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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L4 - Levi Weston charted his own course 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.

The Blacksmith at work

A blacksmith hammers metal on his anvil
A blacksmith hammers metal on his anvil | Source

Levi Weston gets more orders for his two-seat carriage than he expected

In the spring of 1847, Levi Weston began to realize the true potential of "word-of-mouth" advertising. Once Jake Patton began regularly riding in his carriage from his Jefferson City ranch home out by the Weston place into the state capital for legislative meetings each day of the week, Levi began to get inquiries about the carriage. Soon, the inquiries became orders and he found himself in the position of having to tell the potential clients that getting a carriage would be months in the future. By the start of summer, after the legislative session ended, new orders returned to a more normal pace, but Levi was into the following winter, already, with projected delivery dates on existing firm orders.

Jake Patton had brought many of the prospective customers to Levi as direct referrals. This provided many opportunities for Jake and Levi to exchange more personal information, of course. It was also Jake's natural political instincts that caused him to invite Levi to occasional gatherings at his Jefferson City home, which he held regularly, with quite a broad mix of interesting personalities. It was also in Jake's nature that each gathering had an over-riding theme, at least in his mind, though it may not have been obvious to the participants. Those attending each of the gatherings were carefully selected so as to accomplish one of Jake's goals - and he usually succeeded in reaching his goals. He was both charismatic and a visionary. His mind tended to run months, and usually years, ahead of those around him. Levi had the ability to recognize such characteristics in people, and he began to catch onto the purpose of most of Jake Patton's gatherings that he attended before too long.

One of Jake's goals was to recruit new residents for what was now know as Oak Creek Township in the far northwest corner of Shannon County, in Missouri. In the center of the valley, they were creating a town, which was where Jake Patton was based with his blacksmith and gunsmith shops as well as a growing horse and mule breeding and training operation in which he was a major partner. Levi found Jake's stories of great interest, but in his "day job" he was so busy with his own businesses that his thinking did not currently go beyond that.

The first novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction

Ezra earned two horses, he chose mares

Two horses grazing in the pasture
Two horses grazing in the pasture | Source

Levi continued to carefully mentor his younger brothers

By March of 1848, when Ezra reached his 16th birthday, and Levi his 25th, they found Ezra taking on the bulk of the farrier business of the family firm much as Levi had at the same stage of his young career. One difference was that Ezra loved every minute of it and had not developed other interests like Levi had with his woodworking and wagon and carriage building skills (and Jacob had with the freight line interests). This suited everyone involved just fine, and each continued to grow and pursue their individual interests while being overall supportive of the entire set of family business undertakings. As an eleven-year-old, Hiram, the youngest brother, continued to build his woodworking skills with Levi but indicated an active interest in a farrier apprenticeship, "the original family business," when his 12th birthday came in March of 1849.

This time, of course, Jacob let Levi play the overseer role while Ezra became the primary trainer for Hiram. Each agreed that this would be in Hiram's best interest. Hiram continued to work on certain special woodworking projects with Levi, but on a much reduced time-commitment scale, as he entered his farrier apprenticeship. Levi took the lead role, like he did with Ezra, in helping Hiram choose his horses, and learning to work effectively with them.

The whole family was involved, of course, in the planning and celebration of Hiram's "coming of age" Bar Mitzvah in late March of 1850. Having the youngest of the family reach that milestone was cause for extra attention to the celebration activities. The families' increasing social status in the capital city community, with the growth of their businesses and reputations, of course, also added prestige to each family celebration.

The Ozarks forest by a creek

The Ozarks forest near a creek
The Ozarks forest near a creek | Source

Learn more about the Oak Springs Bank, through the years

History of the Oak Springs Bank
History of the Oak Springs Bank | Source

Levi met Hugh Truesdale and learned more about the Oak Springs community

Among the meetings Levi attended at the Jake Patton home in 1849 and 1850, were one each year in which both Eli and Hugh Truesdale were in attendance along with others Jake associated in his active support of the growth of his home community. That home community had been officially organized as the town of Oak Springs in 1848. Victor Campbell, one of Jake's partners at the recently created Oak Springs Savings Bank, was in attendance at one of those meetings. At both, Levi found himself in deep discussions of Morgan horse breeding with both Hugh and Jake. They also mentioned, more than one, that although they had the Baldridge Mill and lumber operation, they did not yet have either a wagon builder or woodworker, other than the blacksmith shop.

Jake and Hugh were obviously very proud of what had been accomplished in Oak Springs and the high level of cooperation among all of the families across the valley to support each other. They often spoke of a "Fourth Sunday" community wide social and planning day that continued to be held each month. Eli even spoke up mentioning that had started in the Big Piney lumber camps, and Jake and Hugh added that they had instituted the practice in the Oak Creek valley on their arrival in 1833. And, they added, it had continued to this day, when the population exceeded 100.

At another of Jake's meetings, both Jacob Weston and Harry McDonald, from the Oak Creek valley, were invited. Jake wanted Jacob and Harry, who both operated freight lines, and knew each other causally from a couple of common stations they serviced, to get to know each other better. Levi could clearly see that Jake was looking for ways to enhance both services while specifically seeing one end result as better service to his home community. Levi enjoyed watching the interactions at work.

The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series

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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