Friday, May 17, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Story 3, The First Valley Visitors, Part 4

The Founding of the Homeplace
Story 3, The First Valley Visitors, 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 123, and 4), Story 2 (Part 123, and 4) and Story 3 (Part 12 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 Threatened." These three books are set in the years 1987, 1996, and 1999, respectively. The underlying premise of this series 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, "Summer landscape, c1869"; Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress ( accessed 17 Mar 2013)]

Characters in this series become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the series (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 3, First Valley Visitors

In this episode, we share "Part 4 of 4"

The agreement revolved around a sharecrop arrangement on the northeast corner of Jake’s property, to the east of the shop and their cabin. Recognizing that it was getting late in the season, Jake said he would talk to the others about possibly getting some seed for a modest corn and bean crop  this first season as well as a small garden. Without making a firm commitment before talking to the others, he said he assumed they would all work together to get them a cabin built sometime during the summer. He felt certain that Robert Baldridge would see the young man as a strong positive asset as it came time to begin building the mill, but he didn’t say anything about that until he had talked to Robert. 

The Olson couple had the evening meal with the Patton family and then set up a temporary camp on the edge of the woods near the Patton cabin. During the evening and the following morning, Jake made the rounds of talking to the other families to let them know what he was thinking about the Olson couple and getting their reactions to the tentative plan. Each agreed that it was really Jake’s decision to make, but they were each generally supportive with no objections. Robert confirmed that an extra strong and willing hand would indeed be useful. Appropriate compensation procedures would not be a problem. They also were able to come up with the seed needed to plant a ten-acre plot and a small garden this late in the season. Hugh Truesdale said he would happy to teach Owen how to fell and prepare the trees needed for a cabin if Jake was willing to have them use some of this timber. He concurred that having Owen do most of the physical labor himself would be a good way to assure he was fully vested in the project. Hugh also agreed to help with getting the planting plot done, teaching Owen all the processes along the way, so he would be able to do his own in the future. Victoria had already expressed pleasure to her father at the prospect of having another young woman in the community of nearly the same age.

With those assurances, Jake confirmed the arrangements with the Olsons the next day and everyone got to work to make it happen.

After talking with his parents, Harry decided what he wanted to try to trade with Big John and visited the trader’s camp late morning the next day. As he arrived, Jake, Owen and Anna were just concluding some trading with Big John to acquire a few household items and tools that would be useful that they had not been able to carry with them, if they had ever had them at all. 

Big John was pleased to see Harry come back and with the proposals he had. They each did a little careful haggling to make the resulting trades feel good to each of them. When they concluded their trades, Big John began to pack up his goods with the intention of heading down the Oak Creek trail to the southeast early in the afternoon. In a few hours he did just that, promising to return in a couple of months.

[ be continued... on June 7, 2013, with Part 1 of Story 4]

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