Friday, February 28, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1860, Progress Report, Part 2 of 2

The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1860, Progress Report
Part 2 of 2

"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 1860, Progress Report

In this episode, we share "Part 2 of 2"

In the spring of 1858, Wilson and Wanda Craddock brought their family to a new location just to the west of the town center along Center Creek. Their farm was directly east of the Jefferson Lowden farm and bordered Jake Patton’s land on the east. They built their house along Center Creek in the southwest corner of their property, and used an access road they created along the south side of their property to enter the west side of Oak Springs, north of the Patton Spring location. In the spring of 1859, Silas and Madeline Hamby purchased the 160 acre section right south of the Craddock place and located their house on the north side of the creek downstream from the Craddocks and also near the road into town from the west.

In the summer of 1857 an interesting stranger arrived in the valley with six horses and two mules with packs filled, largely with tools and small implements. He had visited with people in the valley earlier in the year, but had come in quietly, made some inquiries, had some discussions and left with few others in the valley even noticing his presence. It turned out he had arranged to purchased two town lots (Lots 2 & 4, Block L) east of the Livery Stable complex for a wood working shop and the adjoining twent acres of farm land on the edge of town from Jack Patton. Owen Olson now owned the land to the east. Levi Weston was both a breeder of Morgan horses and a skilled maker of wood furniture, carriages and wagons. Levi, a single man 34 years old, came from a family noted for raising Morgan horses and building and operating wagon transportation businesses. 

His father was in this business in Jefferson City where Levi learned his craft. Levi had built a carriage for Jake Patton, while Patton was there for his legislative service, and it was during that process that Levi had learned about Oak Springs, this valley, and the opportunities that might be available for him here. He used his farm land as a pasture for his animals and a small personal farming operation. His horses were available to lease through the Livery Stable and for breeding purposes. He made household work products for sale, and larger custom furniture, cabinets, carriages and wagons as needed by his customers. He had arrived in town with a contract to build two wagons over two years for the McDonalds freight line that he completed on schedule which, along with his other fine work, built a fine reputation in the community.

A count of people in the valley during the summer of 1860 disclosed a total number of permanent residents of 116. Of these 61 ranged in age from 20 to 64. 55 were therefore under age 20, 26 in the 6 through 13 grade-school age. As previously was the experience, the children were spread across the valley such as that transportation issues precluded starting a central school. 

Early this year (1860), Jerry Potts, and his wife, Polly, moved to Oak Springs, bought the lot north of the Jones’s Boarding House, and built a home and a combination barber shop, apothecary, and print shop (Block J, Lot 3). 

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