Friday, September 19, 2014

The Founding - Oak Springs Town Plats and Subsequent Purchases



The Founding of the Homeplace



Oak Springs Town Plats and Subsequent Purchases


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:



“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”

Part IV.

Oak Springs Town Plot Land Exchanges [You can reference the maps, posted last week, to identify the locations of the properties.]

Oak Springs Town Plat and subsequent transactions

The initial Town Plat consisted of 26 blocks of 2 1/2 acres each. Each block was designated with a letter. Each block consisted of 4 numbered lots.

Central Avenue split the town plat north and south; two block to the east, divided by 1st Ave. E. and two blocks to the west, divided by 1st Ave. W. The eastern and western boundaries were therefore 2nd Ave E. and 2nd Ave W.

Patton Street ran east and west just north of the General Store. This left two blocks to the south, divided by First Street, South. The southern boundary of the town plat was designated Second Street, South. To the north, separating each set of blocks, were: First Street, Second Street, etc. This made the northern boundary Fourth Street.

Jake Patton retained ownership of Blocks K, O, S, R, and Q.
Owen Olson retained ownership of Block Z

In Nov 1867, the town council purchased six block from Jake Patton directly north of the existing town plat and extending two blocks to the east. The blocks numbered from the west, were: AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, and FF.


Sale of lots:

1.              Sep 1848 - Robert Baldridge - Block N, Lots 3 & 4.
2.              Sep 1848 - Jake Patton - Block W, Lot 1, and Block T, Lot 1
3.              Sep 1848 - Owen Olson - Block Y, Lot 2 and Lot 4
4.              Sep 1848 - Victor Campbell - Block W, Lot 3 and Lot 4
5.              Sep 1848 - Hugh Truesdale - Block W, Lot 2, and Block L, Lot 1 and Lot 3
6.              Jun 1850 - Percival Jones - Block N, Lot 2
7.              Jul 1850 - Jonathan Ames - Block X, Lot 1 and Lot 3
8.              Jul 1850 - Wesley Mathison - Block X, Lot 2 and Lot 4
9.              Nov 1850 - Ames & Mathison RE - Block J, Lot 4
10.           Feb 1851 - Percival Jones - Block N, Lot 1 and Block M Lot 2
11.           Feb 1851 - Ames & Mathison RE - Block J, Lot 2
12.           May 1851 - Gideon Inman - Block J, Lot 1
13.           Jan 1851 - Oak Springs Bank - Block G, Lot 3
14.           Jun 1857 - Levi Weston - Block L, Lot 2 and Lot 4
15.           Mar 1860 - Jerry Potts - Block J, Lot 3
16.           BREAK DURING WARTIME
17.           Oct 1865 - Owen Olson (from Jake Patton) - Block S, Lot 1 and Lot 2, Block T, Lot 1, and Block Q, Lot 4
18.           Oct 1865 - Land Office (from Ames and Mathison RE) - Block J, Lot 2 and Lot 4
19.           Oct 1865 - Land Office (from Jonathan Ames) - Block X, Lot 1 and Lot 3
20.           Oct 1865 - Land Office (from Wesley Mathison) - Block X, Lot 2 and Lot 4
21.           Apr 1867 - Land Office (from Percival Jones) - Block M, Lot 2, and Block N, Lot 1 and Lot 2
22.           Oct 1867 - Ralph Campbell (from Land Office/Jones) - Block N, Lot 1 and Lot 2
23.           Nov 1867 - Block C designated by town council as a Town Square
24.           Nov 1867 - City planned to build new Town Hall on Block CC, Lot 3
25.           Nov 1867 - Oak Springs Bank - exchanged Block G, Lot 3, for Lot 2, Block B, for new stone bank
26.           Nov 1867 - Oak Creek Valley Livery and Stable - working with Jake Patton and Hugh Truesdale, exchanged their interests in Block K - where the livery had previously been located - and Lots 1 and 3 of Block L, for Block M and Lots 3 and 4 of Lot I
27.           Nov 1867 - Ace Donagan (from Jake Patton) - Block O, Lot 3
28.           Nov 1868 - J.W. Norton - Block I, Lot 1
29.           Nov 1868 - G.W. Mason - Block I, Lot 2
30.           Feb 1869 - Jerry Potts - Block J, Lot 4
31.           Jul 1869 - Sylvester Preston - Block K, Lot 3 and Lot 4
32.           Sep 1870 - Weston-McDonald Freight Line - Block BB, Lot 2
33.           Oct 1870 - Joshua Cox - Block T, Lot 2
34.           Apr 1871 - Ivan Toll - Block G, Lot 3
35.           May 1875 - Jacobi Inman - Block F, Lot 1


To be continued... next Friday.

