talked with Silas and Rhoda Adams after the mid-day meal

After a brief talk with Katherine as they were picking up the meal materials, they agreed that Karl would go talk to the Adams couple over at Gideon Inman's table. After brief introductions, Karl gave Gideon their information to write down. He said they were interested in any educational opportunities and wanted to learn more about what this activity would include. Mr. Adams picked up on what Karl was saying by suggesting that the best way to stay informed, and to help shape what actually would happen, was to volunteer to serve on the organizing committee. He offered that it would not be terrible time consuming, but his input to the group would be extremely helpful, and greatly appreciated.

Returning to Katherine, Karl told her he had volunteered to serve on the organizing committee for the Sunday School. Katherine said she knew that he would. The combination of his curiosity and his innate leadership qualities wouldn't let him do anything else. "This way, we will have a real opportunity to know what is going on," she added, as she picked up her filled lunch basket and put it in the carriage.

They gathered up the children, who were off playing with their friends, of course, and got them loaded for the short trip back to the farm. As they rode home, and got about their evening chores, they chatted off and on, about their interest and concerns about the proposed Sunday School. Each of them had attended Methodist Sunday Schools for a few years early in their lives and felt they had gained as persons from the experience. They also noted, however, that neither of them had felt a strong need for further participation as the later years has passed by. They looked forward to this new, upcoming experience.

Note from the author

This is the twenty-third episode of this short story series, and the third 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 image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, vkwok. I am so pleased that you liked it. Your kind works are very motivating! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      This is another amazing episode!

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your comments... and continued loyal support!! ;-)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There was nothing easy about those times, was there? Every idea, every project, turned into a major undertaking complete with risks and labor. You captured it all perfectly, Bill.