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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 40 - July 1877 in the Oak Creek Valley and Oak Springs

Updated on November 19, 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.

Karl examined the horse collars in the harness shop

Horse collars on display for sale
Horse collars on display for sale | Source

The new harness shop was open for business

Upon hearing that the new harness shop in town was now open, Karl and Kent hooked Dolly and Daisy up to the wagon and went into town to “get some supplies” - and, include a trip to the harness shop while they were there. Karl was anxious to keep up-to-date on the latest business addition in town.

It was a sunny, summer day as father and son pulled up to the new harness shop. Two saddled horses at the rail already indicated there were others interested in the new shop, as well. As they entered, Karl noticed Abner Whitfield deep in discussion with Hiram near the back of the shop. Karl and Kent separated to look over the merchandise on display that interested each of them. The collar display attracted Karl’s attention while Kent was drawn to the bells and whistles display. Karl found Russell Nixon already examining the several collar on the rack. They chatted for a few minutes.

Before long, Abner had apparently finished his business with Hiram. He seemed in a hurry, as he nodded to Karl and Russell as he left the shop. Hiram approached and welcomed the two men to his shop. They reciprocated with their greetings and encouraged Hiram to talk about the shop and what all he had to offer. Hiram was only too happy to do that.

In a few minutes, Karl noticed Levi Weston and Trey Parks come in the door and head to the coffee pot on the stove in the far right corner of the shop. Before long, the five men were all in conversation about the progress of the wagon works building that Levi and Trey were working on outside. They were pleased to share their progress, and their frustrations, with their friends… and likely potential customers. Levi said they were sticking close to their planned schedule. Trey was anxious to share that he was anxious to get the first wagons started, probably in a couple of weeks. Hiram added that they already had their first two orders, which was very encouraging, to new folks in town. Karl and Russell agreed that they were not surprised in the interest, and expected more good things from their valley neighbors.

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Each horse needed the proper harness to work the fields on the farm

The harness shop was full of merchandise to examine
The harness shop was full of merchandise to examine | Source

Work on the farm had no end

If there ever is a let-up to the work that must be done to maintain a farm it was possibly mid-July. There wasn’t any ice to break off the water for the animals, that was for sure. But, it was very dry, in that summer of 1877. A second cutting of grass for hay was a little late, and not as good a crop has had been hoped for on the Karl King farm. Before long, the oats would be ready to harvest, along with the welcome straw it produced. Cutting and hoeing weeds in the row crops was always something that needed to be done. Actually, it was too easy to put off. But, to get the best crop, the weeds had to be removed. And, that had to be done by hand, as well.

Karl and Kent, with help from Kate, worked through each of the fields systematically, to control the weeds as best they could. As they worked these fields during the summer, Karl was constantly looking for improvements he could make, perhaps, in the way the fields were laid out, the crop patterns he had used. He watched for where the best, and the poorest, land was in terms of growth of the crops, especially weedy spots, and other factors that he needed to consider for future planning. Especially on the new land to the west, Karl knew that he would want to make changes in the layout, so he was particularly watchful in these fields. He kept written notes on each field for later reference.

The little stream down from the western hill on the new land was of special interest to Karl throughout the year. He kept a weekly record of how much water was flowing and noted rains and other factors that might affect the amount of flow. He wasn’t ready, yet, to add livestock grazing here, but he saw it as a possible future activity and wanted to gather all the information he could to make a good decision on this enhancement of his farming activities.

Raising several litters of hogs each year also required continued attention. Hogs were a good cash crop and were a fine way to use the corn raised on the farm profitably. Having a continuing supply of home-grown pork and pork-related products was also a great benefit of the farm life. Similarly, keeping up with chickens, for both eggs and meat, sometimes seemed a chore, but the benefits outweighed the bother they presented.

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The King family attended Fourth Sunday

The road to town from the farm
The road to town from the farm | Source

Fourth Sunday fell on July 22

It was a hot, dry day, with a little breeze, as Oak Creek valley residents gathered at the Oak Springs Community Building and nearby park on the south-side of town for Fourth Sunday, on July 22, 1877. Attendance was good, though down a bit from May and June. Gideon Inman introduced the two new babies making their first appearances at Fourth Sunday, and everyone gave them a big welcome. They were the son and daughter of the two new families first introduced in May, when the mothers were still ‘expecting.’

David and Dorcus Derryberry were pleased to introduce their son, Quincy Adams Derryberry, born on the 4th of July. He was named after a favorite historical figure of David’s, John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States who then went on to serve in the House of Representatives for many years. David traced his ancestors to neighbors of the Adams family in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Samuel and Rosa Pruitt were also pleased to introduce their daughter, Gladys Rosa Pruitt, born on the 28th of June. She was named for her paternal grandmother and her mother. She would be called Gladys. Both couples expressed their sincere thanks for all the good wishes and assistance they had received since moving to the valley.

There were no meetings scheduled for this Fourth Sunday, and everyone, children included, enjoyed a Social Sunday afternoon with their neighbors and friends.

Note from the author

This is the fortieth episode of this short story series, and the twentieth (and last) 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." 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.”

The most recent novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

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    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you! So happy you could drop by! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Great episode, Homeplace!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      This was the last of 20 episodes planned for this sequence. Had the first 19 pretty well planned... assumed there'd be lots of things finish the 20th... and the creative muse to the holidays off... but, now it it done, and worked out well. New, related series, in the planning stages... Thanks for the visit. Have a great weekend! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Either you haven't written in awhile or I've missed some. I'm glad this series is back, and now that I've read some good writing, I'm going to call it a week and take the weekend off. Well done my friend, and Happy Weekend to you.