Now on Kindle, as well. Kindleunlimited read for free.

   



May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!


Dr. Bill ;-)


Friday, September 12, 2014


The Founding of the Homeplace
Maps of Oak Springs
and Oak Creek Township


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”

These maps are from the back of the printed book, when it comes out. Felt they'd be most useful here.

Last week we posted lists of purchases with map references. Here are the maps to which the purchase references refer... for your interest, and possible use. Annette Lamb created these in Power Point, and I modified them to match my needs in The Founding stories. Very useful, very fun! ;-)

Map of Oak Springs before the war:

[Click for enlarged version]

Map of Oak Springs after the war:

[Click for enlarged version]

Map of Oak Creek Township, East Valley:

[Click for enlarged version]

Map of Oak Creek Township, West Valley:

[Click for enlarged version]

Note: This west valley map actually includes The Kings of Oak Springs farm, to the far right, even though it was purchased in 1876. It also has the Darrel Yokum place to the south of it. Totally "up-to-date," for sure! ;-)



To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!


Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Founding - List of Businesses - Land Purchases



The Founding of the Homeplace

List of Businesses and Buildings: 1865 to 1875
Land Purchases in Oak Creek Township - after the war


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”


**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed
List of Businesses and Buildings: 1865 to 1875


Beginning late in 1865, the following were the new businesses in Oak Springs:

Campbell Boarding House
Diamond Hotel
Donagan’s Tavern
J.D. Potts, Physician, Office
Oak Creek Real Estate and Land Office
Oak Creek Sale Barn
Oak Creek Valley Breeding 
Oak Creek Valley Livery and Stable
Oak Springs Enterprise
Oak Springs General Merchandise Store and U.S Post Office
Oak Springs Savings Bank
Oak Springs Town Hall
Olson Blacksmith Shop
Potts Barber, Apothecary and Print Shop
Sylvester Preston, Attorney-at-Law, Office (later, Preston-Coffee Law Office)
Weston-McDonald Freight Line Office
Weston Woodworking



**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed

Land Purchases in Oak Creek Township - after the war


  1. Mar 1866 - Riley Cooper (from David Baldridge and Sarah Baldridge McDonald) - 40 acres - NE 1/4 NE 1/4 Section 25
  2. Mar 1866 - Riley Cooper - 120 acres - NW 1/4 NE 1/4 Section 25 and S 1/2 NE 1/4 Section 25
  3. Mar 1866 - Delbert Campbell (from Victor Campbell) - 160 acres - N 1/2 Section 31 and N 1/2 Section 32
  4. Mar 1867 - Theodosius Rhodes (from Eli Rhodes) - 160 acres - NE 1/4 Section 49
  5. Mar 1867 - Franklin Gifford (from Edmond Gifford estate) - 160 acres - SW 1/4 Section 39
  6. Jul 1868 - “Land Office” - letter from Silas Hamby - 160 acres - SE 1/4 Section 34
  7. Oct 1868 - “Land Office” - letter from Grant Carroll - 160 acres - SE 1/4 Section 28
  8. Mar 1870 - Turkill Dent - transfer from Wilson Craddock - 160 acres - NE 1/4 Section 34
  9. Jan 1871 - “Land Office” - court order, from Jesse Bartlett - 160 acres - SE 1/4 Section 26
  10. Jan 1871 - “Land Office” - court order, from Oliver Dodson - 160 acres - SW 1/4 Section 26
  11. Jan 1871 - “Land Office” - court order, from Jefferson Lowden - 160 acres - NW 1/4 Section 34
  12. Jan 1871 - “Land Office” - court order, from Jacob Pryor - 160 acres - SW 1/4 Section 27
  13. Mar 1871 - Bernie and Coleman Cox (from Joshua Cox) - SW 1/4 Section 32
  14. Mar 1872 - Abner Wingfield (from Ephriam Bressie) - 160 acres - NE 1/4 Section 26
  15. Mar 1873 - Russell Nixon (from Land Office/Bartlett) - 160 acres - SE 1/4 Section 26
  16. Mar 1874 - J.P. Polk (from Land Office/Dodson) - - 160 acres - SW 1/4 Section 26

To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!


Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace, Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 6


The Founding of the Homeplace

Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 6


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”


**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed

1865-1875 Report with comparison to 1860 status - Section 6 of 6 (arbitrary sectioning)

[It is believed this narrative was a joint effort of Alex McDonald and Jerry Potts.]



Between 1870 and 1875 the activity in the Oak Creek valley and Oak Springs was primarily devoted to consolidating and maintaining the status quo with slow but steady growth. Some said the national Panic of 1873 had some effect; others felt it was the natural thing following the devastation of the war. 

When Jerry Potts had finally decided to return to Oak Springs, he brought with him a printing press capable of creating a full broadside - including a single page newspaper. Shortly after his arrival, he and Alex McDonald, now an adult, happened to get together and found they had more in common than either would have suspected. Potts was surprised that without formal education, McDonald was well-read, very articulate and even wrote very well. He had read extensively during his time in the valley with his GranPa Henry, as well as since that time, and was broadly knowledgable in history, the classics and literature. Potts found McDonald to be very inquisitive with a mind like a sponge; he might just make an excellent reporter. By 1871 they joined forces to create a weekly newspaper, the Oak Springs Enterprise. Potts had published newspapers in other locations earlier in his career so he served as Publisher and Editor as well as mentor to Alex. Alex was reporter, salesman, distributor, and learned the layout and setup of a newspaper as well as what the publisher and editor did. Early experience to this date seems to suggest a great future for the Enterprise.

Approaching the elections of 1871 at the county level, Jake Patton announced his retirement from the Oak Creek County Commission. Gideon Inman announced his intention to run for the position, and, was successful in winning the election. Upon his election, he resigned his position on the Oak Springs Town Council. Jacobi Inman was initially appointed to replace his father on the Town Council, and subsequently elected in his own right. In other political news, Hugh Truesdale, ahead of the 1872 state elections, announced for the State Senate. His son, Lewis, then announced to run for the House seat of his father. In the General Election, both men were elected. Upon his election to the legislature, Lewis Truesdale resigned his position on the Oak Springs Town Council. Joshua Cox, recently having moved into town from his farm in the western valley, was initially appointed to replace Lewis Truesdale and he also then earned the spot on the Council in the subsequent election. 

Joshua Cox had moved to town leaving his sons to work it. He continued to help out, from time to time, during the busy seasons. Bernie was in charge, but also had taken the responsibility of the Weston-McDonald Freight Line Station on the north edge of Oak Springs (on Lot 2, Block BB) under the general direction of Daniel McDonald. Coleman Cox had gone to the University to study agriculture and planned to return in the summer of 1875. The youngest brother, Roy, was also actively involved in the farm operations in spite of his young years. 

In 1871, a man named Ivan Toll arrived in town with the idea to build a new hotel in Oak Springs. The Diamond Hotel opened on July 1, 1872, in time for the Annual Fourth of July celebration. Tolle’s wife, Hazel, and grown son, T.J., joined Ivan before the opening to become key members of the operations team for the ten-room hotel. It was located a block south of the newly created Town Square (on Lot 3 of Block G). 

In the summer of 1872, David Baldridge rebuilt the Lumber and Grain Store in Oak Springs on Lots 3 & 4 of Block N which he and his sister had inherited from their parents. The prior store had been burned to the ground, of course, prior to the war. They hired 18 year old Simeon Bishop from the west valley family to run the store. He had recently returned from attending secondary school in the Jefferson City area. While there, he had worked part-time, and then full-time the past year, for the Weston-McDonald Freight Line office there. Harry and Sarah (Baldridge) McDonald had full confidence in the young man. He lived in an apartment in the back portion of the building and became a fixture in downtown Oak Springs, where he was located at the corner of Patton Road and Central Avenue (across Central for Donegans’ Tavern and just south of the Campbell’s Dry Goods Store. 

