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September 26, 2010
HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE AT SCHOOL
By S. C. Turnbo
“The first school I ever attended was in Shannon County, Mo. in 1851, when I was 4 years old” said Mr. Robert Morris. “I used the old blue back spelling book but I was too young to take any interest in my book only to soil and wear it out to avoid learning the alphabet. The school was taught on Current river three miles above Rock Spring where we lived. Crider was the name of the teacher and he was bald headed and both his knees were stiff and a member of the methodist church. Mr. Crider taught the school in a double log building with both rooms floored with split pine logs with the split sides hewed. The seats were made of the same material with blocks of wood or stones placed under the ends to raise them off of the floor. The school was taught in one room and the teacher and his family lived in the other room. I remember that the discipline in the schoolroom was slack and we all did nearly as we pleased. He was most too kind to me for he bola me to play in the water if I wanted to which I did and took the chills and fever from the effects of it.” Mr. Morris furnished the writer with this where he lived near Jackson Switch in the Indian Territory.
SOMETHING ABOUT SCHOOLS IN THE EARLY DAYS
By S. C. Turnbo
When my mind wanders back to the pioneer days when I was a little fellow, I wonder how it was that a few parents ever succeeded in giving their children some education in spite of all adverse circumstances. Hundreds of little fellows received no education at all. We have often met people of an advanced age that could not write their names or read print. I have met some few old people that said they did not know their A. B. Cs. I have heard a number of men and women complain of a lack of education and I have always felt sorrow for those who wanted an education and was too late now to obtain one when they was standing on the brink of the grave. Luckily a few old timers took an interest in the welfare of their little ones and would employ a teacher and have a small subscription school taught in their neighborhood. Those who were in favor of their children learning something would patronize the school, while others would refuse to send them. They seemed to have opposed the teacher, discipline and education and kept their children at home, or send them into the woods to hunt rabbits or allow them to gossip about their neighbors business rather than give them a chance to have the benefit and liberty of looking into a spelling book. In some cases in those early days a teacher had to accept his pay “in chips and whet stones”. A few of these teachers could not teach further than Baker in the Blue Back spelling Book and their discipline was slack in the school room and therefore they deserved small pay, while others were better teachers and were given better pay.
We feel thankful that the children of the present day have such greater oppertunities to secure an education than children of years gone by had. That day and time now belongs to history. The wealth of the country and the interest in school matters have so increased that our law makers have given much time to enact wholesome school laws so that we find no reason that a child should be deprived of a common school education. This is as it should be and we hope the interest will continue to grow until all parents will have no desire to prevent their children from attending school and that all competent teachers may receive pay worthy of their work and that all others who take no interest in the school room except for the pay without giving equal dilligence and labor for the money received should be set aside and allow more worthy teachers to take their places. We will now give a few incidents as indicated at the head of this chapter.
I am told that the first school house built in Taney County Mo. was erected at Walnut Shade in 1842, and Prof. Packwood taught the first public school in this same house the same year. The trustees were Nathaniel Haggard, McDonald Clevinger and Samuel T. Weatherman.
I well remember the first school I ever attended. My parents were living at the mouth of Beaver Creek. In the early part of 1849 a few citizens employed Bill Wheeler who had a little education to teach a small subscription school in a little log hut near Bob Thurmans. This was the first school in that vicinity and my parents sent me there five days in succession. I was to much astonished to think of anything except the noise made in the hut. Though I was not five years old, I remember that school distinctly for three reasons lst because it was the first school I went to. 2ed because I did not learn my A. B. Cs. and the teacher accused me of “Sucking the hind teat.” That is I lagged behind all the other scholars. 3erd because the students were allowed to spell as loud as their vocal organs would permit, thus making a mighty racket during school hours. Some of the scholars that I particularly recollect attending this term of school were James Harvey Laughlin and his two sisters Margarette and Elizabeth who were cousins to the writer.
In the summer and fall of 1860, I attended a three months school which was taught in a dilapidated log house near this same spot by a man of the name of McDonald. But the custom in the school room had changed and there was no spelling aloud this time. McDonald taught under the free school system which was in existence then.
As stated above a few settlers in the early days took an interest in school matters, but parents who did take action in having a school taught had nothing like the oppertunity to school their children that they have now. When the public school system was ushered into existence citizens became interested in organizing school districts and the desire to form new school districts gradually increased. The incipient formation of some of the districts are worthy of mention and we will relate one incident here. In one settlement in Taney County, the settlers held quite an interesting school meeting in 1850 which is told of by W. Thurman.
Mr. Thurman said that a few citizens, who lived on the South side of the river from Forsyth met one day for the purpose of organizing a school district. They assembled about two miles from Forsyth. “I was only 12 years old then, said Mr. Thurman, “and of course aid not count for a man but I was present at that meeting and saw and heard all the proceedings. There were eleven men there and a peculiar and strange feature of this gathering to me was that the men had on their hunting garbs and all wore moccasins, boy like I thought they ought to have on their Sunday clothes. Ten of them carried their rifles.
The most amusing part of this assembly was the discussion the men had over the game they killed as they went to the designated place of meeting. Harrison (hack) Snapp killed four squirrels; two of the Haworth boys, Absalom and Jim, killed two squirrels each: Z. P. Moore, Dave Wood and Jim Phillips killed a turkey apiece: Elisha Thurman and Ward Stover each killed a deer: Ben Chenoworth and John Mitchell brought in a deer between them. When the settlers met they put the dead squirrels turkeys and deer together compared notes and counted their game and found that there were eight squirrels, three turkeys and three deer or an aggregate of fourteen. This showed that if the men could not succeed at one thing they could another. The name of the man who did not bring his gun was Harkness Ogle.
“Though this was the first school meeting held in that neighborhood, yet it was a lively one, from the fact that the men had a warm discussion over their game as well as a funny debate about school matters.”
EARLY SCHOOL DAYS ON BIG CREEK
By S. C. Turnbo
In refering to the early schools on Big Creek in Taney County, Mo., Mr. John Bias son of Hiram Bias has this to say of a school he attended when he was a little fellow “I remember going to school to William Adair who taught at the spring on the west side of the creek opposite where old Jimmie Jones mill stood in the latter 50’s. This is just above the old John Pelham Place that is owned now by Joe Gloss Haskins. Mr. Adair taught the school in a dilapidated old cabin with dirt floor with openings between the logs large enough to throw a grown dog through. “I well recollect” said Mr. Bias “that school books then were scarce and I only had the fragment of a blue back spelling book and my first lesson began at Deed School. The teacher had 13 students among them was Wadie Pettigo a man 40 years old. He came to Big Creek with the old man Baker. Mr. Baker had two sons named Wess and John who also went to school. Wess Baker married Miss Sarah Smith daughter of Charley Smith who owned the mill where the Pate Duggins Place is. Also Charley Smith son of old Charley Smith attended this school. Jim and Elias Tabor sons of Esquire Tom Tabor were also students. In after years Elias Tabor was a preacher of the universalist faith. Miss Patient Tabor daughter of one eyed John Tabor was another pupil there. Jim and John (Jack) Jones sons of Hugh Jones and Henry Jones son of old Jones the hitter all attended the school. I sure recollect how Jim Jones would pinch me when he was sitting in reach of me.”
EARLY SCHOOL DAYS NEAR BLOOMFIELD, MO.
By S. C. Turnbo
In speaking of early day schools in Southeast Mo., Mr. Austin Brown who has lived many years at Peel Ark. gives this account. “I was 12 years old I received my first schooling. This was in 1847 and we lived near Bloomfield in Stoddard County. The school was taught in a little log hut by a man of the name of Macum. Some of my school mates were Anthony and Daniel Clubb who were brothers and there were 3 or 4 of the teachers sons and a nephew of his who was also named Macum. When I was 16 years old or in 1851 a man of the name of Neville taught school on Delaware Creek 4 miles west of Bloomfield and I went to it. The only names other than myself that I call to mind who attended this school was Susan Chappelle and her brother Leiper. I studied my lessons in Noah Webster’s old Blue Back speller and during the first school I got to Baker and the next one I reached the pictures which pleased me well.”
HOW A SCHOOL WAS TAUGHT IN THE PIONEER DAYS
OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI
By S. C. Turnbo
An early school as it was taught In Ripley County, Mo. was told me by W. J. (Bill) Adams of Protem, Mo. He said that his father Renoni Adams moved from Indiana to Ripley County in 1844, during the following year when he was 7 years old he was sent to a subscription school taught by an old man of the name of White. Said Mr. Adams, “The school house stood one mile west of Current River. It was a very small log hut floored with puncheons and contained split logs for seats. A sort of a platform that answered for a writing desk reached across one end of the house, and a split log was used for the scholars to sit on while they were at the desk learning to write. We used goose quills for writing pens and made ink of the inner bark of black jack by putting the stuff in a pot full of water and boiling it down nearly as thick as thin syrup, then strained and added coperas to the fluid and it was ready for use. I cannot call to mind now the names of any of the children who attended this school besides myself, only I remember that some of Mr. Merrill’s children went but I do recollect some of the rules and regulations of that school. We used the old elementary spelling book and we spelled out so loud that we were heard a quarter of a mile from the school house. The teacher threatened us with a big club that he kept by the door. When we become too idle the teacher would grab up this club or long stick and strike the floor a hard blow with it and exclaim in a loud voice, “Get your lessons”. This threat would cause us to be quite busy at our books for a while then we would get slack again and he would repeat the stroke with the stick which would encourage us to learn our lessons better for a short time again. He would not punish us but little only he would scold us very hard sometimes.”
WORKING FOR THE EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN
By S. C. Turnbo
Some of the old time incidents which occurred on Brattons Spring Creek in Ozark County, Mo. Is the following which was related to me by W. C. (Carroll) Johnson on the 14 of November 1906. Mr. Johnson is a son of Sam Johnson who many years ago lived on the farm in the forks of Spring Creek and Little North Fork where Carroll Johnson was born May the 7, 1852. Mr. Johnson says that in the latter fifties his father and John Nave and Isaac Mahan built a small log house in the upper end of the bottom on the west side of Spring Creek one half a mile above his father’s residence. This new log hut was built for a school house and was floored with rough puncheons and one half of two logs was cut out on one side for a window. A year or two after the house was done the puncheons was taken out and replaced with lumber that was sawed at Mike Yocums mill at the mouth of Little North Fork. I do not remember the man’s name who taught the first school in this building but I call to mind that the second school here was taught by a man they called William Sears. I was sent to this last school with my brother Pate and my two sisters Huldah and Polly Johnson. Bill and John Mahan sons of Isaac Mahan, Asa Nave and his sister Lizzie Nave, and Dedric Simmons all attended this school. Asa and Lizzie Nave were children of John Nave. Asa died at Rolla Mo. during the civil war. Lizzie his sister married a man of the name of Barrette. I call to mind a small incident in connection with the building of this house” said Mr. Johnson “that would be of a little interest to print. On the morning of the first day when my father Sam Johnson, John Nave and Ike Mahan had went out in the creek bottom on the west side of Spring Creek to cut the logs to build the house Mr. Mahan cut down the first tree and he says boys “my tree is the first one felled toward the building of our school house.”
THE GRIEF OF A MOTHER ABOUT HER STARVING CHILDREN
By S. C. Turnbo
Mr. James H. Painter furnished the writer with the following account of the hardships passed through during the Civil War as told him by his mother. Said he, “My father and mother has long been residents of the Flippin Barrens in White River Township in Marion County, Ark. Their names are Thomas and Emma (Wilson) Painter. They have lived many years at the foot of Lee’s Mountain one mile and a quarter northwest of the new town of Flippin. I myself knew nothing of the war only what was told me for I was not born until two years after it closed. My dear old mother who passed through it and suffered all the hardships that women and children were forced to ensure informed me that during the latter part of those dark and horrible days they were so close run for provision that they were hardly able to keep enough on hand to keep soul and body together. She said her and my father had only two children then. Their names were Harrison and Adaline. My brother Harrison was 4 years old and my little sister was two years old. My mother said that on several occasions the children would become so hungry that they would cry for something to eat when there was none in the house. “But if I had anything at all they could eat I would give it to them and say “children eat it for it is all that I have got to give you”. Then I would sit down and shed tears because it was so scanty and I had nothing more to give them.”
A SAD SCENE
By S. C. Turnbo
Mrs. Elizabeth Clark daughter of Wm. Holt give me the following account.
t of the war while I was living on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. I seen a woman and 5 children afoot going north from Arkansas. The children were all large enough to travel with their mother and keep up with her. Tiley were all thinly dressed in nearly worn out clothes. The mother and each one of the children carried a small bundle of ragged wearing apparrel, bedding or some other stuff. They had a large brindle ring necked dog with them which had a bundle tied around his neck which hung down against his breast. The woman and children were begging their way. It was a sad scene to see this woman and children trudging along the road depending on the charitable people for food and shelter. They stopped one night at the Bob Gilliland place on Little North Fork above where Thornfield now is and remained until the following morning when they went on their ways.
NEARLY FAMISHED FOR FOOD
By S. C. Turnbo
During the war a women of the name of “Chris” Madewell lived on Georges Creek north of Yellville, Ark. She lived 1 ½ miles below where Will Woods mill stood. The settlement in which she lived was known as string town, because the settlers cabins were strung along the creek close together. John Perry and I. Hampton live in this same settlement at the present writing. Capt. A. S. wood related to me the following brief story of this woman. “One day a few weeks after the close of the war” said he “I and my brother John Wood rode to Georges Creek in search of some stolen horses that some thieves had taken, the owners of which lived some distance off and they had employed my brother and myself to hunt and capture the rascals and the stolen property if we could. Expecting to be out a few days we carried plenty of cooked beef and corn bread with us. It was near night when we reached Georges Creek where the string town settlement was where Mrs. Chris Madewell lived her and a little daughter was living alone and they both were in a starving condition. They had nothing to eat except slippery elm bark and herbs cooked without salt or lard, both of them was so weak from hunger that they could not walk without tottering. Seeing the desperate strait they were in we dismounted and gave them our beef and bread but we would not permit them to eat but a small quantity at a time. They were the worst starved people I ever met.” This woman died on Georges Creek several years after the war and was buried in the grave yard at the mouth of Georges Creek. Her daughter after she was grown married Bill Paxton who was a preacher.
BEWILDERED IN THE WILD WOODS
By S. C. Turnbo
Among George Woods son-in-laws was Tom Patterson who lived in the locust hollow of east Sugar Loaf Creek. The land on which he lived was 2 ½ miles from the George Wood Mill on Sugar Loaf Creek. This land is over the line in Marion County, Ark. Patterson moved away during the war and Joe Womach lived there a while in war times and left the place and come back again. When Womach went away the first time he left two negro women there and one of them starved to death and was found dead on the hearth rock with her feet pushed against one of the jam rocks and her head against the other. Writing of the death of this poor old negro woman reminds me of the death of a small negro boy who died in Locust Hollow on what is now the Tom Keeing Place. The boy was at John Jones who lives on this land in war times and the boy died in the latter part of the war. The occurrence of which was given me by Fate and Frank Jones sons of John Jones. They said that the colored boy “sickened and died and we dug a grave on the bank of Locust Hollow 200 yards above where the dwelling house stands and we wrapped the dead body of the little negroe in a bed quilt and buried it without a coffin. The place where we buried him was in a thicket. But since the war the land has been put in cultivation. Going back to the Patterson Place which is known as the Jack Trimble Place now, Patterson had a boy named Jack who one day went out hunting toward Trimble Creek. He was accompanied by two dogs one of which was a large black dog they called Pup the other was a small yellow dog. The day the boy left home was fine—clear and pleasant. The boy and dogs failed to come home at night which made the family uneasy, but as the night closed in the sky become overcast with clouds and as there was no moon it was very dark and the family was unable to make but a short search for the bewildered child. On the following morning Tom Keelton and others were notified and a search was begun and they hunted for him all day without any success. It was now that the weather had changed from a mild form to that of cold. On the next day the search was continued in a dilligent way without any better success than the previous day. By this time a number of other men had joined in the hunt. On the 3rd day of the hunt it snowed enough to cover the ground well and while the men were scattered in almost every direction to find trace of the lost boy Tom Keeton struck the boys trail where he had went tottering along in the snow. There was the trail of the two dogs too and he knew that it was Jack and his favorite companions. Keeton hurried along and soon overtook them near the north base of the Short Mountains. The boy though, very weak from starvation and exhaustion, was wild and it was some time before Keeton could persuade him to allow him to get near him. The two dogs also threatened to bit Keeton and growled at the man in a bad humor. Finally the boy gave up and became friendly and the two dogs grew docile. Other searchers soon reached them and they took the boy home. After he recovered he told them that the first night out he raked up a pile of dry leaves and lay down on them and pulled part of the leaves over on him with his hands. After he had done this one of the dogs lay down at his head and the other at his feet. This was repeated on the following night but at a different place. It was the same on the 3rd night. The faithful dogs remained with the boy and guarded him closely. Both the dogs and the boy was very hungry and growing weak. On the 3rd day of the hunt and the 4th day the child was out it snowed as stated and it was more than probable that if he had not been discovered the child would have chilled to death from cold and starvation. This incident took place a few years before the breaking out of war between the states.
EXPERIENCE OF TWO BOYS IN HUNTING FOR
BREADSTUFF IN WAR DAYS
By S. C. Turnbo
Starvation puts honest people to a hard test. War times brought hundreds of people to this in the south. They were willing to buy or work for provision as long as they had means to buy with and work was not in demand and it was take, steal or starve. Honest and upright people will steal something to eat before they will starve if they can reach it. Thieves do not wait until they are starving before they steal, they steal every chance they get.
Mr. Rila Mullen who was a small boy in Civil Walk times gives an interesting incident of starvation during those days of gloom and sadness. He said when the war come up they were living in Sharp County, Ark. not far from Evening Shade. His father George W. Mullen had suffered a great deal with white swelling and when it had healed he was left a cripple and was not able to do only a small amount of work. When the war broke out he could not enlist in the army on account of this disability for he was not able to stand the hardships in the army. He was not molested by the regular troop of either side. But the bushwhackers and robbers of both sides annoyed him a great deal and made him restless, besides they stole nearly all we had to live on. They treated us so rough that my father deemed it best to seek safer quarters where he thought he could enjoy a little quiet and peace if such a place could be found. So he told my mother and we children to rig up the old wagon and load it with what the robbers had left us which was not much and hitch the cattle to it and move to the south fork of Spring River in Fulton County, Ark., and he would come on and join us as soon as he could arrange some other business that he had to see to before he could leave. When we arrived at South Fork Mrs. Al Hatfield allowed mother to move into her house where we lived until father come to us. Provision was so extremely scarce that it could hardly be bought on any terms. My mother had a little money that she had saved since the war began to purchase food when our supply run short. There was such a small quantity of corn in the neighborhood that some of the women and children were doing without bread. Our breadstuff was exhausted and mother had sent me out to buy some corn but it was not to be found for sale. One day she told me to go to a little mill on South Fork where I might buy a little meal. Wil Hatfield an orphan boy went with me. Mother had such little faith in my finding any meal there to sell that she give me only a small pillow slip to bring the meal in if I found any at all. When we got to the mill there was no one there. Thinking the owner or whoever “tended” it was not far off we sit down and waited for their appearance but after staying some time no body showed up. The mill house was a small rickety affair. It was a log house with large openings between the logs but not big enough for we boys to crawl through. We had to have some breadstuff and we opened the door and went in and found some meal in a box and we filled the pillow slip which did not take all that was in the box and I pulled off my pants and tied the ends of the legs together and filled the legs of my pants with meal and Will Hatfield picked up the pillow slip full of meal and I shouldered my pants and we went out of the mill house and closed the door and we went on home with the meal. Of course I was in my shirt tail.
HARDSHIPS AND STARVATION IN THE TURBULENT DAYS OF WAR
By S. C. Turnbo
An old timer of Marion County Ark. who has lived on Jimmies Creek since the early fifties has this to say of hard times at the close of the war between the states, “I and my wife lived 3 weeks at the close of the war without the least bit of bread. We were compelled to live on anything that we could use at all that had any nourishment about it and was not poisonous, wild onions and wild salad were hunted for and gathered all over the woods. Sam Railsbacks wife would hunt all the slippery elm trees she could find and take the bark off and scrape off the outside bark and save the inner bark and cut it into small bits with a knife and dry it in the sun or heat of the fire and when she had a sufficient quantity of this she put it into a sack and carried it to Adams Mill on Mill Creek south of Yellville where it was ground into meal and used it for bread by moisten the ground bark with water and making it into pones or flat cakes and baking it in a skillet. The old man Bosier who lived on Newtons Flat below Jimmies Creek was so nigh starved to death that he would hunt all the old dry hides he could find and cut them into small pieces and scorch them on the fire and eat them.”
CARRYING BREAD CORN FROM THE ARKANSAS RIVER TO
THE WEST FORK OF WHITE RIVER ON HORSE BACK
By S. C. Turnbo
Paton Keesee with his family left Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. in the year 1828 and moved to North west Arkansas and settled a place on the west fork of White River 12 miles below the head spring of White River in Washing County. He built a log house and cleared a few acres of land. There were an abundance of wild cherry trees on this stream and Mr. Keesee and family used it for fire wood. Mr. Keesees father in law Peter Graham went with him to the west fork and died there and is buried on this land. One day while Mr. Keesee was at work in his clearing he sent to the house for his wife to come and assist him in measuring the land he had cleared. His wife had just put on a lot of cherry tree wood on the fire which was burning briskly, but she taken her children and went out to where her husband was and shortly after she had left the house it took fire and burned down. They did not get to save anything. Their bread corn and other provisions was stored in the house and it and all their household including their wearing apparel only what they had on went up in smoke and ashes. Washington County was thinly settled then and the family underwent sore trials and hardships before they were able to recruit their bedding and wearing clothes. Mr. Keesee could renew his supply of meat out of wild game in the forest as long as he was able to procure ammunition, but there was no bread corn for sale nearer than the Arkansas River and Mr. Keesee went there and made arrangements with a settler on that stream for a supply of bread corn until he could raise a crop. This corn was carried on horse back all the way from the Arkansas River to his home on West Fork. During the following year he and family returned back to Little North Fork, where he bought the same place back again where he formerly lived before going to West Fork.
A MIXTURE OF STORIES IN ONE CHAPTER
By S. C. Turnbo
The towering bluff on the west side of Beaver Creek just above the mouth is part of a subject in another sketch but there is a further history of it. The Laughlins – Mat and Henry and their father Billy – came from Virginia and settled on the creek above this bluff. This was several years before I was born. Their father was a very old man. He had but one tooth. One day while Mat and Henry were putting a bell on a cow she ran backward and over the old man and knocked his tooth out and he wept like a child at the loss of his last tooth.
Taney County was a wild country then and over run with the wild animals of the forest. The Laughlins were industrious and labored hard to open up their claims and in a few years each one occupied a fine farm, and owned plenty of stock. The principal product of their farm were an abundance of fruit of several varieties, corn wheat and oats, they were known as being among the best tillers of the soil on Beaver Creek. While the brothers were improving their land they visited each other of nights for a social chat. One night Mat took his rifle and went to Henry’s for their usual talk. The night was pleasant and was brilliantly lit up by the full moon. Henry was clearing land in the creek bottom between where his and Matts cabin stood they lived on joining land and their residences were only a short distance apart. Henry’s new ground was fenced. The two brothers had prolonged their conversation until a late hour before Mat picked up his rifle and started back home. On his way back home and while passing along the fence that Henry had built he was surprised at seeing a strange object as he supposed lying about 100 yards on the inside. What it was he could not conjecture, except that it was something frightful in the beast line. It was far ahead in size of any wild animal he ever met on Beaver Creek. Being a fearless man he determined to shoot it, so shoving the muzzle of his rifle through a crack of the fence, he sent a rifle ball at it but the object failed to move. He hurriedly reloaded his gun and fired a second shot with the same result. He repeated the firing until seven balls were shot into the monster, but it remained perfectly motionless. It is an established truth that the bravest of men are sometimes overcome with fear and become panic stricken, so it was with Laughlin when he saw that the 7 balls from his rifle made no impression on the frightful creature he believed it was a great demon which bore a charmed life and losing his presence of mind he fled from its presence in terror. Henry heard the reports of his rifle but supposed his brother had got in among wild turkeys where they were roosting. Mat did not slack his pace until he reached his domicile and informed Ludy his young wife of seeing a terrible “varmint” in Henry’s new ground. Next morning he armed him with all the weapons he had on hand and ventured slowly and cautiously back to his brothers clearing. When the man had crept up in sight he discovered that the huge beast was still there. But to his astonishment it turned out that it was his brothers big Tennessee wagon box that he had left in the clearing. Seven bullets had perforated its sides. Imagination had carried Mat off his ballance. After this he took care to fully investigate all the big “bugers” he found after night before shooting at them. It was many years before the man’s friends quit joking him about shooting the wagon box into splinters.
We will now return to the high precipitous bluff referred to at the opening of this chapter and John Mosely said that shortly after Mat Laughlin and Lucy Onstott were married they purchased a few sheep and later on raised a fine flock of them. They guarded the sheep carefully to prevent their destruction by wolves. They kept them in a lot near the house of nights. One evening they wandered off out of hearing of the tingle of the bell. Mat searched the woods for them but failed to locate them. The night was cloudy and misting rain, just the sort of weather for wolves to prowl. The following morning early Laughlin lost no time in making another search for the sheep and finally went to the top of the bluff mentioned. The sheep as he soon discovered had stopped here and lay down. Some time during the night they were attacked by Wolves and several were killed. At that time which was about 1839 the summit of the bluff was clear of timber except scattering trees, but now there is almost an impenetrable thicket of under growth. Further investigation revealed the direction the other sheep had run. One trail lead toward the towering precipice, near the brink of which a few locks of wool was found which indicated that a wolf had caught one of the sheep here but it had jerked loose. Suspecting that one or more of the flock had leaped over the bluff while being pursued Laughlin passed around to where he could descend to the creek then followed it to opposite where he had seen the locks of wool and discovered a dead. sheep and a dead wolf. No doubt the poor sheep in its terror to escape the wolf had leaped over and probably the wolf in its eagerness to catch the sheep could not check its speed and went over with its victim and the life was crushed out of both animals.
