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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L37 - Levi Saddened at Passing of Victor Campbell

Updated on May 11, 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.

Victor Campbell was first to settle the west valley

This looks much like the west valley with rolling hills and good farmland
This looks much like the west valley with rolling hills and good farmland

January took another elderly valley resident

The first local pioneer to settle in the west valley, Victor Campbell, passed away quietly in his home in Oak Springs, on January 17, 1883, following a brief illness. He was the oldest surviving member of the community along with his wife, Camilla. She followed him, a week later on Friday, the 26th, as so often happens. The Campbell and the Rhodes families of the west valley had intermarried several times over the generations. These were two large funerals. Mr. Campbell was an early stockman raising quality cattle and especially fine mules, for which he had been know far and wide. He was probably best remembered, however, for managing to maintain the bank assets during the war years when everyone had to evacuate the valley for a number of years. He was instrumental in facilitating, along with others, the rebuilding of Oak Springs.

Victor Campbell and his contributions to the community were recognized at the Third Annual, Celebrate Oak Springs, banquet of the Chamber of Commerce on the 4th Saturday of January, the 27th. Many spoke about the effect that the Panic of 1882 might have on the coming business year in Oak Springs. The following month, February 25th, 1883, Willam McDonald and Charlotte Crane were married, as they anticipated. They made their home at the refurbished former ‘Gower Place’ farmstead in the east valley.

In June, Alfred and Rowena Weston celebrated their first anniversary quietly with family. Business at the Sales Office had been slow all spring, and no one was in much of a mood for heavy celebrations. Similarly, Trey, Rebecca, and the rest of the family noted Inez’s first birthday with appropriate gatherings with cake and punch, but not much more than that.

Memorial Day and the 4th of July were always celebrated in Oak Springs

Oak Springs decorated for patriotic holidays
Oak Springs decorated for patriotic holidays

Summer events in Oak Springs continued established traditions

The Patton Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) held parades and traditional patriotic recognitions on both Memorial Day and the 4th of July in 1883. The farm crops were all mostly in by Memorial Day so many folks were happy for the break. The Fifth Annual Oak Creek Valley Fair was held the first Saturday in August following the pattern set in prior years with only minor adjustments and improvements.

Like Jane McDonald the year before, Caroline Truesdale had announced in the spring that she would not seek re-election to the School Board. Edward King, a second-generation farmer in the west valley was elected to a three-year term as her replacement. Leading businessmen Joshua Cox and Jacobi Inman were easily re-elected to new three-year terms on the Town Council. The electorate was obviously feeling this was no time to ‘upset the applecart’ hoping and assuming the economic times would be getting better in the community and the nation.

The 1883 fall harvest went fairly well for most farmers in the community. When the farmers did well, the town did well. Prices were still somewhat depressed, but good yields made up for at least part of that. No farmland changed hands looking to 1884. For this small, tight-knit community, that was a very good sign. Most young folks planned to stay and raise their families in the community. Those individuals who were planning to leave were generally doing so because they saw better prospects for themselves in the wider world. This good mix made for a continued vibrant community.

The cake was the highlight of the wedding reception

The wedding cake
The wedding cake

1884 Did Bring the Beginnings of Positive Changes Across the Valley

Vic Campbell had completed his Bank Administration program at Washington University in St. Louis in mid-December 1883 and returned to Oak Springs as planned. He assumed the simple job title of Vice President of the Oak Springs Savings Bank on the assumption it was his job to learn everything about the bank and to bring along any improvements his education suggested would be wise to consider. He and his father, Ralph, the current President, would continue the conservative but forward looking policies of the past, but be action oriented and pro-active in new practices as they seemed right for the community.

Levi learned from both Ralph and from Jacobi Inman at Inman Real Estate and Insurance that Kate King had been working in the bank and in the Real Estate office for the eighteen months that Vic had been in college. She had been taking on increased responsibilities as well. Notably, she largely shifted her work to relieving administrative tasks of the Oak Creek Valley Land Trust that Ralph had been spending too much time on, he felt, as important as it was. The Trust had been created by Jake Patton, Gideon Inman and Victor Campbell in the 1850s to control land development in what would become the Oak Creek Township of Shannon County, Missouri. It also played a critical quasi-governmental as well as developmental role as the community was being rebuilt after the war. New state and federal regulations required more and more paperwork. With the return of Vic to the bank, Kate shifted her work location full-time to the Real Estate office and was named Secretary of the Oak Creek Valley Land Trust. Current trustees were now Jacobi Inman, Lewis Truesdale and Ralph Campbell.

Vic Campbell and Kate King were married at the Methodist Church on Sunday, June 22, 1884. It was a very large and well attended wedding with a large tasteful reception following. They and their families, with plenty of time to make the decision, had determined that Vic and Kate should make their home in the former residence of Victor and Camilla Campbell, at South Second Street and Central Avenue. The home had set empty for a year before they began making the necessary repairs and upgrades for the young couple to make it their home.

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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