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The Kings of Oak Springs | Episode 59 | 1885 brought changes and growth

Updated on December 28, 2015

Dedicated in 1885

The Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
The Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

Events of interest locally and around the nation in early 1885


February 16 - The first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average was published by Charles Dow, representing 14 stocks (12 railroads and two leading American industries)

February 21 - The Washington Monument in the nation’s capital was dedicated by United States President Chester A. Arthur

March 3 - American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) was incorporated in New York City as a subsidiary of the American Bell Telephone Company

March 4 - Grover Cleveland was inaugurated as President of the United States

June 17 - A new icon arrived in New York Harbor - the Statue of Liberty

August 25 - Laura Ingalls Wilder married Almanzo Wilder in De Smet, South Dakota

On Sunday, August 30, 1885, Kent King and Janice Carver were married at the Methodist Church in Oak Springs, Missouri. Keith King, older brother of the groom, was able to come from his work with the Missouri Department of Transportation in Jefferson City to stand up with the young couple. Irene (Cunningham) Carver, sister-in-law of the bride, was the Matron of Honor. All local members of each of the extended families enjoyed joining in the celebration of the wedding of this young couple on a warm summer afternoon.

Kent and Janice would make their home in a cottage they had built on the King farmstead, along the road west of the orchard and separated from his parent’s house by the large yard and driveway turnaround. They had only recently completed the construction of their new home and looked forward to getting settled in prior to the imminent harvest season.

A new transportation company was formed

Weston Wooden Wagon Wheel
Weston Wooden Wagon Wheel

Major merger created Weston Transportation Company

A lead story in the Oak Springs Enterprise chronicled the changes in a company with a local office. What we have known for many years as the Weston-McDonald Freight Lines, with an office on the north side of Oak Springs, will now be known as Weston Transportation Company. The new company resulted from a merger of Missouri-based Weston-McDonald Freight Lines and two other Weston companies located in Illinois and in Ohio. Hiram Weston, 49, of Jefferson City, Missouri, is the head of the new company. The company has announced that the Oak Springs station will continue with new signage for the name change only. Improved efficiencies of operations and additional complementary services across the now multi-state company can be expected.

Weston-McDonald Freight Lines was created through a merger at the time of Weston Freight Lines and McDonald Freight Lines to better serve the needs of the Union war effort. Jacob Weston and Harry McDonald grew their combined company rapidly during and following the war. Jacob Weston is the father of Levi Weston, local Oak Springs businessman and Harry McDonald is the brother of local farmer, Daniel McDonald. Harry McDonald was a local pioneer who spent most of his life prior to the war on the family farm in the east valley. Hiram Weston is the son of Jacob and younger brother of Levi. Both Jacob Weston and Harry McDonald have retired from the freight business and live in the Jefferson City area.

Local station manager, Bernie Cox, spoke favorably of the changes that would come into effect with the new organizational structure of the transportation company. He emphasized that the company already did much more than move freight on wagons. They had passenger coaches in some areas and owned several short line railroads. He said it was his opinion that the location of the headquarters in Jefferson City implied that expansion of operations into states west of Missouri, as well as north and south, would only enhance the service to all existing and future customers of their service.

Mayor Joshua Cox, commenting on the merger news, stated that he believed this action, along with others, demonstrated that the regional and national economy was recovering rapidly from the recent hard times and that ‘good times’ for both farmers and merchants lie ahead.

There was a contested election in Oak Springs

Another set of elections
Another set of elections

Russell Nixon now owner and publisher of the Oak Springs Enterprise

As of July 1, 1885, Russell Nixon became the Publisher of the Oak Springs Enterprise with full ownership of the newspaper and the related print shop as well as the building housing the businesses and upstairs apartments. Nixon had retained Alex McDonald as the Editor of the newspaper and noted that McDonald held a minority interest in the new privately held business entity previously owned and operated by Jerry Potts and his wife, Polly. The Potts couple was now happily retired, living in their home in Oak Springs.

Nixon said that he would continue to serve as a member of the school board. Any news regarding the school would be reported and written by the editor, Alex McDonald, with out any input or influence from Nixon.

Russell Nixon and Franklin Gifford were each re-elected to new three-year terms on the School Board, unopposed, in the annual town elections. In the town council election, Sylvestor Preston had announced in the spring that he would not stand for re-election. Subsequently, both G.W. Mason, manager of the livery stable, and Reginald “Archie” Archer, stonemason with the rock quarry, filed to run for the vacant seat. It was a hotly contested race, and it turned out the two men simply did not like each other. In addition, their views on the future of Oak Springs were quite different, and the battle between them took on a ‘north side’ versus ‘south side’ edge as well. Mason was on the north side and had been a Union soldier. Archie was on the south side, and while never a Rebel, used some ‘southern’ verbiage to needle Mason. Many residents felt that Archer only got into the race to be able to disparage Mason in public. They each survived to the election, where Mason won the seat by a 12-vote margin, enough not to have the vote challenged.

Note from the author

This is the fifty-ninth episode of this short story series, and the nineteenth of what will be Volume Three. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is set early in the calendar year 1883. The 20-Episode Series OSx, “Life in Oak Springs and more” fills in the gap of time between Episodes 40 and 41 in this series. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.

The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). 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.”

Video Book Trailer

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The title says it all...brought changes and growth. This is like a microcosm of the entire United States in 1885. Very nicely done, Bill.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. I did come together nicely, this time! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 18 months ago from Central Florida

      I'm thrilled that Kent and Janice have finally tied the knot. Can't wait to see their family grow!

      Lots of progress in 1885. Mud slinging, too. I'm curious to see what Mason's contributions are to the welfare of Oak Springs.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      All elections aren't as we'd like them to be!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

      Just wished that the economic forecast of Mayor Joshua Cox' economic could be true of America now. Thanks for the historical line up.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 18 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always interesting.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank for your visit, Dora. Very different times, for sure. Always nice to hear from you! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for the visit and comment, Larry! Have a Happy New Year! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 17 months ago from Hawaii

      Great installment! Wish I had time earlier to read this!

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 17 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you... they are all still there, just work off my profile page... ;-)

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