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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L25 - Levi Weston in Oak Springs as 1878 began

Updated on June 23, 2016

Jacob started a freight line

An early freight wagon
An early freight wagon

Let’s take time to revisit some of this Weston family a bit further

Jacob and Dinah (Parks) Weston were married in 1820 in Pique, Ohio. Their first son, Levi, was born in March of 1823 just a few months before they migrated, along with her brother, Hiram Parks, and his family, and others, to St. Louis, Missouri. Jacob worked with Parks Wagon Works and their affiliated companies, but also maintained his own interests. A sister, Ruth, joined Levi in 1827. Also, about this time, Jacob had started his freight line, with short runs to the west from the St. Louis area. Before long, his freight line was running further west of St. Louis, toward Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, in the central part of the state. Freight runs to Jefferson City began in 1832, the same year that their second son, Ezra, was born. The Parks family also grew and prospered in southwestern St. Louis. In fact, the city grew around them as their lives and businesses flourished.

In 1838, Jacob moved his family to a ranch south of Jefferson City, from which he continued to operate his Weston Freight lines as well as raise horses and continue his families’ tradition of operating farrier and blacksmithing businesses along with his son, Levi. Each of the businesses flourished. Early in 1844, Dinah and Jacob added a third son, Hiram. As the years passed, Levi enjoyed being a mentor and teacher of his younger brothers in the trades of their family. The entire family continued to observe the Jewish faith in which they were raised in accord with the agreement Dinah and Jacob made at the time of their marriage. Along with the Parks family, they observed their religious commitments within their families, but served all faiths and interests in their business dealings.

The Weston's raised horses

A Morgan horse
A Morgan horse

Levi had come of age

Levi was 21 years of age in 1844, and enjoyed meeting new people as he went about his work with their horses as a farrier and as a woodworker. One of their clients was Eli Truesdale, an older gentleman, who worked part-time at the nearby lumber mill where they obtained their wood. Eli enjoyed talking about his son, Hugh, who had been among the first settlers in a virgin valley in the Ozarks Mountains perhaps a hundred miles or so to the south in 1833. That community was now growing and Levi was fascinated by the stories. Levi first met Jake Patton of that southern Ozarks community in 1847. He was a State Representative for the area. Before long, Levi built Jake Patton a custom carriage. A short time later, he was getting requests from others of Patton’s acquaintances for Levi to build carriages for them.

We know that Levi moved to Oak Springs, as the town in that Ozarks Mountain valley was now called, in the summer of 1857. In 1856, his brother Ezra had married, and they were expecting their first child. Levi’s youngest brother, Hiram, was also about to marry. Hiram was working in their father’s freight line business and Ezra was fully capable of running the rest of the families’ business interests. Jacob was now full time at Weston Freight Lines. Ezra’s son, Alfred, was born a week before Hiram’s wedding, about a month before Levi left for Oak Springs. Within 5 years, of course, the Civil War enveloped everyone and Levi was back in Jefferson City for the duration and a bit more. Alfred and his wife had a second son, Otis, born in March of 1862. By late in 1865, residents Oak Springs, many of whom had been living in the Jefferson City vicinity, began to return to Oak Springs (L15) to begin rebuilding the community. Levi did not return until later, of course, in 1869 (L18).

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Cover of the Levi Weston 20 Episode E-Book
Cover of the Levi Weston 20 Episode E-Book

Spring of 1878 brought both joy and sadness to Levi and his family

Levi lost his mother early in April of 1878, following an illness that had persisted all winter long. He did manage to be with her, at the end, along with her extended family (OS5). The celebration of her life, in Jefferson City, reached beyond family to many friends and neighbors around the area. Dinah and Jacob were active and well known for both their businesses and their community support work.

As a result of discussions while Levi was in Jefferson City with his family, his two nephews, Alfred, nearly 21, and Otis, 16, made the return trip to Oak Springs with Levi (OS5). The plan was for them to stay for a few months, to get a change of scene and an opportunity to evaluate for themselves what their respective futures might hold. Their father, Ezra, hoped that the change would be good for each of his sons. Levi and Ezra had considered the move, presented the idea to the young men, and each decided this would be a good time to make this move. Their mother hated to see them go, of course, but she agreed it was very likely in the best interest of each of her sons.

On the trip to Oak Springs, each rider trailed one of their horses as well as riding one. Alfred and Otis were each trained as farriers and as blacksmiths, so they took some of their personal tools as well as clothes and other supplies with them. Levi enjoyed riding with his nephews on this April trip, and looked forward to having them with him in the coming months. The weather held, and all three men had an enjoyable trip, anticipating new opportunities and challenges in the months ahead. Alfred and Otis would be working some with their uncle, Hiram Parks, and cousin, Trey Parks, in their new businesses as well as with Levi. Levi wondered how this would work out, as they approached Oak Springs.

Note by the author

This episode continues the Jacob and Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. The Levi and Jacob families were included, from time to time, in the ‘Life in Oak Springs’ and ‘The Kings of Oak Springs’ stories elsewhere here on HubPages. Those stories occurred during the 1876-1886 time frame. This present series is reliving that period but from the viewpoint of this Weston family, through this second set of 20 episodes.

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. The first 20 episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

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

These first 20 episodes of the Levi Weston story have been compiled into an ebook: “Weston Wagons West: Levi Weston, L1-20 (1823-1874).” Thank you for your support.

“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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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      I'm fairly confident I would have been a school teacher... I definitely lack that adventurous gene... ;-) Thanks for your visit and comment, Bill!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      If I lived back then I would have been a blacksmith...that or a gunslinger....not sure which one. LOL Enjoyable as always, Bill. I'm sorry I'm late but no way would I miss it completely.