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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 36 - A New Letter From Keith and May Fourth Sunday

Updated on November 25, 2017
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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.

Was a new day dawning for Keith?

Sunrise on the prairie
Sunrise on the prairie | Source

Karl and Katherine got a surprising letter from Keith

When another letter arrived from Jefferson City, from their son, Keith, Karl and Katherine were each very anxious to learn what the letter had to say. Based on the earlier letters from Keith and from Ann, they were very uncertain how Keith was feeling about continuing his education, in spite of the information from Ann. When he got the letter home, Karl opened it and read it aloud so that they would hear what Keith had to say, this time, at the same time.

Keith said that in the same day he had an extended discussion with the Principal at the High School he also had a very good talk with his uncle, Mr. Walters, about his work for Mr. Walters. Based on those two discussions, Keith was writing to let his parents know how he had reacted to the two bits of news. First, the Principal had told Keith that he strongly recommended that Keith pursue a college preparatory curriculum at the High School for the next three years. The Principal believed that Keith would be successful in that program and would qualify for the State University, if he were interested, and kept up his studies as well as he had during this first year of work.

Mr. Walters let Keith know that his wife, Ann, had also talked to the Principal. Mr. Walters wanted Keith to know that he was extremely pleased with the part-time work Keith had been doing for his firm. He wanted Keith to know, that assuming Keith (with the blessing of his parents) decided to pursue preparation for college study, he, Mr. Walters (along with his wife), would be pleased to have Keith continue to stay with them and continue to learn new things in the business. Further, specifically, he offered Keith two months of full-time work during the summer, if he were interested (allowing a 2 week home visit at the beginning and end of the summer). Keith added that he felt he really wanted to do the college prep work and work for Mr. Walters, if he had their blessing in doing so.

“Well,” Katherine said, following a moment or two of silence, “I guess that addresses our concerns head-on, after those earlier letters.”

“And,” Karl replied, “pretty well supplies the answer to our questions, as well. He certainly has my blessing.”

Katherine smiled. “Mine, too, of course!”

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Two new babies were about to be born in the valley

The baby was due soon
The baby was due soon | Source

May 27, 1877, was Fourth Sunday in Oak Springs

Sunday School classes were in their ninth week on Fourth Sunday in May. As expected, some people dropped out, some new people started coming, and a few came now and again. Each of the classes they had formed back on April 1 continued to have adequate attendance to justify the continued leadership required to keep them going. Silas and the committee had to come up with a new teacher in one class and one replacement helper in another, but, otherwise, the organization was surprisingly stable for a new operation. For the second month in a row, now, they were also pleased that there seemed to be no conflict, scheduling or otherwise, between the Sunday School activities and the Fourth Sunday activities.

Jacobi Inman did the introductory announcements for Fourth Sunday this month as Gideon, his father, was under the weather and could not attend. It did not appear serious, he just wasn’t available on this day. Jacobi announced no new babies this month, but that there were two new families, both in the east valley, and each were on hand here for Fourth Sunday. They were both young couples who had come down from Dent County. One was David Derryberry and his wife, Dorcus. Dorcus said she was expecting their first child in July. The second couple was Samuel Pruitt and his wife, Rosa. Rosa was expecting their first child in June, and that was not too hard to tell. They each said that they were familiar with the valley from family members having brought grain down to the mill to be processed. They were heartily welcomed by those assembled.

Jacobi also noted that there would be three groups encouraged to meet during the afternoon. One related to the possibility of organizing a high school in Oak Springs. The second group was to discuss the spring planting progress and any issues arising out of that. The third group was to discuss whether any actions needed to be taken collectively to recruit new businesses to the community. They would meet at about 2, 3 and 4, respectively, so that everyone had a chance to participate in whichever interested them. Karl was interested in all three, so he had a busy afternoon.

They discussed a railroad spur coming their way

Railroad tracks through the countryside
Railroad tracks through the countryside | Source

Karl attended all three meetings on Sunday afternoon

Karl and Katherine each attended the meeting regarding starting a high school. They were not surprised to see the parents of classmates of both their Kate and Kent along with others. It was quickly obvious that there was strong support. Lewis Truesdale, as a State Representative, reported that although legislation governing both elementary and secondary education in the state had been introduced, there was no expectation that is would pass in the short-run. If they wanted to get started within the next couple of years, a strong advisory committee needed to be organized soon. By the end of their meeting, Karl and Katherine had each agreed to serve, as needed, to get the program moving ahead.

Karl attended the farmer’s meeting on the spring planting season while Katherine remained with the high school planning group to begin organizational considerations. Most of the men were pleased with their spring progress but there were a number of questions about specific issues that took more time to talk out than Karl would have expected. It was clear that there were beginning to be some fairly wide divergences in approaches to farming in the valley. Karl tried to help steer the conversations to a positive tone, noting that they could each continue to learn from each other and their differing styles while keeping an open mind as to how each wanted to proceed. They were independent farmers, after all. During the discussions, there was mention of a National Grange movement to encourage farmers to work together. Most agreed they were already doing that and didn’t need outside help.

Jacobi Inman and Joshua Cox led the discussion regarding the need for new businesses in the community. Some of the discussion related to the possibilities of a railroad spur reaching the valley. More businesses were needed to get a railroad spur, some said, while others said they needed the spur in order to get new businesses. Jacobi said they needed to focus their attention on specific services that would benefit the community as well as the new business. He agreed to lead a committee to gather more information on the needs of the community. Karl agreed to work with the committee to identify their needs.

Note from the author

This is the thirty-sixth episode of this short story series, and the sixteenth 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 Episode is in May of the calendar year 1877, following the time period (1833-1875) of the recently released “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.

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, vkwok, I like to bring a sunshine into each day! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Another lovely installment, Homeplace!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      It is the story of the community, and how it progressed! Thanks for your neat comments. Much appreciated! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Glad that Keith makes a decision which pleases his parents. No new babies but new families. Discussion on new community business. I like how you move the plot along.


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