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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L3 - Jacob Weston's family matured with his business in Jefferson City, Missouri

Updated on December 13, 2014
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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 were important in the lifes of Weston family members

A saddle horse ready to ride
A saddle horse ready to ride | Source

Jacob Weston's children progressed in their maturity as the Freight Line business flourished

In March of 1839, Levi Weston reached his 16th birthday and he received his third and fourth Morgan horse mares, in accordance with the Weston family tradition. This also marked the end of his formal apprenticeship in farrier and blacksmithing skills with his father, but Levi had already become the primary service provider in that portion of his father's business interests by that time. As Levi took on those responsibilities, more and more, over the next few years, Jacob spent more and more time in the development of his Weston Freight Lines business.

From the new Jefferson City headquarters, Jacob expanded the business with local freight activities in and around the growing capital city of Missouri as well as, gradually, extending freight services to the west and to the south. He bid on and received his share of state contracts as well as some Federal postal service routes. Meanwhile, Levi used his developing wagon building skills to add more wagons to the expanding freight line service, providing different models for different routes and purposes.

By 1844, in March, when his younger brother, Ezra, arrived at age 12, Levi took on the primary training in farrier skills for his brother under the overall supervision of their father, Jacob. Levi was now 21, of course, and his sister, Ruth, was 17, and their youngest brother, Hiram, had reached age 7. Levi enjoyed teaching, and also appreciated the opportunity to work closely with his brother. Because he was very fond of his own growing Morgan horse herd, as well, he also worked closely with Ezra in choosing the horses he would use to start his own herd.

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Levi built a variety of carriage designs

A horse cart similar to those constructed by Levi Weston
A horse cart similar to those constructed by Levi Weston | Source

A customer friend, Eli Truesdale, first mentioned the Oak Creek valley, in passing

Some years later, Levi recalled that it was about this time, during 1844, that he first heard mention of a settlement to the south that was being referred to as the Oak Creek valley. Eli Truesdale was both a farrier client and a woodworking client of Levi beginning about this time. He was an older gentleman, perhaps ten years older than Levi's father, Jacob. Eli worked part-time at the mill where Levi purchased his woodworking products. Eli had been one of Jacob's farrier clients, and Levi had done some work for him, but had never really struck up a conversation about Eli's family.

One day, at the lumber mill, they got to talking about Eli's past work at the lumber camps in the Big Piney region, in the hills south and west of Jefferson City. During that conversation, he mentioned how his son, Hugh, 21 years old at the time, had left the camps for a virgin valley, to the south and east, to seek his fortune as a farmer. Eli said that he had been hurt and a bit disillusioned at that time that his son would do that. It had even been one reason that he and his wife left that region and resettled near Jefferson City.

However, he went on to tell, it had been a great decision by and for his son, Hugh. He had married, had children, and prospered, it seemed. Eli spoke glowingly of the times his son's family enjoyed in their new life. He also mentioned that Hugh had been up to visit a couple of time, in recent years. Once, he even brought his wife, Victoria, and the grandchildren.

A short time later, Levi had been contracted by Eli Truesdale to build Eli a two-seat carriage for which Levi had recently been earning a reputation in the community as an excellent craftsman. Eli was very pleased with the carriage Levi built for him.

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Horseshoes were a common part of the Weston lives

Rusty Horseshoe amongst straw on an old stable floor
Rusty Horseshoe amongst straw on an old stable floor | Source

The Jacob Weston family grew with the times

In late March of 1845, the family celebrated the "coming of age" Bar Mitzvah for young Ezra as he reached his 13th birthday. The following March, 1846, Ezra reached 14, received his third and fourth Morgan horses, and decided he wanted to pursue the full blacksmithing apprenticeship. He was not particularly interested in his father's Freight Line business, but he really did enjoy working with the horses and creating metal objects.

Levi's sister, Ruth, in June of 1846, married her long-time beau, in June. He was the son of a state legislator from St. Louis, who was also a member of their original Jewish community when they settled in St. Louis in the 1820s. The bride and groom decided to return to St. Louis to make their home where he worked in his father's trading business. Younger brother, Hiram, reached the age of 9, and not unlike Levi, liked working with his hands. Levi encouraged him by teaching him woodworking skills on small objects, much as his mentor had done for Levi. Hiram's interest pleased Levi, and they enjoyed a growing closeness thru these projects.

Early in 1847, about the time Levi was turning 24 years old, Levi first met Jake Patton. They were introduced by Eli Truesdale. Jake Patton had been newly elected as State Legislator from a southern Missouri district that included that Oak Creek valley where Hugh Truesdale had settled. He was also Hugh's father-in-law; Victoria's father. Jake had heard about, and now seen, the two-seat carriage that Levi had built for Eli, and was anxious to have one constructed for his use while in Jefferson City where he was attending the legislative sessions. He wanted to discuss some additional enhancements with Levi that he hoped Levi would approve and include in building a carriage for him.

Levi was pleased to be able to incorporate Jake's suggestions. He built the carriage to the new specifications, which pleased Jake a great deal. Levi was also careful to make Eli well aware of his appreciation for the referral.

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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 were first created as a part of The Homeplace Saga stories collectively identified as The Founding - during their later lives in Missouri. This current Lx series fills in the early years of their lives.

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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