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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L34 - Levi Kept Involved in Oak Springs in Summer 1881

Updated on April 20, 2018
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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.

Levi served as a judge of the horse competition at the fair

Preparing for the horse competition
Preparing for the horse competition

August brought the annual fair and much more to Oak Springs

For the Third Annual Oak Creek Valley Fair, held on Saturday, August 6, 1881, Levi had agreed to be a judge in the horse competition. As expected, more people than ever chose to bring their animals to the fairground in southwestern Oak Springs and camp out on the grounds. This way they would be ready early Saturday morning for the judging of the animals to take place. To accommodate and entertain those there on Friday evening, the committees had planned for music and other entertainment to be available for them, as well as some organization for the available campgrounds. With good weather, the number of people camp exceeded expectations, but satisfactory contingency plans worked out well. The events of Saturday, and into the evening topped off with fireworks, went extremely well, and the fair appeared to be a big success.

As was typical, the following Tuesday, August 9, was Election Day for the Town Council and School Board. Running unopposed for the two School Board seats were Russell Nixon and Karl King. Long time Town Councilmen Owen Olson and Victor Campbell, each having served for sixteen years, had announced their retirement from the Council. Instead of the anticipated hotly contested election, only two local businessmen stepped forward to run. Both Ivan Toll and R.R. Callahan were elected to three-year terms on the Town Council.

On Saturday, August 20, Powell Furniture Store held their Grand Opening (or reopening for those who cared to comment on it). Fred Powell, his wife, Fannie, daughter, Melissa, and son, David, each played an active role in the day of celebration. Levi talked to Fred late in the day. Fred indicated that he was most satisfied with the number of visitors passing through the door and sales generated. He was most pleased, however, when he heard more than one person comment that they now could get everything they needed in town among the now existing businesses. Levi was pleased to share that welcome information with his Chamber of Commerce committee members. Also late in the day, Gilbert Gower shared that he had received word that Presbyterian minister, Reverend Walter Ware, had been assigned to Oak Springs from Kansas City. He would arrive in mid-September to work with them to organize a local congregation.

The Westons discussed their breeding plans

A Morgan Mare and her Foal
A Morgan Mare and her Foal

August and September were breeding time for the horses

Levi, Alfred and Otis had continued to slowly grow their Morgan Horse herds since the young men had moved to Oak Springs. Levi had now devoted the north half of his farmland, just to the east of his residence and shop, to pasture to accommodate the horses. His barn, located just to the east of his house, had been renovated to meet the needs of the growing herds. Their plan was for each of them to breed one of the their mares each year so as to have three new foals in the spring. Then, they could each decide whether they wanted to raise or sell each one the following year. They each had the option at any time, of course, to sell or lease out any of their existing horses. They were at or nearing capacity now, so doing some planning ahead was always good policy.

Levi, even though of the Jewish faith personally, was among those attending the first Presbyterian church service held at the Community Building on Sunday, September 25. All community members had been invited. Alfred said that the Cornelius family had been involved with the Presbyterian Church before arriving in Oak Springs. So Ralph, Inez, Rowena, Trey and Rebecca, and Alfred were also in attendance. They all agreed that Reverend Walter Ward was a fine young minister. He had taken a room at the Campbell Boarding House.

At a Chamber of Commerce meeting, Levi learned from Simeon Bishop, Store Manager of the Baldridge Lumber and Grain store that changes were coming to that business as of October 1st. With the untimely death of David Baldridge, the current owners of the store were the Estate of David Baldridge and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald and her husband, Harry. Sarah and Harry were now permanent residents of Jefferson City. They had entered into a long-term management contract with Simeon Bishop that included options, to be exercised over ten years, to purchase a majority interest in the business. The only outward change would be in the name which was to become Oak Creek Farm and Home Supply.

They decided to restart their Book Club discussions

Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)
Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)

The year 1881 came to a close with the normal hustle bustle of the holidays

Not without some confusion to a few customers, Powell Furniture held a First Anniversary event on November 15 to stay in step with local business tradition. They had actually first opened on that day the prior year. Fred told Levi it was also a good excuse for some additional promotion and publicity and it seemed to work. Noting the third anniversary of Dr. Wood and Dr. Potts opening the Oak Springs Medical Office, the Chamber of Commerce and several businesses sponsored a special notice in The Oak Springs Enterprise. Another special notice in the December 7 issue of the weekly paper offered long-term discounted contract ice delivery in 1882 for those with Ice Boxes and on advance orders for Ice Boxes for delivery in March or April of 1882.

A cooperative Christmas Program was offered for the community jointly by Methodist minister Boyd and Presbyterian minister Ware on Christmas eve, Saturday, December 24, at the Methodist Church. Normal services of each congregation was held on Sunday, Christmas Day. All services were well attended.

During the fall, Levi had managed to obtain a copy of the recently published book, “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.” He had read it and after talking with Jerry and Polly Potts, and Alex McDonald, they agreed to revive their Book Club approach of earlier years. The other three would read the book through the holidays, and they would get together and discuss the book after the first of the year. They each felt it would be a worthy project entering the new year.

Note by the author

This episode continues the Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. Levi Weston family stories 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 Weston characters that appear here, 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.”

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      I grew up in a small town in the 1940s and 1950s not the 1870s and 1880s, but many things were not that different. A little research strongly supports that. What fun! Love each of your visits and comments, for sure, Dora!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      18 months ago from The Caribbean

      Oak Creek Valley is one busy place. Between the fair, the elections, store activities and holiday festivities on the calendar, there's always somewhere to go, something to do. My kind of town!

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Always appreciate your comments, Bill. You've stimulated a possible new series by your mailbag comments earlier this week! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe I missed one of your postings this week. I'm sorry about that...the Farmers Market takes an entire day,and there is no way for me to catch up on emails and comments, so I just have to move on. As always, I love this series. I'm happy you are continuing with it.

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