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Weston Wagons West - Episode H7 - The Weston’s experienced more change

It was spring on the farm

An orchard

An orchard

In March of 1857 Jake appeared back on the farm

As suddenly as he disappeared, one day in March of 1857, Jake Weston rode back up the farm road to the Weston homestead, as if he had just left earlier that morning. Joe was crossing the yard from the house to the barn when he recognized his brother approaching on horseback.

Joe said, “What the hell! Where did you come from, brother?”

Jake dismounted, the brothers hugged. By this time, most of the rest of the Weston’s were in the yard, having also recognized the rider as well. 5-year-old Jessica held back a bit, with her sister, 3-year-old Laura, clinging tightly to her skirt.

Shortly, Mary spoke, “Jessica, Laura, this is your father.” Jake approached the girls, but was careful not to touch them. They continued to stare at him.

“My, you girls have grown. Your aunt Mary has really taken good care of you.” Jake held his ground, but didn’t move, waiting to see what happened next. At that moment, 8-year-old George came running up, he had been in the orchard with Josh, and wrapped his arms around Jake, “Pa, you’re back!” Jake returned the hug, and a few seconds later, the two girls joined in on the group hug. Their father was home, for sure.

Jake returned to life on the farm

A farm landscape

A farm landscape

Jake said he was back for good

As soon as the welcome ‘party’ settled down, and everyone got back to their normal activities, Jake was careful to pull Joe aside for a private conversation in short order. Jake apologized, again, for what had happened, and assured Joe that he was back and ready to make his full contributions to the farm. They talked about that, for a bit, Joe letting Jake know that he would need to earn back his trust, but that Joe was certainly happy to see Jake return. Joe was careful again, to thank Jake for the money he had sent, fairly regularly over the past couple of years.

Jake had a similar chat with Hank, to assure Hank that he was back for good, looking forward to working together on the farm. Hank did his best to be sincere in welcoming Jake back, but in the back of his mind certainly held some reservations about whether Jake was really telling the truth or not. Hank wasn’t sure that Jake really knew the ‘truth’ any more. Jake would have to earn back Hank’s trust, but Hank would give him the chance to do that.

Jake had a similar discussion with Mary. Mary, however, was even less charitable in her comments than Hank, even though Jake was saying all the right things about how well she was raising his daughters, and his son. Mary simply pointed out that all the children except baby Isaac were now sleeping upstairs, and getting along fine. Jake would find his bed right where he had left it - it had not been slept in during the years he was away, she added.

George seemed genuinely pleased that his father had returned. They spent some time alone, together, during which Jake kept George talking about the things he was now doing, and responsible for, around the farm. Jake encouraged him to keep doing what he had been doing, even doing them better, if he could. Jake noticed that Cathy seemed to be spending the most time looking after Jessica and Laura, so he patiently found the right time to spend a little time with them, as well. He enjoyed having them tell him about their day, what they liked to do, and what they didn’t like to do. Jake reminded them how important it was to do as Cathy and the other ladies asked them to. They assured him that was what they always did. Cathy added that she knew they did their best.

Work with the horses continued

A mare and foal on the farm

A mare and foal on the farm

Jake fell back into the daily routine on the farm

Each day following Jake’s return to the farm was filled with activities related to the spring planting season. When they could be in the field plowing or harrowing they were. When it rained, they had indoor activities of equipment maintenance or animal care to attend to. Jake fell back into the routine, occasionally needing to ask a question or instructed in a new method they were using. On rare occasions, he offered his own comment on what was being done. Joe and Hank appreciated the efforts Jake was making, and soon found themselves virtually back to their earlier working relationships.

Spring became Summer and Summer became Fall on the Weston farm. The weather had been reasonably cooperative so there was a good and successful harvest of crops. Since they had been able to increase their planting a bit with Jake’s return, the harvest was even that more bountiful. Jake had been able to spend some of his ‘spare time’ working with the family horse herd, which he very much enjoyed doing. With that extra attention, they found they had three additional healthy and trained horses ready to sell by late fall, as well. All agreed that the year end holidays would indeed be festive this year.

Each of the Weston adults continued to regularly read the newspapers that were available, of course, and enter into occasional discussions with neighbors on state and national events. The reports of the Yakima Indian Wars in Washington Territory was concerning, of course. However, the news from the Missouri-Kansas border, not that far away was even more frightening. Late in November, it was reported that full-scale violence had broken out between antislavery and pro-slavery forces. Up until this time, there had been much talk back and forth, and isolated instances of violence. Reports now being received seemed to indicate a whole new level of escalation of the mutually violent acts in the region. Everyone was concerned, but this talk, and these new developments, were especially hard on the relationship between Hank and Melinda. Melinda was born and raised into a slave-holding family. She tried to keep an open mind on any such discussions, but she could not help but feel in a minority, and even intimidated position, as she heard antislavery positions described in a totally positive way in family discussions. For now, she was able to ‘bite her tongue’ and keep about her family responsibility roles.

Note by the author

The Hx series of historical fiction family saga stories following Hank Weston consist of characters that are fictional or real persons used here fictitiously. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Jacob and Levi Weston characters 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, also descendents of Thomas and Fred Weston

These first 20 episodes of the Levi Weston story have been compiled into an ebook: “Weston Wagons West: Levi Weston, L1-20 (1823-1874).” Thank you for your support.

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