Talking of sheep leaping over a cliff reminds me of an incident of this kind on Cedar Creek which flows into the river a mile or two below the mouth of Beaver. In 1859 when the southeastern part of Taney County, Mo. began settling up Jimmie Ellison Mat Laughlin and others blazed out a new road from Beaver to Shoal Creek. This road crossed Cedar Creek where the Lead Hill and Chadwick wagon way now crosses, just north of the crossing the road leads up a hollow that empties into Cedar below where the road crosses the stream. Where the road strikes this hollow from the south side is a cliff of rock which extends across the bed of the hollow. The precipice is near 17 or 18 feet high. The road when it was new passed in a few feet of the edge of this cliff and the ground was in such a shape that it took a careful driver to pass the cliff with a wagon without danger of the wagon and team being hurled over the ledge. Soon after the road was established Billy Walker and Tom Coulter passed here one day with an ox wagon loaded heavily with cedar posts. They had two yoke of oxen. The posts were held on the wagon with log chains. Cedar Creek is a small stream and the valley rough. In dry weather the creek is almost dry and was in that condition when Walker and Coulter crossed it that day with the big load of posts, but up the hollow a short distance above the cliff there was plenty of water for the cattle to drink. The weather was hot and the cattle wanted to get to water and as they neared the cliff after crossing the bed of the creek the oxen began to trot and run in spite of Coulter who was driving. The man thinking they would push him off the cliff ran ahead of the cattle. When the wagon was on the brink of the precipice the hind wheels tilted over but fortunately the coupling tongue broke in two or the entire wagon and load would have gone over and almost sure to have jerked the cattle over but as it the hind wheels and part of the posts went over and the oxen rushed on up the hollow with the fore wheels to hunt water leaving the remainder of the parts scattered along the road. While the cattle were going up the hollow at full speed Walker and Coulter followed behind on a fast run and the former would sing out at short intervals, “By George hee, by George hee, I lowed that old brindle steer would do something, By George hee, he has done something”.
A few years after this a man by the name of Saint John started with 400 head of sheep up north. On his way he camped one night near this same cliff. During the night a pack of wolves attacked the sheep, killed several and scattered the remainder to the four winds. A few of the sheep in their flight jumped over the cliff. Two of them caught in the cedars which were standing there at the time. Some of the lower limbs of these trees were dead and had been broken off leaving long snags. One of the sheep dashed against some of these which pierced its body and it hung there. The other one had leaped into the fork of another cedar tree which stood in a few feet of the other one and was wedged fast. As it was winter time, their carcasses hung there for several weeks afterward or until the bones and decayed flesh fell to the ground.
S. C. Turnbo
PIONEER INCIDENTS ON SUGAR LOAF PRAIRIE AND VICINITY.
AMONG THE WOLVES AND BUFFALO
By S. C. Turnbo
Sugar Loaf Knob, in Boone County, Ark. is a picturesque spot and a noted place. This bald hill is comparatively a low eminence; however it is so situated that an observer commands a fine view from its summit. On the east is Sugar Loaf Creek, fertile farms and a large amount of stone fencing. Most of the farms all along this stream produce fair crops when the temperature and moisture is favorable. Across the valley are hills and hollows interspersed with glades and broken belts of scrub timber. To the right is seen Short Mountain which towers above the surrounding hills. Looking to the north we get a glimpse of the wooded hills and Prairie Knobs of Taney County, Mo. To the west is West Sugar Loaf Creek with its small farms and diligent owners. Just south of the Knob, on the bank of East Sugar Loaf Creek is situated the town of Lead Hill a prominent trading point. This town is visited by farmers and others from many miles around to purchase supplies from its busy merchants, or transact business with other enterprises of the town. Lead Hill has been a noted trading point since 1868, when “Yellville” Bill Coker kept a stock of merchandise here. This was the first start made for a town. Although the post office was established in the early 50s at the place known now as the Derry Berry land on Sugar Loaf Creek about two and one half miles above its present location with Elijah Tabor as Postmaster. Near one mile below Lead Hill is the Alex Morrow Mill Place which is just below the old Joe Coker Mill Site and residence. The Morrow dwelling stood on the east bank of Sugar Loaf just above where the Big Spring flows into the creek. The Morrow Mill has been done away with years ago but another mill was constructed by another party on the spring branch between the bluff and creek. In 1894 a man of the name of William Trusty rented this last named mill (I think Brice Mllum owned it) and he and his family lived in the Morrow house. On the afternoon of the 4th of July of that year a rainstorm of great energy formed over Northeast Texas producing cloudiness and Northeast wind over North Arkansas and South Missouri. The storm center moved northeastward with increased velocity of of wind and spread over the north part of Arkansas and Southern Missouri. Heavy clouds formed rapidly which resulted in terrific peals of thunder and torrential rain at intervals from 6 p.m. of 4th until 5 a.m. of the 5th. A great overflow occurred in the two Sugar Loaf Creeks, Locust Hollow and Trimble Creek. East Sugar Loaf spread from hill to hill and flooded the business part of Lead Hill. A blacksmith shop and a carpenter shop was hurled down stream. The Morrow dwelling with Mrs. Liddie Trusty, wife of William Trusty with three children, Homer, Lester, and an unnamed infant were swept away. The house was torn to pieces and the occupants drowned. Trusty with another little son named George was sleeping in the mill house and a little girl of theirs named Voner had gone to a picnic on the 4th and had not returned home when the roaring flood of water went rushing down. These were the only members of the family that escaped destruction of their lives. On the morning of the 5th as soon as the falling of the great swollen waters admitted it searching parties started down stream to hunt for the bodies. Mrs. Trusty’s body was discovered on the bank of the creek just above where the Lead Hill and Bradley’s ferry road crosses the creek at the lower ford. The body had lodged against the roots of a fallen oak tree. The two forms of the little boys were found on the west side of the creek from where their poor mother lay cold in death. The infant child had drifted near a mile further down the stream. This last child was not found until Saturday the 7th following the night of the 4th. The loving mother and her darling children were snatched into eternity so sudden on the afternoon of the 4th they were happy and enjoyed life but before daybreak of the 5th they all lay scattered along the stream cold in death and were found lying among the driftwood, leaves and sand. Little did the trusting mother and innocent little children think they would be separated in a few hours in cola grim death to never meet again here on this earth. It was a sad time for the people of Lead Hill and vicinity. The bodies were tenderly cared for and given interment in the Lead Hill Cemetery. Among the greatest sufferers in the loss of this world’s goods of the citizens of Lead Hill was John Morrow who lost about fifteen hundred dollars worth of tools and his carpenter shop. But Mr. Morrow said that he lost nothing in comparison to the loss of life in the Trusty family. Farmers who lived on the stream named lost heavily in fencing crops and soil. White River at Keesee Ferry rose 18 feet during the night but fell rapidly on the morning of the 5th. In a weather bureau rain gauge which the writer kept in Keesee Township Marion County 8 miles northeast of Lead Hill 5 inches and 22 one hundreds of an inch of water was caught in 11 hours. My station was not in the limits of the heaviest down pour. But a depth of 5 inches is a remarkable rainfall for the number of hours named.
Returning to the Knob, from it we have a fascinating view of Sugar Loaf Prairie with its fine farms, comfortable dwellings and outbuildings. It is surprising to note how rapidly this beautiful spot of land has settled up. I remember well my first visit to this prairie which was in 1859. I rode through the tall grass to the foot of the Knob and went up to the top to view nature’s beauty in its wild state. It did look rather wild then as well as pretty for there were only two settlers living on the prairie. They were “Prairie” Bill Coker and Henderson Buck. The former named had two sons named Mich and Jim I think the first named son enlisted in the 14th Ark. (Confederate) Infantry. The latter was a large tall young man and served some time in the same regiment the writer aid and was a good soldier. I remember that Henderson Buck had a son named John. I was present one day at DuBugne in the early part of 1860 when John Buck and Jeff Ray son of M. P. Ray had a terrible knock down with their clenched hands. The young men’s father got in a quarrel with each other caused by gossiping tongues. The old men threatened to do some fighting between themselves but the young fellows told them if there were any fighting to be done they would do that and the two old men could do the quarrelling. There was a big crowd present and the friends of each formed a ring and the two youngsters gave up their weapons and prepared themselves for the combat and stepped into the ring and the men formed a strong cordon around them and several of the men gave the crowd to understand that there must not be any foul play showed to either combatant. In a few moments more the two resolute young men began the fight, it was a desperate battle. They hit each other with their clenched hands and knocked each other down but as each one would fall he would be on his feet again in an instant and the hot work would continue. There was no hurrahing for either man but the crowd stood in silence. After they had fought about 4 or 5 minutes they clinched together and both fell with Ray underneath Buck but as they struck the ground Ray caught Buck’s thumb in his mouth and bit it with all the power he had in his jaws. This was more than Buck could stand and he said, “Boys take him off”. This created a laugh among the bystanders for Buck was on top of Ray. But when he hallooed “Take him off” some of them told Ray to let loose of Buck’s thumb and after he released it from the vice like grip of his teeth they lifted Buck off of Ray’s back. Both men were very bloody and their friends took them down to the river and washed it off and peace was restored.
On this prairie is a grove of small pine trees which mark the spot known to the present day as the “Buffalo lick”. It is supposed by some that the way these pines got started to grow here was by the buffalo bringing the seed from the pineries in the wooly hair that covers their heads. Here on this ground in the midst of the beautiful wild flowers which then adorned this find landscape, the buffalo would graze on the wild grass, tender herbage and taste of the saline dart. I was told by Sam Carpenter who was born in the hills of northwest Arkansas before the buffalo had been killed or driven out of this section that he has seen herds of buffalo that once inhabited north Arkansas. This was when only a hunters hut stood here and there along White River and its larger tributary’s. Mr. Carpenter said that when he was quite a young man John Hart, a negro man and himself. While passing through the prairie one day met three buffalo – a bull or “Surley” as he called him, a cow and a small heifer. Each man carried the old style flint lock rifle. The animals were wild “But we wanted to take them in ‘out of the weather’ and by being very careful we gained the advantage of them and managed to kill them all”. Said he, “I shot the cow, Hart shot the heifer and the negro the bull. The three buffalos furnished us a fine supply of meat which we had been wishing for many days.” Not only buffaloes were here but this section was infested by other wild beasts. There is a traditional yarn, handed down by the first settlers, relating to an incident said to have occurred on this prairie. As the tale has some semblance of truth about it we give it here which runs about this way. One day a son of Joe Coker who was a little fellow, accompanied by another boy, went out on the prairie to gather strawberries. They saw a wolf approaching and they fled toward the house. The wolf soon overtook them and the Coker boys stopped to fight it. While his companion kept up a lively gait toward home. When he arrived at Cokers house he immediately informed him of his son’s trouble with the beast. Immediately the parent and Charles Coker, guided by the boy, started to rescue the boy; they met him coming on a run. The youngster told his father that he had quite a hard struggle with the wolf, but he soon discovered the wolf could not bite. The boy had a hard time, however, to free himself from the beast. The men continued to the spot where the combat had occurred. The wolf was there and they shot and killed it, and learned that it had been shot some time, probably several days before, and its jaw bone was broken, thus disabling it so that it could not eat and it was almost famished. The Coker boy was in a rage, and severely reprimanded his companion for deserting him in so perilous an hour.
Another interesting experience with wolves in this vicinity of long ago, was that of Luke Tatum and Tom Stalling, pioneer hunters of years gone by. Uncle Luke told the story to the writer himself. “One night” said he, “Tom and I went out on a coon hunt. We took a cur and a hound pup. I carried an axe and Stalling a big knife. We went down East Sugar Loaf Creek until we reached “Horse Hollow” and crossed this branch and went east of it a short distance in a glade where the dogs chased a coon and it climb a post oak tree. We soon felled the tree and after a lively fight between the pups and coon the latter was captured. Just before the coon was entirely dead a pack of wolves dashed up and greatly surprised us. I at once went up a post oak tree that stood in a few feet of the one that had been cut down for the coon, when high enough to be out of danger I looked to see where my companion had gone. To my amusement Tom had stood pat, and was in a fistic combat with the beast. Aided by the dogs he was beating the wolves back. He looked up in the tree and said, “Luke if you don’t come down from there, I’ll take my knife to you”. Although the knife was an ugly one, the wolves looked much more horrifying, and I remained in the tree until Stallings and the dogs had won the combat.”
S. C. Turnbo
TWO SETTLERS KILL A BEAR NEAR A CABIN
By S. C. Turnbo
One of the earliest settlers on Little North Fork was Jimmie Friend who went from the state of Virginia to Scott County, Mo. where he married a Miss Jane Dillwood in 1828. A few days after their marriage the young couple bid adieu to friends and kindred and started on their honeymoon to the then wilds of upper White River and settled on Little North Fork. The Creek bottom where Mr. Friend lived is known now as the Bud Breedlove farm which years ago was called the “Burnt” Cabin Place deriving its name from a log cabin that burned down which belonged to a man of the name of Burns who lived on this land. Here in this bottom Elijah Friend, Uncle Jimmie Friend’s first born saw the light of day in 1830. In the year 1831 Uncle Jimmie sold his claim here and settled a claim on Pond Fork a mile and a half from the mouth of the creek and is known now as the Tom Mahan Place. Mr. Elijah Friend son of Uncle Jimmie who lives on the farm opposite Theadosia’s related to me the following history.
My brothers names were John, Elias, Elisha, and Tom. My sisters were Sally, Betsy, Susan and Busha; Elisha, Lura, Betsy and Susan are resting in the graveyard on my farm known as the Betsy Graham grave yard. Sam Eslick taught the first school on Pond Fork. I remember he had two boys named Beden and Joe who attended this school. Ben Risly also come to the school it was a subscription school and was taught 3 months. “It was not strange” said he “to see 75 or 100 deer during one day. One morning early Alferd Graham while hunting on the west side of Little North Fork one mile above mouth of Pond Fork shot and killed 5 deer as fast as he could load and shoot. The deer all fell in a few feet of each other. This occurred on the crest of the ridge that divides the waters of the two streams. On another occasion” said Uncle Lige, “my brother John Friend who was a famed hunter, while hunting in the hills one day between Little North Fork and Lower Turkey Creek killed 9 deer within a radius of a few miles. Though I never took any delight in hunting after deer but I have had a great deal of fun with wolves. I well remember that I and my father and my brother John went out one day and killed 6 wolf pups in a cave, that their bed was 15 feet on the inside of the cavern. When we come out of the cave one of the old ones made its appearance and we shot at it 7 times before killing it, situated between Pond Fork and the head hollows of the right hand prong of Big Creek is a chain of bald hills known as the Washington Balls. How these hills derives this name was this. Back in the early forties, Ben Risly, Alferd Graham and Alva Graham went out into Washing County Ark. to look at the country there. When they returned back home on Little North Fork they said that the hills and flats in the vicinity of these bald hills resembled some parts of Washington County, and they called them Washington which retains the name to the present day. One day I and my brother John while hunting in the neighborhood of these bald hills we come to a den of wolves in a shallow cave under a ledge of rock. The young wolves were the size of grown foxes. It was amusing to see them run out from under the ledge when we reached their den. There were seven of them and they give us all tile sport we needed for an hour. We only got 4 of them. The others escaped. Mr. Friend said that finally his father sold his place on Pond Fork and bought an improvement from Alva Graham where the village of Lutie now stands. Alva was a son of John B. Graham. At this place my father and mother lived until they died and their mortal remains rest in the cemetery rear this village. My sister Sally is also buried here. The body of my mother was the first interment here which occurred on New Year’s Day 1866.
Bear and bear hunters were common in my boyhood days and hunting game was the custom then among hunters and stories of hunting were told by a majority of the settlers. The big game is all gone now and our talk is about something else in line with the customs of the country. But we need not be ashamed to repeat the stories as told by our old time friends and relatives who have passed from life to death and gone on before us. And now I will give you an account of the death of a bear that come under my personal observations. One day in 1837 while we lived on Pond Fork a big bear came down the bluff on the east side of the creek. A thick growth of cane grew all over the creek bottom. The bear had come down close to the mouth of a hollow and approached the house. It was common for wolves and panther to venture up near our house until that day. It was in 50 yards of our cabin before we or the dogs discovered it. But there was a lively stir among us and the dogs when we did find it out. Henry Cowan who lived on Pond Fork on what is now the Jim Wallace Place was at our house that day and he and my father and the dogs started for his bearship. There were 8 dogs part of which belonged to Cowan. The dogs sprang out of the yard towards Bruin. The two men with guns in hand followed them. The bear started off in a run but the dogs soon overtook him and brought him to bay and fairly swarmed around him and fought him desperately. Boy like I followed the men to enjoy the chase and the pleasure of seeing a bear fight. Bruin’s temper rose to a high pitch and he boiled over with rage and picking up one of the dogs with his teeth and bit it severely, the poor dog yelled with pain and when the bear released it he gave up the fight. When Bruin turned the dog loose he beat a retreat. The other dogs followed on after him and annoyed him until he halted again and backed up against a large white walnut tree and raised on his haunches and sent the dogs right and left with his paws until all of the dogs were fairly whipped and they needed no second warning to keep them at a respectful distance from Bruin who was a daring old fellow and seemed to look on the vanquished dogs with contempt and appeared to be glad of his victory over the dogs. His rejoicing did not last long for father and Cowan advanced up in close gun shot range and aimed carefully and sent two bullets into a vital part, and he had no more oppertunity to strike terror among another pack of dogs. He was fat and furnished all the bear meat that my father and family and that of Mr. Cowans could consume in some time,” said Mr. Friend as he closed his old time reminiscence.
THEY SHOT A FAVORITE DOG
By. S. C. Turnbo
George W. Hathcock brother of John Hathcock the present assessor of Ozark County, Mo., furnished me the following on the 2ed of December 1907. “My father and mother John Hathcock and Martha (Hollis) Hathcock moved from middle Tennessee to Ozark County Mo. in 1856 and settled on the east side of Big North Fork 3 miles from St. Ledger, where I was born February 18, 1860. My father lies buried in the grave yard on the old Jobe Teverball Farm on Big North Fork known now as the George Price land. He died in 1874. I remember the first religious services I ever was at which was soon after the close of the great Civil War. A man of the name of Clinton preached. How I remember this so well is that after meeting broke I saw a young man bare footed and his breeches rolled up almost to his knees ask a young lady who was also bare footed permission to accompany her home and with her consent they left the school house together. This school house where this occurred was called the Crane Creek Church House. Nathan Reynolds taught a school at this same house when I was 7 years old. My recollection of war times is very aim. My parents were Union people but my father did not serve in the army. One morning when I was a little over 3 years of age a party of armed men rode up to our yard gate when my father was absent. Our dog which was the only one we possessed and a very watchful dog commenced barking at the men and they fired a valley at him and several bullets struck him and killed him instantly. He was a yellow dog and if I mistake not his name was Bull. When they shot the dog I and my mother and my four sisters Meelu, Elizabeth., Nancy and Lucy ran out of the house to the dog for we all thought a great deal of him. Mother was very angry at the men for killing the dog without a lawful excuse. They wanted to know who lived there and when my mother give them my fathers name, they said you are Union people and they wanted to compromise with her and pay for the dog, which my mother refused to compromise for she said “You killed that dog to show your authority and thinking it looked large of you to do. I would not have taken $500 for that dog and you had no right to kill him. You leave here. I do not want any of your money.” and they rode off.
In a short time after this two men who lived on Bennettes Bayou and who were relatives of ours come to our house one night while I was upstairs asleep and I did not know they were there until the following morning when I heard some men talking in the yard when I crept out of bed and looking out of a window, and seeing the two men I yelled out “Oh mamma, there is some more of them old Jay Hawkers come back”. After I discovered who they were I felt much embarrassed at what I said about them.
A FEW INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE OF WILSON CREEK
AND A GLIMPSE AT HUNTING
By S. C. Turnbo
The Battle of Wilson Creek or Oak Hills as it is often called has gone into history as a hard fought struggle. A large number of gallant men on both sides yielded up their lives on this field of blood in defense of what they were sworn to support. Though while the commanders of both armies who took part on this hard contested field were fearless and no doubt did all they knew how to avert the danger threatening each others troops yet the general officers in the early part of the war were not as skillful in displaying their ability as commanders were in maneuvering their men against the enemy and taking advantage of his lines as commanders were later on in the war. Experience in war as well as being trained in other matters make men more perfect in the line of occupation they are pursuing Nathaniel Lyon and Frants Sigiel as commanders on the one side and Ben McCullough and Sterling Price on the other were well known officers and were fearless leaders. The first named commander was anxious to drive the confederates out of Missouri and the commanders of the Southern troops were fully as anxious to force the federals back toward St. Louis. Though the commanders of both sides may have erred to some extent in arranging their lines for battle. But it is not my purpose to criticise something that I know so little about. It is wrong to abuse true and brave officers and men of either side. No doubt though if the same armies commanded by the same men had met two years later as they did on that memorable morning of the 10th of August 1861 the battle if fought at all on Wilson Creek would have been carried out oh a different plan. It is no question in my mind but that those officers did their duty that day as far as they understood it. The officers who lead those brave troops, Lyon Siggiel McCullough and Price have gone to that peaceful clime where war is no more and we ought to be careful and not be too partisan in our criticism of those faithful leaders. If harsh criticism is indulged in why not let it fall on a certain class of favorites who did more harm than benefit to the side they belonged and seemed to have been kept in the army merely for ornaments and would make blunders during campaigns and in battles. These should be the men to receive criticism and also the authorities that put them there. If there were mistakes made on either side in the fight on Wilson Creek I do not think it was through neglect of duty or else I have been badly misinformed. The brave lead the brave and the brave resisted the brave. Each side was bent on victory. Neither side wanted to be repulsed. It was a field of blood and carnage until the hard fought struggle closed. One side held the battle ground and the other side retreated. To show the anxiety displayed by Gen. Nathaniel Lyon to drive the southern men from their camp on Wilson Creek Mr. Samuel Quinn informs me that he was a member of Col. Wright’s 6th Missouri Regiment on the Union side and took part in the battle. He says that about 9 o’clock on the evening of, the 9th of August General Lyon assembled his troops together and made a speech to them and said in part, “Men, those of you that are willing to make an attack on the Confederate camp and gain a victory follow meet of course the soldiers were glad of the honor of following him. An hour later we were on the march and struck the southern troops about daybreak. I will not try to enter into all the details of the battle that come under my personal observations, but will give only a few incidents”, said Mr. Quinn. “Gen. Lyon was mounted on a dapple gray horse. I was in 15 paces of him when he was killed. He and his horse fell at the same moment. It was a hot time with our men when Lyon fell. After the battle was over and our troops had retreated the next in command of our men, sent a flag of truce back to the Confederate lines asking to be allowed the privilige of bringing the body of our dead commander into our lines. I was one of the detail of men that was sent back to take care of our dead general and place it in an ambulance to be taken to Springfield for interment. Our detail and a detail of men from the Confederate Army worked together in collecting the dead and depositing the bodies in a temporary resting place until such time come that they could be removed to Springfield. It was several days before all the dead were found. A number of the wounded of both sides had crawled away from the scene of blood and died. The ground where the main fight occurred presented a sad and sickening spectacle. Gen. Lyon fell in 200 yards of a cave on Brush Ridge near Wilson Creek known as Bala cave. I was told”, continued Mr. Quinn, “that a number of dead soldiers were put into this cave and covered over with stones. Soon afterward the bodies or a part of them at least were taken out and identifiea.” Besides taking part in this hotly contested fight, Mr. Quinn was an early settler in this same locality where the battle occurred. “I was born in the extreme northeast corner of the state of Iowa August 22, 1844. While I was an infant my parents John and Mary Ann (Brown) Quinn moved to Springfield Illinoise where my father engaged in the mercantile trade. But in 1848 he lost all his goods and house by fire. A few of the citizens made up a small amount of money and gave him which was some help to us. Shortly after the burn out my parents left Illinoise in a two horse wagon for Green County, Mo. where we located in Springfield and lived there several months.” In speaking of their arrival there Mr. Quinn said, “I remember so well when we got into town. We stopped on the court square and I sit in the wagon with mother while father went among the town people to solicit employment. Father was a free mason and as soon as he let it be known that he was a member of that fraternity it taken but a few minutes to engage all the work he desired. John S. Phelps give him a job of laying the foundation of a house with stone and brick at $2.50 per day. Phelps had a son whose given name was John E. and who took a prominent part in the Civil War and commanded the Second Arkansas regiment on the federal side. After I was old enough to labor I worked a great deal for Mr. Phelps and I have a kind remembrance for the Phelps family for they treated me very kind. John Layer the famous blacksmith made father a set of tools to work with. Mr. Layer opperated a furnace and bellows in each corner of his shop and carried on an extensive business in his line of work. He had two apparatuses or swings constructed in his shop, one of which was for the purpose of shoeing unruly horses. The other was used to shoe oxen. Several negroes worked in this shop. Springfield was only a small town then but the business men did a thriving trade. I remember Bob McElroy who was a merchant there and Jake Pointer the gun smith. Father worked in Springfield until the fall of 1849 when he purchased an improvement of a Mr. Dikes who lived on head of Wilson Creek 6 miles southwest of Springfield where afterward he made an entry of 200 acres of land. This land was covered with black oak and black jack timber and hazel thickets where bushels of hazle nuts were gathered during the fall months. Two fine “cave” springs furnished an abundance of water for farm use. Here my father and John Gray established a brick yard and furnished the citizens with brick to build houses with. The names of a few of our neighbors when we first located on this land were the two Roses – Reuben and Lee, two of the Dotson men – Bill and Tom, Joel Phillips, Andrew Adams and the three Payne boys – Anderson, Tom and Sam. While the battle of Wilson Creek was being fought reconnoitreing parties of both armies met on fathers farm and fought. Part of the Confederate troops camped on Joe Sharps land on Wilson Creek. From time to time during the war each army went for the corn hay, meat and other stuff in Green County. But be it said to the credit of the regular army of both sides that as far as I know they refrained from burning houses in our neighborhood. I suppose that the reason no dwellings were destroyed was that the sentiments of the people were nearly equally divided between the northern and southern sympathizers and that the enemies of one side was afraid to burn the houses belonging to the opposite side for fear the other side would retaliate. Mr. Quinn says that his father died in Wise County Texas in 1879 and that his mother died at Hot Springs Arkansas in 1881. 12 children were born to them – 8 boys and 4 girls. After the close of the war I settled in Searcy County, Ark. and hunted in North Arkansas three years. Deer were so plentiful in the Boston Mountains that when I would be out on a camp hunt they would advance up close to camp of nights and run play and fight making a mighty noise. I always went prepared to collect wild honey as well as saving pelts and deer horns. Speaking of this reminds me of the richest bee tree I ever saw which was a large sycamore tree that stood on the side of a mountain in the valley of Hog Creek which empties into Osage Creek of White River. The soil on the side of this mountain is rich and several varieties of excellent timber grow here. John Baker assisted me to fell the tree and we taken out two home made washing tubs full of rich honey comb that held two bushels each. These were all the vessels we had with us and as the tubs did not hold all the honey in the tree we were compelled to leave the remainder in the tree. “The only strange things I have to tell you in all my hunting was the finding of three dead bucks that had died under peculiar circumstances”, said Mr. Quinn. “These were found on different dates and in separate localities. One of the bucks had either sprang off of a high precipice or fell over it accidently. The deer had a fine head of horns. The cliff was so high that life was crushed out of him when he struck the stones below. This was near 25 miles west of Marshall in Searcy County. I and John Baker were together at the time of finding the dead buck. The other two bucks had died in warm weather and we discovered them by the swarms of green flies. Both deer were found hung to saplings by their horns that they had been rubbing or butting their heads and got the trunk of the saplings between their foreheads and points of their horns and rubbed downward to where the sapling was too large to free the horns and had hung there until they died. The animals had struggled so hard to free themselves that each deer had pawed and tore up the dirt and stones until there was a deep trench around the foot of the trees. The bucks had gradually perished from exhaustion and starvation. One of these bucks was found in the hills on the west side of Osage Creek and the other one was discovered on the north west breaks of the Boston Mountains.