The old Bartlett and Dodson farms north of town had set dormant since the war despite efforts by Gideon Inman and others to entice someone to buy them. Finally, in 1873, the Bartlett place was purchased by Russell Nixon and his wife, Norma. In 1874, the Dodson place was purchased by J.P. Polk and his wife, Jean. Neither of these couple had children yet when they arrived to farm their new purchases.

Jake Patton passed away from natural causes of aging at the age of 78 shortly after the first of the year of 1874 at his home near Jefferson City. His wife, Kate, died two months later. All of the Jake and Kate Patton property remaining in the town of Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Township was transferred to Hugh and Victoria Truesdale by their wills.

In Oak Springs, attorney Sylvester Preston was appointed to replace Jake Patton on the Town Council. He subsequently was elected on his own, as well.

In addition to a number of new boys and girls born to many families across the valley, several of the people made other changes in their lives. Ross and Josie Wingfield, for example, had returned with their parents, Abner and Delta to the valley, but between 1870 and 1875 each had left the valley to marry spouses they had met during their absence and did not return. In June of 1875, Jacobi Inman and Allison Olson married. In May, Jacobi had bought Lot 1, Block F, for their new residence. T. J. Toll married Shirley Sullivan of the west valley, in June, as well.

Junior Die had met a young lady named Emeline earlier, went to her home town to marry her, and they returned to make their home in the valley. Similarly, Joey Bishop married Margaret and they settled on his father’s family farm, as well.

Edward King married Lilly Johnson in 1871. Her brother, Campbell Johnson, married his sister, Lizzie King, in 1874. It appears that each couple would stay on each husband’s family farm. Rufus King also married Daisy Die in 1875, with similar plans.


Coleman Cox had gone off to college in 1871, but returned to work with his brothers, Bernie and Roy, on the family farm in June of 1875.

To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!




Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace, Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 5


The Founding of the Homeplace
Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 5


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”


**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed

1865-1875 Report with comparison to 1860 status - Section 5 of 6 (arbitrary sectioning)

[It is believed this narrative was a joint effort of Alex McDonald and Jerry Potts.]



Eight farm families were living along Center Creek west and northwest of Oak Spring in 1860: the Dies, Carrolls, Johnsons, Pryors, Sullivans, Lowdens, Craddocks, and the Hambys. It was known that Jefferson Lowden had died in combat, but contact had been lost with his wife and their young son. After no contact for a long period, it was learned that Silas Hamby was not returning, and Gideon obtained a legal document from him relinquishing any interest in his property. The Carroll family eventually provided a similar document. 

Wilson and Wanda Craddock did not end up returning, but in 1869, their then 24 year old daughter, Neva, with her husband, Turkill Dent, along with their baby son, arrived with the proper legal documents to claim the Craddock property and make it their own family farm.

Jasper and Leannah Die and their family did return, but not until 1868. Similarly, Lawrence and Lucinda Johnson had maintained contact, and finally returned in 1869, with both their daughter and son. Jacob and Patsy Pryor said time after time they were coming back, but never did. Jourdan and Martha Sullivan said they would return, and in 1870, they did, bringing daughter Shirley, but not son, Julian.

Delbert and Delia (Rhodes) Campbell returned to work the Campbell family farm land on the Western Branch in early spring of 1866. They had no children, but with the help of some ‘hired out’ young men from other families, were able to continue the Campbell agricultural prosperity they had enjoyed before the war. Eli and Emeline Rhodes finally decided in late 1866 they were not going to return to their family farm on the Western Branch. With that decision, their son, Theodosius, and his wife, Lillian (Campbell) Rhodes, along with their family, decided to return in 1867 to claim and operate the farm that had first been settled by his parents in 1838.

George and Marcia King and their family returned to the Western Branch in 1867, as well. They wanted to come back earlier, but kept in touch, settled their other affairs, and got an early start in 1867. Their daughter, Shasha, had married and did not come, but the other three young folks did return. Similarly, Michael and Amanda Duncan made it back in 1867 as well. Before they returned, their daughter, Alice, had married in their new location and did not come back to Oak Creek Township. 

Joshua and Tetisha Cox returned in 1868 with their sons, Bernie and Coleman, with the intent to help them get started and then to move into town, which they did in 1871. Their daughter, Dorothy, had married and did not return with them. Finally, the Nathan Bishop family did return in 1869, with all three of their children, and, once returned, did prosper in their far Western Branch location.

