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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L6 - Levi Weston made a Spring 1857 visit to Oak Springs

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.

Do you have a saddle horse?

A typical saddle horse
A typical saddle horse | Source

Levi Weston rode south to Oak Springs with Jake Patton to see the town and valley

By the time Jake Patton had finished his legislative duties in the spring of 1857, he had convinced Levi Weston to go south with him to visit Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley. They each rode a favorite Morgan saddle horse and enjoyed discussing why each had made the particular choice that he had. Jake and Levi, in the evenings, at local taverns and inns where they stayed each night, also discussed the political turmoil, as well as the physical violence it had led to, to date, not too many miles to the west, in Kansas and on the border, regarding slavery and all that entailed for both states, and the nation. They traveled south and southeast, following the established roads through the village of Rolla and Salem, among others. to arrive in the valley on the fifth day of their travels. Travel by carriage, which Jake and Kate planned to do, in a few weeks, would take longer, of course.

Jake put Levi up at his Hotel south across the street from the Livery Stable, and they took meals while they were in town at Donegan's Tavern, south of the Hotel when they were not guests of one or another of the local residents they visited while in town. Having come into the valley from the north, via Salem, Levi got to follow Oak Creek into the valley and past the Mill at the falls of Oak Creek, before heading west into Oak Springs, a couple of miles further on. They did not get to the west valley on this trip.

The evening they arrived, Jake and Levi walked around the pasture land to the east of the Livery Stable and Jake suggested that Levi might want to consider some of this land for his home, shop and horses, should he eventually decide he would like to make his home in Oak Springs. Levi understood he was being given the "grand tour" and that some of the persuasion to make a positive decision would extend beyond Jake's normal subtle approach. This seemed to Levi to be one of those occasions. They had dinner at the Tavern with Gideon Inman on that first evening, and they talked a lot about the history, the present, and the future of the town.

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Horses grazing in a pasture

Horses in the pasture, like a Levi's place
Horses in the pasture, like a Levi's place | Source

Levi met with Hugh Truesdale, Harry McDonald, Owen Olson and others on his visit

During their first full day in Oak Springs, Jake took Levi by his Blacksmith and Gunsmith Shop, where Owen Olson was now the principal blacksmith, with Jake gone so much of the time. They also visited the Patton General Store, and while there, met Owen's wife, Anna. Anna assisted Victoria Truesdale in the operation of the store, it seemed. During their visits, Owen and Anna invited Jake and Levi to their home, east of the Store a couple of blocks, to join them there for dinner that evening. Inevitable, as the evening discussion progressed, it was pointed out to Levi that the land east of the livery stable, along the east edge of the town, where Jake had suggested a shop and a home might work well, were available from the town at reasonable cost. The land just to the east of that, which would be fine pasture for horses and plenty of space for a piece of farm land, was owned by Jake Patton and available to the "right" buyer. The land to the east of that was owned by Owen Olson, who would make a fine neighbor, of course.

The following day, they met with Hugh Truesdale at the Sale Barn offices, just north of the Livery Stables. They each talked about their common interests in raising and breeding horses, and "conveniently" Harry and Sarah McDonald arrived in time to join them for a mid-day meal at the Tavern. Levi noted again that the meals served at the Tavern were exceptionally good. Jake was pleased to hear Levi mention that, of course. During their conversations, Harry reminded Levi that his standing order for the first two freight wagons Levi would build in Oak Springs, if he should decide to come, still stood. Harry knew that offer was very tempting to Levi, as did Jake. Harry and Sarah invited Jake and Levi to come out to their home in the east valley for the evening meal.

The morning of the following day, Jake, Levi and Gideon spent time visiting other stores in town, riding around the perimeter of the town, and eating their noon meal with Gideon and his wife, Louisa, at their home. By the time the meal and the discussion that ensued was about wrapping up, Levi announced that he was ready to get serious about considering purchasing the land they had discussed and making the move to Oak Springs. He said it might be as early as the summer, if all the details could be worked out. With that announcement, Levi, Jake and Gideon adjourned to the bank where they met with Victor Campbell, and the bank clerk, Gideon's son, Jacobi, to begin to get serious about those details.

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The creek ran through the woods

The creek running through the woods in the Ozarks
The creek running through the woods in the Ozarks | Source

The evening with the McDonald's and getting ready for departure back to Jefferson City

Early in that afternoon they were able to agree on Levi purchasing the two lots from the city. They had also come to an agreement for Levi to purchase the 20 acre plot directly east of the lots from Jake Patton. While the paperwork was being prepared, Levi and Jake left for the east valley so they could do a little exploring along the way and meet Harry and Sarah McDonald at their home for the evening meal. It was a beautiful afternoon and evening for the ride out, and back in, in the moonlight.

As they ate their evening meal, and talked, Levi began to strongly feel as if he were already a member of the community. They also talked about Harry and Sarah's daughter, Caroline, being in her last few weeks at the Davis Academy for Girls in Jefferson City. Jake mentioned to Levi that he would be holding a reception for Caroline, much as he had for Jane Truesdale, and said he expected Levi to be there. Levi replied that he would not miss that event for anything. They thanked the McDonalds for their hospitality, and began their ride back to Oak Springs.

The following morning, all the paperwork was completed, and after taking an early mid-day meal in town, Jake and Levi mounted their horses for the ride back to Jefferson City. They generally rode in silence, except to stop and point out something they saw or had a question about. However, each evening, their conversation were even more detailed and animated, and generally on the same topics, as their discussions of the trip down to Oak Springs. Being more familiar with the roads, and having talked with Harry about them, they also talked some about the future of the freight lines as well as when the railroad would be arriving and what impact that would have on the freight line businesses and the Oak Creek valley.

Peaceful setting along the road

Horses grazing with bushes and trees, cloudy skies
Horses grazing with bushes and trees, cloudy skies | Source

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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