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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 24, Late fall 1876 activities on the King farm and across the valley
They built a dirt road to the farm
Karl and Darrell created a usable road from the Yokum place to the King fields
With harvest winding down in the fall of 1876, Karl King began to think and seriously plan the work that could yet be done in preparation for the spring 1877 planting season. The purchase of the additional land to the west side of the creek was nearly completed so Karl moved ahead with the assumption that this land would be available in spring. With this in mind, one of the first activities was to complete a task Darrell Yokum and Karl had discussed for some time. They really needed a road from the Yokum place down to the King farm capable of carrying a wagon pulled by two horses. It didn't need to be too finished, but it needed to be usable with out danger to the surrounding land or the horses, vehicles and people.
A number of scrub trees needed to be moved, then a number of rocks needed to be pried loose and moved. The road consisted of a couple of simple switchbacks to be most useful but, overall, the challenge was not insurmountable. They used periods of rain and clear weather to do the work. Kent and Junior were able to provide some assistance to their fathers from time to time. While Karl had the drag out to "smooth out" their road a little, he also did some work on the favored "fording" spot on the creek just to the south of their farm buildings. At this wide spot in the creek, by building up and maintaining a smooth gravel base, fording the stream became quite easy. In the spring, heavy rains would damage it regularly, but having a good base to start made "repairs" that much easier.
With the road from the Yokum place workable, Darrell could bring his team and his plow in the wagon to do plowing on the King farm land per their work agreement. This was very encouraging to Karl. By having Darrell plow the existing fields, Karl could concentrate his efforts on breaking the virgin soil of the new land he had purchased. This, of course, was after he did the work he could to mark off and clear the fields he wanted to do up first, in the spring. Thurkill Dent had come over and helped with clearing the land marked for plowing, as well. He also brought over three goats, while they were working elsewhere, nearby, who chewed off many of the weeds grown up to save having to scythe them or attempt to plow them under. This actually worked better than either of them had expected. And, it kept the goats well fed.
The original novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
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They preserved produce for the winter months
Household work and chores continued on, week after week
Katherine (Ma), Kate and Karla had worked all fall at continuing to lay up food from the garden and orchard for the winter and spring months until the next years crops were ready for consumption. They canned and made preserves. They extracted and dried seeds. They built addition shelving in both the house and the spring house for their produce. The increased amounts of eggs and milk each needed to be stored and the excess taken to town each week to sell. Selected amounts of other preserved goods were also taken to town to sell as well.
This work, of course, was in addition to the normal daily and weekly tasks that each was assigned to keep the family fed, the children in school, the farm chores performed, and all of the unexpected tasks that came up on a regular basis. Ma still was working at making their house a home. Now that she knew what she had to work with, there were both utilitarian and decorative touches to be added, to fit her tastes and her perceived needs for her family. The girls were always helpful, but Katherine wanted to do much of this work, herself, so that it was "done right." Karl and Kent also helped out where and when Katherine needed their assistance.
Katherine knew that Fourth Sunday in November would be a special occasion as it would be dedicated to celebrating the harvest for the year throughout the valley. Each of the women wanted to do something special to help celebrate the hard work all of the men did throughout the fall season. Perhaps it wasn't necessary, but it was something that gave each one an especially nice, large "pat on the back" for work well done, heading into the winter. In the Ozarks region, they never knew what winter would bring. It could be a mild winter, with only a few light snowfalls. It could be a hard winter, with a half dozen or more heavy snowfalls. It was usually something in between, but, no one, of course, would know, until it was over.
The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories
Autumn trees surrounded the Community Building
Harvest was celebrated on Fourth Sunday, the 26th day of November, 1876
Fourth Sunday this month was a reminder of what was ahead. It was cold and windy. Although it never did actually rain, the storm clouds overhead, all day, suggested that it might rain at any moment. No one would have been surprised to see a cold deluge arrive when it was least expected. Surely it was raining somewhere nearby, most people felt in their bones.
The community building was packed with people. No doubt some folks from the outlying areas had stayed home, but they were not missed. Those who were present, however, were in a festive mood. Musical instruments were pulled out early in one corner, and there was great merriment. The food was laid out on tables along each of the longer walls for maximum efficiency for the mid-day meal. The men who wanted to talk about their harvests and their plans for the following year tended to get together in the opposite corner from the music, so they at least had a chance to hear what they each had to say.
Gideon Inman again presided over the community announcement, which were brief. Among them was noted those who had volunteered to make up the Sunday School Steering Committee at the prior month's meeting. They would be gathering for a very brief meeting after the dinner was completed. Several persons made short speeches regarding the successful harvest season. Then, it was time to eat, and the designated persons got in line to start doing that.
It turned out the Sunday School Steering Committee, at that time, was made up of Ralph Campbell, Karl King, Samuel Street, Willis Garrett, Jasper Die and Russell Nixon. Each was there except Samuel Street, from the far east valley. Since it wasn't raining they stepped outside to talk, where they could hear a little better than over the din of the crowd. They each spent a few minutes sharing why they had volunteered and what their particular interests and backgrounds included that applied. Karl felt they were, indeed, a very pleasant group, with a good range of ages and experiences. They agreed to meet again at December Fourth Sunday, if they could, whether or not they had heard more from Silas Adams in the meantime.
Direct link to the next and prior episodes of this series of stories
- The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 25, Three couples had a Book Club meeting together and Keith visit
The Kings, Campbells, and Potts couples met at the School House to discuss a Mark Twain book for their Book Club selection. Keith King arrived by stagecoach back in Oak Springs for the holiday break.
- The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 23, A stranger spoke at the October Fourth Sunday gathering
At the Fourth Sunday gathering in October 1876, a couple considering moving to Oak Springs talked to the group about starting a Sunday School in the community. They asked for participants and leaders.
Note from the author
This is the twenty-fourth episode of this short story series, and the fourth 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.”
Learn more about "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
- "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.
For the eBook of "The Kings of Oak Springs: The Arrival Months in 1876 Vol 1"
- Dr. Bill Smith's Books and Publications Spotlight
Look for the ebook with the green trees