Friday, October 4, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace Summer 1843, Progress Report, Part 1 of 4

The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1843, Progress Report
Part 1 of 4

"The Founding of the Homeplace" saga will continue here on every other Friday during August and September. 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" and subsequent series stories, set in 1987 and 1996, to date. 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. 

[See Story 1 (Parts 123, and 4), Story 2 (Part 123, and 4), Story 3 (Part 123 and 4), Story 4 (Part 123 and 4), and 1838 Progress Report (Part 123 and 4) earlier.] 

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.

Summer 1843, Progress Report

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

In 1841, the Oak Creek valley had become part of the newly formed Oak Creek Township of Shannon County, which was split off from Ripley County.  Jake Patton had attended meetings for several months leading up to the official organization as an informal representative of the residents of the valley.  Whereas townships were normally set up as six miles square, because of the topography of the area, Oak Creek Township became six miles north and south but ten miles east to west, in the extreme northwest corner of the new county. From the pool of the falls, the township extended two miles north, mostly rugged forest. The eastern boundary of the township was three miles to the east, generally following the top of ridge dividing this valley from the Current River watershed to the east.
None of the families that had settled further south along Oak Creek were included in this township that ran four miles south from the pool; they were all in the adjoining township to the south.  In addition to the original five families (Baldridge, McDonald, Owen, Patton and Truesdale) in the eastern valley, the five who had arrived by 1838 were now in the new township plus four additional families who had settled since that time.  The heads of these households were: Jesse Bartlett, Victor Campbell, Oliver Dodson, Michael Duncan, Frances Holt, George King, Jacob Pryor, Peter Simpson, and Eli Rhodes.
The organizing law called for the election of three township trustees to be responsible for roads, river crossings, cemeteries, and interacting with elected County officials on these and other issues. When the elections were held, Robert Baldridge was elected for the eastern valley, Jake Patton for the central, and Victor Campbell in the west.

Victor Campbell, along with his wife, Camilla, and their two teenage sons, Ralph and Delbert, had settled on 160 acres along the Western Branch creek below the ridgeline in 1836.  All three men were experienced with working with mules in their agricultural pursuits. They brought a total of seven mules with them along with a herd of six beef cattle.

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