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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 58 - 1884 Was a Year of New Roles

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.

Vic and Kate loved the valley of their birth

A stretch of farmland across the valley
A stretch of farmland across the valley

Vic Campbell was happy to be home

The Oak Creek Valley
The Oak Creek Valley

Vic Campbell assumed his new position at the Oak Springs Savings Bank

Vic Campbell had completed his Bank Administration program at Washington University in St. Louis in mid-December. Ralph and Sally Campbell had traveled to St. Louis for his graduation exercises. They had taken Kate King with them so that she could also share in that important day and event in Vic’s life. They had all enjoyed the year end holiday celebration activities, as well, but now the new year had come and Vic Campbell assumed the simple job title of Vice President. He and his father, Ralph, the bank President, would determine his specific duties as they moved forward. They each wanted to assure that they took advantage of the new learning that Vic brought to the job while still maintaining the historic conservative, but action oriented, approach the bank had always taken under the leadership of Victor, and then Ralph, Campbell.

It turned out that Kate King had also taken on a new role prior to Vic’s return in December. As had been planned, during the eighteen months he was away at school, Kate had worked at the bank, learning various roles herself and taking on special projects for her prospective father-in-law, Ralph Campbell. Within a couple of months of the death of Victor Campbell, the prior January, Kate had taken on a particularly challenging project that had essentially turned into a full-time job. This was a result of her work ethic, her meticulous attention to detail, and the ability to learn new tasks quickly and thoroughly while demonstrating a strong sense of confidentiality. She had become secretary to the Oak Creek Valley Land Trust.

Jake Patton, Gideon Inman and Victor Campbell had created this Land Trust in the 1850s to, essentially, control the land development in what had become the Oak Creek Township of Shannon County, Missouri. It had taken on crucial importance during and after the late war in allowing a ‘responsible’ land distribution policy that greatly enhanced the rebuilding of the valley’s economy and the town of Oak Springs. Victor Campbell and Gideon Inman had continued to largely handle the extensive paperwork and administration of the trust. The current trustees were Jacobi Inman, Lewis Truesdale, and Ralph Campbell. Each of them had long understood that they needed a better way to administer the continuing responsibilities of the trust. They had all been pleased, and greatly relieved, when Ralph had worked with Kate to create a new approach to carry out these responsibilities. In recent months, she had actually worked mostly out of the Inman Real Estate and Insurance Office, with time spent at the bank, and at the county and town offices, as needed. She had continued to live at the Campbell Boarding House as a part of her compensation. She would continue this arrangement as the year 1884 got underway.

Weddings and graduations in abundance

A celebration cake
A celebration cake

A wedding and a graduation were on the King family schedule

As the early months of 1884 passed by, Kate and Vic grew in their ongoing relationship and arrived at the decision to marry on Sunday, June 22, 1884, at the Methodist Church. They and their families also determined during this time that they would make their home in the former home of his paternal grandparents on the south side of town, Victor and Camilla Campbell. The home had set unoccupied for over a year, but had received considerable attention by the family in terms of disposition of personal property and necessary maintenance and upgrades during that time.

As the school year neared an end in the spring of 1884, Kent King, Janice Carver, Junior Yokum and their classmates graduated from the Oak Spring High School on Saturday, May 10. Each family enjoyed several gatherings in recognition of their accomplishments.

Keith King had successfully completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Graduations exercises were set for Saturday, May 17, 1884, and his parents, Karl and Katherine King, made plans to attend. On this trip, they also managed to visit members of both of their families in the Jefferson City area that they had not seen in many years.

The wedding of Vic and Kate in June was another one that was heavily attended. They were very popular young people with parents that were very active in the community. And, there was also the prospect that they would each be community leaders as they progressed in their careers and grew their family in Oak Springs.

A Democrat was elected President

Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States
Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States

Other new roles, near and far

In the annual town elections, Ivan Toll and R.R. Callahan were re-elected, unopposed, to new three-year terms on the town council. In the School Board election, Thomas Crane did not stand for re-election, and Peter Riley, of the west valley, was elected to a three-year term. Karl King ran for re-election. He ran unopposed, and was re-elected to a three-year term.

At the Oak Springs Enterprise, the planned five-year purchase of the newspaper and print shop by Russell Nixon from Jerry Potts was moving forward, as planned. In a move that surprised most members of the general public, but was an integral part of the plan, it was announced that effective on September 1, 1884, Alex McDonald would become the Editor of the weekly newspaper. When Karl King asked Russell about the change, after a school board meeting, Russell was happy to tell Karl about the planning that went into the decision. Russell said that he looked forward to owning and operating the print shop in the not too distant future. By this time, he had essentially learned all of the ins and outs of the business. He was still learning the newspaper business from Jerry Potts, but he did not yet feel qualified to be the Editor. He and Jerry agreed that Alex was well qualified, and deserved the position. Russell added that Alex would remain as Editor even when Russell took over as Publisher in the following year. It was simply good business, he added.

In the November 25th quadrennial presidential election, Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States for the first time. This was the first election of a Democrat to the office since the 1856 election. Cleveland had been the Governor of the State of New York. He defeated James G. Blaine of Maine. It broke the record for the longest losing streak for a major political party in American history - six straight presidential elections. The campaign was marred by exceptional political acrimony and personal invective. Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana was elected Vice-President.


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    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Larry. We'll be crossing the SW corner of Oklahoma on our way to Austin to be with the grandkids for New Years, next week. Small world!! Have a great Holiday Season!! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting installment.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. I felt Cleveland set a very good example of a 'new role' along with our characters... and set the timeline, nicely, as well.

      Vic and Kate have a good life before them, I predict! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Applause, applause for Vic and Kate. Another hat to wear along with her other busy roles. Congratulations to Cleveland also!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Sha, you have a special perception in your comments that always pleases me a great deal. Kate has become one of my favorite characters. Thank you, very much. ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      'Sort of like real life' I will take as a compliment. Thank you very much, Bill. Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well. Time is slipping by, quickly! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, a lot of changes going on in 1884. Oak Springs is becoming a solid town with exceptional leadership. Kate is a very driven young lady. I suspect she'll become a role model for the other women of the town.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      New roles, new beginnings as a new year approaches. Sort of like real life, eh? I have enjoyed this series greatly, Bill. Carry on, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.