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Weston Wagons West - Episode L24 - Levi Weston in Oak Springs in 1877

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.

A beautiful day in the valley in the Ozarks

Extensive farmland in the valley
Extensive farmland in the valley

Trey would build farm wagons at first

A farm wagon
A farm wagon

The new year provided answers Levi sought

As the new year got underway, Levi confirmed that the land to his immediate west was still available and would make a good location for both the harness shop and the wagon building businesses. Everyone he talked to felt that a good harness shop would be successful. In earlier days, most men had the skills necessary to repair their own harness. These days, he heard many of the men say they would welcome a shop where repairs could be made, and new harness would be available for purchase, on site.

Levi had built some farm wagons himself, but he had turned down some requests because he preferred to work on carriages and other custom projects. He was confident the wagon business would work on a larger scale. The need for a few larger wagons came up from time to time, as well. He was anxious to be able to fill these needs, but didn’t want to use his own time to do it. Trey’s plan would be successful, he was sure.

As he gathered his information, he shared it by mail with Hiram and Trey. They discussed it further in person when he was able to make a visit. As spring approached, Hiram and Trey visited Oak Springs to begin final preparations. Hiram purchased the lot west of Levi’s lot and arranged to have the harness shop framed and ready for him to finish early in May. He planned to build a house on the south portion of the lot, but that would come later. They planned to build the first phase of wagon building business on the west side of Levi’s lot, close to his current shop and equipment. Later expansion would be toward and onto Hiram’s lot, as needed. Hiram and Trey would live with Levi until their house was built.

Hiram opened the Harness Shop

Collars in Harness Shop
Collars in Harness Shop

The Harness Shop opened during the second week of July

Hiram Parks never bothered with a Grand Opening for his harness shop. As he was finishing out the building during late May and June, more repair business arrived than he was really looking for. However, he wanted to build a customer, so in the evenings he repaired harnesses while he continued to prepare the shop during the days. He had ordered a batch of new inventory of new collars and other new harness items for early in July, so when that arrived, he simply started selling as people stopped by. He kept as busy as he cared to be from the day he arrived. He gave people reasonable dates when he expected repairs to be done, and he met those dates. Opening the harness shop seemed a good choice from the first day a customer arrived.

Meanwhile, Trey Parks had set about building out a substantial wagon manufacturing facility immediately adjacent to Levi’s shop where he built his carriages. Levi enjoyed assisting Trey, as he could, as he watched the industrious young man set about his creating the dream he had been working on for quite some time. Levi noticed a number of ways in which Trey was building his facility with improvements as compared to the facility in the Jefferson City. This one would be more efficient and likely more effective in meeting the specific plans Trey had in mind for the future.

By the first of August, Trey had received two orders for new farm wagons, and he had begun to use their construction as a test of the new facility before construction was completed. During this time, Trey wanted to build these wagons, himself, with some assistance from Levi, so that everything was right to be able to use workers to do the quality construction in the near future. His hope was to be able to hire two or three young men from the community to work at building wagons so that he could be available to do sales and manage the business.

They did both the wood and the metal work

A farm wagon
A farm wagon | Source

Parks Wagon Works officially opened for business in October 1877

Unlike his father, Trey Parks did hold an Open House at the Parks Wagon Works in late October 1877 to invite community members, all prospective customers, to visit the facility to see how the wagons would be made. By this time several wagons had been processed through the facility, from start to finish. Trey was able to share with his neighbors the newest technology being used in the wagon manufacturing. He was careful to point out in the process the important roles that had been played by father, Hiram and his cousin, Levi, in getting the business going so soon and so well.

During November, Hiram Parks was able to complete the construction of his modest home, near his shop, as a residence for he and his son, Trey. He new that Trey would soon want a place of his own, but they were each happy to be in their own place as the end of the year approached. Levi enjoyed hosting his cousins, but readily admitted it was also nice when they moved into their own place, as well. It had been a busy year for all three of the cousins. Two new businesses and one new residence had been added to the Oak Springs community during the year, just from this one family. They looked forward to 1878 with positive anticipation and expectations for good growth in each of the new businesses. They also realized that real life never works entirely as mortal man plans it.

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 (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 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.”

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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