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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 38 - Keith Left, June Fourth Sunday, and Molly Had a Foal

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.

Everyone in the valley depended on harness for their horses

A horse in harness
A horse in harness | Source

Keith completed his home visit

Keith King and his family had enjoyed his two weeks at home, on the farm near Oak Springs, but much of that time had actually been spent laying plans for his future as a continuing student at Central High School in Jefferson City. Karl and Katherine, his parents, took great pride in their 15-year-old son and wished the best for him as he pursued success in his future life. However, they struggled internally with seeing their first born going out into the world away from their immediate supervision and control, as all parents would. Each of them kept busy doing what they could to help prepare for his departure without letting their personal feelings get in the way.

Keith’s three younger siblings, Kate, Kent and Karla, each were caught up in the excitement of the approaching end of the visit of their older brother, They each had their individual farm responsibilities to complete that Wednesday morning, prior to Keith’s departure to meet the stagecoach in Oak Springs, of course. With his bag and lunch packed, they all gathered around the carriage to say their goodbyes as Keith got in the carriage, with his father, to make the short trip into town. They lingered, waving farewell, as the carriage entered the main road, headed east, and went out of sight as they drove past the orchard.

The stagecoach arrived right on schedule on this fine, sunny June day in Oak Springs, and Keith left with it on schedule a few minutes later. This left Karl alone in the carriage with only his horses, Dolly and Daisy, for company. Looking at Daisy, Karl realized he hadn’t talked to Levi Weston, recently, so drove the carriage over to the shop to let Levi Weston know what a fine horse Daisy had really become on the King Farm. As he approached, he noticed there was new construction on the lot to the west of Levi’s property. Levi was excited to share the news with Karl, after their greetings.

Levi said that his first cousin (his mother’s brother’s son), Hiram Parks (actually Hiram Parks II), had decided to move to Oak Springs and had bought the lot immediately west of Levi’s shop. Hiram was primarily a harness maker. However, his son, Trey (actually Hiram Parks III), was a wagon builder, and the three of them had entered into a partnership to build farm wagons. They expected the economy to be improving, and with that improvement, the demand for wagons, of various kinds, would grow. Levi could not help mentioning that having family in town was also a nice thing, for him.

The three men planned to form a partnership to build the wagons to support Trey in the venture. Initially the wagon building operation would be on Levi’s land, immediately west of his shop. Future expansion would then be to the west toward Trey’s father’s harness shop. They hoped to be in full operation before fall harvest season, Levi added.

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A new harness shop came to town

Horse collars in the harness shop
Horse collars in the harness shop | Source

June Fourth Sunday fell on the 24th in 1877

Gideon Inman was back making the announcements at June 1877 Fourth Sunday. He said he was pleased to share that a new business was moving to town and, a second related one, hoped to be open by fall. He then introduced the widower, Hiram Parks, as the new harness maker. Gideon said he was building his shop just to the west of his cousin, Levi Weston. Hiram’s son, Trey, Gideon continued, would be joining Hiram and Levi in creating a new utility wagon works to be located between the shops of Levi and Hiram. Gideon welcomed the new businesses and urged everyone to visit them, when they had a chance. He added that Hiram and Trey would be building a house to the south of Hiram’s shop in the coming months.

The new business committee met during the afternoon, continuing their discussion from the prior month. Gideon, Jacobi and Joshua Cox reminded everyone to think of, talk to, and write letters to their own relatives and friends in other communities that might consider moving to Oak Springs. Levi Weston was a good example of encouraging a relative (or two) to settle in the community with a new business (or two).

During their meeting the committee members worked at coming up with more ideas of the kinds of businesses that would be complimentary to both the others already in the community and that would supplement the goods and services now being provided. Manufacturing of goods were considered desirable, but, without a railroad spur, they recognized that bringing in raw materials would be difficult. They then talked about the raw materials available in the valley that might be further exploited, including timber, stone, and minerals known to be the caves along the ridge. They asked themselves if any of these were plentiful enough, or easily enough obtained, to sustain a business enterprise. They also asked themselves to consider other things that they might be missing that would make the valley desirable to others.

They named the filly “Kitty”

Mare and day old foal
Mare and day old foal | Source

Molly birthed a female foal, a filly

Karl and Kent were well aware that their mare, Molly, would be giving birth any day. They had her in the “birthing stall” in the barn, which was double sized for that purpose. It was Kent’s duty to take her for walks around the yard at least three times each day. They also checked on her several times a day, and kept clean straw in the stall, as well as appropriate feed and water, at all times.

Tuesday morning, the 26th, Kent checked Molly, the first thing, as he got out to do chores. To his surprise, her foal was laying on the straw beside Molly. He ran to get his father. Together, Karl and Kent set about cleaning off the foal and cleaning the stall and replacing the straw that was soiled from the birthing process. They had been lucky, Karl told Kent, that the foal had been born, on her own, without complications. And, yes, it was a female foal, a young filly. Father and son were each very pleased.

Molly was also in very good condition. By the end of the day, Molly was up and around. The little foal was also walking, having found her legs to work quite well, if still slightly wobbly, from time to time. By that time, the girls had all enjoyed seeing the new “addition to the family,” as well. Collectively, they decided to call the new “girl” horse, the filly: “Kitty.”

Note from the author

This is the thirty-eighth episode of this short story series, and the eighteenth 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 June 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, so much, vkwok. This one really needed to have at least on comment on it!! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Another great installment, Homeplace!


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