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Weston Wagons West - Episode L23 - Levi Weston in Oak Springs in 1876

Updated on November 19, 2017
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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.

They checked out Levi's horses

Mare and colt in pasture
Mare and colt in pasture

Levi had a mid-morning visitor

Karl King appeared at Levi’s shop mid-morning on a Wednesday in May. It had rained the day before, and he wouldn’t be able to get into his fields again until at least that afternoon, perhaps not until the next day. Levi was happy to spend some time with Karl showing him the Morgan Horses he had on his place. He added that he still had a few of his herd up on his father’s ranch, just south of Jefferson City. As they looked over the breeding stallions that Levi had, Karl said he was definitely interested in breeding his mares, one at a time, perhaps the first in the not to distant future. They talked about the plans to do that.

During his visit, Karl also ordered some furniture from Levi. Levi showed Karl some pieces he had been working on that were not finished, and Karl surprised Levi by ordering the whole set, if Levi would have them finished by the time the King house was completed. They talked about Karl’s house plans. They agreed that the plan would work.

After Karl left, Levi got right to work on the furniture to assure himself that all would be ready to meet Karl’s schedule. He also began to plan in his head getting another set started, so he could show them to the next prospect that might show up at his shop. Levi still enjoyed working with both wood and metal in furniture and in carriages. He didn’t make a lot of either, but what he made was quality handcrafted he said to himself, with a smile of self-satisfaction.

Levi continued active in the book clubs

The book club chose a book each month
The book club chose a book each month

Levi participated in selected community activities on a regular basis

As a normal part of his business, Levi planned to spend most of the day around the sale barn on days when sales were being held. Not unlike Fourth Sunday’s, the sale day gave Levi the opportunity to interact with a particular segment of the population likely to be customers for his business. The more of them he got to know, and perhaps offer assistance to under the best conditions, the more would likely become current or future customers. And, of course, he just enjoyed talking to most of the people and being around the animals, as well. When he ran into Abner Wingfield, Karl King, or others of his regular customers while there, so much the better.

Levi also continued to participate in the book club groups he had helped start in the community many years before. This was an intellectual exercise that also allowed him to get to know many individuals in the community on a much more personal level. He got to visit their homes, and was able to host them at his house in very small groups. He always enjoyed the camaraderie and the active discussion of the books they chose. He was almost always surprised at the breadth of experience many of these folks in the valley actually had when you got them in a relaxed, homey environment of discussion. Those experiences and the beliefs they had almost always came out. Levi enjoyed that very much.

Levi continued to do work for Karl King during the year. He built Karl a custom two-seat carriage about the same time as Karl’s mare Molly spend some time with Levi’s stallion for breeding purposes. The breeding went well and the Kings seem very proud of their new carriage. It certainly beat the farm wagon they were using early, Karl had mentioned. Levi noticed that whenever Karl King visited the shop, he was careful to ask about different people in town, as a way to get to know them better. Levi liked that. Karl was very careful not to press for too much information, so Levi felt comfortable in sharing what he could of what he had learned of other town’s folk.

He kept some horses at this famiy's ranch

Horses on pasture
Horses on pasture

Levi kept in touch with his family in Jefferson City

Levi visited his parents at their home in Jefferson City about three times each year, sometimes more often, if he could. These were always good excuses for gatherings of extended family members. During the current year’s visits, Levi found that his Parks first cousin, Hiram, and his son, Trey, were especially interested in the business climate and community in Oak Springs. Hiram, a nephew of Levi’s mother, Dinah, had recently lost his wife and had sold his harness business. Levi began to realize that Hiram was seriously thinking of moving to Oak Springs to open a new harness shop. Trey, his son, was a wagon building. He was apparently thinking of joining his father, if conditions were right.

During his visit late in November, Levi entered into serious negotiations and discussions with these two extended family members to encourage them to make the move to Oak Springs. By the time he left, Levi had a list of specific actions and questions to handle when he returned. The answers he found as he worked through his list would determine whether such a move by Hiram and Trey would be feasible and desirable for them. Levi returned to Oak Springs feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement. He didn’t want his relatives to take this large step unless both he and they felt it would be totally successful. Yet, he was also very anxious to be a part of what they were planning and have ‘family’ living near him in Oak Springs. The return trip went by quickly and he wasted no time in beginning to work through his list of activities immediately upon his return. Which way would it go? Would the community be receptive to these two new businesses? Would they decide to take the chance?

Note by the author

This episode continues the Jacob and Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. The Levi and Jacob families 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. In this present series, that period will be the focus of the first several episodes, but will then continue beyond that period.

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, 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 imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For me, it is hard to imagine the time required to do what they did. But, of course, use of time was such a totally different thing, then. They did not have the 'distractions' that we do. It would be fun to try it, for a short time, I think. I've often considered being a re-enactor.. never did... so that is probably the answer. ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Craftsmen like Levi are few and far between in today's world. They sure knew how to do it right, didn't they? Thanks for another glimpse into a "simpler" time.

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