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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 49 - Life Moves on in April 1882

Updated on November 18, 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.

It was a nice spring day in the valley

A sunny day in the valley
A sunny day in the valley

The Campbell Dry Goods Store celebrated 14 years in Oak Springs

April 15 fell on a Saturday, in 1882, so that day was designated by Store Manager Joseph Carver to commemorate the 14th Anniversary of the opening of the Campbell Dry Goods Store. Numerous specials and drawing were held during the day to attract customers to come to the store to share in the recognition.

Several persons noted that the activities of the day seemed somewhat muted by the fact that it had only been a week since young Jimmie Truesdale had been swept to his death by waters of the overflowing creek west of town. Everyone wanted to move on from the tragedy, but some just could not quite do it, not just yet.

Others, of course, were not that directly connected to the young man, or his family, and were looking forward to an active spring leading to a good year ahead. Bargains at the Dry Goods store were always welcomed, and some had even been holding back on their spring shopping anticipating this celebration and the special deals that always accompanied it. They weren’t really fussy in their shopping, they just wanted good deals, good prices, on items they needed, and wanted to buy. It was a good, if not great, day for the store.

The latest babies born were on her list

A baby
A baby

Katherine King always read the Enterprise, especially the Social Column

Each Wednesday, Katherine King had developed the habit of always reading the Social Column in the Oak Springs Enterprise, to see what Russell Nixon would be reporting that week that she had not known before. She especially looked forward to the birth announcements. She even kept a little notebook with an entry for each new addition to the valley. Since the first of the year, these were the entries she had made:

Born in January 1882 - Jasper McKinney, son of M.L and June McKinney

Born in February 1882 - Willis Polk, son of J.P. and Jean Polk

Born in March of 1882 - Dora Medley, daughter of Henry and Isabella Medley

In the April 12 edition of the newspaper, of course, were stories about Jimmie Truesdale. Her heart went out, again, to Carolyn, Lewis and Myrtle, as she read each story about the event, the funeral, and related matters that were inevitable. Her heart skipped a beat as the King family was mentioned. Russell Nixon had handled the reporting with great care, as he always did, but still it hurt deep down inside each time Katherine was reminded of that day, and the days that had followed; so recently. Her children were back in school, today, the 12th, for the first time since that tragic day. She wanted to hug each one of them, right now, but knew she must move on.

Katherine was mildly surprised to see the announcement in the Oak Springs Enterprise for entries into the competitions set for the 1882 Annual Fair the first week of August. Wasn’t it awfully early this year? Well, maybe not. People did need to be able to plan. To plan, they needed to know about this time what the categories would be in which they wished to participate. Katherine decided she needed to take the time to go through those categories carefully, herself, right now, so that she could begin making her own plans.

A final note in the Socials Column that caught Katherine’s eye: “Dr. J.D. Potts was a Sunday evening dinner guest in the Victoria and Nellie Truesdale home.“ Katherine knew they had been in Book Clubs together, but there were no Book Clubs currently active.

They ate their cupcakes in Centennial Park

A fancy cupcake
A fancy cupcake

Ward Confectioners 3rd Anniversary in Oak Springs was May 1

Ward’s 3rd Anniversary celebration was much like those the prior two years. Everyone looked forward to the free cupcake Mrs. Ward used to count the number of guests entering the store on Monday, for the May 1 event. Many mothers had to remind their children to only take one, so there would be an accurate count. Most families bought a few more, or other delicacies, to take home anyway… which was the whole point, after all. It was a beautiful, sunny spring day. They stayed open late, so that everyone had an opportunity to visit. Augustus Ward mentioned later that it was a record day for the store, by quite a wide margin.

Among those in the store in the early evening were both the King family and the Carver family. Kent bought Janice an especially pretty cupcake, as well as one for himself, and they took them across the street to eat them. They found an unoccupied bench in Centennial Park and enjoyed some quiet time together. Over recent months, they had found a number of occasions to spend a few minutes together, away from class. Sometimes these occasions had been after church, sometimes other places where the two families happened to be.

Janice was especially anxious to talk to Kent, regularly, since the birthday celebration tragedy. This was their third time together since, and she began to get the feeling that Kent would be able to move on. He felt enormous guilt at first, of course. He realized he was not responsible for Jimmie’s reckless behavior, and he had done his best to warn Jimmie, his good friend. Janice carefully kept reminding Kent that each person is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions. No one gains by continuing to blame themselves for the actions of others. You can only learn from it, to be even more responsible for your own actions.

They talked of other things, as well, of course, as they always did. School would be ending soon, and they would be members of the next senior class in the fall. They had also begun to talk of life beyond high school. In their discussions, they each began to realize that they only spoke of future life as if they would always spend it together. It didn’t seem to need to be discussed. It seemed that they each were already committed to that reality. They talked of “their farm” and “their family” as if it were simply a reality, and not just one future possibility.


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Mary, thank you for that. I needed to read your comment this day. Much appreciated!! ;-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      Another great chapter in the lives in Oak Springs. Such detail to the day to day living back in 1882. You always make us feel like it's happening as we read!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, Sha, they do seem to be growing in their relationship! There are some personally familiar aspects to their path that should be fun to examine.

      What fun! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Of course, Dora!! Great place to go exploring!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Janice and Kent's budding romance is a source of strength for Kent. She'll help him realize he wasn't responsible for the terrible tragedy. They seem to be meant for each other; they've sort of melded together in their thoughts and dreams for the future.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      So there's even a Dora in the Oak Springs community! Life there just became more interesting.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your visit Larry. So nice of you to take the time to stop by and leave a comment!! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting representation of day to day life.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I've been writing down lists of the businesses that show up in the census of the place and time. Very interesting to see the differences, and similarities, over the years. Thanks for the visit, and the succinct comments!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I actually remember visiting a dry goods store in Iowa when I was a the time I had no idea it was one of a dying breed. Another piece of history gone from the American landscape. As always, an enjoyable read.


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