Friday, December 6, 2013

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1848, Progress Report, Part 1 of 4

The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1848, Progress Report
Part 1 of 4

"The Founding of the Homeplace" stories 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 Saga: "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. 

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 1848, Progress Report

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

           Fifteen years in the valley and the original families suffer their first adult death – Laura, wife of Henry McDonald, and mother of Harry and Daniel, passed away in May. She was just 47 years old and just didn’t wake up one morning. She left Henry with a nearly 10-year-old son, Daniel, to look after.  Laura was buried on a knoll just south of the Cardinal Corner on McDonald land. That acre was subsequently surveyed and officially donated by the McDonalds to the Township for an official cemetery.

Meanwhile, also in the McDonald household, Harry and Sarah McDonald had added two sons, Thomas, now 3 and Patrick, now one, to go along with daughter, Caroline, to be 5 years old in August. Henry and Harry continued their regular weekly freight runs along with their farming operations. Henry McDonald had added the 320 acres to the north, across the river that included the front of the ridge along with the eastern side of the pool on Oak Creek near the Baldridge property. In addition to the farmland along the creek, they obtained ownership and access to the timber on the ridge as well as the caves there and the resources within.  Harry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald had further added the northern half of this same section that was largely pastureland and represented an eastward extension of the Baldridge pasture. This represented Sarah’s continued involvement with the Baldridge family cattle business.

Just to the west of the McDonalds, Hugh and Victoria Truesdale had also been able to purchase the additional 160 acres to the west of their place, as planned. Their children, Jane, 11, and Lewis, 6, were becoming more involved in the farming activities and the animals used there.  Hugh continued to be involved in the mule breeding operation and developing improved agricultural techniques. He took the lead in the valley sharing information with current and new farmers arriving to grow the community as much as possible.

[ be continued... on Dec 20, 2013, with Part 2 of Summer 1848 Progress Report]

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