A WAY BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS OF MADISON COUNTY, ARK.
By S. C. Turnbo
On the 5th day of July 1906 I had a pleasant interview with Mr. E. B. (Ben) Hager who was then living on the north bank of the Arkansas River where the McKinzie Ferry is now and is sometimes called the Rocky Ford Ferry. This crossing is at the mouth of Coweta Creek Indian Territory, Creek Nation, and 7 miles from the town of Haskell. Mr. Hager is an early settler of Madison County, Ark. He is a son of C. A. (Christopher) and Almedia (Rogers) Hager. His mother was a daughter of Joe Rogers. Ben Hager was born in Warren County, Tennessee February 29, 1848. His parents left their old home in Tennessee when Ben was less than three years old and traveled in a two horse wagon to the Mississippi River where they sold their wagon and team and embarked with their household on a steam boat and came up the Arkansas River to Pine Bluff where they stopped a few days and then got aboard of another steam boat and went up the river as far as Van Buren where they disembarked and hired a man to haul them to Madison County in a “slow get along” ox wagon. On arriving there they stopped on Holmans Creek a stream that empties into the War Eagle River where they made their home two miles south of the town of Huntsville. Mr. Hager said that when his parents settled in Madison County, Ark. they had 9 living children and 4 of their children had died in Tennessee before they left there. In a few months after settling in Madison County Elizabeth their youngest child was born which made the 10th living children. The names of the other children who were living when we settled on Holmars Creek were John, Tom, Simon, Jim and Robert were the boys and Bibra Ellen, Jane Mary Ann and Charity were the names of the girls. It was in the year 1851 when we arrived in Madison County and all this world’s goods that my father and mother possessed when we got there was provision enough to last us three days, one coon dog and 5 cts in silver. The town of Huntsville at that time contained a few business houses and several residences. The names of some of the citizens who lived in the town were John, Hugh and Tom Berry. The two first named were brothers, Chelsey Boatright, Even Polk, Doctor Sanders, Pat Sanders, Sam Kenner, John Pitner and Hugh Pitner the last two of which were merchants. Sam Alderson and John Simpson. In the country south of town were John Hays, John Boatright, John Proctor and Ambrose Proctor, Baily and David Gilliland who were brothers and Abe McConnell who owned and operated a big tan yard near where Col. Mitchell and his regiment took winter quarters in December 1861. There were also Dick Witherow who was a very old man. Mrs. Lucinda Killian whose husband Sam Killian died in Warren County, Tennessee, then there was the old man Fielding Parks. Solomen and Bill Kimbell who were sons of the widow Kimbell, Joe Simpson who was a Methodist preacher, Jim Phillips, George Ledbetter and Henderson Bohanon and his son Bill.
My father was a Methodist preacher and held and assisted to conduct a number of revival meetings at his own house and other settlers dwellings or under an harbor made for the purpose where there was plenty of good spring water to drink. I had no oppertunity to attend school before the breaking out of the war but I went to school one month just after the end of the war. This school was taught at the Parker School House by Mrs. Jacobs whose husband was killed in the war. She was a daughter of old Bobby Black. Many of the old settlers of Madison County would go on camp hunts for big game. The chief hunting grounds for the men of our neighborhood was usually on the head of Drakes Creek a tributary of Richland Creek. I remember on one occasion when it was lapping time for bear, my father took me out with him and his friends on a bear hunt. I was a boy and did not count for a man but they made me useful about the camp to cook and take care of camp while the men was hunting. The men took their guns, dogs, pack horses and an ox wagon. The horses were used to carry the fresh meat and hides to camp and the wagon and oxen were used to haul it home. I remember that Ephraim Gourd, David Russell and John Proctor went with us on this trip. The time was in the fall of 1857. This time we went into the mountains up toward the head of the War Eagle River where we killed 11 bear during one day on this trip which gave the hunters plenty of work in removing the hides, caring for the meat, and taking it to camp on the horses. I well remember an incident one day just after they had slain so many bears. One of my fathers dogs was named Sweeper. He was a favorite and faithful animal on the chase. On that day the men had all scattered out on the hunt. Very soon my father returned to camp and reported that he had killed one hear and Mr. Gourd had killed another one and was pressed for help and he took me back with him to help take care of the meat. On our way back the dog, Sweeper, encountered an old bear and two yearling cubs. As the dog darted at the old one she whipped the young bears and made them climb a tree. She followed and made the cubs go further up the tree. This was in plain view of us and when ray father got in close gun shot range of the bears, I sit down behind him while he shot and reloaded his gun and continued to shoot until the trio of bears had fell out of the tree and lay dead under the bows. These three and the other two made 5 bear killed that day and these added to the 11 other bear that had been killed in one day made a total of 16 bear killed on this trip. This was the most exciting and successful bear hunt that I ever was on. It furnished us all an ample supply of bear bacon for summer use. We not only accumulated a fine supply of bear meat but the men killed several deer and added to it all we took home some rich honey comb, Do not understand me to say that we took all this meat hide and honey back home in the one wagon for we had to send back home for another wagon and team of oxen to help take it all.”
Mr. Hager says that his father was 88 years old when he died. His death occurred in 1898. He is buried in a grave yard near Crawford Texas. His mother also died in Texas and is buried in a grave yard on the Brazos River 18 miles above the city of Waco.
HORRIBLE INCIDENT OF THE WAR AND OTHER FAMILY HISTORY
By S. C. Turnbo
Many of the awful crimes perpetrated in war times should not be lost sight of. They should be kept in memory so long as the United States exists as a nation not for the purpose of keeping up an enmity between the sections but to show future generations the great extremes the Civil War reached before it was brought to a close.
William L. Brown, formerly of Franklin township Marion County Ark. now of Holdensville Indian Territory was born on the farm on the south bank of the river where Keesees Ferry was established in 1876. Mr. Brown’s mother was a Miss Sally Coker a daughter of William Coker who was a son of Buck Coker. William Coker died on Crooked Creek in the early days and was buried in the grave yard at the mouth of George’s Creek 5 miles above Yellville. William Brown’s father was Tom Brown son of Girard Leiper Brown who was killed on the Arkansas River. Miss Sally Coker and Tom Brown were married in the latter forties and settled the land where William L. Brown was born. Girard Leiper Brown’s wife was a Miss Katie Coker daughter of Buck Coker. There is a glade north of Elbow Creek in Taney County, Mo. called Katies Prairie which derived its name from her. There is a rough hollow just below the mouth of Trimbles Creek which empties into the river at the lower end of the Tom Brown farm known as Beeca’s Branch which was named for Miss Becca Brown a daughter of Aunt Katies. Many years ago Aunt Becca lived in a small log house which stood on the bank of the river at the mouth of this hollow. She died on the old Few Anderson farm and was buried in the grave yard opposite the Panther Bottom. Aunt Katie her mother died on her son’s Tom Brown farm one morning at sun rise in the month of December 1856. The house in which she died stood at the foot of the bluff at the upper end of the place her body received interment in the Allin Trimble grave yard. Tom Brown died in the month of March 1853. Two years previous to his death he selected a spot of ground on the slope of a hill on the west side of Trimbles Creek from where he lived and cut the figure of a man on a post oak tree and told his family and friends that when his time come for him to pass from this shore to the other that he desired to be buried under this tree, and after his death his request was carried out according to his wishes. His remains were the first interment in this cemetery. This old time burying ground is known to this day as the Allin Trimble grave yard. After the death of Tom Brown his widow married Allin Trimble and he raised William Brown from childhood. Mr. Trimble died in 1889 and in 1901 Mrs. Trimble went with her son William Brown to Holdensville Indian territory where she died in the month of December 1902. William L. Brown married Miss Lizzie B. Whitlock daughter of William C. Whitlock who lived 3 miles north of Yellville Ark. one day in May 1895 Mrs. Brown gave the writer a history of her fathers death in war times which is a sad story. She said that one night in 1863 a party of men on horseback came to their house near midnight and taken her father out of the house. They also made Jess Whitlock a 12 years old brother of mine go with them. The men claimed that they would not hurt them but after they had left the house some distance Jass heard the men tell father that he might prepare himself for death for they intended to kill him, and while father was begging the men not to kill him Jass made a dash for liberty and escaped but he was so bad scared and had ran so far without stopping that he did not come back home till late the following day. My poor mother grieved and weeped until the break of day when she started out into the woods to search for father for she had good reason to believe that the cold hearted men who took him off had killed him and it might be that they had killed Jass too. I was too young to be of any advantage to mother in helping her hunt for father. Mother tramped the wild woods till 12 o’clock without finding any trace of him,, she gave up in despair she aid not know what to do. But she went out again and hunted all around and come back crying and wearied down in trying to find him. She believed that he was dead that he was lying some where in the woods with no one present to care for his body. It was hard to give him up in the way he had to go and maybe her poor boy was dead too. It seemed that her heart would break but after a while she grew more calm and she said she would make another search for him. At this moment Jass come but he was so badly frightened that he was almost crazy. But thank God he was alive. After his excitement began to subside he told us what he heard the men tell father and where the locality was they were at and how he ran away from the. My poor distracted mother could wait no longer and she started out alone again and following the directions that Jass gave her she succeeded in discovering the dead body of my father lying some distance from the house. He had been shot the third time one ball took effect in the temple one entered his mouth and the other in the shoulder his head was terribly mangled and his face was all covered with blood. My dear, dear mother was a large woman and my father was a small man. Mother said that it seemed that she was not able to bear up under the terrible affliction and sorrow that had fell her lot and that the tears from her eyes were so free that it seemed that she could wade in them, it seemed as though she would sink into a great dark gulf. Then she thought she must not give up and she prayed to God for help and finishing her prayer she rose up off of her knees and felt more composed, and more able to face the distress and great calamity that had visited her home. She could not bear to leave the body to seek help and with a resolution born of the moment she raised the lifeless form in her arms and carried it toward the house until she was compelled to lay it down from exhaustion. But after a short rest she raised the body in her arms again and went on with it toward home until she was forced to stop and lay it down again and take another resting spell. This repeated until she was in sight of the house when she met Cinda Stinnette a colored woman who belonged to Dave Stinnette and the kind hearted black woman assisted mother to carry my dead father into the house and helped to prepare the remains for burial. It was impossible then in that neighborhood to procure a coffin and mother placed the body in a box, and we were all in such a stress for clothes that mother was compelled to enclose him in the box in the same suit he wore when he was shot to death. My mother and a few other women and we children buried him on Lee’s Mountain 1 ½ miles from home.
THE SAD FATE OF A HUNTER
By S. C. Turnbo
It makes me feel sad to pen down the incidents of a man, woman or child who get lost and die in the wild woods. The thought of the suffering endured by the bewildered one with hunger and cold in the winter days and nights and finally die without assistance reaching them is enough to make one feel down cast in mind for the unfortunate one.
Mr. Austin Brown informed me that his father William Martin Brown got lost in the woods and was found dead. The following is his account of the pathetic incident. “My father was born in Culpepper County Virginia in 1800″, said he, “and went to the north west part of Missouri when he was quite a young man and settled in Ray County where he married and I was born there in 1835, then he moved to Stoddard County in the south east part of the state and remarried a short time and went to Taney County and settled on Bee Creek where my mother died in 183?, and was buried in the grave yard at the mouth of Bear Creek. Then my father lived a while on the north side of White River below the mouth of Bear Creek then returned back to Stoddard County, Mo. and lived there until his death. One day in the month of December 1845 my father and a man of the name of Crabtree went off into the woods together to hunt, but they had separated during the day and Crabtree not seeing father any more returned back home thinking my father would come back home in the evening. But he failed to return. On the following day a searching party was formed and they hunted for several miles but found nothing to indicate his whereabouts. It was now that a heavy rain set in which lasted more than 24 hours which was followed by a cold snap. Men collected together from many miles distant and a search was kept up day after day until some of the men began to suspect that Crabtree knew something of his whereabouts in other words many people believed that the man had murdered my father and had concealed his body. Mr. Crabtree bitterly denied it and said that he was entirely innocent, but the men threatened to mob him so strong that Crabtree was afraid they would kill him and fled the country. The citizens continued the search for 25 days and then give up all hope of ever finding his body for we were all convinced that he was dead, but just 30 days after my father had went off from home Bob Caldwell had rode out into the woods many miles from any settlement stock hunting and discovered the dead body of my father lying at the roots of a big white oak tree 15 miles from the nearest settlers house. The remains was found on a high piece of land on the bank of the open lake and some 4 or 5 miles east of the St. Francis River. He was lying on his back with his rifle lying across his breast. The flint in the hammer of the trigger was gone and it was supposed that he had lost it and was unable to strike a fire for there was no flint rock in that country only what had been brought there and no doubt he had starved and froze to death. Nothing had molested the remains except that the eagles had eaten part of the flesh off of the face. A coroners jury was held over the body and as there was nothing to show that he had met with foul play Mr. Crabtree was exonerated from all charges of murder. The men deemed it prudent to give the remains interment on the spot where they were found and while some was digging the grave others felled a big tree out of which they made 4 slabs the length of the grave and placed one slab in the bottom of the grave and lowered the body down onto it, then they placed a slab edge ways on each side and one on top and filled in the dirt and formed a small mound over my fathers remains and made other marks to show his last resting place on earth”.
TRAMPLED TO DEATH BY A HORSE
By S. C. Turnbo
The following old time pathetic account was furnished me by Elias and Peter Keesee sons of Paton Keesee who settled on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. in 1823. After our father settled here in the year named a man of the name of Smith settled on the creek a short distance below where Theadaosia now is. The family consisted of man and wife and two or three small boys. The man was a native of Poland and had served in the army of Napoleon Bonapart and took part in the great Battle of Waterloo fought on the 18 of June 1815. Soon after the defeat and disastrous retreat of Bonaparts army Mr. Smith made his way to the United States and come to Southwest Missouri and to Little North Fork as stated which was in 1830. As the man had formerly lived in Poland the settlers called him “Polanaer” Smith. His wife was named Sallie and she was quite industrious and a rustler among stock and was a better manager in caring for the cattle than her husband was. It was not long before they owned a nice head of cattle which thrived well on the cane in the creek bottoms. One day in 1838 Mr. Wm. Holt who had just arrived on Little North Fork from Tennessee was employed by Smith to work a few days for him. Mr. Holt owned a good horse and he used it to haul rails on a sled for his employer. At noon one of little boys rode Holts horse to the creek to let him have water. While the boy was gone to the creek another one of Smiths boys who was also quite small got at the side of the path and waited for his little brother to come back from the creek and when he saw him coming. The child for mischief not thinking of the harm it would make took off his coat and as his brother rode up to him he threw the coat at the horse which frightened the animal and he leaped around and the child fell off and the horse trampled him to death. It was a great shock to Smith and his wife and they grieved very much at the loss of their child. They had a grave dug in the grave yard at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek while a little coffin was being prepared and they laid the little form of their dead child to rest there.
LAY OUT IN THE BITTER COLD
By S. C. Turnbo
There Is a small hill a short distance east of Dugginsville, Mo. that has some note which occurred in this wise. In the early settlement of White River and Little North Fork the settlers in going from one settlement to another would follow the trails made by the Indians. Conspicuous among these trails was one that lead from near where Theadosia is now through the hills to White River at the mouth of Little North Fork. This trail lead by the foot of the hill just mentioned. One of the early settlers on the last named stream was Polander Smith and Sallie Smith his wife who lived just below where Theadosia now is. In 1838 Smith after his little boy was killed which we have mentioned elsewhere went to drinking freely. He said the liquor would help drown his grief at the loss of his little son which was a veritable mistake. A man of the name of Marks had built a small mill at the mouth of Little North Fork and the scattering settlers who lived a long distance from the mills as well as those who resided closer to it patronized it. One cold day in January 1839 Polander Smith rode to Marks Mill with a sack of corn and followed the old Indian trail mentioned. On arriving at the mill he found plenty of whiskey there and soon had his fill on it. Near night he started back home with his meal and a jug of whiskey. It was after night when he reached this hill. It was bitter cold with north west wind blowing. Here at the base of the hill the cold and liquor overcome him and he fell off of his horse and lay there until day light. Fortunately for him he wore a heavy suit of home spun clothes that his wife had woven and as the forest had not yet been swept by forest fire there was a thick mat of dead grass where he fell from the horse which saved him from freezing to death. But as it was he was severely frost bit and otherwise be numb with cold. But his drunken stupor had passed off. The horse did not leave him and was feeding close by when the man roused up, but the sack of meal had fell off in a few feet of where he lay on his bed of dry grass. Smith rose to his feet and staggered around over the rough stones until his circulation was roused and went to his horse, and leaving the sack of meal where it fell he managed to mount his and rode home with great difficulty. His hands and feet was bad frozen and he was in a helpless condition. Neighbors were scarce and Paton Keesee who lived below him on the creek insisted on Smith and his family to be taken to his house where he could be better cared for and Smith finally consented to go and after he was taken to Keesees house the frozen flesh on his feet sloughed off and the bone of one big toe was exposed to the second joint. Smith begged Keesee to out the bone off which he refused to do but he told Smith he would send for 3 or 4 of the settlers to come and they would consult together as to what was best to do for there was not a surgeon to be had and when the men arrived at Keesees house they went out and held a long council and decided that they would not amputate the bone. If they did and Smith was to die the law might take hold of them and when they announced their decision to Smith he become irritated at their refusal to take the bone off and he says “I can take it off” and called for a chizzel and mallet and they handed them to him and placing his foot on the solid puncheon floor the man proceeded to cut the bone off with the chizzel at one stroke with the mallet and gave the bone to Keesee with the request that he bury the bone with him when he died and Keesee promised to do so. Smith never recovered and only lived a few months longer and died at Keesees house. His remains were given burial at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek where his little son was laid to rest. But Keesee forgot to place the bone in Smiths coffin and never called it to mind for nearly a year after the death of Smith. Then he taken the little bone to the grave yard and dug a hole a foot or two deep in Smith grave and buried the bone. The hill where Smith lay out that bitter cola night is known to the present day as “Smiths Bala Hill”. The foregoing account was told me by Elias and Peter Keesee sons of Paton Keesee.
THE DROWNING OF SAM NARD AND MISS HANNA FRIEND IN THE EARLY DAYS OF MARION COUNTY, ARK.
By S. C. Turnbo
Between the mouths of Little North Fork and Gooleys Spring Creek is a bluff with a high precipice from the top of which an observer has a sweeping view of an interesting scenery. The two creeks mentioned mingle their waters together Just before entering White River. On the opposite side of the river is two old settled farms that was once occupied by Harve and Jake Yocum sons of Mike Yocum. On this land is an old settlers grave yard in which lie the mortal remains of a number of pioneers. Among the earliest settlers who rest here are Jake Yocum and Eemiline his wife and Jimmie Jones the hatter. A small grove of timber marks their grave yard. In viewing the beautiful White River we notice that each shore is fringed with hundreds of sycamore trees. There is a sharp curve or bend in the river here that resembles a horse shoe in shape with the toe on the opposite side just above the mouth of the two creeks. At the mouth of these creeks is the head of the gar shoals with a noted ripple of water a short distance below the ford. At the foot of the shoals is the John Due Ferry. A short distance below the crossing of the ferry is where a man was drowned once. On the right bank of the river is where Jim Dial was shot and killed one night at a dance. The bottom on the left bank of the river just below Gooldys Spring Creek is the old Joe Hogan land which is one of the oldest farms on the upper White River. Looking southward across the gorge-like form of Gooleys Spring Creek rear the little town Oakland is the noted Hogan Flat. Turning to the right and casting our eyes down the tall precipitous bluff we have a nice view of Little North Fork. One quarter of a mile up the creek from the river is the old mill site where Marks and Kelly built the first mill here in 1825 which was afterward owned by Mike Yocum who rebuilt the mill and added a saw mill to it. All of which was run by water power. Years ago during winter time when there was thick ice in the creek and river a young man and a young woman was drowned in Yocums Mill Pond. The names of these unfortunate people were Sam Nara and Hannah Friend. Miss Friend was a daughter of Jake and Polly Friend who lived on the flat of land near where Hollinsworth Mill now is. Mr. Nara and her were intending to get married that day but had to go across the river on business and return back to Mr. Friends before the ceremony could be performed and the young ladies brother went with them. The parties went down on the east side of the creek and passed under the narrows and crossed the creek on the ice at Yocums Mill Pond. On their return back home Yocum was grinding corn on his mill and the water in the mill pond had drained off until it was several inches below the ice and when the three had walked out on the ice in the middle of the pond the ice give away and precipitated Mr. Nara and his fiance into the water. Young Friend escaped. The young man Nard made heroic efforts to save her life by raising her up on the edge of the ice but the ice would give way and she would drop back again into the water. This was repeated by the brave young man some 4 times and though he was an excellent swimmer but the cold water chilled his body and limbs until he was helpless and they both sank to rise no more until their bodies were recovered from the water. It is said that a few bystanders on the bank of the creek were so excited that they made no efforts to rescue them except that they tossed a few chunks of wood and pieces of plank onto the ice thinking that they could get to them. Miss Hannah Friend was a sister of Peter Friend who lived in the bend of White River that bears his name. I am also informed by the old settlers that on another occasion a man by the name of Cooper while under the influence of liquor rode into the creek just below the mill and was drowned. His body was taken out of the creek 50 yards above the mouth.
A FAITHFUL FATHER AND SON
By S. C. Turnbo
When the Civil War began Brice Milum lived at Yellville, Ark. Among his children were his son Thomas Milum who was an industrious and an upright young man. Young Milum had a goodly number of close friends at Yellville and vicinity. He sympathized with the south and just as soon as he was old enough he enlisted in the Confederate Army Which he aid in the month of June 1862. He was a member of Co. A. 27th Ark. the same company and regiment the author was a member of. From the effects of exposure in rain, snow and severe cold weather during our march from Van Buren to Little Rock, Thomas fell violently sick at the latter place and was sent to the hospital. His father receiving word of his critical condition he went to Little Rock l5O miles to see his dying boy. Tommy requested his father to take him back to Marion County where he could see his mother and home once more. The grief stricken father compiled with the wishes of his loving boy and conveyed him home in a hack. He died the following day after his arrival. The sorrowing parents buried the body of their dear and faithful boy in the cemetery at that place. Tommy was a messmate of the writer and was as true a young soldier as I ever met in the Army.
FROZEN IN THE COLD AND SNOW
By S. C. Turnbo
The following history is gleaned from the accounts of a number of the early settlers who resided in the neighborhood of what is now Pontiac Ozark County Mo. Most every one in this section can trace the old salt road and they know where the salt bald hill stands, on the south and east base of which leads the road from Pontiac to Gainsville.
One day in the month of February 1856 a strange man who said that his name was Wallace came to Henry Brattons store at what is now the residence of P. H. (Dick) Martin. He said that he was a married man and had lived at the mouth of Howard Creek but he claimed that a man of the name of Howard had stole the affections of his wife from him and she and her paramour had went off together. Wallace was almost crazy from this and said that he was in search of the man and his unfaithful woman. Wallace was afoot and wore an old run down pair of boots. It was on Saturday evening when he was at Brattons Store and he appeared to be drinking, he told Bratton that he was going on that evening and was going to follow the salt road into Arkansas, and intended to go to a settlers house 18 miles distant that night. Mr. Bratton and others tried to persuade the partly intoxicated man not to venture out for he would freeze to death, but he made light of their advice and went on his way. The evening was bitter cold and a snow storm was raging and a snow had covered the ground some time before this and had not melted off. On the following day which was Sunday the snow ceased falling the clouds cleared and the sun shone but a fierce cold wind was blowing. Henry Bratton and Moze Martin decided that it was their duty to make a search for the man Wallace for they were convinced that if he was not dead he was so nigh frozen that he needed help and they went out and hunted for him. The snow was deep and they waded through it as they followed the salt road along which they found traces where Wallace had walked along and his tracks had been covered up by the falling snow. Just after they had passed the base of the salt bald hill Wallaces boot tracks had disappeared from the road and after an investigation they discovered where the man had got bewildered and left the road and went north of it. The two men followed the outlines of the trail the man had made until they discovered him in the head of a small hollow a short distance east of salt bald hill. He was sitting down on the snow in a delirious condition and crying piteously for a drink of water. His feet was badly frozen. Both ankles were dislocated and were so badly out of place that the feet and legs had separated at the joints and the ends of the bone of the leg was sticking out at a hole on the side of the heel of each boot. The poor fellow had walked a few hundred yards in this condition, feet and legs held together by a strip of skin. He presented a sickening and sorrowful plight. The two men picked up the helpless man and carried him to Charles Gooleys who lived on what is now the George Mahan Place on Gooleys Spring Creek. Gooley was, the only man who lived on this stream then. Mr. Gooley and others cared for him as best they could but every one who saw him knew it was a hopeless case. Dr. DeBruin who lived near where Oakland Ark. now is was sent for and he come and amputated the legs above the ankles sawing the bones off with Joe Hogans tenent saw. Mr. Hogan came with the doctor and was present when the surgical operation was performed. The suffering man lingered one week after his legs was taken off, when death brought relief to him. He was buried in the grave yard at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek.
DEATH OF A SICK WOMAN AT THE ROAD SIDE
By S. C. Turnbo
Among the sad events that we have written down as history is the death of Mrs. Seton on the old Billy Holt farm on the left bank of White River. This land as we have said elsewhere is just above the mouth of Shoal Creek and a short distance over the line in Boone County, Ark. The incident which was pathetic occurred in the fall of 186?. John Jones and family was living on the farm at the time of the woman’s death, the particulars of which are as follows. The woman had married a man of the name of Wade and he died leaving her and 4 children, the names of which were Alex, Bill, George and Sarah. After the death of her husband Mrs. Wade married a worthless man named Seton and he deserted her. She had no home, was destitute and sick. She started out with her children afoot with the hope of finding work and some place to stay at. She was traveling down the river and one morning as she was dragging along in the upper end of the bottom on the Hold Farm, she found that she was not able to go any further and seated herself on a log and while surrounded by her starving and almost naked children the poor woman fell off of the log dead. One of the little boys went to the Holt residence where Mr. Jones lived and told the family of the sad ending of his mother and Jones hauled the body of the dead woman to the house in an ox wagon, and she was given decent burial in the grave yard in the Jack Nave Bend.
