Friday, June 7, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Story 4, Fourth of July, 1933, Part 1

The Founding of the Homeplace
Story 4, Fourth of July, 1933, Part 1

"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 123 and 4) 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 4, Fourth of July, 1933

In this episode, we share "Part 1 of 4"

Shortly after Big John had left the valley, the men decided to send Robert and David Baldridge and Henry and Harry McDonald on the first freight run back to the Big Piney lumber camps with two wagons each pulled by an ox. With the latest knowledge of their trades with Big John, each family prepared a ‘wish-list’ and a ‘to-do list’ for the men when they are in Big Piney. 

Although they were a day later returning than some had hoped, on Friday, June 21, just before noon, the little party was spotted coming off the northwest ridge and into the valley along Center Creek. Robert and David Baldridge turned off to drop off part of their load with Jake and Kate Patton while Henry and Harry McDonald kept moving directly to their home base at Cardinal Corner. No one was happier to see them, of course, than Laura McDonald. 

As they were unloading the blacksmith supplies Jake had ordered, Robert shared with Jake that he had arranged to purchase the grinding stones and some key gears and belts he needed for the mill, later in the year. Robert was pleased that he was able to make the necessary contacts to confirm the deal while they were on this trip. They would plan to bring them back on a later trip, likely in the early fall.

The trip had been a complete success with all the ‘hoped-for’ items along with most of the ‘wish-list’ items as well. There were a few substitutes, of course, but that was to be expected. Each of the wives got a couple of small furniture items from their storage that they had missed greatly and really appreciated receiving. Fresh basic staples and supplies were appreciated by everyone. Henry had been able to obtain another coop of young chickens that would allow expansion of that part of their agricultural output and be useful for future breeding, as well. These would be kept at their Cardinal Corner location with some appropriate exchanges with the Baldridge flock from time to time.

Henry McDonald also brought back four young mules that had recently been broken to pull a medium-sized four wheel wagon. With their arrival, Henry also put in an order with Jake Patton to build such a wagon for him. On their return trip, Henry and Robert took the time to identify the locations along the trail from Big Piney that would need to be widen or ‘improved’ in order for such a wagon to make the trip. Henry said he would lead the effort to get those ‘improvements’  made during the next couple of months along with the other work planned. 

An added bonus from this trip was picking up mail for the valley residents at the Big Piney post office. Hugh Truesdale had three letters from his parents who he discovered had moved to Jefferson City. Laura McDonald had a letter from an aunt and a sister back in Kentucky. Kate Patton had a letter from her mother, now living in Louisville, Kentucky. Susannah Baldridge had a letter waiting for her from a sister in Illinois. Everyone was happy to get their letters as well as being reminded to write letters themselves, to be taken out on the next freight run.

[ be continued... on June 21, 2013, with Part 2 of Story 4]

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