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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L17 - Levi Weston Continued to Monitor Oak Springs Arrivals in 1868

Updated on March 23, 2019
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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.

Horses allowed the folks to move about with ease

A horse with blaze
A horse with blaze | Source

Movement continued between Jefferson City and Oak Springs

As the state and nation slowly recovered from the Civil War, Levi Watson was able to continue to receive updates from Oak Springs as friends moved between the two locations regularly. Nellie Truesdale had gone back to Oak Springs to assist Caroline with the arrival of baby Jimmy Truesdale, her nephew, in February of 1866. By the fall, however, the plan for her was to return to Jefferson City to attend secondary school at the Davis Academy for Girls, like her sister, Jane, and sister-in-law, Caroline, had done. The Academy had struggled to continue through the war-time period, but was now back up to full-enrollment and even adding courses and programs. As 1868 began, Nellie was in her second school year at the Academy and taking courses to prepare her to go back to Oak Springs as the teacher of a new subscription school being organized there.

In Jefferson City, Nellie was living at the Patton-Truesdale Ranch with her grandmother, Kate Patton. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jones were still at the ranch full-time as caretakers, of course. Nellie's parents, Hugh and Victoria Truesdale were regular visitors. During the legislative sessions, of course, Hugh was full-time as State Legislator from the Oak Springs area. Kate Patton thoroughly enjoyed having her youngest grand-daughter with her during these teen-age years. Kate hosted a birthday party for Nellie on her 18th Birthday on April 20, 1868.

Levi learned more about the proposed school when he attended the birthday party. Lewis and Caroline (McDonald) Truesdale were the instigators of the idea of a subscription school, which still had a ways to go before becoming a reality, of course. Jake Patton had donated a plot of land, between the new cabin and the "Patton Road" - across the street from where the Livery Stable had been located. When built, the school would be called "The Patton School." One innovation they wanted to add was some kind of transportation, in order to allow children from across the valley to attend the school on a timely basis. That part had not yet been worked out, Levi was told. Lewis hoped that having the school would help to continue to recruit new resident families to the valley.

Horses available at the Livery Stable

Horse in bridle
Horse in bridle | Source

During 1868, Levi recognized it was about time to move back to Oak Springs

In the spring of 1868, Levi learned that Ralph and Sally Campbell had opened their Dry Good store as well as operating the Boarding House. The tavern across the street had also become fully operational and Ace had brought in a new family to operate it, R.R. and Matilda Callahan, and her brother, J.R. Farrell (who he learned was also a handyman for hire). Jasper and Leannah Die and their family also returned in the spring of 1868. In the west valley, Joshua and Tetisha Cox returned with their two sons, Bernie and Coleman, to operate the family farm.

In the east valley, Thomas Crane and his wife, Grace, and their two daughters, Charlotte and Cora, settled to the southeast of the McDonald home place. Crane, Levi learned, dug a well to meet their family needs. It was the first well dug in the township. Thomas soon was called upon to locate and dig wells for others, as well. Also, during 1868, six young couples responded to the invitation of Lewis Truesdale to settle in Oak Creek Township. They were men who had served under Lewis in the cavalry and had each married on their return from the service. Four of them entered into shares agreement to farm Truesdale land in the east valley. Two of the men went to work for Lewis in Oak Springs and each purchased lots on which to build their homes in town.

Later in the year, Levi learned that Jerry and Polly Potts had finally decided to return to Oak Springs in the spring of 1869, to re-establish their businesses along Central Avenue. Levi had great respect for Jerry Potts and they had become close friends. With this information in hand, Levi decided that the spring of 1869 would be his return time as well.

It snowed in Jefferson City

First snow fall of the season
First snow fall of the season | Source

Levi began to plan his return during the winter as snow fell in November and December

Levi Weston was invited to a Thanksgiving holiday gathering at the Patton-Truesdale Ranch where family from Oak Springs were in attendance. It was at this gathering that Levi learned of an offer that assured he would return to Oak Springs the following spring. Levi and Lewis were talking about the subscription school he and Caroline were planning to start, with the support of Jake Patton. As they talked, Lewis described his concept for sending some sort of transportation to the east valley and the west valley to pick up children, but hadn't yet worked out the details. As they talked, together, they came up with a possible solution.

Levi, in the course of their discussion, suggested that he could build a coach that would seat up to twelve children for short runs, that could also be used to seat up to eight adults for other uses. Lewis then suggested that if Levi would build two such "school coaches" they could send one to the east and one to the west each day. Lewis could provide the drivers and horses through the Livery Stable. They could include this form of transport in the fees for the school. During the gathering, a substantial snowstorm blanketed the Jefferson City area, not allowing anyone to leave for a couple of days.

By the time Lewis and Caroline were ready to return to Oak Springs, they had reached agreement with Levi to build the two "school coaches" in the spring and summer in time for the mid-September start time they hoped to have the school ready. With this contract in hand, Levi began specific planning for his return in the spring of 1869.

Historical note by the author

As noted in Episode L1 of this series of historical fiction family saga stories, all of the characters in this episode are fictional. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Jacob and Levi Weston characters, as well as the McDonalds, were first created as a part of The Homeplace Saga stories collectively identified as The Founding in Missouri. This current Lx series fills in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

Some of the stories of the forthcoming "American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1875)" collection of historical fiction family saga short stories are being published on "The Homeplace Saga" blog, found at the link, below, including those introducing Levi and Jacob Weston.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”


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