Meanwhile, back in Oak Springs, in 1867 it was learned that Percival and Katherine Jones, who had been expected, according to available information, to return to reopen their Dry Goods store, if not their Boarding house, would not be returning. They relinquished their interest in Lot 2 of Block M, as well as Lot 1 and Lot 2 of Block N. When that new information became available, Ralph and Sally (Rhodes) Campbell, saw the opening they had been waiting for and returned late in 1867 to build first a Boarding House, on Lot 1 of Block N, and then in the spring of 1868 a Dry Goods store, on Lot 2 of Block N, facing on Central Avenue. They also resumed their farming operation just on the west side of the town plot. 

By this time, in the spring of 1869, the Town Council had also made a few more relevant decisions that affected location planning for several pending building plans. The town purchased six additional blocks from Jake Patton (at very favorable rates) directly north of the existing town plat and extending two blocks to the east. The blocks numbered from the west, were: AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, and FF. Fourth Street was renamed Main Street. This Main Street, running east and west, ran a quarter of a mile south of and parallel to the Houston Road.

Further, Block C, at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and the newly designated Main Street, created a designated Town Square  The plan was to build both the new Town Hall and the stone bank building (exchanged Block G, Lot 3, for Lot 2, Block B, the new location) on the perimeter of the Town Square. In addition, they had passed an ordinance that provided adequate space between any wooden structures so as to reduce the likelihood of a fire in one building spreading to nearby buildings, as had become a common issue in many towns where buildings were right next to one another.

There were a few newcomers to the valley as well. The following describes these new arrivals up to 1870.

Thomas Crane, his wife Grace (Fox) Crane, along with daughters, Charlotte and Cora, settled on 160 acres just south of the southeast corner of the Henry McDonald home place in early 1868. Thomas had visited the prior year and determined that he could dig a well on the property for their household needs. This was one of the first of many to come in the following years. 

As expected, Lewis Truesdale continued to be active in building and recruiting new business opportunities in the town and the valley. By the end of 1868, six of his recruits, all calvary members of the units he commanded, had come into the valley, with their brides or families, to become a part of what they hoped would be prosperous times ahead. Four of the families located on the Truesdale farm land to the west of the McDonalds land working on shares. The four couples on the farms were Willis and Isabel Garrett, Theodore and Ellen Warden, S.L. and Martha Reeves, and Gilbert and Susan Gower.

Two of the families lived in town (J.W. and Lucinda Norton and G.W. and Margaret Mason) and were employed at the Lewis Truesdale businesses now under the names of Oak Creek Valley Breeding and Oak Creek Valley Livery and Stable. Lewis had located these businesses on the west edge of town (working with Jake Patton and Hugh Truesdale, he had exchanged their interests in Block K - where the livery had previously been located - and Lots 1 and 3 of Block L, for Block M and Lots 3 and 4 of Lot I). In addition, he had acquired from Jake Patton the 20 acres immediately west of the town boundary (running along the east side of the Ralph Campbell farm). The Nortons purchased Lot 1 of Block I and the Masons purchased Lot 2 of Block I on which to build their own homes.

Also new in town, arriving in the summer of 1869 was a young attorney, Sylvester Preston, who bought and built an office building on Lot 3 of Block K, facing on Central Avenue. He also bought Lot 4 of Block K and used it to build a home for himself. In 1871, another young attorney, John Coffee came to town, and entered into a partnership with Sylvester Preston to form the Preston and Coffee Law Firm.


Ace Donagan opened his Tavern in 1868. He had arranged to purchase the Lot 3, of Block O, from Jake Patton, where he had been located on a lease, previously. He brought in R.R. and Matilda (Farrell) Callahan as operating managers and her brother, J.R. Farrell, as well, as a laborer. As with the earlier tavern, there were rooms for rent on the second floor. 

To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!



Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace, Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 4


The Founding of the Homeplace
Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 4


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”


**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed

1865-1875 Report with comparison to 1860 status - Section 4 of 6 (arbitrary sectioning)

[It is believed this narrative was a joint effort of Alex McDonald and Jerry Potts.]