A DYING MAN TELLS HOW HE IS HAUNTED
By S. C. Turnbo
It seems like nonsense to write a chapter on this subject. However I will pen down what others have told me and the reader can draw his own conclusions. Though while I refuse to believe the common tales about ghosts and other ludicrous stories as told by some people, yet strange things are occasionally seen that cannot be accounted for but would be if there was an explanation following it. This chapter may explain to some extent the cause of some of these peculiar sights. Webster defines hallucinations as a delusion of the imagination or something to that effect. Cases of this kind have received considerable attention from medical authorities. A defective mind through the eye observes objects to form that the mind continually rests on. Those who are suffering with a mild form of this complaint are sometimes called cranks. In a number of cases when the mind is allowed to dwell on sin of whatever type the desire is to commit that kind of sin, and unless they reform and quit in time, they will grow from bad to worse until they commit acts of the lowest degree. They spurn divine as well as the civil laws of the land and disregard everything controlled by common sense. Some of these individuals want to murder officials in high authority and claim that the killing of these officials is proper. As a matter of truth no rational man or woman and a well wisher of their country and humanity would offer to commit such crimes nor approve of such dark and dastardly work. There is no question but that in many cases of murder and other black crimes are brought about through the teaching of immoral characters such as anarchy and other fanatical societies. In many instances the foulest of murders or other awful dark deeds are done by those who have been led to do this by the worst examples set by others and their teaching. These contend that their way of thinking and doing is the only right course to pursue and they look on the class of people who are respectful and obedient to the laws governing the people wrong and that all laws are bad and therefore their hearts desire is to destroy the lives of all the executive officers of the land. This class are found all over the world and the law abiding people of all nations should unite on a plan to eradicate the teachers that bring this evil about and finally these evil doers would diminish in numbers. But we have somewhat digressed from our subject for we had started out to tell something about hallucinations caused by a detective mind when it did not reach to the extent of being harmful. Great remorse of mind after a terrible wrong is perpetrated will occasionally bring about an abnormal condition of the brain and the mind of that individual has become so impaired that seemingly real objects form before the eyes. One case I will relate here.
In Keesee Township, Marion County, Ark. the main wagon road leading from the Keesee Ford of White River at the mouth of Trimbles Creek crosses Big Buck Creek just above its mouth. On the bank of the creek on the west side and at the side of the road is a cedar tree where Almas Clark, Tom Yocum and Floyed Blalock made a mark on this cedar denoting the highest stage of back water from the river at this point on the 6th of May 1898. A short distance above this cedar and on the same side of the creek is an old waste field or small clearing at the upper end of which once stood a log house that was built for the use of Mrs. Dovey Keesee widow of Billy Keesee who was killed in Civil War times. “Thresher” Bill Yocum also lived here a few years. His wife Mrs. Reitta Yocum died here September 16, 1875 and is buried in the grave yard opposite the Panther Bottom. Tom Jones also lived here a year or more. In 1879 a man of the name of John Williams rented land of Elias Keesee and lived in this same house. On the 18th of August Williams was attacked with violent sickness. At that time the writer lived in the same town ship in the same hollow where Jim Ridinger lives now. I was practicing medicine then and when Mr. Williams took sick he sent for me, and when I entered the house, I made a minute examination of his case and found that his condition was such that there was no hope of his recovery. The man had a wife but no children. Knowing that he could not survive but a few days I begged him to allow me to send for another doctor for council and assistance in treating his case but he refused all medical aid except what I and the neighbors did for him. On the first day I visited him he informed me that as his time was nearly up he wanted to tell me a secret of his life which he said he had never divulged to no one except his wife and she had promised to keep her lips sealed and he wanted me to know his story from his own lips and that I was at liberty to tell it after his death—not before. I tried to encourage him but he shook his head and said it was no use for his time was nearing to an end. I gave him the desired promise and he went on to say that during the great war between the people of the north and south a certain man did him a great wrong and he wanted revenge and he set a resolution to kill him “But” said he “I thought too much of my honor to take his life in an unfair way and determined to face him while I did the work. It is not necessary for me to give you the name of the man and the dishonorable way he treated me and the locality where he lived except that it was in Northwest Arkansas. I kept up a vigilant watch for him for several days but failed to meet him. In a week or more after this I was told that he was seen riding over a certain road on a visit to a certain man’s house. This was early in the forenoon and my informant said that the man intended to return back over the same road in the afternoon. The man I learned this from just happened to tell me this for he knew nothing of my intention to slay the man and I was glad he told me and without the least hint to him that I was going to kill the man he was telling me about but I rejoiced in my heart that I had an oppertunity to put my resolutions into effect and as soon as the man left our house I armed myself with my big double barreled shot gun which was heavily charged with buck and ball and went across to the road where my enemy was reported to have passed over and stood in the middle of the road and waited. I intended to kill him openly that is I refused to waylay him by concealing myself behind a tree or in a clump of bushes. I stood there until late in the afternoon. That part of the road was an out of the way place and I stood and watched for the man’s appearance. It was a warm day. My legs grew weary by standing on my feet so long and become very thirsty for water but I would not desert my post until I thought I got my man, and sure enough as I supposed I saw him coming. He rode on toward me. I was ready for bloody work. Was he ready too? would he get the drop on me? He acted strange for he did not pretend to recognize me and made no motion as if to draw a weapon. I was not able to account for this. I had no other thought but that he was the man I had been waiting for. I stood and watched his approaching me and when he had rode up in close range of my shot gun I took quick aim at him and discharged the contents of both barrels of my gun into his body. The man threw his hands up and with a deep moaning cry of pain reeled out of the saddle and fell and lay dying at the roadside. The riderless horse ran a few yards from the road, stopped a and began to graze. I walked up to the prostrate and nearly lifeless form to exult over the death of my enemy but was horrified to find that I had killed the wrong man. He was a stranger to me and carried no arms but he greatly resembled the one I had sought to slay. There was no mistake. I had shot an innocent man. Oh that I could call back what I had done. What could I do? I was powerless to do anything toward saving his life for he was beyond all medical or surgical aid. I had committed a foul deed. My sin was deep dark and unbearable. I was a single man then and quite young and as I stood over my victim I felt that I could not remain there any longer and while the murdered man was gasping out his last moments here on earth I turned and fled from the bloody scene and as I ran through the woods I dashed my shot gun to the ground and did not halt until many miles lay between me and that bleeding body. From that day to the present time I have never visited that spot again. I do not know the man’s name nor where he lived but from the moment I fled from the presence of that dying man to this minute I see his form as he lay in the throes of death at the side of the road as plain as I did when I looked down on him as he lay in his death struggles. His bloody form remains before me continually. It matters not in which direction I cast my eyes this same vision is seen at all times. It matters not whether I am awake or asleep the form of the murdered man haunts me. I have traveled hundreds of miles away from Arkansas to rid myself of this awful apparition. But it is impossible for me to do so for wherever I go it remains before me and in the course of time I come back to Arkansas and here I will die. But no ways near the scene where I killed that man through mistake. Now I have told you all. You can tell it after I am dead.” This was on Monday and on the following Sunday night grim death entered the house and called Williams away to the great beyond where the sorrows and troubles of this world cannot reach. His body was given burial in the grave yard opposite the Panther Bottom. His case was sad and pathetic. His remorse was so great that his mind had become deranged on account of killing the wrong man and imagination got the better of him. Hallucinations were so strong before his eyes that he believed that it was the real form of his victim.
MISTOOK HIM FOR A WILD TURKEY AND KILLED HIS OWN SON
BY S. C. Turnbo
Bull Creek is a prominent stream of water it has its source in Christian County, Mo. and after entering Taney County empties into White River between Forsyth and Branson. A very sad incident occurred on that stream in the long ago which was told me by John Shafer. In giving an account of it Mr. Shafer said that while his father Abraham Shafer lived on Bull Creek over the line in Christian County. “My brother Simon Shafer went out to the creek one morning to shoot wild ducks with his double barrel shot gun. Very soon after he was gone my brother William Shafer stepped out of the house to wash his face for breakfast and noticing a flock of wild turkeys flying from the creek to the top of the bluff called to my father and pointed his finger toward the turkeys and my father picked up his piper gun and went up into the bluff to a ledge of rock that was not high enough to prevent him from seeing up the face of the bluff above him. At the moment he reached this ledge he heard what he took to be a turkey yelping up in the bluff some 60 yards from him and at the same he noticed a black object moving slowly through the grass. My father said that he had no other thought in his mind but that it was a turkey and rested his gun on the top edge of the rock and shot at the object. The cliff or ledge was so shaped where he shot from that he was unable to climb up it and he passed around one quarter of a mile before he could get up the ledge and when he went to the spot where he supposed he would find a dead turkey he was paralyzes with sorrow at finding the dead body of his own son who had left the house a few minutes before to kill ducks and seeing the flock of turkeys had followed them in order to get a shot at one. We heard my fathers cries of distress and not knowing what had occurred started to him. There were four freight wagons in the creek bottom near the house. The freighters who drove the teams had camped there the evening before on their way to the Bull Creek Saw Mills for lumber to haul to Springfield, Mo. The 4 men were watering their horses when my father hallowed and knowing that something was wrong they hitches their horses and ran around the ledge of rock and beat us there and found my brother dead and my father crazy with grief. One of the men went to the house and brought a quilt and they carried my dead brother to the house on it. My fathers gun was charged heavy with turkey shot 18 of which had took effect in Simons chest and face. My brother was just 15 years old and wore a black hat when he was shot. The sad news soon spread over the neighborhood and a large number of people gathered at our house to assist at the burial.”
LOST AND DIED IN THE DEEP SNOW
By S. C. Turnbo
Here is an account of the death of a little boy.
Though he was not shot accidently through mistake yet it was worse than being shot and should have a place in history and we give it here. J. L. (Jake) Hetherly was born on Hunters Creek a tributary branch of Bryants Fork of Big North Fork on the 9th of September 1850 in what is now Douglas County, Mo. He died at Aurora in Lawrence County Mo. in the year 1900. Mr. Hetherly is my authority for this account. Mr. Hetherly said that Buck McIntosh son of Steve McIntosh aged 9 years started out on the morning of the 23rd of January with a yellow cur dog named “Catch” to kill rabbits and squirrels. The weather on that morning was cloudy cool with light mist of rain and during the day the memorable snow fall of that winter began falling. The child had went into the woods with the dogs many times previous to this and the family rested very easy about him until late in the afternoon when they become alarmed at hit prolonged absence. The neighborhood was aroused and a few men made a search for him and continued to hunt for him during the night but were not able to discover his whereabouts. Late in the night the dog come back home and at break of day on the following morning more men joined in the search. Some of the men attempted to follow the back track of the dog. But the snow storm had not abated and all trace of the dog tracks were obliterated by the falling, All most every one reached the conclusion that the boy was dead and that his body was covered over with snow. The night following that day the searchers returned back home to renew the search the next day. They were all very tired for those on foot had been dragging themselves through the snow all day and those that rode their horses were jaded and themselves cold and wearied. Mr. Steve Marlor remained over night with us. Though I was less than 6 years old yet I remember distinctly what Marlor told my father when he rose from his bed next morning. He said that he dreamed that the little boy was dead and part of his body was lying under a low ledge of shelving rock and that one of his legs was resting on a small bush that stood just on the outside of the rock. Mr. Marlor told every particular of his dream and described it so plain that I remember every thing he said about it. He ended by saying, Buck is dead on Rippys Creek. My mother hurried breakfast and my father and Mr. Marlor started out immediately after breakfast and found the dead body of the boy 4 miles from home on Rippys Creek as told by Mr. Marlor. It appeared that the little boy while in agony of suffering had tried to crawl under the rock but there was only room enough for part of his body and just before death overtook the poor boy he had laid one leg on a bush and was discovered lying in that position. My father and Marlor had taken a home spun woolen blanket with them and they wrapped the dead boy in it and carried him home on a horse and tender hearts placed him to rest in the Hopper Grave Yard.”
A HUNTER KILLS HIS FRIEND THROUGH MISTAKE
By S. C. Turnbo
A pathetic account was furnished me by William Riddle who has lived on Long Creek in Carroll County, Ark. for many years.
Mr. Riddle said that John Paley and Hamp Youngblood who lived on Long Creek went out together one moonlit night to shoot turkeys and being successful each went to the same locality where they had went the night previous to kill more turkeys without letting each other know that he was going. Mr. Paley on arriving where they had killed some of the turkeys the night before which was a mile or two on the east side of Long Creek, stopped and concealed himself and began calling turkeys. Youngblood on arriving in hearing distance of the caller supposed that it was a real wild turkey began to creep along in the grass toward where Paley was hidden from view. Each man was ignorant of the others presence. Paley discovered him in the grass and thinking he was a turkey leveled his gun at him and fired and the supposed turkey sank down and Paley got up and forward to pick it up and found that he had shot his friend Youngblood who was dying but was yet able to articulate a few words and told Paley that he had shot him and that his time on earth was short. Mr. Paley was in great grief and distress and rushed off at once to notify the nearest neighbors and when they arrived there Youngblood had expired. This cast a gloom over the entire neighborhood.
BURNED TO DEATH
By S. C. Turnbo
A horrible account of the death of a lady in Green County, Mo. in the long ago was furnished me by Mr. Jams Thomas a former residence of Green County, Mo. four miles northeast of Springfield. In furnishing the account Mr. Thomas said that Warren Steward was one of the early settlers of Green County in the neighborhood where his father Mr. Woodman Thomas lived one night his wife who was an industrious and kind hearted woman went to a neighbors house to assist in waiting on a member of the family that was sick and returned back home before day break. As the weather was bitter cold she found that her husband had kept a rousing fire in the fire place all night to keep the room warm but on her arrival Mr. Steward and the children were in bed asleep. Feeling very tired and sleepy Mrs. Steward sit down in a chair before the fire to rest and warm herself before retiring to bed. She had not sit down but a few minutes before she dropped into a deep sleep and pitched head foremost into the fire. Of course this awakened her instantly but not before her face and hands were seriously burned and her clothing caught on fire. Her screams and noise of the scramble to get out of the fire awoke her husband and children and they all leaped from the beds and run to assist her as soon as possible. She wore a dress of cotton cloth of her own manufacture and it was easy to ignite and before her husband could get ahold of her the eating flames had enveloped her and she darted out of the house and with heart rending screams she made for the spring as fast as she could go. On reaching the water she leaped into it and with agonizing pain she rolled in it and extinguished the fire before any of the family were able to get to her. But too late the fire had done its deadly work and the poor woman lingered a few hours only when death put an end to her terrible agony and suffering.
SAD MISFORTUNE OF A FAMILY
By S. C. Turnbo
I am told that Moze Lantz was the first settler on Brattons Spring Creek a tributary prong of the Little North Fork. He located near one half of a mile below the famed water known as the Dick Martin Springs. This great bubbling spring flows out of the ground on the west side of the left prong of the creek a half a mile or more above the forks of the creek. Another remarkable spring runs out of the ground near where the left prong and right prong comes together. These two springs furnishes the main volume of water in this stream below the forks of the creek during a low stage of the creek. The water is as clear as crystal, and during the warm season of the year the beautiful limpid water as it flows over the gravel and rough stoney creek bed remains cool and refreshing until it enters Little North Fork several miles below the Martin Spring following the course of the stream. Mr. Lantz settled on this stream in 1834. He mashed corn in an Indian mortar for bread until 1836, when he built a little mill below the spring. Later on, when the settlers began growing small crops of wheat, Mr. Lantz wife manufactured a bolting cloth out of sheeps wool by means of hand cards, spinning wheel and hand loom. The chane and filling were spun entirely of wool. When Lantz wife had prepared the bolting cloth he put it to use in his mill and he found that it did excellent work for home made stuff.
Several years after this John Brock and Eliezes Poplin built a small mill just below where the Carroll Johnson farm is. This mill was known in the latter fifties as the “Cline” Turley Mill. Mr. Brock died on this creek and was buried in the cemetery at the mouth of the creek. While Mr. Brock was living here this water course was known as Brocks Spring Creek, but when Henry Bratton lived at the Martin Spring and sold goods there, the name was changed to Brattons Spring Creek, and it has retained this name to the present day. Up near the head of the right prong on the creek is the Center Point School House where there is a grave yard where I am told that the remains of Versa the infant daughter of William and Sarah Bunch was the first interment here. Here also ly the remains of Lige Breeding. Below the school house on the Jim Reynolds land is another small grave yard where Bertha a little daughter of Jim and Mary Reynolds was the first body intered here. In this pretty spot of land is the burial place of Mrs. Nancy Upton wife of the old timer Daniel Upton. Some of the main hollows that lead into the right prong of the creek are locally known as Uptons Spring Hollow, Big Spring Hollow Rocky Branch, Turnback, Jackson, Spencer, Trace, Double Mouth and The Pockets. A tall hill known as Breshy Knob stands near the head of Trace Hollow. Lone Jack Hill was named by Daniel Upton. It stands apart from any other hill and is covered with black Jack timber. The most prominent hollow that leads into the left prong is Little Creek which heads up at Bald Jess. Among the Bald Hills of note is the Lone Ark situated between the two forks near the H. E. Upton Place. The Isabella and Gainsville wagonway leads along at the base of this knob.
Nearly a mile above the forks of the creek on the east bank is where a man of the name of Darr lived in 1860. There were 6 in the family: Darr and his wife, a married daughter and her husband, a widowed daughter and her daughter which was 12 years old. The name of the son-in-law was John Cantrel. The afternoon of the 7th of June 1860 was clear and very sultry. The air was almost calm. At night the sky was overcast with threatening clouds. They were dark and ominous and seemed to centralize over parts of Ozark County, especially over Brattons Spring Creek. A great display of lightning and loud crashing thunder soon followed the formation of the dark angry looking clouds, then rain poured down in sheets and torrents. The cloud had collapsed and turned to water. In other words it was a “cloud burst” and the result was that most of the water dropped down on the right prong of the creek. In a few minutes the stream was over flowing and continued to rise so rapidly that it swept the cabin and its occupants away. It is a difficult matter to obtain all the particulars of that sad event, but what I present here is no doubt near the main facts and needs but little correction. My principal informants were Jim Lantz son of Moze Lantz and Elijah Ford. They said that the cabin as it was carried along by the raging waters struck against a water oak tree which stood 150 yards below where the house stood and was knocked to pieces. Mr. Darr caught to a limb of this tree and pulled himself up out of the water where he remained until day light. The storm clouds passed away, the rain ceased and the water in the creek soon subsided. When the lightning ceased to flash, intense darkness spread over the flood swept valleys. Mr. Darr as he sat up in the tree waiting for the approach of the light of day, suffered terrible agony of mind. He had good reason to believe that the entire family with the exception of himself were swept into the land of eternity. The hour of darkness seemed long, and the grief he sustained for the loss of his family seemed unbearable while passing the dark lonely hours away in the tree. But finally the darkness began to disappear and the light of day began spreading over the hills and an awful scene met his tearful eyes. The dead body of his wife lay at the foot of the tree where it had lodged and was partly hidden by driftwood. A big log lay across her breast. Nearby where the body of his wife lay was the remains of his widowed daughter. Mr. Darr descended the tree and went to Brattons who lived at the Dick Martin Spring to notify him of the terrible misfortune and the news of the disastrous flood of water in the creek spread rapidly in every direction and kind and sympathetic hearts collected on the scene of death and a search was made for the other bodies and when found was tenderly cared for. The dead bodies of John Cantrel and his wife were found near 300 yards below the tree where Darrs wife and widowed daughter was discovered. They had lodged in an open space where the water was too shallow to carry them over it, their bodies lay 10 feet apart. Mr. Darr said that when he last seen them in the flood they were clasp in each others arms. A close search was made some distance below the forks of the creek for the body of the little girl but it was not found that day. While some continued the search for the remains of the girl child the other people were preparing the other 4 bodies for burial. Mr. Jim Lantz said he took an ax and cut the log in two that lay on Mrs. Darrs breast and they lifted it off of her. A few years before this sad calamity befell these people an infant child of Henry Brattons had died and he selected a spot of ground for the resting place above the spring and buried it there and a grave was dug near where this child lay for the reception of the 4 bodies of the Darr family where they were all put in one grave. Mr. Darr owned a big black ring neck dog he called Tray and on the following morning this dog was standing at the foot of the tree in which Darr and his son was in. The dog had escaped the flood and had found the refuge of Mr. Darr and was seemingly standing guard over the bodies of Mrs. Darr and her daughter. The body of the girl was not found for two days after the others were buried. Her remains were discovered in the creek opposite the Jeff Lantz Place known now as the John Johnson land. The little dead body was cared for and prepared for burial and a grave was dug near where the others had received interment and the body of the little girl was lowered into the vault to rest with her dear mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother. John Cantrel son in law of Mr. Darr was raised by Henry Brattoh. Bratton wife whose name was Martha was Cantrel aunt. Mr. Jim Lantz informed the writer that after a number of people had collected on the scene of the disaster of the ill fated family to care for the dead, Mrs. Bratton who was among the number said that John Cantrel was a crank in the sympathy for the south which was agitated then by sympathizers of both sections. He was so strong in his faith for the southern people that in debating the question with others who held an opposite opinion that he would become angry and use hot words. Mrs. Bratton said that Cantrel was at her house the afternoon before the cloud burst occurred that night and he and another man got involved in a discussion over political matters and Cantrel flew into a rage and remarked that he wished it would rain hard enough to raise all the streams in the north high enough to drown all the abolitionists.” Though no doubt it only happened that way yet the words of Cantrel were idle and foolish and little aid he think that while he was using those awful expressions of language that such a calamity as he wanted to fall on others would overtake himself and family in a few hours.”
THE DROWNING OF SAM JOHNSON
By S. C. Turnbo
Among the sad incidents that occurred on White River was the drowning of Sam Johnson who was one of the early settlers of Ozark County, Mo. and lived at the time of his death in the forks of Little North Fork and Brattons Spring Creek. Sam Johnson was a son of Samuel Johnson who lived in Tennessee. Sam Johnson the subject of this sketch was married in Tenn. but he and his wife separated and when he come to Ozark county he married Miss Hettie Keesee daughter of Paton Keesee and lived a number of years on the farm mentioned. Johnson traded in horses and would take them south and sell them for a handsome price. On the 9th day of February 1860 Mr. Johnson met a tragic death by drowning in White River at the George Pearson Farm 3 miles below where Oakland now is. The George Pearson Place is an old farm on the left bank of the river. Levi Pearson father of George Pearson lived on this land some time before the year 1824. The details of the death of Sam Johnson was furnished me by my old time friend William Trimble son of Allin Trimble. In giving the sad account Mr. Trimble told it in this way. “I and Johnson had started south with a drove of horses to sell to the planters there. When we arrived at the river where the old Pearson Farm is we found the river was swollen several feet past fording. There was a small dugout canoe moored at the landing and receiving permission from the owner for the use of it we commenced to swim the horses across to the opposite shore at the side of this dugout. Of course we could not swim but one horse at a time. The little craft was so tottery that it was dangerous. A few men were standing on the south bank of the river near the Van Lantz residence and other men were standing on the bank on the George Pearson side. All of these men were watching us swim the horses. One of the horses was very unruly and when we had lead him into the water he gave us trouble and just as we left the landing he plunged and struck the canoe and filled it partly with water. I tried to persuade Johnson for us to turn back to the shore and throw the water out of the craft but he replied that he thought the horse would quiet down in a few moments but in place of growing calm he become more unruly. I was steering the canoe and Johnson was holding the horse by the halter. Just before we reached midstream the horse sulled and quit swimming and Johnson held his head up out of the water to prevent him from strangling, and after pulling the contrary animal through the water until we reached midstream when the horse plunged forward and struck the little craft with his fore feet and capsized it. The horse after finding that he was free struck out to swimming for the same shore we had started from and after the water had drifted him down some distance reached the bank in safety. I and Johnson were both excellent swimmers but when I was thrown out of the canoe the cold water chilled my body like it was encased in ice and I suppose it was the same with Johnson. Mr. Johnson had on a full suit of new blue jeans clothes that his wife and daughters had made on the hand loom. He also had $40 in gold and silver in his pockets. I had on a pair of pants, a vest and leggings made of casmere cloth. I also had on a pair of heavy shoes with a pair of heavy spurs buckled on them. But fortunately I had left my coat back on shore. I also had $8 dollars in silver in my pocket. George Pearson said that when Johnson had swam in 30 yards of the bank he saw him raise both hands and heard him cry out “Oh Lord”, and sank immediately. Before I reached the shore which was on the same side of the river we started from I was so chilled by the cold water that I was not able to use my legs and feet in propelling myself through the water and was compelled to use my arms and hands only. It was all I could do to reach the bank for my strength was gone and my body was benumbed with cold. After I had got out of the water and changed my clothes it was several hours before the natural warm returned back to my body and limbs. Poor A. Sam Johnson. Just only an hour before this he was in good health and very jovial now he was gone, he had passed over the great dark valley of death and we will never see him any more alive. Though the water in the river was swollen and muddy and it was disheartning to attempt to search for the body at the stage the water was now, but never the less willing hands began making preparations at once to search the river in dug out canoes. Word was sent up and down the river for men and canoes and the search began as soon as preparations could be made. In a day or two the river rose higher and the incessant rains kept the water at a high stage for three weeks but the men did not relax in their duty of hunting for the dead body. But their energetic work was not successful until the 9th day of March when the water had subsided so rapidly a few days before this date that the searching party were enabled to make better success of their work.” Elias Keesee told the author how the body was found which he retold in the following way. “I and another man whose name I disremember now were in a canoe together at the head of Long Iseland some three miles below where Johnson was drowned and discovered the body where it was lodged against a stooping sycamore tree and we lifted the dead body from its resting place and laid it down in the canoe and took it ashore where in a few hours a crowd of men women and children collected to see the dead man and learn where it was found. Fish or something else had destroyed a portion of the face. Among the women that were there was the wife of George Hogan. She was a daughter of Joe Coker and had Indian blood in her veins. This kind lady was not a bit backward in doing her duty and assisted me to wrap the dead form in a blanket before we could convey it home. Mr. Johnson received interment on his old farm at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek.”
