Friday, March 15, 2013
The Founding of the Homeplace
Story 2, The First Plantings, Part 4
"The Founding of the Homeplace" saga will continue here on the first and third Friday of each month, going forward. See Story 1 (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) and Story 2 (Part 1, 2, and 3) earlier. This is a serial presentation of the story, beginning in 1833, when four families decided to settle the land, the valley, that would become the setting of the first two books in the The Homeplace Series: "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited" as well as the forthcoming third book in the series, "The Homeplace Forever." These three books are set in the years 1987, 1996, and 2006, respectively. The underlying premise of this trilogy is the desire of the family matriarch to retain the family farm in the southern Missouri Ozarks in whole and in the family.
[Source: Currier & Ives, "Falling Spring, c 1868"; Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov: accessed 25 Jan 2013)]
Characters in the trilogy become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the trilogy (one example). This serial presentation begins to share that ‘research’ in Story Form, and, some of the Stories represent 'writings of the family' that were ‘discovered’ in the process of that research. Each Story is an essay or report of the activities of the initial four families and their descendants that settled the Homeplace – the farm and the surrounding valley.
Story 2, First Plantings
In this episode, we share "Part 4 of 4"
Rocks collected from the plowing were taken to the nearby upper stream bed where a temporary ‘spring house’ was fashioned where the temperature would be cool for short-term storage of dairy products and garden products when they became available. Each of these projects were also used as a time when everyone could come together to join in a community effort. Meal times and these community projects provided the opportunity to discuss the next projects down the line, including the construction of log homes for each family.
The consensus was to build the Patton home first as it had abundant timber close by. The Baldridge home would be next, just off the ridge, using timber from the top of the ridge. The McDonalds would be third. It would require moving the most timber. Each cabin would be built on the same pattern with a large central area with two small bedrooms on the end opposite the fireplace. As these discussions were taking place, Hugh Truesdale formally approached the Patton’s with his desire and intention to marry their daughter, Miss Victoria - to the surprise of no one. He received approval, but only after her 16th birthday on September 1. They expected that a circuit-riding preacher would be coming through before too long and arrangements would be made to formalize the marriage at the appropriate time. With this arrangement in place, a cabin for the new Truesdale family would be built fourth.
On the “Fourth Sunday” of May the entire group was determined to continue a tradition from the community and churches of which they were a part in the Big Piney lumber camps. This one day a month was set aside as a social event with a community meal at noontime, and an afternoon of relaxed discussion and even some games for young and old. It didn’t need to be formal or fancy, but it was a celebration of the month gone by and a chance to look to the future in a positive way as well. This Sunday, the men were beginning to talk of the need to go back to the Big Piney area and get some supplies and bring a few items for each family that had been left behind. As soon as all the crops were in, they decided they could make such a trip.
The other critical decision made at this time was to send Jake Patton south to the county seat to the land office to formally file each of the four claims of land as shown on the surveys they had recently completed. This would take a few days, but it was critical that this step be taken as soon as possible.
Through these early days, after the garden plot was prepared, ten-acre plots for corn and beans were prepared for each family followed shortly be a second ten-acre plot for this first year. The McDonalds prepared a late third ten-acre plot, as well. These were each finished, planted and tended by the respective families as May became June.
[...to be continued... on April 5, 2013, with Part 1 of Story 3]
Note: Story 2, by William Leverne Smith, was originally published as a Short Story, "First Plantings" in the anthology: Echoes of the Ozarks, Volume VIII, 2012, published by the Ozarks Writers League.