Victor Campbell had been President of the Oak Springs Savings Bank since 1855. In that role, he had accepted the responsibility from the Board of Directors for both investments and loans by the bank. With the shifting winds of the economy in addition to the political environment in the late 1850s, Victor had made safe investments in the St. Louis area as well as others around central Missouri. He and Jacobi Inman, the bank clerk at the time, when the war broke out, took all the records with them to the St. Louis area. Victor had continued to grow the investments and keep all appropriate records. 

Jacobi had ended up with a bank position in St. Louis and had not entered military service. His wife, Belinda, had suffered a series of miscarriages and continued to suffer from illnesses during the period of the war. Jacobi had initially declined an offer from Victor to return to Oak Springs. However, when his wife took a turn for the worse, and died, in July of 1865, he contacted Victor and made the decision to work with Victor toward a return to Oak Springs upon the rebuilding of the bank. 

The bank board, now consisting of Jake Patton, David Baldridge and Victor Campbell, 
wanted to build a new stone bank building in Oak Springs. Their choice of new location, however, was still up in the air as 1865 became 1866. Jake Patton, Gideon Inman and Victor Campbell formed the Oak Creek Real Estate and Land Office late in 1865. 

Gideon had received letters from the former Ames and Mathison Real Estate partnership that had owned the land and buildings on of Block J, Lot 2 and Lot 4. They each, individually, also relinquished their ownership of all four lots in Block X, where they had previously had residences. 

Subsequently, the Land Office built an office building from which Gideon Inman could operate it in the spring of 1866 (on Lot 2 of Block J). Gideon Inman already owned Lot 1 of Block J and built his own home on it. He continued making and receiving contact with former residents/property owners and providing information to new prospects, as well. One of the functions of this company was also to be in a position to purchase (for resale), at a nominal fee, any land in the township not re-claimed and re-settled between 1865 and December 31, 1870 (based on a court order received by the Township). 

Based on the contacts Jake Patton and Gideon Inman had made and continued to make through 1865, no new returnees were expected in the rest of 1865. However, a number of “intentions to return” in 1866 and thereafter were in hand and more were anticipated. With this information, and proper notifications, a new Town Council was elected in November: Jake Patton, Owen Olson, Victor Campbell, Lewis Truesdale and Gideon Inman. Victor Campbell and Gideon Inman had not yet moved to the valley full-time, but had filed letters of intention to build homes on lots they already owned in the spring of 1866.

From the records compiled by Gideon Inman in the fall of 1865, the following was known about other 1860 residents.

Edmond Gifford, on his farm in the far southeast corner of the township, had been one of the three persons killed by raiders in the valley in 1861 before the mass exodus began. Gifford was murdered in his front yard, in front of his house, and his mules and horses stolen. His wife and children had left the valley immediate to live with other members of her family. Their son, Franklin, 16 in 1860, served in the Union army and had expressed the intent to marry and return to claim the family farm. His mother supported the intent of the son, but expressed no interest for she and her daughter to return. With help from his family, Franklin and Josephine Gifford did return to their family farm in 1867; and were successful in their endeavor.

Samuel Street had served in the Union army and had notified Gideon of the intention of his family to return, hopefully in 1866; it was actually 1867. They were still on the farm as this report was written. Riley Cooper had been in communication with both Gideon and with David Baldridge about returning to work at the mill when it got back in full production. Riley also said his wife and son planned to return and they were interested in purchasing the 160 acres, to the west of the Truesdales, where they had lived and farmed before being driven away. Riley and Julia Cooper did return in the spring of 1866. Their son, Anderson, did not survive his service in the war. 

There had been four farms located north of Oak Springs in 1860: Ephriam Bressie, Abner Wingfield, Jesse Bartlett, and Oliver Dodson. The Bressies had relocated into central Missouri and did not plan to return - however, they hoped they could sell their land, if there was any value there. Abner Wingfield and his family planned to return, which they did, in 1867, and in 1872 purchased the Bressie place at a very low price. Neither Jesse Bartlett nor Oliver Dodson, or any of their family members had maintained contact with anyone as of the fall of 1865.