A SAD STORY OF THE LONG AGO
By S. C. Turnbo
It has been many years ago. It is not definitely known now how long it has been but it was some time before the breaking out of the bloody war between the north and south when a man and his wife and 4 children 3 girls and a baby boy and his wife’s sister with one baby or a total of 7 people were moving down White River. It is not known now where they were from but it was supposed they had been living some where in Southwest Missouri. They had two canoes lashed together and two good sized logs were lashed to the canoes. They had their bedding provision and cooking vessels with them. They had good luck on their way down the river until they got into Marion County Ark. where they met a terrible mishap at the lower end of the Bull Bottom. Just before they reached the Bull Bottoms Shoals the mans wife’s sister tucked her baby up in her dress and sit down in the stern end of one of the canoes and began to steer them with a paddle. The mans wife was combing one of her children’s head when her sister instead of keeping the main channel of the river ran the lashed canoes into a chute on the east side of the river. Though at that time the river was swollen and the chute looked almost as big as the main channel. About the time they had got well into this the swift water hurled the craft against the limb of a stooping sycamore tree which hung down into the water and tore the canoe and logs apart and threw them all in the water and were all drowned except the man and his sister-in-law and her baby. Fortunately this woman had clung to one of the canoes and as the water carried it along down stream she held to it with all her strength and kept her head and that of her baby just above the surface of the swift current. The woman as she floated along screamed for help. It took some time for the man to reach the shore and thinking it was his wife who was screaming followed along on the east shore as fast as he could go. As he ran he saw a man cutting sprouts in a field which proved to be John Terry and telling the man of his trouble, Mr. Terry left his work and ran down to where his brother Loranzo D. Terry lived and found him in the field plowing. As soon as his brother John informed him of the sad calamity he ran to his canoe and by the time he had headed the craft out into the stream, the canoe with the woman and child clinging to it was passing the landing and he made all motions to reach the drowning woman and child before they would pass over the shoal at the mouth of Music Creek. By this time the woman was so chilled by the cold water that she was not able to halloo any more and the poor infant was too nigh gone to cry. Mr. Terry was an expert in the water and he done some of his best work in that canoe to over take the woman and little babe and did overtake her between the shoals and where Jim Jones Ferry is now when he had approached within a few feet of her the woman said to him in a weak voice “Hurry, I cannot hold much longer”. It was now that Mr.
Terry renewed his energies and run his canoe on the side of the other canoe where the woman and infant was and took the child and laid it down in the canoe then he took hold
of the woman’s wrist and pulled hard before he could breath her hold from the canoe and with hard work he managed to pull her into the canoe. Her and the infant was almost lifeless now. He now snatches up the paddle and quickly seating himself in the stern end of the canoe soon got
the bow headed for the east shore just in time to prevent going over the shoals. John Terry and the other man reached that part of the bank of the river just as Ron Terry landed his canoe and the man was badly grieved when he found that the rescued woman was not his wife. John Terry and the other man carried the woman to Ron Terry’s house. Ron Terry picked up the almost lifeless form infant and ran with it toward his house to make an effort to revive it but after running a short distance the infant lost its breath and it was seemingly entirely dead, but Mr. Terry rolled it around in his hand and the child caught its breath again. Mr. Terry soon found that if he run it would lost its breath for good and he was compelled to walk until he reached his house and by the help of his good wife the little infant was restored by changing its wet clothes for dry ones
and giving it warm stimulants. The same was done for the helpless woman when John Terry and the other man arrived at the house with her. The alarm was now given and a number of settlers who lived along the river collected on the following day and after procuring several crafts began a search (This story is incomplete.)
A WOMANS DRESS SATURATED WITH THE BLOOD
OF HER DEAD HUSBAND
By S. C. Turnbo
The sickening details of the killing of two men during the turbulent days of the Civil War was given me by Mr. Ewing Hogan son of Joe Hogan who was one of the earliest settlers on White River near where the village of Oakland Marion County, Ark. now stands. Mr. Hogan was only a little boy when the clash between the north and south occurred. In giving the account of the death of the two men he said that their names were Jim Elliot and Bill McClure and they were shot and killed in the field just below the mouth of Little North Fork and Gooleys Spring Creek, but the land where they were shot to death on was not in cultivation then but was cleared up after the war. The exact spot where they were killed was near 200 yards from where the John Due Ferry is or east of the ferry boat landing on the left bank. “I saw both the bodies in a half an hour after they were shot and they were the first dead men I ever saw that had been shot to death. Mr. Elliots wifes name was Delila. Two negro boys named Isom and Jack that belonged to Jake Yocum assisted Mrs. Becea Yocum wife of Harve Yocum and other women to take the bodies across the river and give them interment in the grave yard on the Jake and Harve Yocum farm. Mr. Elliots wife helped to carry the bleeding form of her dead husband to the river where the ferry boat landing is now and after the dead men were conveyed across the river she did all she could to assist them in carrying them both to the grave yard where a grave was dug and the bodies were put in an ordinary box together and lowered into the grave and the dirt filled in and a new mound of dirt made to show where two more victims of the war were laid to rest. I well remember” continued Mr. Hogan “that Mrs. Elliots dress was besmeared with blood that had drained from the bullet wound on her husbands body while she was assisting to carry it. This was only one among the awful incidents of murder and strife along White River in the angry days of war” said Mr. Hogan as he ended this sad account.
By S. C. Turnbo
One of the peculiar and strange events that come to pass in Ozark County, Mo. in the pioneer days of that section is an account given me by Capt. James H. Sallee who said that in the latter forties Tommy Stone who lived on Pond Fork above the noted pond of water on this stream had two sons named Flemmon and William. Flem as he was called was of an unsound mind or demented or in other words he was considered foolish by every one who knew him. One day he went off from the house and did not return at the usual time when they expected him to. The family began a search for him in the woods but failing to find any trace of him they notified their neighbors and they hunted the woods day after day without the least success in locating his whereabouts. Other men who lived far away joined in the search and the hunt was continued many weeks without the least indication that would lead or give them some idea what had become of him. He simply disappeared from the face of the earth and no one could tell where he went to. There were several suppositions among the people as to his fate. A big freshet occurred in Pond Fork a day or two after the boy disappeared and it was supposed by some that he was drowned and was covered up with dirt and gravel or that wild beast had destroyed his life and they had carried his remains into a deep cave. Others thought that he had fell into a deep sink hole in the ground and was killed or was unable to climb out and died in there. His absence has remained a mystery to the present day.
SAD ACCOUNT OF A LOST CHILD
By S. C. Turnbo
A pathetic account was given me by Wess Henderson son of Christopher C. Henderson which relates to a small boy being lost in the wild woods of Taney County, Mo. and died from starvation and cold or was destroyed by wild beast. Mr. Henderson said that the boys name was Henry Smith and was between 8 and 10 years of age and was a son of Mr. Miles Smith and Sally Smith. The parents lived on the head of Lower Coney (or Big Coney) Creek that flows into Beaver from the east side. Their residence was some 10 miles from Beaver. The child was weakly and had been sick most of its life. One Sunday morning in the month of March 1868 while the Smith and the Tom Ellison children were out playing together the older ones proposed to go off some distance from the house and gather the gum of the resin weed to chew. The little boy Henry started to go with them and they thinking it was too weak to keep up with them scolded the little fellow and tried to make him go back to the house. The parents had went on a visit of 7 or 8 miles from home and had left the children alone, and they and the Ellison children had got together that morning among Ellisons children were two twin boys named Saul and Thomas and one girl 13 years old named Jane. The child did not return back to the house as expected but followed on behind them crying and it seems that they made no effort to care for it. There was a gun and an ax which the party had carried with them and being anxious to catch squirrels and rabbits as well as collect resin they hurried on out of sight of the little helpless boy. When they returned back home in the afternoon they found that the child was gone and they give the alarm, and runners were sent to notify the neighbors. The country was sparsely settled but the news spread rapidly and the hardy sons of Taney County turned out willingly to search for the little lost boy. A heavy rain fell on Sunday night following the day the boy had wandered off but notwithstanding this Tom Ellison and John Ingram went all the way in the rain to notify the parents. Day after day was spent by a large number of the citizens in a close search for the bewildered boy, but their search was in vain. The rough hills and deep hollows was over run with timber wolves panther and other wild beast and there was danger that the boy would come in contact with one of these wild animals and be destroyed or it would perish from cold and hunger. This spurred the men to a more unceasing hunt in the deep recesses of the mountains. A number of the men continued the hunt after night, but no tidings of the child fell in possession of the parties. The search was not for some relaxed but after many days the whereabouts of the child was given up and decided that it was slain by a wild animal and its remains had been carried into some cave and the remains of the child or its clothing would probably never be discovered. The men who had engaged themselves so unceasingly in hunting for the little boy were now discouraged returned to their respective home and nothing was heard of the child until one day 3 months after he was gone when my father Christopher Henderson while out hunting in a rough hollow that runs into Coney Creek and near 5 miles from where the child had wandered away discovered a boys coat and on looking around he saw a small black wool hat and picking up the coat and hat he hung them up on the limb of a tree. Being convinced that the articles belonged to the unfortunate child he started immediately to notify the mother of the child when her and other parties guided by my father started on the following morning and soon reached the spot where my father found the coat and hat and the woman recognized them as belonging to her boy. But instead of thanking my father for discovering them and notifying her she proceeded to Forsyth the county seat of Taney County and attempted to prosecute him for picking up the coat and hat and leaving them hanging on the limb of the tree. She claimed that he ought not of touched them, but the lawyer who she had consulted advised her not to follow such an unfair course and that she ought to feel under obligations to my father for finding the articles and informing her of it, and she did not proceed any further with the case in bringing suit against him. In a few days after this a thorough search was made by some of the citizens and the skull bone, parts of the back bone and one of the shin bones and a thigh bone were found lying in the bed of the hollow some distance below where the garments were found. A few days after this the mother of the child found other parts of the back bone, some of the rib bones and fragments of some other parts of its clothes. It was evident that the little unfortunate waif had taken shelter under a ledge of rock and had died there from hunger or had chilled to death from the effects of the cool temperature or had been slain by a wild beast and appearances indicated that after the child was dead its body had been dragged from under the ledge of rock to the bed of the hollow which was nearby where the remains were found. Among the citizens who taken a deep interest in the search were John Ingram, Mort Ingram, Tom Ellison and John Mosely. There were 25 and 30 men out in the woods from the time the news of the lost child had spread over the country until they quit hunting for it. Mr. Mosely who had taken a very active part in the search said that he had rode near the ledge of rock where the boy had got under while on the hunt but he had rode on the upper side of it.”
Mrs. Orr a widow informed the writer that the bones of the child were enclosed in a wooden box and were kept out of the ground by the mother until one of her other children died with consumption and the body of their child and the bones of the other one was taken to the Isaac Brown Grave Yard on ½ mile above the Keesee Mills on Beaver Creek and buried. I am told that Miles Smith the father of the child was dead when this sad incident took place.
SAD FATE OF ISAAC JOHNSON
By S. C. Turnbo
Near ¼ of a mile up the hollow from Dugginsville in Ozark County, Mo. following the road leading to Pontiac the road crosses the hollow where there is a flat rock. At this crossing is the mouth of another hollow which comes in from the north side called the Board Tree Hollow. Some distance up this last named hollow is where Isaac Johnson was shot and killed accidently while he and T. J. (Tom) Johnson were out together in the woods one Sunday in August 1884. Isaac was a brother of W. C. (Carl) Johnson and a son of Sam Johnson who years ago lived on what is now Jess Heard Farm in the fork of Little North Fork and Brattons Spring Creek. The details of this sad and unfortunate affair was told me by Tom Johnson himself who I met at the Oak Grove School House 8 miles east of Broken Arrow in the Indian territory on Sunday June 24 1906. Mr. Johnson said that he was willing to give me a history of the case and says, “I am a son of Wm. (Bill) and Sirrilda (Ford) Johnson. I was born in White County Tennessee March 10, 1855. Some three years after I was born my parents moved into Missouri and lived in Ozark County and stayed some time on the Sam Johnson Place at the mouth of Spring Creek.” In speaking of the death of Isaac Johnson he said that “one Saturday night there was a dance in a grove near where Mrs. (Laura) Schofield now lives and I was present there. During the night Dr.. Bell handed me his pistol to hold while he took a hand in the dance. The pistol was the Doctor Smith and Weston make with 38 caliber. When he gave me the weapon I buckled the belt around my waist so as to hold it more easily and kept it until he quit dancing. But when the dance broke up Bell did not ask for the pistol and I forgot to give it to him and it remained in my possession. On the following day which was Sunday I and Isaac Johnson went into the woods together to hunt for a horse on the range to break stubble with. It was a 3 year old sorrel horse and if I mistake not it belonged to Johnson which we intended to ride turn about. While we were fixing to start Isaac remarked “As we are going out to hunt a horse in place of a deer I will not take a gun with me”. I decided not to take one too but concluded to take Bells pistol with me because I had it in my possession. We remained together until we got out on the ridge that divides the head of the Peter Cave Hollow and the right prong of Cedar Creek that mouths in at Dugginsville. Here at the head of the Board Tree Hollow I and Isaac stopped to consult together and we agreed that it was best to separate in order to have a better chance to find the horse. Isaac was riding at the time and he dismounted and told me to get up on the horse which I did just before we started again, Isaac pointed down the hollow and says, “Tom, there is a little spring on the side of a hill below here and I will go down by this spring and see if any horses has been there to water lately and I will meet you on the point of the hill beyond the spring and if you will you can ride a circle and come around to the point of the hill mentioned” and we both started. I going off in the direction he requested me to do and he going in the direction he said the spring was. Of course I intended to meet him at the place designated. But not very long after I and Isaac had parted I saw a deer jump tip out of the grass where it had been lying down and run down the hill angling across from me. I was not near the place where I and Isaac had agreed to meet and not thinking he was so close to me I held the pistol in my hand and pointed it toward the deer while it was running. The animal after running a short distance stopped behind a small bunch of sumack bushes where I could see only a little part of the deer’s body but I took aim at the part that was in view and fired. At the report of the pistol I was horrified to hear someone halloo as it in trouble. The distressed voice come from beyond where the deer was standing which now ran off. The moment I heard the cry of pain it struck me that I had shot Isaac Johnson instead of the deer. I leaped off of the horse and ran to where the noise eminated from and found Johnson lying on the ground in a dying condition. He was unconscience and not able to speak. I made all the efforts I could to get him to speak to me but the fatal bullet had done its work and he was entirely dead in a few seconds after I had reached him. The ball had entered his body at the left nipple. He had breathed his last. He could tell me nothing and the worst of it I had killed the poor fellow accidently. It was a trying time to me. His soul had took its flight from the body. He had passed to the other shore, and oh God I had killed him – not intentionally but through mistake and an accident for little did I think that he was so near me and in range of my pistol and an a direct line beyond the deer from me. Just a short time before this I and him were together and enjoying ourselves. But now he is dead and I am bowed down in grief. That hour was the worst one I ever experienced in my life. It was dreadful to me. There was no settlements near there then and I knew it was my duty to let it be known as soon as possible and I rose to my feet and ran back to where I had left the horse and leaped astride of his back and urged him along as fast as he could go over the rough ground until I arrived at Mrs. Laura Schofields and related the sad story to her and begged her to go break the news to his wife whose name was Vinnie and who lived ½ mile from there. Isaac was killed in the forenoon.”
The writer will add that the neighbors repaired to the spot where Johnson lay dead, and took the remains home and prepared it for burial and the body received interment in the grave yard at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek. A short time after he was buried the authorities held an inquest at the grave without exhuming the body. Several witnesses were examined and it was the writers understanding that the decision was that Johnson come to his death by the hands of Tom Johnson through an accident. The name “Isaac Johnson” cut on the head rock which is a native stone indicates where the body rests.
A DESPERATE FIGHT AMONG A SMALL BAND OF INDIANS
BY S. C. Turnbo
When Fayetteville, Arkansas, was a small town it was frequently visited by bands of Indians who indulged in the free use of whisky and fights. Mr. Joshua Baker, an old pioneer of Washington County, gives the following incident which is only one among so many disturbances in that noted place in the early days of its history. Mr. Baker said that when he was a little more than 4 years of age or in the early part of 1841, his father taken him up behind him one day and rode into Fayetteville. “Soon after our arrival in the village I seen 20 Indians, men and women, marching through the village in single file. They went directly to Bill McGar’s Grocery Store where there was plenty of whisky for sale. When the front Indian, who was a man, reached the door of the grocery he stopped and the remainder of the men and women closed up and when they had all stopped the third man in the file stepped out of the line and walked into the grocery and was gone only a few moments, when he returned to the door with a glass full of liquor in his hand and passing outside he handed the glass of liquor to an Indian woman who had marched just behind him and she put the glass to her lips and did not stop until she had emptied the glass of its contents and then she handed the glass back to the man, and he went back into the grocery. While he was gone another Indian man who stood just behind the woman that had just gulped down the glass of whisky stepped out of line and placed himself at the side of the grocery store door with a two edged dirk knife in his hand and just as the Indian with the glass full of whisky in his hand had stepped out at the door he darted in front of him and plunged the keen pointed blade of the knife into the left side of his neck or between the neck and collar bone and jerked it out instantly and the blood spurted 5 feet high and the Indian fell and expired immediately. The result was a big uproar among the other Indians and a battle between them began at once. A number of white men were present and some of them took a hand in the fight. Though encounters between the Indians in the early days was common and combats between the white settlers were not scarce. As young as I was then I had already witnessed several fights before this one, but among all encounters between men this one was the most cruel I ever saw. When it commenced my father picked me up and placed me on the top of a queensware hogshead which sitting endways in front of Sutton’s store where I had a fair view of the fight. I can assure you that it was a hot and bloody one. Knives guns and clubs were used indiscriminately and when the battle ended 4 Indians lay dead on the ground and 5 more were desperately wounded and soon died. Other Indians and a few white men were slightly wounded. The moans of the dying and the dead and wounded as they lay together before they were removed and the stir among the survivors presented a scene never to be forgotten until my eyes closes in death,” said Mr. Baker as he closed this interesting account of blood and death on that eventful day.
CHASED BY A BAND OF INDIANS
By S. C. Turnbo
One mile west of Elbow Creek in Taney County, Mo., is a bald hill called “Poor Joe.” There is nothing remarkable in the formation of this moundlike hill, but it possesses a name which it has borne since the early settlement of the country. Though while “Poor Joel” is not a tall eminence yet it is so situated that a pretty view from its top is obtainable and the common scenery of this part of the Ozarks are observed such as wooded hills, glades, bald knobs and prairie hollows. Looking southward and southwest and south of west many of the hills in Marion, Boone and Carroll Counties, Arkansas, are plainly visible. Many years in the long ago when herds of deer fed on the tender herbs and big flocks of wild turkeys grew fat on wild onions and wild grapes and the seeds of other vegetation the busy hunter feasted on wild meat and did not do without his coffee as long as he had a deer hide to sell. At that time it was common to encounter large groups of deer in the Elbow hills. It was a pretty sight to see so many of them together. Mr. C. S. (Calvin) Vance says that he saw a large herd of deer once on the side of this bald knob. “Though I was not able to make out their exact number,” said he “yet there were not less than 150 of them. I sat on my horse and watched their movements which were very interesting and wonderful to me. The whole group appeared so busy that they aid not notice me. They were jumping and running around each other and every one seemed to try to go through with the most antic actions. The sight of these playful animals were so attractive that I almost imagined that I was in a land of fairies where the supposed beautiful objects had assumed the form of the fleet deer. This fascinating view of these lovely creatures could not last always for after awhile the entire bunch took fright and the charm was broken. They ran down the hill toward me making a loud racket with their feet as they passed over the rough ground. I held my horse quiet until they were near me then I thought they would run over my horse and myself. It was now that my horse took fright and came near bucking me off. When the horse began to kick, plunge and tried to run away the deer seen me and scattered like leaves tossed about by the wind. Some of the animals passed in less than a half a dozen yards of me. I had an excellent rifle with me but my mind was so absorbed with delight in watching the deer while they were frolicking that I resisted the temptation of shooting one of them and it was too late to shoot after they took their scare and were running off and my horse trying his beat to unseat me.”
There was a time when big game existed here and this reminds me of a bear story which we think is worthy of place in these sketches. The account of it was told me by “thresher” Bill Yocum who said that when he was 25 years old or in 1839 he and Joe Coker son of Len Coker while on a camp hunt together on Elbow Creek killed a bear in the face of the bluff near the creek bottom which was then covered with cane and was known by the early hunters as cane bottom. Mr. Yocum said that their two dogs routed a bear out of the cane in this bottom and after chasing it awhile it ran around and went into the face of the bluff and stopped under a shelving rock just above a high cliff of rock. We hurried on and when we reached the top of the bluff we rushed down toward where the dogs were baying the bear. Each of us was trying to keep in the advance of the other in order to put in the first shot at the bear. As we ran down we seen bruin run out from under the overhanging rock and strike at a dog with his paw but the dog dodged the stroke and the bear went back under the rock. The face of the bluff was steep and rough and in my haste I fell and went rolling down. I made every effort in my power to clutch to something to make fast to for I was in iminent danger of going over the ledge where the bear was and go on over the precipice, but just as I reached the brink of the ledge I anchored up against a sapling. At this moment the bear made its appearance the second time to mix with the dogs. Joe reached the top of the ledge about the time I hit the sapling and seeing the opportunity he sent a bullet into the bear’s head and bruin dropped. When he fell the two dogs pitched onto it and dead bear and dogs went rolling and sliding down to the brink of the precipice and all went over together. We supposed the dogs were killed in the fall. After making our way down to the edge of the precipice we looked over and to our delight the dogs were alive. The bear was lying broadside and both dogs were on it trying to get a fight out of the dead animal. We went around to where we could descend to the base of the bluff and went to where the bear and dogs were and found that neither one of the dogs were hurt. We supposed that the reason they escaped injury was that the bear being the heaviest struck the ground first and the dogs had fell on it. The part of the bear which hit the rough stones was badly bruised and the meat was unfit for use. The killing of this bear occurred not very far from this knob.
There is an old time tradition in connection with this bald hill which the old settlers said was true. But the occurrence of it was so long ago that it is almost impossible at this late day to obtain an accurate account of it. But the story was told about this way.
Joe Coker, an uncle of the one mentioned above, and who we have said elsewhere was among the first settlers on White River. He had married in Alabama and his wife died in that state. The issue of that marriage was two sons and two daughters. William (Prairie Bill) and Herrod were the names of his two sons and Sally and Betsey were the names of his girls. Coker’s wife was a daughter of Bob Brown, another old time settler on White River. Soon after the death of his wife Joe married a Cherokee Indian woman named Aney (not Annie), but during the year previous to his marriage to this woman he sent his children and Negro slaves to White River in charge of his brother, Charles Coker, who reached the Sugar Loaf country in 1813 and as we have said before Joe Coker himself came here in 1814. His father, William (Buck) Coker, pitched his tent on the north bank of White River January the 8th, 1815. The spot where he located is now the Dave McCord farm in Jake Nave Bend and is embraced in Boone County, Arkansas. It was told by the settlers that after Joe took up his abode on White River he was not contented with one Indian wife and took unto himself another one of the name of Cynthiana. She was a daughter of John Rogers, a white man who had married a full blood Cherokee woman. Many years after the occurrence of the story we have in mind Aney lived on the river and “Cyntha” lived in the Sugar Loaf Prairie. It was said that after Coker showed his affections for the second Indian woman the Indiana, who were numerous here at that time but were friendly, become greatly incensed at Joe’s conduct for having one too many wives of their kindred and made up their minds to put him out of the way. But Coker understood the enmity they held against him and was constantly on the lookout for them to prevent them taking the advantage of him and thus it went on for some time when finally a bunch of the Indians got the drop on him and thought his scalp was in their grasp. It is told that Coker and others had went to Elbow Creek to kill bear. The majority of the men were afoot. It appears that a small band of Indiana were hunting here at the same time which was unknown to Coker and his friends. The Indians were all afoot and carried their bows and arrows and tommyhawks. One day while Uncle Joe was hunting alone on the west side of the creek the Indians discovered and recognized him. He in turn knew that they were his enemies. Joe had his rifle and hunting knife. The band of Indians raised the war whoop and charged toward him. Knowing he had no chance for his life in contending against so many Coker reserved his fire and fled. The woods were open—that is it was divided into belts of trees and prairies without undergrowth or thickets or bresh. Coker was in the prime of life and stout and vigorous and he bounded along through the tall grass like a deer pursued by a pack of hounds. As he ran he looked back and perceived that the yelling band was gaining on him. This was not a good omen and he did his utmost to accelerate his speed. On came the noisy Indians who were thirsting for his blood and scalplock. Uncle Joe was not ready to surrender his life and he knew that his safety depended on his legs and he made good use of them. The pursuing Indians yelled like demons and let fly several arrows at the retreating form of Coker but they went wide of their mark. The fast racing white man had no time to stop and exchange shots with the red men for his business lay rolling from there and that in a hurry. It was not long before the man drew near this bald hill. It lay directly in his course but he kept straight forward up the slope. Coker was afraid to turn to the right or left for fear the Indiana might head him off. By this time the white man was becoming tired and his breath was coming and going at much shorter intervals than common and before reaching the summit the Indians gained on him rapidly and as the pursued and pursuers went rushing along over the top of the knob the latter came near overhauling their intended victim. Thinking he would have to face death Joe thought he would stop and sell out to his enemies as dear as possible, but at this moment the red men thinking he was a a good as theirs yelled the louder which put new life in Joe’s system and without halting he renewed his running power to keep in advance of his foes. A few of the fleetest Indians had dashed forward ahead of their companions and were almost in the act of striking him with their tommyhawks, when Coker threw down his rifle which impeded his progress and cried out in a loud voice as he ran, “Poor Joe”, “Poor Joe” a half a dozen times or more for he believed he was a goner this time sure. By this time the white man and the foremost Indians had reached the slope on the opposite side from where he ran up and being relieved of his rifle he was now in better running order and he bounded along down the hillside like a rubber ball and soon outstripped the angry savages. Part of the Indians stopped to pick up Joe’s rifle and exult over the possession of it. Of course when these Indians halted it gave the man some advantage and he made good use of it. When the other red men stopped the fleetest ones clacked their speed and slowed up. Very soon Coker looked back again and seen the Indians far in the rear. But he kept up the race when finally he lost sight of them. But on he went as fast as he could run over the rough ground and across glades, small prairies and wooded ridges. It was a desperate race. He looked back again but his pursuers if they were still following him were not in his sight. His strength was nearly exhausted and he could run but little further until he rested. Seeing a fallen tree a few yards ahead which had been blown down by a windstorm during the summer and he sought its friendly shelter of limbs and dead foliage and lay in concealment until his almost exhusted organs of respiration could equalize the circulation of blood then he poked his head out of the tree top and finding the coast was clear left his hiding place and went on and escaped. No doubt the Indians could have followed him to his place of refuge in the treetop for he had left a plain trail behind him in the rank grass, but fortunately for him they abandoned the chase and turned in another direction. This bald hill was called Poor Joe from that day and retains the name to the present time. More than likely this name will never be changed as long as the little brooklet which flows on the east side of it is called Elbow Creek.
