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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 60 - The Last Chapter

Updated on November 18, 2017
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The farming cycle continued

A mature cornfield in the valley
A mature cornfield in the valley

Read about The Founding, from 1833-1876

"American Centennial" book cover; a collection of short stories with related materials
"American Centennial" book cover; a collection of short stories with related materials

Overview - 1876 to 1886

The King family arrived in Oak Springs in the spring of 1876 back in Episode 1… has it really been 60 episodes? … with 20 episodes of Life in Oak Springs in there, as well, not to mention 15 McDonald Tales and 13 Meet the Folks, so far? Yes, that is 108 episodes covering those ten years… and there are a few more to go, to fill in some gaps, perhaps. These are just related to this ten-year period, of course. The 20 episodes of “Weston Wagons West” featuring Levi Weston (the Lx series) precede this period and related to Oak Springs in the period prior to and immediately after the Civil War. Those overlap with the “American Centennial” book of short stories published separately.

This is the last in the King family series of stories… although, of course, they still live in Oak Springs, except for Keith, and will be included in any further stories told about Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Valley, in this space and elsewhere. They are now permanently tied to the future of Oak Springs, of course, with the marriage of Kate to Vic Campbell. Their descendants still own and operate the Oak Creek Savings Bank near the end of the 20th century, as chronicled at the Wikispaces website (see link on the blog sidebar) and “The Homeplace Saga” series blog (see below).

It has been a sincere pleasure to have readers suggest, from time to time, that this series of stories reminded them of the “Little House” stories. Many of the stories were certainly inspired by those stories, but my writing is still no way comparable to Laura’s, of course. It was fun to include in last week’s article, the fact that Laura and Almonzo got married in 1885… this same time period. It is ‘a small world,’ indeed.

If you haven't read it, it is new to you!!

The book cover of the 'original' novel in the series; available on Amazon
The book cover of the 'original' novel in the series; available on Amazon

This is a ‘family saga’ after all…

My four novels, where this all began, running from 1987 to 1997, starting with “Back to the Homeplace,” focused on the McDonald/Bevins family. This was Mildred McDonald married to Frank Bevins, and their four children, and grandchildren. In trying to understand the strong feelings Mildred McDonald Bevins had for the family farmland, as indicated in her unique video will and its aftermath, I wanted to delve into her family history. The stories in the first paragraph, above, did that, from the ‘founding’ activities in 1833, not long after Missouri statehood. This story included four initial pioneer families, with two others following very closely behind, one being the McDonald family. The stories through 1886 have followed the developments of each of these early families, their inter-relationships, and their impact on the community.

The Patton daughter married the Truesdale young man of the founding families. A McDonald boy/man married a Baldridge girl/woman. A Truesdale son married a McDonald daughter. The Campbell, who came very early, worked with Patton and Inman to encourage further settlement. These three men’s actions allowed the town of Oak Springs to rebuild and flourish following the devastation of the Civil War in the valley. A daughter of Olson, the other early arrival family, married a son of Inman. The Inman real estate business carried forward through the generations late into the 20th century alongside the bank. The Oak Springs Enterprise, founded in 1871, was purchased in 1885 by the first member of the Nixon family still operating the business in 1997 and forward.

The first Bevins family arrived in the valley in 1882, their son eventually married a Truesdale, and one of their descendants was Frank Bevins, mentioned earlier, introduced in the 1987 first novel. In recent weeks, we have chronicled the marriage of William McDonald (the grandfather of Mildred McDonald of the 1987 novel) to Charlotte Crane (classmates and best friends of Kate King and Vic Campbell). The most recent McDonald Tales episode (MT15) mentioned William starting to keep a daily journal, in 1882. A recent weekly (each Friday) January 1999 episode of the family had Mildred’s granddaughter, Jennifer, getting her hands on four of his journals written during the 1920s and 1930s. These journals are now then a direct connection across the five generations.

Choose one, and read it today, here on HubPages

Image of Weston Wagons West stories
Image of Weston Wagons West stories

What does the future hold?

As I hope is obvious from the above discussion, some over-arching relationships are in place and defined for these stories. However, the writing of the details is very organic and comes directly out of the experiences and ‘feelings’ of the characters. I do not know, ahead, how these will play out. That is part of the fun, at least for me, of creating this now seven-generation family saga work of historical fiction. I am committed to write the next 5 McDonald Tales episodes (though I don’t know yet what they are about) and will continue to write more “Meet the Folks” episodes… probably to finish the 20. They will be set in the 1882-? time-period, to share activities of others in the community, of course.

Some of these will most likely ‘tie up loose ends’ and some may set up future stories. As I’ve been prone to say lately, ‘only time will tell.’ Over the next month or more, I’m taking a break, with the holidays, but also thinking about what I want to do next, if anything. I’m committed to the weekly Friday Jan-Feb 1999 posts into 2016… don’t know how far. They seem to be going well, so they may stretch out for a while.

There is also a strong likelihood I will be writing more “Weston Wagons West” stories over on my other Hubpages account. They may, or may not, related to the Oak Springs ‘Homeplace’ stories. Again, only time will tell. I share all this here, because this is my only way of communicating with you, my readers. You only number around 100-150, but I love you!! I appreciate you sticking with me, and, with your encouragement, these stories will continue, on one platform or another.

Note from the author

This is the sixtieth episode of this short story series, and number twenty 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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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Larry!! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Another great installment.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Sha! Your loyal support and cogent comments are greatly appreciated!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I've thoroughly enjoyed this series. Your characters came to life and gave us a first-hand view of history, community, and hard work. It was fascinating to read - much better than any history book.

      I look forward to what comes next.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, vert much, Bill! Those words mean a lot to me.

      But, as you well know, characters do sometimes "run out of things to do and say" without getting stale and repetitive. I felt it was important to stop now, if not too late already, with the emphasis on these specific folks. Hopefully, they'll still be around, and continue to grow, as secondary figures in the related "The Homeplace Saga" stories... ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It has been an exceptional series, Bill, and you should be proud of it. I know, for me, it was like sitting down to a favorite history book and having it come to life before my very eyes. When I can relate to characters then the author has done their job well, and I could easily relate to these characters.

      Looking forward to your next efforts.


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