In Oak Springs, Jerry and Polly Potts had kept in touch, but declined to return any time soon. However, late in 1868 they renewed contact with town officials indicating their plan to return to claim their town property in early 1869. They did in fact do that and arrived in the spring along with her younger brother, a physician, J.D. Potts. They built a family home on Lot 3 of Block J. They also bought Lot 4, of Block J, that fronted on Central Avenue, where they built a multi-front building for their businesses included a physician’s office, a barber shop, an apothecary and a print shop. A second floor above the businesses on the lower level provided for apartments that were only finished as needed. J.D. Potts finished and lived in one. When Alex McDonald moved into Oak Springs, he moved into another, in 1869.

Ace Donagan indicated his intention to return and build a new tavern much as he had when he left in 1860. He was communicating with the Town Council on site and timing issues in late 1865. 

Ralph Campbell (and his Rhodes wife) and well as Theodosius Rhodes (and his Campbell wife) expressed interest in returning but each was still uncertain under what conditions and when. 


Levi Weston expressed plans to certainly return, but he really needed to wait until a little more population was back in place to return. This time arrived in the spring of 1869 when he returned to restart the operations in the location he had left behind in late 1861. The contract to build the two special carriages for the new subscription school did play a role in his timed return. Levi was fully operational by early in 1870.

To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!


Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace, Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 3


The Founding of the Homeplace
Part IV, 1865-75 Report, Section 3


The green hill in the valley


From the forthcoming short story collection:

“American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)”


**Part IV - 1865-1876 review completed

1865-1875 Report with comparison to 1860 status - Section 3 of 6 (arbitrary sectioning)

[It is believed this narrative was a joint effort of Alex McDonald and Jerry Potts.]



As soon as the war ended, and his duties there fulfilled, Colonel Patton returned to the valley regularly, intent on doing what he could to uphold the interests of the people who had settled there before the war intervened in all their lives. He and Gideon Inman had stayed in touch throughout the war period. 

Even before war broke out, in the mid-1850s, Jake and Gideon (who had served as town clerk and helped out with land records from his arrival in the valley) had managed to develop a complete copy of all the land records for Oak Creek Township from the County records in Eminence. These records were helpful in normal times, but as tensions had grown, they had correctly foreseen that they might be essential. Gideon had kept those records with him, and had managed to preserve them through the period of the war. He had held a civilian administrative job with the US Army during the war in St. Louis. Throughout the war, he, with Jake’s assistance and encouragement, had set about attempting to make contact with each and every former valley resident, or their families. This effort helped them to determine the level of interest from each family in either returning to the valley or relinquishing their claims to land in the valley. They generally sought to ascertain the current situations of as many of ‘their people’ as possible. These efforts were intensified as the year 1865 passed by.

The fourth ‘family,’ the eleventh member in the original settlement party, was Hugh Truesdale, a young man who wanted to be a farmer. He was supported in this effort by the other members of the party. In the fall of 1833, after Victoria Patton had become 16 years old, she and Hugh Truesdale were married. Over the next several years, as their farming operation prospered, three children joined the family. First came Jane, then Lewis and finally Nellie. In addition to her farm wife responsibilities, Victoria helped her mother in the General Store. In 1854, Victoria Truesdale became Postmaster, and continued in that role. For many years, in partnership with Jake Patton and Victor Campbell, Hugh Truesdale, in addition to farming interests had developed a substantial mule and horse breeding operation.

In 1860, Hugh was 48 years old and Victoria was 42. Jane was 23, and had married Daniel McDonald in June 1859; they lived at the Truesdale family farm home. Hugh, Victoria and Nellie had built a new home in Oak Springs and moved there prior to the wedding in 1859. Lewis was 17 years old and had been in Jefferson City for a few years attending Secondary School but had returned recently to work in the family business.  Nellie was still at home as a 10 year old, receiving her schooling from her family. 

With the advent of the war, in 1861, Hugh and his son Lewis worked closely with others in the valley to round up virtually all of the mules and horses in the valley in an attempt to get them to the Union Army in Houston both for profit and to make a contribution - as well as keep them out of the hands of the Rebels. By the time they could get left, they had already lost four horses and six mules to Rebels on raids into the valley.