ATTACKED BY A SMALL BAND OF INDIANS
By S. C. Turnbo
A number of years before Marks and Kelly built a little mill at the mouth of Little North Fork in Marion County, Ark., Jake Friend and Polly Friend, his wife, lived here. But I am reliably informed that Bill Howard was the first settler at this mill site. Howard came from Kentucky. Howard called his wife “Sis.” She died many years before the breaking out of the Civil War and is buried in the Asa Yocum graveyard opposite the Bull Bottom. When Mr. Friend came to the mouth of Little North Fork he planted a quantity of peach and apple seeds that he had brought with him. When the young scions were old enough to transplant he put them out and the scions grew to be fine fruit trees and this orchard bore tine fruit and was noted one for many years. During Mr. Friend’s residence here a band of drunken Indians entered the cabin one day to massacres the family, but before the Indians were able to make a beginning of their bloody work they were foiled by one of the white men who was in the house who snatched up a billet of wood and knocked the leader of the Indians down and the other Indiana left the cabin in haste. The leader or subchief when he rose on his feet and seeing that all his friends had deserted him and that by this time the white people had armed themselves for defense sneaked out of the house and joined the band and they all went on their way without giving the family any more trouble.
GAMBLING WITH THE INDIANS
By S. C. Turnbo
On the right bank of White River just below the mouth of Trimble’s Creek in Franklin township, Marion County, Arkansas, is the old farm once known as the Tom Brown place. Here on this land long before any white people lived in this bottom the Indians had a big village here and the fame of this Indian encampment traveled afar off. The camp extended from Trimble’s Creek down to the mouth of Becca’s Branch. Allin Trimble was a little fellow while these Indians lived here. His father, William Trimble, lived in the bottom on the north side of the river on the old George Fritts place that the writers father bought of Mr. Fritts in the summer of 1859. Jess Yocum lived on this same land above the sloo. Trimble lived below the sloo. Jess Yocum visited the Indian camp frequently and gamble with the Indians and win deer hides, beads and moccasins from the red men at a game called chuckaluck. Allin Trimble informed me that he would visit the Indian’s village of nights with his uncle Jess Yocum and Yocum would remain and gamble with the red men until late at night before leaving. “Mr. Yocum would go to the camp on horseback when the river was fordable and I would ride behind him. When the river was past fording we would cross in a dugout canoe and walk down to their camp,” said Mr. Trimble.
STORIES OF THE SHAWNEE INDIANS
By S. C. Turnbo
It is said that at the breaking out of the war between the United States and England in 1812 the Shawnee Indians were divided into two tribes. The majority favored Great Brittain. The remainder favored the United States. If I am not misinformed the Shawnees formerly inhabited a strip of country reaching through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The part of the tribe friendly to the United States were headed by Chief Lewis. The famous Chief Tecumseh commanded those who took aides with England. I am told that many years ago that White River from a few miles above Batesville to some distance up this stream was ceded to the Cherokee Indians. This was called the Cherokee Grant. But it is told the tribe never occupied it. Whose fault it was I am not able to say. Lewis’ Indians were brought to it about 1819. There were about 2,OOO of them of all sexes and ages. These Indians divided into three parties and each had a village on the river. One town was situated at the mouth of Livingston’s Creek. Another village was somewhere near the mouth of Pine Bayou and the other a few miles below mouth of Big North Fork. Finally several Indians located where Yellville, Arkansas, now stands on Crooked Creek. Everyone acquainted with the history and nature of Indians understood their greed and love for whiskey. An incident of this kind which shows their ungovernable temper for fire water was told by old timers and occurred at the mouth of Livingston Creek near where Mount Olive is now. Two white men of the name of McCoy and Bill Clifton brought a barrel of whiskey up the river in a large canoe. The Indians were on the alert and learned of the whiskey being aboard before the arrival of the canoe. As the men with their canoe hove in sight of the village the Indians began stirring around lively. The white men suspicioned that the red men were aware of the barrel of whiskey being in the canoe and they hovered as close to the opposite shore as the water would permit with the hope that they would not be molested. In a short time a crowed of Indians had collected on the shore and gave the two white men a sign to bring the canoe to their side of the river, but they refused and pushed the canoe along as fast as they could. The Indians seeing that the white men had disobeyed their sign a lot of them ran along the bank ahead of the canoe then waded across the river and captured the canoe by superiority of numbers. Clifton was brave and stood in defense of his craft and bill of lading, but the other fellow leaped into the water and retreated to shore and ran into the forest. Clifton did his utmost to prevent the surging crowd of Indians from taking the barrel of whiskey and fought them desperately with hie canoe pole, but they were too many for him and he was compelled to yield. The Indians dragged the canoe to their side of the river where their village stood and rolled the barrel ashore and turned the man and his craft loose. Clifton’s temper was wrought up to a high pitch. He was angry enough to have cleaned out the whole crowd of Indians if it had lay in his power, but seeing now that further resistance was useless he left the shore silent and disgusted. A few of the wiser heads in the village saw what was coming for the whole village would soon be in a drunken row and they hurriedly collected all the arms in the village and put them together and stood guard over them with clubs. All the ballance of the Indians, little, big, old and young, got drunk and kept up a terrible yell night and day for half a week. During their drunken carousel a few whites visited them but they were careful to avoid trouble with them. Clifton visited them too and sought revenge for the loss of his barrel of whiskey at the moment he would catch a drunken Indian away from camp he would knock him down and stomp him then let him up and wait for another one to come along and he would treat him likewise.
When the Indians occupied Shawnee town where the fine little city of Yellville was afterward built they were a lively crowd. White settlers visited them from far and near. The Indians erected several small huts mostly of cedar logs. They covered these with boards 6 feet long with about two couses to the side. It is told that the Indians notched their logs on top instead of the bottom like white people do. John H. Tabor, who died near Powel, Ark., in 1902, and Allin Trimble, who died in 1889, told some interesting stories concerning these Indians, especially about their green corn dances which occurred annually about roasting ear time either at Shawnee town or at their village just below mouth of Big North Fork. A noted Indian by the name of Bob lived at the latter village. Jake Wolf and Stalling and Dearmond had a trading post at mouth of North Fork and when the Indians would arrange for a dance at the village below the trading post a goodly number of Indians would go down there from Shawnee town and have a gay time dancing and getting drunk. Trimble and Tabor said they were present on several occasions when these dances occurred. In describing the dancing floor they said the Indians would make a ring about 150 feet in circumference and clean the ground off nice in the circle similar to an old fashioned wheat yard that the settlers use to tromp their wheat out on with horses. When all the arrangements for the dance was complete the performance began. One of the Indians beat a drum made of a hollow log that had been hollowed out until the walls were thin. The ends were covered with dry hide. As the drum would be beat the Indians would dance and half march around on the yard once then face about and go back the other way. As they did so they would sing or chant. They would have their leggins filled loosely with small pebbles and mussel shells which rattled together as they danced and hopped around the circle. This combined with chants and noise made by beating the drum including the action of the performers was a scene of fun and curiosity. They would not dance long before they stopped and filled their bolls of their pipes that was fixed in their tommyhawks with tobacco or a substitute if they did not have tobacco and sit down and after lighting their pipes would take a puff then pass it around until every Indian took a draw from each pipe then they would rise and go on with the dance. This was repeated several times before they become weary of their work. If whites were present they would invite them onto the floor to dance with them. If they accepted the Indians would make sport of their awkwardness. If the whites smoked with them the Indians considered them friends. Allin Trimble said he was present one day while a green corn dance was going on at Shawnee town and one of the Indians got beastly drunk and was unruly and boisterous. Some of the other Indians tried to quiet him but failed. After enduring his recklessness awhile longer they all quit dancing long enough and with buck skin thongs they tied his hands and feet together like tieing a hog and picked him up and dumped him into the shade of a tree where he was allowed to remain until he was sober enough to behave himself. After the Indians vacated their huts some of the whites occupied them. It is told that Ben Woods lived in one of these cabins several months. The settlers called him Cedar Wood after that because the Indian hut he occupied was built of Cedar. Ben was a brother of William Woods, the first county judge of Marion County. The settlers called Judge Wood “Dancin Bill” because he was considered the best dancer in the county. Mrs. Mary A. Holt, before her death at Lead Hill, Ark., told an amusing anecdote which is too good to be lost which occurred at Shawnee town, now Yellville, Ark., after the greater number of Indians had gone west. Mrs. Holt said that her grandfather, Jimmie Adams, settled in the river bottom 2 ½ miles above big North at an early date. Some years after his arrival here he built a little mill on a small stream supplied with a fine spring of water. One of his sons named Matt usually attended the mill. In 1838 the country was visited by a protracted drouth and corn crop was short. In the following year several settlers done without bread. My grandfather instructed Matt if a customer come to the mill with a small amount of corn in his sack and was without means to buy bread not to toll it but put a tall dish full in his sack and grind it free of toll.” Mrs. Holt went on to say that before Mr. Adams built this mill Jess Everette built a little mill on Mill Creek just south of the Indian village where Daniel Wickersham built his mill afterward. Everette’s mill was the first one built in what is now known as Marion County, Ark. “One day,” said Mrs. Holt, grandfather and one of his black slaves named Jess went to Everette’s mill on horseback. Jess the colored boy did not love Indians and did not appreciate the idea of being in their presence. As it was some distance to mill Mr. Adam’s was late in the day before arriving. While waiting for his grist grandfather took the negro boy and rode into the Indian village. Some of the Indians were preparing a repast by broiling fresh meat on the fire and when they got ready to dine they invited grandfather to eat with them. The invitation was accepted. The Indians also invited the young negro to share their generosity. But he declined without saying anything. The Indiana were kind and friendly and kept insisting on the colored boy to eat with them, but he shied off for he was afraid of them. The Indians told him that the meat was good and well cooked on the live coals of fire and that he was welcome to all that he could eat. But they could not prevail on him to speak much less to eat. At last the Indians grew impatient and offended at the stubborn boy and one of the Indians exclaimed in broken English., “White man leetle better than injun. Injun lettle better than nigger. Nigger leetle better than dog.” The cutting remark cast toward the lad created a roar of laughter among the Indians and grandfather joined in with them and he took many merry laughs about it for years afterward. When Jess was grown he was a religious turn of mind and turned out to be a Baptist preacher and lived at Springfield, Mo. a few years after the war.”
AN OLD INDIAN CAMP GROUND
By S. C. Turnbo
On the night of the 29-30 of June, 1876, an unusually heavy rain fell in Ozark County, Mo., nearly 4 inches of water fell in a few hours and Little North Fork went wild with high water which swept over the creek bottoms and fencing and soil was rushed downstream. The skeletons of Indians and Indian relics were washed up and exposed to view on the farm at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek. This land had been a camping place for the Indians. Some of the skeletons were found to be on a level with the fire places. Others lay a little below. All the bones were unusually large, much above the average size of the white race and were very brittle or rotten which indicated that they had lain in the ground many years. Apparently the bodies had been dumped in the ground in all kinds of shape. Old timers who said that they had visited this bottom during the first settling up of the country found a thick heavy growth of timber here. But it was never known to be an Indian encampment until after the freshet of June, 1876. Pieces of Indian pottery, arrowheads and war clubs were picked up all over the camp. After the great overflow in the creek on March 25, 1904, which was claimed by some to be 3 feet higher than the rise of 1876, more Indian bones and war impliments were found on this same ground.
A PRAYING INDIAN CHIEF AND OTHER
STORIES OF THE RED MEN
By S. C. Turnbo
Those who take an interest in reading Indian tales will find this chapter devoted to a few stories of this kind. W. L. Sanders, son of Allin and Elizabeth (Tucker) Sanders, who were early residents on Lick Creek below the present site of Gainsvilles Mo., informed me one day in May, 1895, that some years before this that one day while he was breaking or turning land in the river bottom on the south side of White River on what is now the Abe Newton land two miles and a half below Paces Ferry in Marion County, Arkansas. The point of the plow struck a rock and he stopped and made an investigation and dug out two sand stones that were square in shape, one of which was larger than the other. A basin or bowl had been scalloped out of the center of each stone that would hold three gallons each. A complete Indian skeleton was unearthed that had lay under the two stones. The smaller stone had been placed on the Indians head with the larger one on the chest with both basins next to the skeleton. A scalping knife was clasp by the fingerbones of one hand. A tommyhawk and 20 arrowhead spikes were found near the man’s shoulder. Nearly ¼ of a mile from this grave another skeleton was plowed up where another stone had been placed in the grave without being dressed off. But a tommyhawk made of brown flint and a scalping knife of white flint were found with the skeleton and several arrowheads were taken out from where the bones lay. Some 20 paces from this last a cotton rock two feet in length and 10 inches broad with the letter was carved across one end of the stone. The stone was plowed up in 100 yards of where Dave Hall built his cabin in 1820.
As I end this brief sketch I am reminded of another one told me by Raleigh Austin, an early resident on Crooked Creek, who stated that one day in the early 50’s he was traveling over a trail on Bull Creek which flows into White River 16 miles above Forsyth, Mo. By following the course of the river, came to a large tree with the figure of an Indian armed with his bow and arrow carved in the bark of the tree. On the opposite side of the tree the figure of a bear had been cut in the bark. Mr. Austin said these figures were a curiosity and he dismounted and examined them a half an hour without being able to solve them. Remounting again he rode on a few miles and met a settler and made inquiry of the man if he knew why the figures were cut on the tree. The settler informed him that many years before, an Indian warrior killed a bear at this same tree with his bow and arrows and the Indian cut the image of himself and bear on the tree to mark the spot where the bear was slain and to commemorate the deed.
Zeke Eslick, who died near Arno, Mo., several years ago said that when Art Eslick, his father, settled in Douglas Co., Mo., in 1839 there were bands of Indians passing through that section. Mr. Eslick tells a short story of his father being out hunting one day near his house on Beaver Creek. “It was in the month of March, a forest fire had swept through there a week previous, the fire had passed through a big harle thicket and burned up the harle bushes, leaving the sharp stubs sticking out above the ground. As he walked along he heard the report of a rifle toward the burned over ground where the thicket had stood. A low hill lay between him and the ground mentioned as the country then was so sparsely settled father thought a “new comer” had settled there, and he went over to get acquainted with him and exchange hunting stories. On approaching the ground where the thicket had been destroyed he saw an Indian limping along like he was wounded in the foot. The man was carrying a rifle and father supposed he had accidently shot himself in the foot. Father hallooed to him to stop and he did. On getting up nearer the red man gave father a sign with his hand that he had snagged his foot and sit down and held up his foot for father to examine. The snag was a harle stub. The Indian had shot and wounded a deer and while the Indian was running over the burned over spot where the thicket stood he leaped on one of these stubs and it perforated his moccasin and entered deep into the bottom of his foot and broke off. Father tried to pull the snag out but failed. Then the Indian made an effort to withdraw it but he was not successful. Neither man could understand each other’s language but they made each other understand by motions and other signs. The snag stuck out a half an inch and it was causing the Indian much pain but he never evinced it by a groan or a frown. Father did all he could to pull it out of the man’s foot but his efforts were fruitless. At last the Indian give father a sign how to get it out and that was to place the priming pan of his rifle under and up against the end of the snag where it protruded from the foot and he made father understand that the frirsen could be made to act as pincers and while father pressed the frirsen hard against the snag which rested on the priming pan the Indian pulled back with his foot and the snag come out. The job of extracting the snag was rough and painful but not a murmur fell from the Indians lips. The length of the snag was 1 ¼ inches, which showed that it had run into the foot ¾ of an inch. The wound bled and the Indian squeezed all the blood out he could and bound up the wound and with more signs he give father to understand that he felt very grateful to him for his timely aid in the rude surgical operation, then he started on the trail of the wounded deer again and soon discovered it lying down and shot it the second time and killed it. This Indian belonged to a band that was passing through and several of them had scattered through the woods to shoot deer.”
Mr. Beden Eslick, who was also an early settler on head of Beaver Creek in Douglas County and who come there 5 years earlier than Zeke Eslick, told me that one day soon after he come there a band of Cherokee Indians stopped a few days on Beaver Creek to hunt. The chief or head man of the party had a small son with him that he was teaching to be chief when lie become older. One day during their stop here the chief and his little boy and a few other Indians come to our house to buy spit which article was very scarce here then and high in price. The chief was an expert dancer but he refused to dance unless he was payed for it. After father sold him a small quantity of salt and the Indian had paid for it in furs’. father told him if he would dance awhile he would Rive him some salt extra. The Indian appeared to be pleased at the offer and fell to dancing at once and danced all over the yard before he let up. The father invited all the Indians into his cabin. After they all got in the house the chief told the boy to beat on the back of a chair with an arrow, and while the boy was beating in a rough like way on the chair his father danced on the floor which was made of very rough puncheons. “I was only a boy myself then” said Mr. Eslick, “and I remember how greatly I was amused at the Big Indian’s capers he out while the boy beat on the chair. The Indian could beat a white man dancing two to one. Though we could not understand their dialect, but we understood their signs. They were all very friendly and peaceably disposed. A few days after this the men of this band went out in the hills to kill big game and was gone several days. My two brothers, John and Sam, were older than I and they requested father by signs to allow the boys to accompany them on the hunt. The boys wanted to go and father gave them permission, They said when they come back home they enjoyed being out with the red men, but they said that the religious fervor of the chief was more interesting to them than seeing the Indians go on the chase. The boys said that every night while they were in camp with the Indians the chief arose about midnight and devoted an hour in prayer. “We did not know” said they, “who he prayed to but suppose it was to the Great Spirit. Anyway it was a mighty long prayer and was repeated about the same hour each night. When he brought his devotion to an end he would wake up his little boy from his slumbers and bid him to pray and while the little fellow was engaged in prayer the father would retire on his couch of skins again and was supposed to be in the dreamy land again. The boy did not quit off short but he stayed up about as long as his father did, but finally after the religious devotion was ended he too lay down again and was soon apparently asleep once more.”
A NIGHT ALARM
By S. C. Turnbo
In relating reminiscences of the early days of Washington County, Arkansas, Mr. Johua Baker said that as late as 1840 bands of Indians over run the country while on their hunting tours or traveling from one camp to another. There were the Ridge Party and Ross Party who were hostile to each other and the members of either side had but small respect for the whites and we were in danger of being massacred. Consequently we were all afraid of them when they showed indications of going on the war path. Sometimes the Indians were the source of frightful stories when there was no occasion for it. But never the less the rumors would create excitement and confusion among the whites and the result was a precipitate flight to the deep gulches in the mountains. There is a place called Paw Paw Cave which our family fled to when Indian excitement ran high. This cave was considered a safe refuge, at least it presented evidence of giving us some show to protect ourselves from the wrath of the red skins should they attempt to attack us. I recollect that in the late fall of 1840 a big Indian scare got up among the white people and a number of them went into the mountains with their families. My parents sought the Paw Paw Cave as usual. This time Ned Talkington and his family and John Strickland and his family went with us into the cave. There were 8 of the Talkington children and two that belonged to Mr. Strickland and his wife, we also had 3 dogs with us. We children were not allowed to make any loud noise. The dogs were kept in camp and we were not allowed to light a fire only for cooking purposes, and we suffered with cold. We children that were old enough to realize the danger confronting us obeyed the orders issued by the old folks in a strict manner. We remained in this camp 3 days and nights. There was one incident that occurred while we were in camp in this cave that is still fresh in my mind. One night my father and Mr. Talkington and Mr. Strickland and my brother Russell Baker who was 6 years older than I rode out to Cane Hill 8 miles distant from camp to reconnoitre and obtain information of the hostility of the Indians. They left my brother Calvin to guard the stock and to be on the look out for the approach of Indians. Late in the night our camp was aroused by the fierce screams of a panther which had ventured up in 100 yards of camp. I was only 4 years old and I well remember that the noise of the animal made me shiver like water frogs coming out of cold water and crawling up my back. The panther gave vent to several cries before it quieted down and went off and it was now that I felt more afraid of it than I was of the Indians. Later on in the night while the men were on their return back to camp and while they were riding over a narrow trail in single file in 300 yards of camp. Mr. Talkington who was in front noticed the form of an animal stop just a few yards in advance of him that blocked his way. He stopped and the others closed up one after another behind him. Though it was dark yet the man took aim at the bulk of the beast with his gun and fired and it bounded away. We all heard the report of the gun in camp and Mr. Talkingtons wife thinking it was Indians approaching and attacking camp took fright and ran off and hid herself in a dark recess of the cave. The report of the gun seared us all but when the men got into camp we quieted down except Talkingtons wife and she was gone. My father and mother and Mr. Strickland and his wife, my two brothers Russell and Calvin and Mr. Talkington hurried out to hunt for her. The man called his wife repeatedly. She was in hearing distance but she was afraid to answer. Really she did not recognize his voice; thinking it was Indians but after a long search in the dark she was discovered and after hard persuasion she agreed to return back to the camp but she did not recover from the shook for 3 days. On the following morning after sun rise the men went to where Mr. Talkington shot at the beast and discovered its tracks which belonged to a panther. They found blood sprinkled on the ground in spots which indicated that the shot from Talkingtons gun had wounded it and with the help of the dogs they followed it up and killed it. The panther was a male and a very large one. The beast had only got a few hundred yards from where it was wounded. By this time the Indian scare proved to be a false alarm and we all went back home that day carrying the dead panther with us.”
SCARED BY THE INDIANS AND STUNG BY NETTLES
By S. C. Turnbo
Some of the early residents of Green County, Mo. was William Stacy, Joe Price, “Goody” (John) Wilkerson, Billy Fullbright, Joe Leeper, John Roberts, Beeze Hayden and Jess Boyles. Stacy came from Jackson County Tennessee in 1832 and settled on the north bank of the James River near where the old wooden bridge was built across this stream some 7 miles from Springfield. Leeper Prairie derived its name from Joe Leeper. John Roberts built a little mill near 4 miles from Springfield and Beeze Hayden succeeded Roberts in the ownership of this mill, The man Bayles was a miner and worked on the same stream that Roberts built his mill on. Away back in the early days of the James Fork of White River or soon after this stream began to be settled by the whites, the Indians would pass through on their way to the west and the white women and children were afraid of them. On one occasion a large number of Indians gathered in the settlement on the James where it passed through Green County and seared the women and children Into a hollow or deep ravine where the children got into a patch of nettles and got their feet and legs stung. Some of them began to cry so loudly that their frightened mothers had to put their hands on the little ones mouths to prevent their cries reaching the quick ears of the red men. This scared the children so dreadfully that they thought they were going to be choked to death to save them from being tortured by the Aborgines and could not see much to recommend the maternal plan of salvation. The settlers were uneasy for they expected an attack and they all congregated together with guns in hand and started and circled around through the Woods and watched the Indians until went on their way to the new lands.”
The foregoing accounts was given me by Dr. Silas S. Stacy son of Bill Stacy while he lived at Isabella Ozark Co. Mo. in 1869.
AN INCIDENT OF THE GREAT RISE IN WHITE RIVER IN 1824
By S. C. Turnbo
Seeing the old settled farms along White River calls to mind the names and residences of old time people and incidents that have transpired in the long ago. Our thoughts revert back to the time when the transparent waters of White River afforded hundreds and thousands of the finny tribe and herds of deer subsisted on the tender herbage and the howling wolf prowled around in quest of prey, and the fat bear shambled along through the cane brakes and the panther made night with its piercing screams. Wild beasts of all kinds that were natives of the Ozark hills were met with frequently. Seeing wild animals were so common with the early settlers that they were not looked on as any thing remarkable. The early day people are nearly all gone and so is the ferocious wild beast pretty near all gone now. Instead of seeing big game roaming through the forest and the ancient hunter with his old fashioned rifle and hunting dog following him, we notice that the river bottoms are converted into productive farms and here and there or on a hill we observe a little town or village. Church and school buildings are found all over the country. This is a wonderful change from the scattering settlements of the pioneer days. Though while the modern settlers of the White River Valley are making some strides in building up the country and railroads are being constructed through these hilly regions, erecting telegraph lines, and the telephone is being established all through the country and villages towns and cities are springing into existence in many quarters, yet we must not forget the pioneer settler who visited the beautiful White River and made the first move in ridding the country of wild beast and building their cabins in the gloomy shade of the forest where there was a cool spring of sparkling water.
Just below the river bottom known as the Jake Nave Bend in Boone County Ark. is a tall bluff where a precipice reaches high up to the summit. Here one day recently I had a fine view of scenery along White River for several miles which includes a birds eye view of the Nave Bend. At the lower end of this bottom is where Buck Coker pitched his tent January 8, 1815. Here on the bank of the river he and family sheltered in this tent which stood in the midst of tall cane until he could build a small cabin to protect them from the cold wintry blast. In the course of a few years Cokers wife sickened and died and she was buried near by where the dwelling stood. This was the start for a grave yard there which we have referred to so often in other sketches. Among the old time residents who lies in this village of the dead is Billy Holt and his kind and industrious wife Mary L. Or Aunt Polly Holt as she was commonly known. Here also lies their daughter Peggie wife of “River” Bill Coker, and their unmarried daughter Mary Ann. Here also lies Mary Coker Nave daughter of Ned Coker and the first wife of Jake Nave, and also Aunt Winnie wife of Ned Coker. This land is known now as the Dave McCord Farm. A short distance above this land at a fine spring of water is where Jake Nave lived and died and lies buried in the cemetery at Pro-Tem. Just below where Buck Coker lived is the mouth of Pine Hollow at the head of which is a small pinery where Ned Coker and “River” Bill Coker had their negro men to fell pine trees and out off loge of the desired length and haul them to the river at the mouth of this hollow with ox teams where the logs were made into rafts and floated down the river to Mike Yocums saw Mill in the mouth of Little North Fork where the logs were converted into lumber, and the negroes hauled it back home on ox wagons. The remarkable rise in White River in September 1824 was probably the greatest flood in this stream during the l9th century. The torrential rain storms that produced this freshet were so frequent that the hunters were driven from the forest and sought shelter in their cabins. Allin Trimble son of Bill Trimble said that he was 9 years old when this high water swept over the bottoms. At the time of its occurrence he was living with his grandfather Buck Coker. Also two other grand sons were staying with him at the time. These were “Prairie” Bill and Herrod Coker, sons of Joe Coker. Jesse Yocum son in law of Cokers was also there and when the waters began to threaten to reach the top of the bank Coker sent them all to higher ground, but Coker himself refused to go with them. The family thinking he would be willing to vacate the house when the water rose higher rested easy about him until the waters surrounded the cabin. There was no canoe available but Jess Yocum owned a fine horse he called Paddy that was a renowned swimmer. They owned other horses but Paddy was the best swimmer in the bunch. As the raging flood of water spread over the bottom Yocum swam his horse twice to the Coker dwelling and back to try to induce his father in law to leave the house but he declined. The river continued to rise rapidly and was becoming deeper every hour between the house and the hill. The family were alarmed for the safety of him and his son in law made the third trip back to the cabin to make a last effort to persuade Mr. Coker to vacate the dwelling. The raging waters had rose to the level of the floor. Driftwood was riding over the cane and lodging against the trees in the bottom. This last trip for Yocum and his faithful animal was hazardous for the current was growing swifter and deeper. When Yocum reached the house he informed his obstinate father in law that this was his last trip to try to rescue him for the current was getting to be too swift and deep to make an attempt to come back again and if he intended to leave the house at all now was the time and the old man looked at his son in law as he sat on his beautiful but wearied horse as he stood in the water over knee deep. He seemed to admire the man and appreciated his untiring energy in braving the strong and muddy current in an effort to save his life, then he cast his eyes over the great expanse of seething and foaming water that was spreading from hill to hill and then glancing his eyes once more toward his son in law he gave his consent to go and Yocum took him up behind him and reining the horses head around toward camp the horse started with his double weight and was soon in deep water but the true and ever faithful horse carried both men safely to shore. The highest stage of water reached the door head of the cabin before the flood began to subside. The family used graters to make meal for bread and after the great tide of water had spread over the field where there was a small crop of corn Mr. Cokers plucky grandsons “Prairie” Bill and his brother Herrod would ride their horses into the water where the corn was and gather the ears of corn to grate. It was interesting and certainly dangerous work for the boys to swim their horses around over the field and reach down into the water and feel for the corn and pull it off of the stock.”
