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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L7 - Levi Weston made final arrangements for his move south to new opportunities

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.

Levi selected the horses to take to Oak Springs

Mares and foal by the creek
Mares and foal by the creek | Source

May and June of 1857 were a blur of activity for Levi Weston

Levi kept to a tight schedule finishing up work already promised for clients and making preparations for his move to Oak Springs. He shipped a number of larger items that he wanted in Oak Springs as soon as he finished the work he needed to do with them in Jefferson City. He used the Weston Freight Line to ship to Rolla. There the McDonald Freight Line picked them up and carried them to Oak Springs, where they would be stored at the Freight Station until his arrival there to retrieve them.

In mid-May, as promised, Jake Patton held a reception for the graduation of Caroline McDonald from the Davis Academy for Girls. Levi was pleased to spend some time in conversation with Beth Davis, who was in attendance. They talked about his interest in starting, or participating in, a Book Club in Oak Springs after he got settled. She had many useful suggestions for getting an active Book Club started off right. It having been a few weeks since he was in Oak Springs, it was good to talk to some of his new neighbors, again, who attended the reception. He did have a few more questions, now that he had had some time to think about his new situation. Hugh Truesdale and Harry McDonald were especially helpful.

Levi's brother, Ezra, who married a year prior in June, along with his bride, were expecting a child in the middle of June. There was much anticipation for that event. Also in June, youngest brother, Hiram, was getting married. That was an event the whole family was involved with, at one level or another. Sister Ruth had already been over from St. Louis to help with planning once, and was planning to stay for two weeks or more when she returned for the ceremony.

The first novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series

A horse-drawn freight wagon at work

Horse-drawn wagon loaded with 175 sacks of wheat beside freight car
Horse-drawn wagon loaded with 175 sacks of wheat beside freight car | Source

The business environment was constantly changing as Levi reviewed his situation

Levi took several opportunities to specifically have some long discussions with his father, Jacob, during his move preparations activities. He wanted to get Jacob's latest understandings about the effect of the coming railroads and their impact on the freight line business. He also wanted to compare them with his discussions with Harry McDonald. Jacob was more than ready to share his observations and opinions with his oldest son. They did include Hiram in a couple of their discussions.

Jacob, always the optimist, saw new opportunities in the coming of the railroad. Whereas the railroad would supplant some of their long-haul freight runs, the opportunity for expansion in smaller runs to neighboring communities was much increased, Jacob believed. He saw much more bulk coming across the state on the railroad, but this simply meant there were more goods that needed to be hauled to their final destinations. The railroad couldn't, and didn't, do that. Weston Freight Lines had been building those short run routes for several years. This just provided more growth potential. Harry McDonald had agreed. In fact, Jacob said, he and Harry had ongoing discussions about further cooperation in assuring that their mutual customers were well-served.

When Levi asked Jacob about the impact of the western border conflicts with Kansas, Jacob simply said he hoped they wouldn't get any worse, and that they would not spread east into the middle of the state. They had halted any westward expansion he had contemplated, but, he added, there was plenty of room for growth yet in the central and eastern parts of the state. He added that the current discussions between the Butterfield group and the U. S. Postal Service might also offer some additional subsidiary contract carrier opportunities, as well.

This was the era of the stage coach

The stage coach
The stage coach | Source

June was indeed a month of transition for the Weston family in Jefferson City

Ezra and his wife had a son, Alfred, born healthy and kicking a week before the wedding of Hiram and his bride, in June. Two such important events in the life of a family were the cause of both high levels of anxiety, many celebration opportunities, and a collective sigh of relief when they were successful accomplished. With Ruth and her family in town for wedding, and the birth, it was a time of great pride for the family. Jacob even managed to have a photographer on hand to capture the family on this joyous occasion.

As the month of June closed, Levi could begin to see the end of his move preparations and began looking toward a date in the second half of July when he would be ready to take his leave from the family home in Jefferson City for his new home in Oak Springs. With the baby and its mother getting along fine, Ezra agreed that he wanted to make the trip south with Levi. This would give them some private time together, as well as let Ezra see Levi's new community and report back to the family. With this knowledge, Levi planned to take six of his Morgan horse mares and two pack mules. The pack mules would mostly carry the small equipment he had not already shipped as well as necessary early arrival supplies.

The day set for departure was one of both sadness and of joy, of course. It was sad to leave his family, but they were happy for him and this new opportunity just as he was. They separated out the horses to take and packed the mules. The other horses would remain with the Westons in Jefferson City, for now. Levi would be coming back, from time to time, and could take some back each time, if it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Levi and Ezra planned to take their time, on this important trip, as Levi now knew the road well and where the good stopping places were. With that in mind, early one morning, they set off on the trail south toward Oak Springs.

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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