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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L38 - Levi Watched 1884 Become 1885

Updated on May 18, 2018
DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Both of the new babies were boys this year

Two baby boys joined the extended families.
Two baby boys joined the extended families.

Annual elections brought only one change in 1884

There was no change in the Town Council as Ivan Toll and R.R. Callahan were re-elected to three year terms, unopposed. In the School Board Election, Peter Riley, of the west valley, was elected to a three-year term after Thomas Crane chose not to stand for re-election. Karl King, also unopposed, was re-elected to a three-year term.

Levi learned that as part of the five-year purchase plan of the Oak Springs Enterprise newspaper and print shop between Russell Nixon and Jerry Potts, in a move that surprised most members of the general public, Alex McDonald was named Editor of the weekly newspaper as of September 1, 1884. When Levi talked to Russell about the move, he learned that Russell had been focused on running the business side. He was fully up to speed on the print shop and was feeling good about becoming publisher in the following year. However, they had agreed that Alex was more ready to take over as Editor, and so they made the move. They anticipated he would continue in that position even after Russell became Publisher.

Closer to home, Alfred and Rowena had a baby boy, the named him Brett, born September 4, 1884. Not long thereafter, on October 17, young Inez Parks got a baby brother, Hiram IV - Trey and Rebecca opted to call him Buddy Parks, for short.

The 1884 presidential election results were a surprise to many as Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was elected for the first time. A Democratic candidate had not won the presidency since 1856. Cleveland had served as the Governor of the State of New York. He defeated Republican James G. Blaine of Maine.

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor in 1885

The Statue of Liberty today
The Statue of Liberty today

Change continued to arrive as 1885 began

Among the news articles of national interest that Levi noted: In February the first edition the Dow Jones Industrial Average was published by Charles Dow. Included were 12 railroads and two other leading American industries. Also in February, the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital was dedicated by United States President Chester A. Arthur. On March 3, American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) was incorporated in New York City as a subsidiary of the American Bell Telephone Company. On March 4, Grover Cleveland was inaugurated as President of the United States. On June 17, a new icon arrived in New York Harbor - the Statue of Liberty. (Also, on August 25, Laura Ingalls Wilder married Almanzo Wilder in De Smet, Dakota Territory - later to become South Dakota)

Locally, on Sunday, August 30, Kent King and Janice Carver were married at the Methodist Church in Oak Springs. This union combined members of two long-standing families of the west valley. Keith King, older brother of the groom, stood up with his brother. Keith had graduated from the University of Missouri Engineering School in 1884 and now worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation in Jefferson City. Standing up with the bride was her sister-in-law, Irene (Cunningham) Carver as Matron of Honor. The extended King, Carver and Cunningham families filled the church along with their many friends and other church members.

Kent and Janice would make their home in a cottage they had built on the King farmstead across the large yard and driveway turnaround from the Karl King residence, just west of the orchard. Kent would continue to farm with his father on their extended farm land.

The Weston Transportation Company now had Short-Line Railroads

An early railroad locomotive and train.
An early railroad locomotive and train.

There were more signs that the economy was picking up

Levi was pleased to see his father and brother featured in the lead story in the Oak Springs Enterprise as they chronicled the recent changes of a company with a local office. What had been know in recent years as Weston-McDonald Freight Lines would now be known as Weston Transportation Company. The new company resulted from a merger of Weston-McDonald with two other Weston companies in Illinois and Ohio. Levi’s younger brother, Hiram Weston, 49, would be the head of the new company headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri. Local station manager, Bernie Cox, speculated that with the headquarters located in Jefferson City, expanded services to the west, as well as north and south, could be anticipated. This would only enhance the service of all existing and future customers of the service, he added.

The Weston-McDonald Freight Lines itself, of course, was initially created during the war to serve the needs of the Union war effort. Levi’s father, Jacob, had merged his Weston Freight Lines with the McDonald Freight Lines operation of Harry McDonald. Harry, of course, was of the east Oak Creek valley, an early pioneer who had moved to Jefferson City as the war closed down residence in the valley. The story had gone on to emphasize that the company was now much more that a freight line. They had passenger coaches in some areas and also owned several short line railroads. Both Jacob Weston and Harry McDonald had already retired from the freight business and lived in the Jefferson City area.

Levi had noticed as the year progressed that new business had come to town (FO14) and farmers had planted larger crops in anticipation of higher prices. Darrell Nagle was the new professional photographer that Russell Nixon had sponsored in town earlier in the year. Shawn Lay had opened a new jewelry store on Centennial Square. Joel Gray built a new Saddle Shop. Each of these men brought a wife and children with them. School Superintendent Quinton Chambers announced that for the first time the annual school survey showed ten or more youngsters in each age group 1 through 5. This boded well for the school district as they planned ahead. Albert Winfield was building new homes in the country as well as new homes in town. The future looked good, he added.

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.”

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      The Railroad could certainly make a difference. Many, many small communities would never have existed without the railroad, that is for sure, including my home town!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      A time when the railroad was king....exciting times and big business when the railroad came through a town....huge boost for the economy,and those left without a railroad struggled mightily....great chapter.

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