Buck Coker lived in this bottom until after the big freshet in May 1844 when he went to West Sugar Loaf Creek where he died in 1855 at the extreme age of nearly 100 years. It is said that a year or more before his death he selected a spot of ground on the old Charles Coker farm for the burial of his body and his remains were the first interment in this small grave yard. According to accounts the big freshet in the river in May 1844 did not cover the bottom land where Buck Coker lived as deep as that of 1824.
A CLOUD BURST AND A BIG OVERFLOW
By S. C. Turnbo
The crests of the hills which separate the sources of Pond Fork. Big Creek and Brushy Creeks overlook a wide expanse of country. A view from here of the many hills, vales, glades and broken prairie knobs is interesting to the eye. Nature arts and scenery of rough broken mountainous country all around is a grand view to those who enjoy and admire such as is presented here. On the morning of the 14th of July 1867 this part of Taney County, Mo. was deluged with a flood of water that carried destruction and made history as it swept along. During the month of June and up to the date named the valley of Beaver Creek and other places in Southern Missouri suffered with drought. In an early hour after midnight of the 14th of July a general rain set in when later on an ugly storm cloud of great density where it apparently hung for an hour or more. Blinding sheets of lightning shot from the cloud in quick succession. The crashing peals of thunder was deafening. The electrical discharges were so great; that the earth beneath the angry cloud seemed to quiver like the tremmor of an earthquake. At last when the mass of dense black threatening clouds had gathered sufficient vapor and moisture to fullfill the work of nature it began to dissolve into water and was quickly followed by a collapse of the cloud. An enormous amount of water dropped to the earth and rushed down in great volumes on both sides of the dividing hills and filled gulches hollows and creeks to overflowing. Trees were undermined and jerked loose and drifted down the streams. Big boulders were torn from their foundations and rolled away from their resting places. Fencing and houses were swept away. The time was so soon after the war Big Creek and Pond Fork had but few settlements on them. The roar of the swollen water as it swept down Big Creek gave the few Inhabitants along this stream only a few moments of warning and they fled for their lives. Ben Jones who now is a resident of Lutie was living then on Big Creek where the old hat maker Jimmie Jones lived at the breaking out of the war lost his house and household effects and he and family narrowly escaped with their lives. The great seething mass of rushing water crushed down trees and submerged the bottom lands several feet deep and lodged piles of drift wood high up on the timber and hurled trees and biglogs into White River where some of trees stuck fast in mid stream and blocked navigation there until they were removed by a big freshet in the river. The highest stage of water in the creek lasted only a few minutes but during that time the current of water rushing out of Big Creek forced the back water in the river to reach more than a mile up stream. Parties who said they witnessed it said that in the Peter Friend Bend the water in the river went down in a roll 11 feet highs this gives some idea of the magnitude of this down pour of rain, Mr. Rufus Haskings who lived on Pond Fork, said the water was in two hundred yards of the house before they heard it coming. He and family had no time to flee to higher ground and they all climbed upstairs on to the loft. The building that Mr. Haskins and his family occupied was a stout one with 10 rounds of heavy logs. Believing the house would go and knowing they would all drown if they remained in the loft, Mr. Haskins and his wife knocked a hole through the roof of the house large enough for them to climb up through. The first roll of water reached the windows and in a few moments more it was above the windows when all at once it reached the loft and the body of the house went to pieces. Fortunately for Mr. Haskins and his family they had by this time had all got out on the roof and this held together and after it had floated 300 yards with its human freight lodged against a tree and Haskins and his wife including the children saved themselves by clutching to the limbs of the tree and remaining there until the huge roaring flood subsided enough for them to descend the tree and wade out. Sam Merritte a son in law of Mr. Haskins reached there in time to render the family valuable aid. Mr. Haskins said that he was acquainted with Pond Fork since the year 1840 and that this freshet was 15 feet higher than any previous one or afterward since the year named. There was no one living on Brushy Creek at the time of this flood and the ast amount of water that flowed down this stream did not endanger human lives. Just below the Daniel Quack Ford on Big Creek where the road leading east from Pro-tem, Mo. is a large elm tree with a hole or hollow in the body of the tree some 13 feet above the low stage of water in the creek. This hollow place in the tree was caused by the end of a big log striking against this tree during this great rise and knocking the bark off. Fine driftwood and leaves which were stuck on the tree above this mark showed that the highest water was one foot above the upper edge of this mark.
A REMARKABLE PERIOD OF ICE AND SNOW
By S. C. Turnbo
Overlooking White River and vicinity from a tall bluff makes an interesting view especially if calling to memory old time scenes and incidents on the north side of White River just above the Panther Bottom and over the line in Taney County Mo. is a high bluff where an observer commands a good view some distance up and down the river. In the early 50’s the face of this bluff was covered with a thick growth of cedars, but in the month of April 1854 while the weather was so dry, a forest fire swept over the face of this bluff and destroyed all the cedars in places. The great devouring flames as it ran through the rank grass would ignite the cedars and the flames of fire would dart up several feet above the top of the cedars and big volumes of black smoke would rise high above the summit of the bluff. The spots where this great fire reached is naked to the present day. On the opposite side of the river in the Southeast corner of Taney County, Mo. is the old farm where we lived from October 1853 to February 13, 1859. When we first moved there the dwelling houses stood on the river bank just above the mouth of the hollow. Later on or in 1856 we built new houses further back from the river on the bank of the hollow. The corner of the porch stood in a few feet of the division line between Ozark and Taney County. My father bought this land from Cage Hogan in the month of June 1853 for $525. Mr. Hogan remained here until the following spring after we moved here when he moved to Rock Bridge. A number of old timers lived here before Hogan did. Among them was old Billy Howard who it is claimed was the first settlers here then came Jess Journeygan, Peter Snapp and the Magness boys Bill and Joe also John Fisher and his Enock Fisher and Martin Johnson lived here. As I stood on the top of this bluff I call to mind the memorable cold weather and snow and ice during the months of January and February 1856. The severe weather and lasting snow made it a remarkable period. On the 23 day of January a heavy snow began falling which continued at intervals for several days. When it ended, 22 inches of snow on an average covered the ground. In places where it drifted the snow was much deeper. Men experienced great difficulty in traveling around either a foot or horseback. Women and children were compelled to remain in doors until the snow settled down a few inches. In a few days after the snow ceased falling a warm wave set in followed by a light rain which materially lowered the depth of the snow, but on the 2ed of February a severe blizzard swept over the Ozark region from the northwest and the weather turned to icy cold. On the maning of the 3rd the temperature was 180 below zero and it was 120 below on the morning of the 4th. Though the thermometer climb back to zero and above, but the weather remained so cold for several days that a hard crust of ice formed on the snow. The water in the river was hid by thick ice. Wild animals including flocks of wild turkeys crossed at will, the crust on the snow cut the deers legs so bad that they were hardly able to keep out of the hunters way. Hundreds of them were slaughtered for their hides only. The men who hunted on horse back wrapped their horses legs with leather to prevent the ice from cutting them. Deer and turkeys were soon on starvation and become very poor before the snow and ice went off which did not occur until the middle days of February when the air warmed up with south wind and rain clouds formed and a heavy rain followed. This with the melting snow soon put the river on a boom and it rose 12 feet in a few hours which broke the ice to pieces. Some of the flakes were very large and thick. The river was choked with floating ice for three days. The noise of the ice crushing and grinding together, as the swift current carried it down was heard for miles. When the biggest flecks of ice would collide against the bank they would force away tons of dirt and sand and would crush down and ride over small trees. I never witnessed such a sight before or since that time. A large number of skifts and canoes were swept downstream by the ice and water. It was said that the majority of crafts along the river were carried aways, part of which was crushed between the jamming together of ice. This calls to mind another fall of snow which occurred in the month of April 1857. The spring season of that year was cold and backward, the weather was stormy and changable at short intervals. On the 8 of April the atmosphere was oppressively warm in the forenoon which resulted in a thundergust and a light shower of rain which was soon followed by a cold blustery wind from the north west, which caused the temperature to fall rapidly. In the early hours after midnight a fierce snow storm set in. By day light of the 9th a mantle of snow nearly two inches deep lay on the ground. A few men had planted corn and it appeared strange to see the fields with a sheet of snow on them that late in the season. The snow continued to fall that day until afternoon when the weather cleared, leaving a covering of snow on the ground 3 inches deep. This snow storm was remarkable from the fact that it occurred so far southward or on the Arkansas state line. No such a storm of snow so late In the spring season has took place in this section since that date.
HOW THE GREAT METEORIC SHOWER WAS SEEN AND FELT IN
HALL COUNTY GEORGIA
By S. C. Turnbo
On the 26 of July 1906 I had an interview with “Grand Pall George W. Barnes who at that time lived near Evens Post Office in the Indian Territory. Mr. Barnes is a son of John and Sarah (Carner) Barnes and was born in Lincoln County North Carolina January 20, 1822, and was brought by his parents to Hall County, Georgia when he was less than a year old. His parents settled on Wahoo Creek a stream that flows into the Chattahooche River. They lived 18 miles north of Gainsville the county seat of Hall County. Mr. Barnes said that his father was a soldier in the war of 1812 and served under Gen. Andrew Jackson his grand father whose given name was also John served under George Washington in the war of the Revolution. Also, his grand father on his mothers side whose name was George Swim was a soldier under Gen. Washington and served through a part of the Revolutionary War. Mr. Barnes said that his father lived to be 93 years old and died in Pope County, Ark. in 1870, and is buried in the Union Church House Grave Yard 18 miles north east of Dover. His mother was 75 years old at her death and is buried in a grave yard in Forsythe County, Georgia. In refering to the great meteoric shower on the night of the 13 of November 1833, Mr. Barnes said “I was 11 years old then and we were living on Wahoo Creek where my father settled on Christmas day in 1822. I was in bed asleep while that remarkable shower occurred that night but my parents both said they witnessed it but did not wake me up and I suppose I slept just as well while it was going on as I would have done if it had never occurred. I knew nothing of it until my parents told me of it on the following morning. They said the scene of the “falling stars” was a fearful one, and supposed it was the finishing up of time and expected the earth would be consumed with fire in a few hours and that the “falling of the stars” was the fore runner of the terrible event. They told me that they did not want to wake me up to suffer the torments in the agony of suspense while waiting for the last moments of time. In speaking of the display my parents said that the fire balls were so numerous that the entire elements seemed to be filled with blazing streams of fire. I remember that on the following day” said Mr. Barnes, “a few of the settlers who lived on Wahoo Creek came to our house and I heard one of them say that he verily believed that the heavens and the lower regions were combining together and that there was no escape for the wicked. Most of people that I heard speak of it said that it was grand and fearful but more fearful than grand and could not view with pleasure and had more desire to pray while it was going on than to be pleased with the sight of it. I heard only one or two say that they understood what it was and were not afraid, with the exception of these every one expressed a different opinion”, said Mr. Barnes.
HOW A MERRY DANCE WAS CHANGED TO A DEVOTED PRAYER MEETING
By S. C. Turnbo
Among my collection of accounts of the meteoric shower that occurred on the night of the 13 of November 1833, is a description given me by Mr. George Beazley and Mrs. Elizabeth Beazley his wife. Beazley and his wife were not married at the time the display was observed but they both lived in the same neighborhood in the river bottom on the Mississippi River in Franklin County Illinoise. Each one of them said that the meteors resembled flakes of snow on fire. Part of them had the appearance of hitting the ground but they do not suppose they did only had the appearance of it. Some people in their neighborhood said the falling stars did strike the ground and burst but the majority who claimed this was soared. Some claimed that the detonations were awful and that they could feel the earth tremble beneath their feet, but they thought this was a mistake in those people who told it. Mrs. Beazley said she was only 5 years old that night and was at the home of her grand father and grand mother Joe and Nancy Plasters. On the day preceding the night of the display there was a wedding in the neighborhood. The bridegroom was Wash Johnson and the bride was Miss Eliza Wallar and they were to celebrate the wedding with a big dance at the residence of the brides father Dick Wallars. Among the invited guests were Sam Plaster and his sister Sallie my uncle and aunt. All the young people who assembled there expected to reap a feast of joy and were all in the midst of a great glee of myrth when the shower of meteors were observed which produced fear and consternation among the young and old there. The dance stopped forthwith and all the people crowded in the doors to look at the gorgeous display. But it was not pleasure for all of them believed that the last hour was at hand. In a small space of time terror and confusion began to prevail and it spread through the assembly until almost every one present was crying aloud in fright. It was now that some one proposed to unite in prayer and it was agreed at once and down on their knees they dropped. It was not only one prayer but a continuous one and it was kept up during the entire night without any intermission. But on the following morning when day light dome the party saw that nothing was jarred loose and as far as any of them knew the earth was not out of harness – was still on its pegs. The sun rose in the eastern sky as usual and the sublime but awe inspiring objects had disappeared and the distress among the people and agony of suspense vanished and they all separated and started for their respective homes and as danger of the destruction of the earth and all its inhabitants seemed to have passed away they forgot to assemble together again on the following night and resume their prayer meeting.
HOW THE DISPLAY APPEARED AT ATHENS TENNESSEE
AND ITS EFFECT ON THE PEOPLE
By S. C. Turnbo
On the 24 of July 1906 I met S. W. Fyffe at Coweta who related to me some interesting features of the meteoric display. Mr. Fyffe is a son of Isaac C. Fyffe and Margaret Fyffe and was born in McMinn County Tenn. November 24, 1827. His father was a prominent mason and was chief of the grand lodge of the masonic fraternity at Nashville Tenn. His father was a native of Scotland and was born there in 1792 and come to America at an early age. Mr. Fyffe the subject of this sketch served throughout the Mexican war under Gen. Twiggs for several months and was under General Scott when the war ended. He said that he was in all the prominent battles in that war. Mr, Fyffe was also a Confederate soldier in the 5th Tennessee, Col. McClelland commanding. In this war he was captured twice. The first time he was made a prisnor he escaped from the guards. When he was captured the second time he was sent to Illinoise and Imprisoned at Camp Douglas and was released after the close of the war.
He said when the meteoric display occurred they were living in Athens, McMinn County Tenn. and he had just turned into his 7th year. Their family consisted at that time of his parents, himself and his sister Sarah who was the eldest child and was born in 1821 and his brother William who was born in 1824. We had all retired to bed but we discovered that about 10 P.M. there was something unusual going on in the arial regions. My mother was the first of the family that found it out and she woke us up, Athens was a good sized town at this early date and when the inhabitants found out what was going on in the elements it created great excitement among all the population, men women and children were all frightened. Children cried, women screamed, and men prayed, they all prayed at times and then would shout with terror. The meteors apparently fell thick and descended toward the earth rapidly, the brightest display lasted from the time we first observed it till about 1 A.M. when it began to die away but they would renew in a spasmodic way at times till day light when we saw nothing more of them. The great fiery objects seemed to expand as they approached the earth and disappeared instantly. I was not old enough to realize the magnitude of it, but I recollect that night while it was going on a number of people who were excited and crazy with fright said the world would come to an end before day light and they put in the hours repenting of their wicked deeds and calling on the Lord to have mercy on their souls. The excitement, fear and consternation among the people that night was the worst I ever witnessed during my life. But when the great bright objects began to grow less numerous the fears of the people began to grow less. The noise of shouting and praying began to subside and everybody that was scared were hopeful now that God would spare the earth and its people a little longer and by day light most every one was calm and were all in better spirits after sunrise but this sight of terror was almost all the topic of conversation during the next 6 months or a year afterward.
HOW THE REMARKABLE SHOWER OF METEORS
WAS OBSERVED ON THE OHIO RIVER
By S. C. Turnbo
On the 23 of July 1906 while I was at Broken Arrow Indian Territory I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Joe Miller there and he gave me an account of the memorable display of meteors on the night of the 13 of November 1833 in narrating the story he said that he was born in Washington County Virginia 16 miles from Wheeling in the year 1825. At the time of the occurrence our family had started to the state of Illinoise and had went aboard a steam boat at Wheeling on the Ohio River to go down the river. The boat was lying at the landing for she was not yet ready to start.
The night was clear and the weather pleasant. The boat was crowded with emigrants on their way down the Ohio River to hunt new homes. Some were going to Kentucky, some to Illinoise, some to Indiana and a few were trying to make their way to Missouri, and other parts of the country. I was only 8 years old then but I remember that the passengers were in fine spirits and all seemed to be anxious to start on the journey to seek for homes in the west. Soon after night set in luminary objects began to appear in the heavens and they grew more plentiful until hundreds and thousands of them bedecked the skies. Numbers of people especially the women and children had went to sleep and when the alarm was given they were aroused from their slumbers and seeing the bright meteors shooting all around and about the boat as they supposed, some cried out that the boat was on fire and the result was a stampede from all the boat was made to reach the shore the terror and disorder produced was frightful. The passengers supposed that the meteorers were sparks of fire from the top of the boat. The panic was so great that men women and children run over each other in their endeavors to reach the stage plank first. The terrified people made a great noise praying, mourning and yelling. Many of them called on the great god of heaven not to destroy them and save the earth from destruction. It was found that there were only a few men and women that seemed to understand that it was only a natural phenomenon and that no harm would result from it and these few made all the efforts in their power to convince the terror stricken people that it would all pass away in a few hours but most of them refused to listen at their advice and went on with their confusion and uproar of fright for it seemed as though they were overcome with superstition. The maximum display lasted more than an hour when the shower of objects began decreasing and they gradually grew less numerous until they entirely disappeared by day light. While the great fire balls become less in number the fear of the people subsided and they quit praying. The great display was a grand sight to behold. The meteorers resembled flakes of snow on fire and many of them apparently fell into the river but I suppose none of them reached the earth before they burned out.
SEEN THE SHOOTING STARS
By S. C. Turnbo
The author has met old people from time to time who observed the great meteoric display on the night of November 13, 1833, a description of which is gathered from them and we give these accounts to show how this memorable display was observed by the people in different localities. Mrs. Louisa Wood who lives in Keesee township Marion County Ark. says that she was old enough to distinctly remember that remarkable incident. Mrs. Woods maiden name was Louisa Calvin daughter of Peleg and Elizabeth (Sheperd) Calvin and was born near Clarksville, Kentucky in the year 1826. Her parents brought her to Pike County Mo. when she was just one year old and settled on Greenwood Creek 3 miles south of Painville and 10 miles from Clarksville on the Mississippi River. When Miss Louisa was 16 years old she married Mr. James McKinney who died in 1854. About 4 years after the death of McKinney or in 1858 she married George Wood in Lincoln County Mo. her parents and Mr. McKinney rest in the cemetery at Painsville. George Wood her second husband and Aunt Louisa came to Taney County, Mo. in 1868 they lived here until 1869 when they settled on a farm in Marion County, Ark. just mentioned where she makes her home with her son Ben McKinney. George Wood died on the 6th of April 1881 and is buried in the cemetery at Pro-tem Mo. In relating old time reminiscences about her relatives she said that Billy Butler was the husband of her mothers sister Polly and served in the American Army throughout. the Revolutionary War. When Mr. Butler left home to enlist in the war his wife had an infant child which was a boy but he loved his country and he told his beloved wife that he must go and help his people free themselves from the English yoke of bondage and if he survived the war he would return back home as soon as peace was proclaimed. If he never returned she might know that he died for her liberty and that of his people. Mr. Butler had a grown son that went with him into the long struggle. Butler came out safe at the end of seven years but he never got to see his family until after he was discharged from the Army when he and his wife met again once more. It was a sad meeting and a joyful one too. His son who had accompanied him in the Army was captured by a merciless band of men and all treated until he died. He was tortured to death by starvation. My uncle said that he learned in an authentic way that his captors bound him hand and foot hart and fast and placed him on the ground on his back and hung a piece of bread on a limb just over his face and neither allowed him a drop of water nor a bite of provision. He was condemned to ly there till he starved to death and the sentence was carried out. My uncle shed many tears over the sad suffering and death of his son, after he returned home. His child that was an infant when he went away had grown so much while was absent that he did not know him when he came back and was over joyed and clasp the little boy in his arms when he was told that the child was his baby boy. In giving the story of the falling stars Mrs. Woods said that they were living on their old home on Greenwood Creek in Pike County Missouri. I was just 7 years old when that memorable incident took place. Elijah Butler another son of my Aunt Polly was sick at our house and the old folks were sitting up with him. There were father, mother, and Grannie (Polly) Lynch, Polly and two more of Aunt Pollys sons there that night whose names were William and Benjamin, My brother and sisters names who were present were John, Jim, Jane and Sally. I had gone to bed and was asleep when my parents woke me up and said all the stars of heaven were falling. I lit out of bed onto the floor and ran to the door and beheld the mighty thrilling awe inspiring sight. There was no clouds in sight as far as I could tell, the weather being entirely clear. It was a grand spectacle to look at and I cannot explain how I felt. The stars as we then thought were flying so fast toward the earth, that the air seemed to be filled with them. They resembled flakes of snow on fire and apparently struck the ground and explode and threw the sparks in every direction. I could hear them make a peculiar hissing noise as they darted down toward the earth. This shower of sparks and flaming objects was so interesting to me that it remained strange fresh in my mind till the present day. We were all alarmed and believed that our time was up. The display created much excitement and fear among the people of our neighborhood and it was the topic of conversation for weeks and months afterward.
HOW THE MEMORABLE METEORIC DISPLAY WAS
OBSERVED AT YELLVILLE, ARK.
By S. C. Turnbo
The great meteoric display spread terror among the few settlers of Marion County Ark. as well as it did elsewhere in North America. Let us go back to an early period of Yellville and relate a brief history of the display as it occurred here on the night of November 13th 1833, which was witnessed here by a few settlers and spread terror and consternation among the inhabitants. At that time Yellville was known as Shawnee Town and only a few white people lived here then. The Indians had been leaving the village and Crooked Creek for more than a year and at the time I speak of there were but few stationary Indians here. The account of the display was told me by John H. Tabor, who said that on that day he moved into a small hut that had been vacated by an Indian of the village. His brother Smith Tabor had assisted him to move from the Flippin Barrens on pack horses.
In giving the story of the display Mr. Tabor went on to say that his brother and Nimrod Teaf remained overnight with him and “we were so tired that we all lay down early and went to sleep”, said he. “Just before midnight my brother woke up and was nearly paralyzed with fear at beholding the air filled with “falling stars”. When he was able to speak he woke us all up and told us to hurry and get on our clothes for the world was coming to an end. I was almost stupified with wonder and astonishment and hurriedly rose from my couch of bear skins and looked out at the door and saw that the whole heavens as far as I could observe, was brilliantly illuminated with hundreds and thousands of “stars” shooting swiftly down toward the earth. Apparently they would disappear or go out before reaching the ground. It was a grand but fearful sight. Like my brother I and Nimrod Teaf thought it the last of earth, and we all concluded that it was too late to pray and submitted ourselves to await the approach of our destruction. I fully believed that we would have to give an account of our sins to God at once and we sit down and waited for the awful moment to appear. Me suspense of waiting was dreadful. If I was condemned to be hung and were standing on the trap door with the noose around my neck waiting an hour for the trap to be sprung, I could feel no worse than I did that night. We waited and went on waiting for the coming of our doom. The grand display continued and our terror aid not grow less. The night seemed a month long, and the end of the world had not come yet. When at last to our surprise we noticed that day was breaking in the east and it looked as natural as it ever did, as we discerned the approach of day and as it grew lighter we found to our joy that mother earth was still here and the end was not in sight. The flying meteors were gradually obscured by the light of day and we were left unharmed and as far as we knew the earth remained intact. God in his mercy and goodness kept the earth in its proper place and did not allow the great flying objects to harm us in the least or knock the earth from its hinges. Others who had viewed this remarkable phenomenon said that they were as bad scared as I was and believed that earth and all living creature would succumb to the wrath of God that night. I was a wicked man then but after the date of the “falling stars” I did not live so sinful toward God.”
