Volume 4 , Number 2, Winter 1970-71
Protem came into existence in 1872 A. Shafer sold goods here and "Jet" Chaffin was the first settler in July of 1857. The first burial in the Protem Cemetary was a Mrs. Fisher who died in 1873. The second burial was that of Tom Miller, brother of "Bulger" Miller.
Settlers living on "Chafflin" Springs (Protem) before the Civil War were: Frank Pumphrey and John Jones who lived on what was later the Herve Graham place. Hue Smith and Sammy King lived on what was later known as the George Owen farm. Among other who lived on this stream or in the valley of it were John Lane, Ben Jacobs, Feilden Smith, John Dorest, Joe Hopper, Tempey Allin and his two sons Joe and Bill Allin. Joe Hopper and Feilden Smith belonged to the Confederate Army, enlisting in the 14th Arkansas Infantry. The first religious service held on Shoal Creek was at the residence of John Jones in the fall of 1857. James H. Sallee, a young Methodist preacher held the services. The first preaching done where Protem now is was at the spring one warm day in 1860.
S.C. Turnbo relates the following:
In the summer of 1859 when I was 15 years old, I passed some of my happiest days among these hills and hollows surrounding the Hester School House. This was while I was herding my fathers cattle that lived so well on the fine range that existed here then. When the cattle did not need rounding up, I and my two brothers, Newt, and "Bubby" Turnbo, Bill Riddle, and the Jones boys, Rufe, Fate and Frank, would assemble together and play fox and hounds by racing over these hills until the one who was acting for the fox would go up a tree and those acting the dogs would bark vigorously until the fox would climb down and run and we would be off with more yelps and a long hot race until the fox would tree again.
Henry Onstott, (uncle of S. C. Turnbo) and Harvey Laughlin, (a cousin of S. C.) (Harveys mother and S.C.s mother were sisters), kept a drugstore in Yellville, Ark. and collected rare specimens of lizards, serpents, spiders and horned frogs. These were displayed on the counter of the drugstore in large jars filled with alcohol to preserve them.
Martin Johnson who was married to Gracie Turnbo, a sister of James Coffee Turnbo, was the original settler on a tract of land near Protem in the fall of 1856. After Johnson vacated, John Fritts, Dave Anderson, D.A. Winters and J.C. Turnbo lived here.
In the winter of 1856 (Feb. 14) a murder was committed at what was known as McVeys Cabin. The killer was named Harris and he killed Rufus White who came to Arkansas with Martin Johnson in 1854. Among those who pursued the murderer was J.C. Turnbo, Martin Johnson and Isaac Mahan.
Edward Upton, born in Rutherford Co., Tenn. the 24th of Aug. 1833 first came to Missouri when he was 19 years old. His parents, Edward and Nancy Bracket Upton settled here in 1852.
In an unmarked grave at Lead Hill, Arkansas, lies the remains of Joe Coker, oldest child of Buck Coker. Joe came to White River in 1814 and died in 1862. Joes son by his Indian wife, Aeny, was called "Cherokee" Joe Coker. He died in 1853 and is the first internment in the cemetary at Lead Hill. It is said that Joe Coker once owned all the land where Lead Hill now stands. George Coker, son of Joe, Sr. by Cynthia, another Indian wife of his was killed in Jake Nave Bend in 1854, and his body is the 2nd internment in the Lead Hill Cemetary.
Lee Hodge settled on Swan Creek, 16 miles above Forsythe in 1842. This location was later called Barber Creek. Lee came here from Overton Co. Tenn.
Newton Jefferson Turnbo, brother of S.C. Turnbo, died of pnewmonia 13th Feb. 1858, during a epidemic that broke out and killed several people who resided in Marion County.
James and Jess Rhodes left Cumberland Co., Ky. in 1853 and moved to Laclede Co., Mo. Isaac Riddle and his wife, Eliza, also lived there.
