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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L28 - Levi, Alfred and Otis Weston in Oak Springs in 1879

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Levi raised Morgan horses

Levi Weston in Oak Springs

The year 1879 marked 10 years since 56-year-old Levi had returned to Oak Springs to pursue his career as a farrier and Morgan horse breeder following the late war. Now, his two nephews had made the decision to do the same, on a permanent basis. Alfred, 22, was finding that he enjoyed working in the Parks Wagon Works next door with his cousin, Trey Parks. Otis, 17, found he most enjoyed his work as a farrier with Levi along with the cabinetry and other small woodworking projects that Levi also enjoyed as custom work for members of the community. Both young men continued to live with Levi at his residence for the time being, which was working out just fine for each of them. Levi was a partner in the Wagon Works business with Trey and his father, Hiram Parks, who was Levi’s first cousin. Trey was the active operator of the business. Hiram had his residence and harness shop on the far (west) side of the Wagon Works from Levi’s shop and residence on the east edge of Oak Springs.

During the fall of 1879, Levi joined in the active discussions with his fellow business owners in Oak Springs regarding formation of a Commercial Club or Chamber of Commerce to support and promote their businesses in Oak Springs and to others outside the community in a more coordinated way. An organizational meeting of the proposed Chamber of Commerce was held on November 5th. 22 persons representing 15 of the approximately 23 businesses in Oak Springs were in attendance. With one vote per business entity, approval was given to 1) formation of a Chamber of Commerce organization to represent local businesses, 2) monthly meetings along with initial dues by participating businesses, 3) a set of By-Laws, prepared by Attorney Sylvester Preston, making the group official under Missouri law, and 4) election of Simeon Bishop as initial President, Joseph Cox as Vice-President, and Jacobi Inman as Secretary-Treasurer. Levi Weston was elected to the initial Board of Directors for a two-year term (nine directors, staggered one, two, and three year terms).

Initial committees set up for the Chamber of Commerce: Local Promotions, Events, Membership, Outreach, and Finance. One member of the Board would chair each committee. Levi was asked to chair the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee would be responsible for identifying and receiving revenue as well as preparing the annual budget.

Hiram Parks had a harness shop

In a harness shop

In a harness shop

Levi Weston visited businesses around Oak Springs

As a successful business owner in Oak Springs, Levi was well known as a person who regularly dropped in on every business in the community, as well as every farm in the valley, from time to time. Everyone in the valley had at least one horse and all had an interest in the health of horses. Levi was the horse health expert in the community and had a way of letting you know that without ever having to actually mention it. His easy, conversational approach to people drew them into talking about themselves and their interests, wants and needs, which always allowed the opening for him to discuss his Morgan horses, his farrier work, as well as his custom made small woodworking projects. It was simply who he was.

With his new responsibilities with the Chamber of Commerce, he now had a new incentive to visit with business owners. Starting with those who had already signed on and supported the Chamber concept, Levi could quickly discern the level of interest of each business owner he talked to. As Finance Committee chair, he needed to determine how each business owner planned to pay their dues, whether annually, monthly, or otherwise. He needed this information to assist in preparing the revenue cash flow portion of the budget for the year ahead.

Although not on the membership committee, as he visited businesses not yet committed to Chamber membership, he sought to determine their level of interest and perhaps determine what more information they needed in order to move in that direction. He enjoyed the opportunity to make these contacts on his own behalf as well as on behalf of this community group he supported and was fully committed to, himself. Of course, he shared what he learned with the membership committee regularly.

Horses were a part of everyday life in 1879

Levi noted the movement toward establishing a Methodist Church

Levi appreciated the apparent growing number of people in the Oak Springs community who supported the establishment of a local Methodist Church congregation in their town. Although of the Jewish faith himself, he felt it brought strength to the community for such a congregation of faith to be established because it would add to the cohesion of a large number of people within the community. It allowed more and more people to really feel that Oak Springs was their home.

Earlier in the year, the Reverend Willis Bailey had been appointed by the regional Methodist organization to assist the local interested families to organize a congregation. Levi had spoken with Reverend Bailey on a number of occasions and believed he was a good man for the job. That was reinforced when he had persuaded Silas Adams, Superintendant of the local Sunday School, held at the Community Building, to adjust the Sunday morning schedule to allow for a Methodist Worship Service to be held immediately ahead of the Sunday School activities. Then, recently, he had persuaded Mr. Adams to chair the new Building Committee for the Methodist Church congregation.

Knowing Silas Adams as he did, Levi was also well aware that the ‘persuading’ going on between Bailey and Adams might well have been the other way around. Each was a strong willed individual, each with his own agenda, and each skilled at getting what they wanted though easy, carefully calculated, approaches. That each got what they wanted here, convinced Levi that the two men each had the same end goals, and each achieved them.

Note by the author

This episode continues the Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. Levi Weston family stories were included, from time to time, in the ‘Life in Oak Springs’ and ‘The Kings of Oak Springs’ stories elsewhere here on HubPages. Those stories occurred during the 1876-1886 time frame. This present series is reliving that period but from the viewpoint of this Weston family, through this second set of 20 episodes.

As noted in Episode L1 of this series of historical fiction family saga stories, all of the characters in this episode are fictional. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Weston characters, as well as the McDonalds, were first created as a part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20 episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

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