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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 39 - 4th of July 1877 and More

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.

Some houses added bunting for the celebration as well

House with bunting
House with bunting | Source

Independance Day Celebration in 1877

For the 1877 4th of July Celebration the Oak Springs Town Council decided to start a new tradition by having the speeches and celebration in the new Town Square across from City Hall.They arranged to build a wooden platform for the speakers that would be decorated with red, white and blue bunting. It was set diagonally, in the northwest corner of the Park, facing out over the park, with City Hall and the Bank directly behind the speakers’ backs. Some landscaping, grass and bushes, had been cultivated since spring, to begin getting the Town Square to be something to be proud of. It was far from complete, but they did get it started.

Further, the Town Council agreed to rename the park Centennial Park and commissioned a large limestone monument to be placed in the southwest corner of the park with the new name engraved on the monument along with a plaque listing the members of the Town Council. The monument was introduced and dedicated at the July 4 celebration. The entire community came out to celebrate.

At the celebration, on Wednesday, July 4, speeches and music highlighted the festivities. Jacobi Inman served as Master of Ceremonies. He first introduced speaker Gideon Inman, County Commissioner. Inman was followed by State Representative Lewis Truesdale. The Keynote Speaker of the program was State Senator Hugh Truesdale. Each speaker, in addition to the usual patriotic platitudes, stressed the growing belief that the economy was on the rise and that better times were right in front of the community. Everyone was encouraged to embrace the future of their community.

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The road ran a mile and a half to the Houston Road

A road through the countryside
A road through the countryside | Source

Delbert Campbell, Western Trustee, called a meeting of farmers along the Houston Road

As Western Trustee of Oak Creek Township, Delbert Campbell was responsible for roads and bridges in the western part of the Township. Several new families had moved in, in recent months, on either side of Center Creek, along the Houston Road. He needed to work with everyone to determine where new roads and bridges might be required to meet the needs of this increased population. Jourdan Sullivan agreed to host the meeting at his farmhouse located just south of the center of this area. In attendance at the meeting in addition to Campbell and Sullivan were: Karl King, Thurkill Dent, Silas Adams, Peter Riley, Hiram Carver, Henry Medley, Judah Kendrick, Lawrence Johnson and Jasper and Junior Die. After introductions and explaining his responsibilities in the community that gave rise to the meeting, Delbert asked for a brief discussion of concerns related to roads and bridges from the group assembled.

Jasper Die spoke up first. Noting that his farm was the furthest from Houston Road, Jasper said that he had been using a trail, roughly straight south from the east edge of his house to the Road, believing that it was about on the half mile line. No one else had lived along it until this spring but now it ran through three other occupied properties. He added that he and Henry, Judah, and Hiram were still using the road on friendly terms, but they all felt improving the road, in the correct space, was essential to each of them, as they moved into the future. They would want to plant crops on their land, without interfering with where the road should be. No bridges were involved in this mile and a half stretch. The others agreed, and they each indicated a willingness to provide labor, animals and equipment to help improve the road, if the County or Township would provide the leadership and any additional costs and materials required. Delbert thanks each of these neighbors for their input and agreed that this was a worthy project for them to work on.

Lawrence Johnson was next to speak. He said that he had met with Peter Riley when the Riley family had first arrived. They had agreed on the east line of Riley’s property and Lawrence was now using that as his “lane” to get from his farm to the Houston Road. Neither of them felt any need for further work on it, at this time. Attention was then turned to issues on the south side of the Houston Road. The issue here was that Thurkill Dent and Karl King did not have ready access to the Houston Road without going east into town and then coming back out, a half mile further north. The question was, should the western extension of Preston Road be extended further west, across Center Creek, and back north to the Houston Road? The creek made this possible work more difficult. Karl spoke first. He said it would certainly be nice to have the extension made, both for himself and for Thurkill. The only problems he saw, however, were first, that a bridge over the creek to start the extension would be expensive. Second, the extension of the road would run along the south end of the Adams farm, then along the south and the west side of the Sullivan place. Neither of those farms or families really benefited from this road extension. They already had direct access to the Houston Road because of the location of their houses. Karl did note that the road on the west side of the Sullivan place would be an extension across the Houston Road of the road they discussed earlier south from the Die farm, if that made any difference to anyone. After some further discussion, Delbert suggested that he would next meet with the county officials, and see what, if any, funds or other help might be available to assist with the western district challenges they had just discussed.

Some roads would continue to be dirt roads along the edges of the farms

A dirt road runs through a pasture
A dirt road runs through a pasture | Source

Karl King visited with Gideon Inman about the roads and bridges

A few days after the roads and bridges meeting, Karl King went to town specifically to talk with the local land agent, Gideon Inman, who was also an elected County Commissioner. By that time, Gideon Inman had already talked to Delbert Campbell, so he was fully aware of the discussions at the meeting. Karl hoped to learn if Gideon felt there was any likelihood of assistance from the County, especially as related to the bridge construction near his farm.

Karl was very careful to make it clear, as he felt he had at the meeting, that he was willing to help in any way he could, if the changes discussed would be considered at all. Karl was pleasantly surprised to hear some information that Gideon was willing to share. Gideon said that he was aware that many changes in bridge building techniques had come out of the Civil War experience that were now being implemented across the nation. In particular, he said that one idea had been presented at a meeting a few months earlier, for a bridge construction method where the weight-bearing was not as high as for a heavy traffic road. He said he had recalled that presentation when Delbert was sharing the information from the recent meeting.

Gideon said that he would request that this idea be considered by the Commissioners, perhaps even as a pilot project. Gideon added that he knew there were other places in the county, and region, that might benefit from such a project. Karl said that sounded like a great idea, and he fully supported it. He further suggested that he would be happen to report regularly on how it was working, if it were installed, on Center Creek near his farm.

Note from the author

This is the thirty-ninth episode of this short story series, and the nineteenth 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 July 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."

“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

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for your visit and comment! Have a great holiday season!! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Another great installment!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      They do face challenges, just as we all do, MsDora. But, as you suggest, I do believe we can generally meet and solve problems with a positive attitude. It seems to come natural for me, and I enjoy sharing their stories. Thanks for your visit and comment. Much appreciated! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks, Bill. That is what I enjoy doing. Glad it works for you, as well.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Seems that you are creating an ideal community when it comes to challenges and support. Good reading for minds that crave positivity.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is like taking a history book, opening it up, putting real people in it, and then telling those characters to act it out and tell the story. Well done, Bill. This is always an enjoyable read.