SAVED BY A DOG
By S. C. Turnbo
In my collection of material of pioneer days of the Ozark hills is an account of a hunter entering a cave and becoming bewildered in there. This story was given me by Mr. Fielden, H. Holt and others which runs as follows. It is said that Harrison Bullard was the first settler on Little Creek a tributary stream of Little North Fork that empties in at Thornfield Mo. When Mr. Bullard first saw this fine little water course in 1841 it was a wild region with plenty of game. But when the first settlers here began to build their cabins more new comers arrived and it continued to settle up until the commence of the great struggle between the people of the North and South when there were a number of residents living on this stream. Among them was Tommy Norris the noted Freewill Baptist Preacher and Bill Piland who during the war commanded a company of mounted soldiers on the Union side. Mr. Bullard was a hunter of no little fame. Soon after he had built his hut he discovered a cave on the east side of the creek not far from where he settled. The opening in the ground indicated that the cavern extended some distance into the earth. He was anxious to explore it and one Sunday morning soon after sunrise he started into the cave to ascertain how far it penetrated into the ground and whether it was inhabited by a bear or other animal. He left the house with out informing his wife of his intentions and carried his rifle and a bees wax candle the last of which to be used for a torch. He was accompanied by a trusty dog and on arriving at the cave he delayed but a few minutes before he went into it with the lighted candles and began his explorations. He had not been in there long before he got bewildered, for the cave proved to be an extensive one and he had passed from out of one off shoot into another until he could not find his way out. After a while the candle was exhausted and the light went out and the hunter was left in total darkness. The dog did not desert him but kept right along with him. The lost hunter did not stop but continued to wander here and there through the dark passages and pockets until after hours of groping In the dark and stumbling over stones on the rough floor of the cavern then he gave up in despair. He lost all hope of ever seeing his devoted wife again on earth. His poor wife and sweet little babe would be left alone in the wild wilderness and cold world to battle for an existence in this life. He would slowly perish in this dark cavern. “How foolish I was in not letting my beloved and trusting wife know where I was going”, thought he. “Too late now. He would be forced to suffer in a slow way and finally perish in this dark and lonely cave. Oh, my wife will never know what become of me, though it might chance to be that years after his disappearance a hunter may enter this cave and discover his bones which if identified would throw light as to the manner how he met death. These thoughts were sorrowful and despairing ones indeed. After all hope had fled from him to find his way out he bade farewell to his family and put his trust in God to save his soul and sit down to die a slow and miserable death. Very soon after seating himself an idea or something come into his mind he did not exactly understand at first but it developed itself in a moment in this way “The dog will save you”, “How” thought he. Then the how came to him and the man put it into execution at once by laying down his gun and catching his canine friend by the tail with his left hand and with his right hand he jerked his cap off of his head and commenced scolding the dog until he tried to pull loose then he began whipping the dog on the back with his cap. The astonished animal yelped and howled for mercy and did his best to get away but the hunter held to the dogs tail and quit whipping him a few moments, the dog wanted to go and started and Mr. Bullard without letting go his tail followed along behind him, the way he lead without trying to make him go any other way. Directly the dog slowed up and he scolded the animal and hit him with his cap again and he repeated this every few seconds until the dog was willing to lead without any more urging. In some places the man had almost to crawl and at other times he went with his body stooped for the roof of the cave was low in places. In this way the faithful dog lead his master to the mouth of the cave in safety and found that the sun was just sinking behind the western horizon. He had been in the cave nearly all day. In a few days thereafter he procured assistance and armed with plenty of fuel for lights the men went in the cave and brought the gun out.”
FAST IN A HOLLOW TREE
By S. C. Turnbo
There is a small farm between Big Creek and Pro-tem in Taney County, Mo. that is known as the Lige Hale place. Mr. Abe Cole and Rebecca Cole his wife once lived on this land. Among Mr. Coles sons is Sheridan or “Dick” Cold as he is commonly known. Dick was born in St. Clair County, Mo. in 1864 and has lived near Pro-tem the greater part of his life. When he was grown he married Miss Jainie McCall daughter of Newt McCall. On Sunday the 24 of March 1907 while Mr. Cole lived on the Owen farm near Pro-tem he furnished me with this interesting incident. “While my father and mother lived on the Lige Hale place we owned two splendid dogs that we called Shep and Cola. The first named was a sheperd dog as his name implies. The other dog was a black cur dog. We got this dog from Capt. C. C. Owen and raised him from a pup. One day I taken these two dogs and started out into the woods to hunt squirrels, Some time before I started back toward home I missed Cola and he did not go back home with me. As he was a favorite hunting dog I supposed he had went to a neighbors house and they intended to keep him a day or two to hunt with but in a few days as the dog did not make his appearance I made dilligent inquiry for him but could not find the least trace of him. I could not conjecture what had become of him until one day just one week after his disappearance I took the Shep dog and went out into the woods again squirrel hunting. I went in the same direction I had went before. Soon after I had left the house I noticed that the Shep dog was excited and anxious about something. He would run in advance of me and come back. The dog appeared to want to lead me to some spot but for what purpose I was not able to understand. I followed the animal as he guided me along until we reached a big hollow post oak tree that stood one quarter of a mile north of the house where he stopped at the foot of the tree and looked into the opening at the ground and then look up at me. I knew there was something in there that attracted his attention and I looked into the opening and saw the end of my Cola dogs tail. On examination I found that the hollow in the tree at the ground made a sharp curve. I picked up a stone and broke off the part of the wood in the opening that formed the obstruction and pulled the dog out. The dog had treed a rabbit in the tree and in following the rabbit into the hollow tree the dog had to bend double almost to get around the obstacle and when he got in there he could neither turn round or back out and would have died there if the Shep dog had not guided me to his place of imprisonment. The dog had beat down and wallowed a bed on the floor of the opening. Evidence indicated that the rabbit had either starved or its strength had become exhausted in remaining up in the hollow of the tree and had dropped down or the dog had pulled it down and devoured it. The hair of the rabbit was lying at the bottom of the cavity. The dog when I released him was weak and tottery but as soon as he could walk he and the Shep dog preceded me to the house and all the family was more than surprised to see him return back home again. It was several days before Cola recovered from his imprisonment. We kept both these dogs until they died of old age.”
A TURKEY HUNTER IN TROUBLE
By S. C. Turnbo
In collecting accounts of mishaps to hunters and the dangers to life while hunting after wild turkey we submit the following which was given me by Mr. Steve Friend. Said he “Jack Davis who once lived on the old Peter Friend farm on White River between the mouth of Big Creek and Bull Bottom. As is well known this land lies on the right bank of White River in Franklin Township Marion County, Ark. was a famed hunter after wild turkeys and did not want one to escape him if he could prevent it. On a certain date while Davis lived on this farm there was a freshet in the river and while the water was bankfull he went up to the Poll Clark Ford which is just below the mouth of Big Creek and noticed a flock of wild turkeys on the opposite side of the river, which caused the hunter to be very anxious to secure a fat gobler which he knew was in the bunch rather than miss the oppertunity of loosing it he decided to risk the great danger of crossing the river in a canoe that was kept near this ford and so he got in the dug out boat with his rifle and headed the bow end for the north side of the stream. He intended to land the little tottery craft just above the tow head of a small iseland that was covered with timber but the water proved so swift that the boat was swept to far down and was carried in among the trees on the iseland, and the canoe struck against a tree side ways and turned bottom upwards. The rifle went to the bottom but Davis caught to the limb of a tree and pulled himself up out of the water and up the tree out of danger. The canoe went on downstream. The accident or misshap was done so quick that Davis could hardly realize whether It was a reality or imagination and he pinched himself to know whether he was wide awake or dreaming. But it was no dream and neither was it imagination. But here he was in a tree 60 yards from shore with the water splashing and roaring as it ran swiftly among the timber. The tree that the hunter had taken refuge in was a small one and the force of the water and the mans weight made the little tree tremble and bend. The hunter was in sore straits. His yells of distress was heard by his wife and she went up to the ford to find out what was the matter and was sorrow to see her husband in a tree surrounded by the rolling and foaming water. She was unable to render him any assistance. But she notified a neighbor who lived on the river below them but it was out of his power to give him aid at the present time and like the hunters wife was compelled to look on without being of any benefit to him. Night ushered in and the discouraged turkey hunter had no better prospect of being rescued than at first. Soon after dark two men chanced to pass along on the bank on the side he was on which was the nearest to him. Davis heard them talking and he let himself be known and the trouble he had got into. They informed him that it was out of their power to help him then but they would rescue him in the morning. They both remained on the shore all night and kept hallooing at the hunter to keep him awake for they were afraid that he might go to sleep and fall into the water and drowned but the man knew what he was doing and needed no urging to keep his eyes open except that of the roaring water. When day light appeared it was found that the water had receded a few feet. It still covered the iseland but the current was not so swift as the day previous. As soon as the two men had procured tools and more help they constructed a small but stout raft of logs and two of the men got on this ill provised craft and with considerable difficulty they managed to reach the tree where Davis was and took him aboard of this newly made float and guided it back and put him ashore. Mr. Davis had passed a restless night as well as his wife had. Though he was saved but he was not at home yet and was compelled to remain away from there until he could find a canoe to cross over which he aid on the following day after the two men had taken him out on the raft. In the mean time the water had continued to subside and there was no trouble experienced in crossing. After the river had fell enough he went over to the tree where he had camped in and found his rifle lying at the foot of the tree imbeded in the mud. Though this mishap did not prevent Jack from killing more turkeys thereafter but he was a much wiser man and did not cross the river any more to kill a turkey when it was at flood tide. Mr. Davis is dead now and his remains lies buried in the grave yard near Dugginsville, Mo. During Civil War times he was a soldier in the Federal Army.”
PERILS OF A MAN AND HIS THREE SONS WHILE FIRE HUNTING
ONE NIGHT ON WHITE RIVER
By S. C. Turnbo
My old friend William Trimble related to me the following account of a narrow escape of himself and his father Allin Trimble and two small brothers Milton and John Trimble. The last named boy was only 7 years old, “I and my father took the little boys and pushed our canoe up the river from the mouth of Trimbles Creek to the mouth of Big Beach Hollow. This hollow derived its name from the long gravel bar on the opposite side of the river from the mouth of the hollow. The beach or gravel bar is in Keesee Township Marion County, Ark. and below where Bradleys ferry is. When we got to the mouth of the hollow we went ashore and went up on the bluff and gathered some pine knots to use for a torch. By the time we had got back to the canoe with the knots it was sundown and we prepared the fuel for a torch then waited an hour after night fall before starting down stream to kill deer. It was in the month of August 1857 and the water in the river was not as low as common for that time of year. When we left the shore and began to drift down with the current of water the big torch made a brilliant light. The shadows of the trees that fringed the south shore resembled fancied ghost like forms I have read of. Just below our starting point was the noted log chute where the channel is narrow and the water swift and deep. Many years before this some logs had lodged in this chute and some of them were there yet which made it dangerous to navigate especially after night. Very soon we entered this channel and was on the look out for logs. And we saw one but too late to avoid it for the swift current forced this little craft against it in spite of all we could do to prevent a collision and was capsized and the light was gone in an instant and left us in the dark and floundering in the rapid and deep current. In a few moments the water sucked me under the log and my clothes hung to a snag on the log under the water until I gave up for lost, then I found myself free and struggled to the surface of the water for air and breath. I was an excellent swimmer but I was too nigh gone to make much efforts at swimming and was carried down with the current. In my frantic struggles to save myself from death my hand came in contact with a willow tree, and I grabbed it and held to it until I recovered sufficiently to regain my former self and got safe to shore. Though I had saved my own life but where was my father and my two little brothers. These thoughts were horrifying to me for I was afraid they were drowned. I had reached the shore on the north side at the iseland and was at a loss what to do when I heard my father call me from some distance below me. I felt my way through the darkness and willows until I found him 150 yards below and on the same side I was and to my great joy they were all alive. My father said he caught both of the boys the moment the canoe turned over and the little fellows clung to him like a leech and kept their heads above the water while he held to the canoe as it shot through the chute. When he got into smooth water where it was shallow the boys took hold of the canoe and he waded to the shore and pulled it with him while the boys were holding to it. It has been a puzzle to me how we all escaped without drowning. The night was too dark to find our way home and we lay on the damp shore in our wet clothes until day light when we fished our guns out of the water and righted the little craft and got into it and floated down to our landing at the back of our field with small relish to go fire hunting again soon. In the month of August 1867 or 10 years thereafter,” Continued Mr. Trimble, “While I was passing through this same chute in another canoe and day I noticed a butcher knife lying on the bed of the channel. The water was clear and much lower than at the time of our mishap 10 years before and I landed the water craft and waded back through the water to where I saw the knife and received it. It was our same old hunting knife, but it was so badly corroded by being in the water so long that it was worthless but I took it along as a souvenir of our miraculous escape from death.”
A FRIGHTFUL RUNAWAY
By S. C. Turnbo
On the first day of November 1880 as Henry Clark was going from Lead Hill Arkansas to his home in the south east part of Taney County, Mo. in a wagon drawn by two fine mares. His team run away from the top of the dividing ridge between the head of the hollow that runs down to Bradleys Ferry and the breaks of Horse Hollow that runs into East Sugar Loaf Creek. Miss Fannie and Ida two of his little daughters accompanied him. When Mr. Clark had arrived at the grove of timber on the crest of the ridge where the road was then he halted his team to fix something about the wagon, and when he got out of the wagon the team took fright and started down the hill in a run. They followed the road only a few yards when they turned to the left and went as fast they could go over the stony ground which stuck out of the ground a few inches above the surface. The wagon was pulled and jerked so swiftly along that there was a constant bouncing of the wagon on the rough stones which nearly beat the life out of the children. The sight of the runaway team as they went plunging down the rough hill side with the two little girls in the wagon box was horrifying and as the despairing father followed on after the wagon unable to check the terrified mares did not expect to find his darling children alive, Some distance down the hill while the team was rushing along at break neck speed the children were both hurled out of the wagon onto the stones. Fortunately they were not killed, but Ida was seriously injured. Fannie was not so badly hurt. The poor father now rejoiced that he did not find them dead. Onward rushed the frantic team running over bushes, saplings and boulders until they turned to the right and struck the road and ran across it where the wagon box was thrown off and the hind wheels were detached from the fore wheels. Here the mares in their frenzied fury turned to the left again and recrossed the road and dashed down the hill side taking the fore parts of the running gears of the wagon with them, the team went straight toward the hollow below where the original road crosses at the cliff of rock, but before they reached the bed of the hollow they ran between two post oak trees which the wheels struck with such force and the mares going at such a high speed that they jerked loose from the remainder of the wagon and the team separated and went on. One of the mares was named Diner and the other Fan. Diner ran across the hollow and up the hill side and fell dead near the road. “Fan” was found alive in the hills of Big Beach Hollow a few days afterward. Soon after the fearful run away occurred Bob Trotter and Lige Motley came along in a wagon. They were living on the river and were going from Lead Hill and the children were taken to Lead Hill by these men and cared for by friends until Mr. Clark and his wife could convey them home. Fannie recovered from her injuries in a few days but Ida lay several weeks before she was able to walk.
THE PRAYERS OF A DEVOTED WIFE SAVES HER SICK
HUSBAND FROM DEATH
By S. C. Turnbo
Among accounts of sorrowful and pitiable scenes I have gathered from the pioneer settlers is this one which was furnished me by Mrs. Elizabeth Clark daughter of Wm. Holt who lived on the farm just above the mouth of Shoal Creek. She said that many years ago two brothers lived on the left bank of the river in what is now Keesee Township Marion County, Ark. on what was once known as the Mat Hoodenpyle Place and the Peter Hoodenpyle Place. This last place is known now as the John Riddle land. Solomon Loveall and Silas Loveall were their names. Silas lived in the upper end of the bottom opposite Bradleys ferry. Solomon lived across the hollow from where the Mat Hoodenpile residence stood years afterward. Silas Lovealls wifes name was Mary Ann. He also had a little girl named Mary Ann who died while they lived in the bottom and they buried her in the Hoodenpyle Grave Yard. Solomon’s wife was named Peggie. During a lasting spell of cold weather and snow in the winter of 1849-50 Solomon had an attack of pneumonia which the settlers called winter fever or lung fever the name of which was more appropriate than the first named. He suffered a great deal and continued to grow worse until lie was nigh unto death. There were only a few people living in the neighborhood where the Lovealls lived. But that did not matter how far they lived off the people would leave their homes a long distance off and come and wait on the sick man. Bill (River Bill) Coker who lived on the right bank of the river above where Bradley’s Ferry is now would take two of his slave men and go to the sick mans house of nights and render all the aid he could to make the suffering man as comfortable as circumstances would admit. The duty of the two negroes were to chop wood and keep up good fires. “One night,” said Mrs. Clark, “I and my brother R. S. (Dick) Holt went to Mr. Lovealls to assist to wait on him and during the night he become much worse, he was so desperately bad that we expected him to pass away at any moment. Rube Denton and Polly Denton his wife was there. John Fritts son of George Fritts and his wife whose name was Martha, daughter of old John Graham were there also, We had all give him up and expected the death angel to appear at any hour and Solomon believed it too. He was a chair maker and had worked hard at his trade, and had several chairs on hand and the man had promised a few chairs to parties who lived a long distance off and they had paid Mr. Loveall in advance for them. His wife had waited on her husband so long that her strength was almost exhausted and the friends and neighbors who had collected there that night had insisted on the devoted wife to retire to bed and rest and sleep and they would take care of her husband. Mr. Loveall thinking that he was not long for this world called his brother Silas to his bed side and informed him of the debts he owed and the men’s names that had paid him for chairs and who had not received them yet. The man though suffering severely and breathing hard gave his brother all the directions necessary and was very particular about those debts to be paid in chairs and “the chairs are ready” said he. His brother made a solemn promise that he would see that all was made right with every one he owed and Solomon seemed now to be well pleased and remarked to his brother, “Silas, I can go satisfied now”. Solomons wife woke up just before her husband and his brother quit talking and on finding out what the conversation between her sick husband and his brother related to gave up in tears and grief. She was nearly exhausted for the want of rest. She had been faithful to do all in her power to administer to the comfort of her dying husband. They were in a far off land away from nearly all their kindred and friends and among strangers but those people who they called strangers were kind to them and had been watchful and careful to do all in their power to relieve their wants and distress, they had visited them often both day and night and there was not a time during her husbands illness that they needed help but that those people were ready to aid them in some way that was useful and acceptable. Poor woman her sorrow was great, what would she do? Then she went to the bed side where her dear husband lay moaning from the effects of the extreme pain in his lungs and begged him not to die that she could not give him up and after she had appealed to him repeatedly not to leave her she began to pray for his recovery and sent her prayers up to Heaven to save her husband from death. “Oh great God of Heaven” she prayed, “Please do not let my poor sick man die. If you do dear Lord, I will be left alone with my dear little children to face sore trials of this world and starvation. Oh dear Lord, I appeal to you with an humble heart to restore my beloved sick husband to health again”. And thus ending her prayer she grew more hopeful and was willing to trust in God, and to the surprise of all it seemed that the woman’s petition to the all wise God for the preservation of her husbands life was answered for from that hour the man did not suffer so bad and commenced to mend and gradually improved in strength and his breathing grew easier and his suffering was less severe until he entirely recovered his usual health and in the following spring which was in 1850 he and his brother Silas moved back to the state of Iowa where they originally lived.”
The writer will state that he remembers meeting the two Loveall families in Katies Prairie north of Elbow Creek in Taney County Mo. one Sunday after they had started to move back to Iowa. They were moving in ox wagons.
A WONDERFUL ESCAPE FROM DROWNING
By S. C. Turnbo
The following account of war times was given me by Ben Hager a veteran of the Civil liar who served on the Union side. “One day” said he, “While our command was camped at Huntsville, Arkansas, a detail of men and wagons was ordered to go to Fayetteville for supplies, There were 6 wagons in the train with two drivers to each wagon. There were a detail of 40 mounted men sent with us as guards. Lieut Marion Vaughn was in command and Sergeant Buck Stroud was the next in command. I call to mind the following names of a few soldiers who went with us on that trip. Ham Guthrie, John ,Rainey, Abe McBrown, Frank Gilliland, Jake Smith and Tom Bohanon, the last named was my driver mate of one of the wagons. There were a number of refugees went with us to Fayetteville. In my wagon was a widow lady with 4 children., two of which were quite small. There was also a young lady accompanying the woman and children who was a daughter of Harry Silk. These people lived on Kings River. We teamsters were armed with a Whitney Rifle and a brace of Army Navy pistols each. The pistols were buckled around us and the rifles were strapped to our backs. On arriving at White River 3 miles above McGuires Store we found the stream past fording. Our orders were to cross at once for the country was infested with armed guerrillas and we did not have time to wait for the waters to fall. The teams were oxen and the 3 front wagons succeeded in getting over safe. It was 60 feet across the water and the cattle had to swim near 20 feet. The wagon that I and Bohanon had charge of was the 4th one and we drove in with the two ladies and 4 children. When we had got one third of the way across the stream we encountered a tree that was floating and rolling down the river. At first we made an effort to rush by it before it struck us but the limbs caught us and rolled over the wagon and oxen. Myself and Bohanon and the refugees and pressed us all under the water, at the moment we struck where it was swimming. It was a critical moment and the 40 soldiers and the other ten teamsters were so astonished at seeing us take such a sudden dive with the tree passing over us that they all give us up for lost. But fortunately we were under the water only a moment or two for the tree rolled on over us and on down stream and the oxen rose to the surface of the water and soon swam to where they could wade and out of the water to safety. But as the limbs of the tree swept over us it dragged me off the seat and right over the head of one of the cattle and the point of one horn stuck me in the bowels and inflicted a severe wound the sear of which I carry to this day. I do not know how I got out of the water but I did somehow. The widow lady with her two youngest children in her arms clung to the wagon box and the young lady held to the other two children. But a limb of the tree mashed one of the little girls hands against the top of the wagon box. The women and children were strangled while they were under the water, yet with the exception of myself and little girl we made a lucky escape without getting hurt, and it seems miraculous how we escaped being drowned.”
SAVED BY AN OTTER HIDE
By S. C. Turnbo
The following war time incident was written at Harrison, Ark, by B. M. (Ben) Estes March 23, 1907 and forwarded by mail to the author at Pontiac, Mo. Mr. Estes was a Confederate soldier and stuck to the end of the terrible conflict. The author was well acquainted with him in war days and knew him to be an upright honorable man. Here is what Mr. Estes said in his letter.
“When the war between the states closed Capt. W. A. (Bill) Greaver had charge of the cover line of the Trans-Mississippi department from the Mississippi River to headquarters at Shreveport. We belonged to Gen. W. L. Cabells Brigad and I was in command of one section of this line and was boarding with a man of the name of Nathan Bussey nine miles south east of Eldorado Union County, Ark. near the Louisiana State line. I was a member of Capt. Greavers company and he proved to be an excellent officer, a brave soldier and always kind and considerate with his men. The Confederate Army was surrendering and we knew the existence of the southern Confederacy was nearing to an end and some of us felt a little stubborn about giving up the contest, or go to Mexico rather than give up to the enemy. Among those that decided to go to Mexico was Capt. Greaver, but his hot was nearly worn out and he aid not like to travel to that far off country hatless. There was a maker of hats lived near the Captains boarding place but he had no material to make hats with but Greaver heard of a man on Smack Overts Creek 35 miles north west who was the owner of a fine otter hide that would make a nice hat and the officer ask me if I would go and buy it for him which I promised to do. So early on the following morning I saddled my broncho and took my departure for the resident of the man with the otter hide. I made it through all right and found the man at home and bought the hide from him for $2.50 in gold. I was very tired but I concluded to go on my way back a few miles before I stopped to rest and when I had rode near 5 miles I stopped at a planters house and ask permission to remain overnight which was granted. The man’s name was Bob Goodman and he owned a fine farm and plenty of good horses and mules to run it. He had several hired hands on the farm and it took quite a while for them to care for and feed all the stock on the place. Then supper was announced, and as I was very hungry I did my share at the table which was loaded with good eatables and then after a sociable chat we all retired for the night. Nothing disturbed my slumbers until on the following morning just before the break of day when I was aroused by a hard pounding on the door of my room accompanied by excited voices which was spoken in an angry tone, “Get up you trifling scoundrel and don’t delay time either”. I felt like I was almost thunderstruck. I was certainly astonished at such harsh language and ask what was the matter and the men hooted at me. “Yes” says one of them., “I would ask what’s the matter. You open this door and we’ll soon inform what’s the matter.” I says “Gentlemen I cannot understand what you mean and I want an explanation.” “oh no, of course you don’t understand the meaning of this uproar. You are as innocent as a little babe, of course you are. You open this door and don’t fool about it a moment.” And I opened the door and several men came swarming into the room. Says one “We will refresh your memory. Of course you will plead not guilty to the stealing of every hoof of our horses and mules on this farm.” To which I replied, “Men has your stock been stolen”, and another one answered “Of course it is and you know all about it you rascal for you put up here just before night so that you would have time to spy out the horses mules bridles and saddles and then pretend like you know nothing about the wholesale stealing that went on here last night.” I says “Gentlemen I am innocent of the charge.” “You need not tell us that for there is no truth in what you say. Why did you not show them your horse and saddle with the rest?” Then I ask “Is my horse left?” “Yes”, say they. “Your horse is left and it seems strange to us that all the horses on this place would be stolen and yours left untouched which convinces us of your guilt.” I saw that they were greatly angered against me without a cause for I knew nothing about the stolen property. I realized that my life was in danger from mob violence, and I says “Men just hold a minute and I will convince you of your error and of my innocence”, and they promised to do so. I says “Go and look on the back part of my saddle where there is a package tied with a rope. Undo it and you will find an otter hide. I have been to a mans house on Smack Overt Creek some 5 miles from here and bought the hide for my captain who is boarding with Uncle Josh Tatum south of Hill Borrough in this (Union) County. I am boarding with Nathan Bussey, do you know them.” And Goodman said, “yes, we know both parties” and he continued “Boys, go and undo the package and if you find the hide as he represents, bring it here”. Two or three of the men started immediately and in a few minutes they returned with the otter hide. They were now convinced that I had told them the truth about the otter hide but they wanted me to explain how it was that the theives took every horse and mule except mine and I offered it in this way. “The party who did the stealing must have been concealed and watching the lot and saw me put up here and seeing I had on a gray uniform knew I was a Confederate officer and thought it best to leave my horse and equipments alone.” To this Mr. Goodman said, “I guess you are right, but my boy you was in a close place, a good rope was in reach and your neck was in imment danger of being stretched but I am perfectly satisfied with your explanation and that you are innocent of the charge. I beg your pardon”, which I most heartily granted. I took the otter hide on and arriving at Captain Greavers Boarding House I handed it to him and he had his hat made. Shortly after this the war was ended and we were all at Liberty to disband and John S. Cowdrey of Yellville, A. G. Cravens and myself started for our homes in Marion County Ark. over 300 miles away without one cent of money in our pockets.”
ENTRAPPED UNDER A WAGON BOX
By S. C. Turnbo
One day during war times my brother Layfayette Turnbo who we called Bubby and who is dead now went to the George Woods Mill on East Sugar Loaf Creek in an ox wagon. There was another boy with him both of which were small. The names of the oxen were Buck and Tom one of the cattle was red and the other was a speckled one and were good oxen. The wagon box was stout and very heavy. The weather was hot which made the oxen unruly, on their return back home on White River they met a serious mishap which come about in this manner. Just before they arrived where Tom Patterson lived in Locust Hollow known now as the John Trimble Place they come to a place in the road where a limb had broke off of a big white oak tree and fell in the road, and in passing around this obstruction in the road the cattle being warmed up in traveling and thirsty for water raised the trot and before my brother could halt them to lock a wheel with a log chain brought a long for the purpose, the heated cattle ran down a hill and the boys were not able to control them and away they went down the hill in a rush, some 50 yards. from the top of the hill while the cattle were going as fast as they could the wagon wheels come in contact with a log and the wagon turned bottom side upwards and caught the two boys under it like a trap catching birds. No doubt they would have been killed or seriously injured but fortunately as the wagon was capsized the ring which hung from the middle of the yoke slipped from the notch under the end of the wagon tongue which freed the end of the wagon tongue from the ring, thus saving the boys. The cattle ran on as if they were scared nearly to death. The two captives experienced a great deal of trouble before they gained their liberty but they felt thankful that it was no worse.