During the war, Hugh Truesdale continued to be a contract provider of mules and horses to the Union army working from a base outside Jefferson City. Hugh continued to meet with the legislature each year, as well. In his travels, he kept a room in the northern end of his district, and kept on the move. He managed to continue representing his district including portions of Dent and Texas counties as well as Oak Township throughout the war. Building up seniority and maintaining contacts where they were to be had, he continued to hold the seat. After 1865, of course, he had residence with his son, Lewis, in Oak Springs, though he was only there periodically throughout the year. During and after the war, Kate and Victoria remained at their home outside Jefferson City as Jake and Hugh continued their various activities. 

Lewis served as a Captain in his grandfather’s cavalry unit, serving mostly in Missouri through the war. Lewis and Caroline McDonald had managed to marry during a leave he was authorized to take in 1864. He returned to the valley as a 23-year-old accustomed to being a leader and in charge of his environment. Returning to Oak Springs and Oak Creek Township, he displayed this leadership in his determination to rebuild his home valley. While his initial actions had been to get the family farm land back into early production, his other early actions were in the central valley where he got to work establishing a site for his family business interests in Oak Springs. 

By the fall of 1865, a double cabin, built around a central stone fireplace, was completed which became headquarters for those early actions to begin rebuilding the town of Oak Springs. As soon as the cabin was built and habitable, a very pregnant Caroline returned to Oak Springs to join and support her husband, Lewis. Their son, James, they called him Jimmie, was born in February, 1866. 

Visits by Colonel Patton, Hugh Truesdale, Victor Campbell and Owen Olson provided the opportunity to set priorities and approve initial plans, not unlike they had earlier done in the 1830s and 1840s. They were each very conscious of their own succession plans as well as the needs to build the town to and beyond its former conditions. 

Owen and Anna Olson arrived in the valley early in the summer of 1833 as a young newly wed couple with only what they had in the packs on their backs. They worked very hard to help in the community in anyway they could, including building cabins, building the mill, farming their own share crops and helping with farming for others. Owen apprenticed as a blacksmith under Jake Patton and eventually became the primary blacksmith in the shop. Owen and Anna, each 48 years old in 1860, had two children, Liam, 26, and Allison, 23. In 1860 Liam was apprenticing as a blacksmith, as well, under Owen and Jake. During the war, Liam served as a farrier with the cavalry. He was among the first four young men to return to the valley in late spring 1865, returning with David Baldridge. He set up his own blacksmith shop near the mill and worked closely with David to get it operational by that first fall back, in a temporary shelter. 

When the war began, Owen was blacksmith in the Patton Shop, Anna was Assistant Postmaster and she and their daughter, Allison, each worked in the Patton General Store. They had been among the last to leave the valley, and when they did, had vowed to return. By the time the “Olson party” arrived in mid-September, 1865, the early arrival young men in the valley had constructed a house for the Olson family according to Owen’s desires, near their original homesite. It was totally enclosed, if not totally finished; but it served them well, as planned. In the party were also the pregnant Caroline (McDonald) Truesdale and 15-year-old Nellie Truesdale along with Owen, Anna and Allison. 

Jake Patton had agreed to an arrangement wherein Owen Olson would purchase the city lots (Block S, Lot 1 and Lot 2; Block T, Lot 1) from Patton west from the Olson home through the old General Store location and the original blacksmith shop (Block Q, Lot 4). Olson would then set up his new blacksmith shop in approximately the location of the original. The Olson’s would build a new Oak Springs General Merchandise store in about the same location as the original, with the existing Central Avenue running between them. The Lewis Truesdale cabins had been built near the location of the remains of the original Patton cabin (Block Q, Lot 2).


The new Oak Springs General Merchandise store was to include the U.S. Post Office with Anna Olson as Postmaster and Allison Olson as Assistant Postmaster and General Manager of the Oak Springs General Merchandise store. Each new store and residence was being built on the original town plat plan but also with respect to what was left from the prior construction and current knowledge as to whether it was beneficial to build on the same location or a new one nearby. It was planned to dig two or three water wells in the town to supply water without needing to be near a creek. In 1870, the Community Building was re-built on Lot 3, Block S (Patton Land), and Block R was designated as a community park (land still owned by Jake Patton) to be used in conjunction with the Community Building for such events as “Fourth Sunday,” 4th of July, and fairs and festivals for the entire community. Blocks U and V would continue to remain open, owned by the city, for possible future community development needs, as well.

To be continued... next Friday.


May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our hearts!

Dr. Bill ;-)