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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 4, "Fourth Sunday" - April 23, 1876 - Part 2 of 2

Updated on May 15, 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.

Open House at the School

A carriage similar to the "school coaches" of the story...
A carriage similar to the "school coaches" of the story... | Source

"Fourth Sunday" in April 1876 included Open House at the school

Continued from Episode 3…

As part of the early afternoon General Meeting, Nellie Truesdale, the teacher at the Oak Springs subscription school, invited everyone to stop by the school later, at the designated time, for a brief Open House program, especially those with children ages 6 though 13 this fall term. She introduced Lewis and Caroline Truesdale, Jerry Potts, and Alex McDonald who would also be there to answer questions and help sign up both new and returning students for the fall term beginning in mid-September and running through mid-December. She added that a few of the returning students would be saying a few words each about their school experience, so not to miss that, as well.

After the General Meeting and before the Open House was to start, several men and a couple of their wives stopped by to talk to the Kings with suggestions about building their house, based on their past experiences. Several of them agreed to get back together for a few minutes for more detailed discussions, after the Open House meeting. When the school bell rang, it appeared that over half of the fifty or so people attending "Fourth Sunday" at the Community Building did make the walk over to the school, about two city blocks away.

Miss Nellie Truesdale introduced eight of the children who had prepared "pieces" to say about their school experience. A couple were younger, a couple were older, and the others in between. They each did a nice job telling about different aspects of the school experience. They received a hardy round of applause from those attending. Lewis Truesdale then shared a quick history of the school and how it currently operated, including the number of students each year over the past six years of operations. Alex McDonald, talked briefly about the two hours of instruction he taught the 10 through 13 year olds on history, literature and the classics. Alex also said he served as substitute for Miss Truesdale, though that had only been necessary for a few days, last term, for example. Caroline Truesdale took a few general questions from the audience before they broke up into smaller groups to answer individual questions. Three tables were available to sign up students for the fall; two for returning students and one for new students.

After some discussion, Karl and Katherine decided to go ahead and sign up Kate and Kent for the fall term. They set up a time to meet with Miss Truesdale, later, to work out the details for the two children at a later date, as was the practice.

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Morgan Horses were utilitarian as well as beautiful

An excellent example of a Morgan Horse.
An excellent example of a Morgan Horse. | Source

Discussions continued back at the "Fourth Sunday" grounds near the Community Building

Returning to the park by the Community Building, Karl and Katherine did meet with the folks they had talked with earlier, plus a couple of others now expressing interest in the discussion, including Owen Olson. The children gathered in another area of the park where some organized games were underway. Other men and women were in other clusters around the area, as well.

One of the first questions about their house plans was whether they would use the existing foundation for their new house. Several people shared their experiences, positive and negative. Owen noted that his observations had been that they could probably use the existing foundation, if they wanted to. Karl said his current thinking seemed to be to use the current foundation, and put down a new set of lumber flooring over the entire area, but to only build a third or a half of the upper structure, at first, to provide needed shelter, then to add the rest, over a few months, before bad weather arrived in the fall. He asked for reactions to that plan, and, that was discussed, at length. Many good suggestions came out of the discussion for further consideration. Karl and Katherine thanked everyone for their ideas, and they each went on to other things.

Levi Weston had been on the fringes of the house discussions. As the others left, he stepped up and and reminded Karl and Katherine that if they recognized a special need for particular woodworking as they moved forward with the house, he would be glad to talk to them about what he could offer. He also invited Karl over to his place, at his convenience, to show Karl his own Morgan Horses, and to continue their earlier conversation.

Victor Campbell introduced himself as President of the Oak Springs Savings Bank. He welcomed the Kings to the community and offered his services in any way they felt he could be of service. They talked about that, and the community in general, for some time.

The creek ran through the valley

A creek runs through the Ozarks hills.
A creek runs through the Ozarks hills. | Source

The Kings met other families with children of similar ages

Daniel and Jane Truesdale McDonald introduced themselves as parents of William McDonald, who was 12 years old, and one of the three students Kate had mentioned meeting earlier who were her age. They confirmed that was true, and then called over Thomas and Grace Crane, the parents of Charlotte Crane, another of the 12 year olds. The Cranes lived just down the road from the McDonald family in the east valley. As they were talking, Jane noticed Ralph and Sally Rhodes Campbell nearby, and called them over. Their son, Vic, was the other 12 year old that Kate had mentioned. As they talked, they noticed that their four youngsters were also talking to each other in a group over by the Community Building.

When Katherine mentioned that Kent had met Earl Rhodes, Sally volunteered that Earl was her brother's son. She also mentioned that Earl's mother, Lillian, the wife of her brother, Theodosius, was the sister of her husband Ralph. They all had a good laugh about the frequent inter-marriages among the local families, these in the western valley. Sally went on to say that Theo and Lillian were planning for Earl to attend secondary school over in Springfield for the next three years. It was one of the closest secondary schools around, currently, and they had relatives over there that he could live with for that duration. They hoped that he would then qualify to enter a college; but only time would tell, of course. It didn't take long before the inter-marriage between the Truesdales and the McDonalds in the eastern valley also entered the conversation. And, as often happened, that led to talk of the "first settlers" of the valley that included the McDonalds, the Truesdales, and the Pattons, with the Olsons and Campbells not far behind.

Far too quickly, it became time to gather the children, get the horses hooked back up to the wagon, and for everyone to depart for their respective homes. For the eastern valley folks, it was a fair trek of a few miles. Others, of course, lived right in town, and tended to linger a little longer. Before the King family departed, they made sure to seek out Owen Olson to thank him for urging them to attend this very fulfilling day. They were also sure to let him know that they planned to attend each forthcoming "Fourth Sunday" in the future, as well.

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Introductory note from the author

This is the fourth episode of a new short story series set in the Ozarks Mountain setting of “The Homeplace Saga” family saga of 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, above.

“The Homeplace Saga” is the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”


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