Just below the old Charley Smith mill site on Big Creek in Ozark County, Missouri, is the Charley Smith claim which is now
converted into a nice farm and lies on the west side of the creek opposite the mouth of Lick Creek. When Charley Smith left Big Creek, he sold his claim to Martin Johnson (Husband of Gracie Turnbo, sister to James Coffee Turnbo) and the latter moved there in the early part of 1858 and built the wall of a hewed log house, but never finished it. The creek bottom where Johnson lived was mostly timbered with hickory trees. This bottom extended down to the Daniel Quick Ford of the creek. The water of Big Creek contained an abundance of fine fish then and soon after Mr. Johnson went there he constructed a fish trap in a shoal of water close to the mouth of Lick Creek which furnished himself and family with plenty of fish while they remained here and the water in the creek stayed low enough. Johnson married my father's sister, Gracie, and I go there and stay all night with the family frequently. I remember one night in particular that I was there soon after he had prepared this trap and I and Johnson visited the trap 4 times that night and total catch for the night was 20 big fish. In 1859, Johnson sold this claim to Hugh Jones and went to Texas in Sept. of the same year he sold out where he lived until the beginning of the War when he enlisted in a Texas Confederate regiment and died at St. Johns Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas in July in 1862.
Charley Hodge lived near Bill Trimble in Marion Co., Arkansas on the road leading from Peel to the mouth of Trimble Creek.
James Simmons died in 1858 and is buried at Lead Hill. His son, George, died in Peel in Dec. 1903 and is buried there. James came to Taney Co. from N. C. He married Catherine Naves, a sister to Jake, John, and Abe Nave. His widow married Stroud in 1860 and they lived on the Allin Locuas place. George was born on the Hack Snapp Farm near Forsythe Aug. 1, 1848. He married Margarette Anderson, daughter of Pew Anderson.
S. C. Turnbo served in the 27th Ark. Reg. Infantry, Company A. Elmira Onstott died 25 Oct. 1875. Sam Magness died 27 Feb. 1859.
Asa Yokum was killed in June, 1863. He had sons named Mike, Jess, Solomon and Jake. They came to America from Germany when Asa's sons were little boys. Mike was captured by Indians at the age of 17 and was held captive for years afterwhich he escaped. ****
****Note by Dorothy Riddle Marsh****
My mothers sister, Oklar is married to Hoze Yokum, a decendent of Mike Yokum. I also have a Riddle cousin married into this family. Hoze told me that during the Civil War his grandfather hid a pot of money out in a field. No one knew where it was but him, and he was killed during the war. Although a search by the family started immediately, they were unable to locate the spot and Hoze informed me that this land is now under water so the pot of money lies at the bottom of Bull Shoals Lake. ***************
Joe Coker located on the mouth of West Sugar Loaf Creek in the year 1814. He was the first man to bring a wagon into Marion Co. Arkansas, but this was long before the county was organized. When he came to Ark. and for many years afterward, there were herds of buffalo in this vicinity.
Aaron Anderson located on White River in 1822. There were only a few settlers there at the time and they lived on wild meat and wild honey – with a small bit of bread now and then for varity. These pioneers were compelled to fight wild animals at the doors to their cabins.
Another early settler on White River was John McCord. He came there in 1837 and located on West Sugar Loaf in what is now Boone Co., Ark.
Among the old timers who lived in Sugar Loaf Township, Marion County, Ark. was Haywook Hudson who moved there from Tenn. In 1854.
Tolbert's Ferry on the White River, ten miles east of Yellville, Ark. was an ancient crossing place and was one a very popular place for travelers and others to cross the river. The ferry was established in the early 1830's. In 1837, Jesse Goodman, who brought a keel boat up the river, bought this ferry. The keel boat was a very large one, of thirty tons, and Goodman and his hands pushed it all the way up White River to this point.
14th ARK. REGIMENT
I will remember being at Yellville one day in the month of July, 1861, when a call was made for volunteers to join the Confederate Army. A Company of men raised in Marion County and the Southern part of Taney County were present. Those patriotic citizens had volunteered their services to defend the Southern Cause. Their commanding officer was Captain William C. Mitchell, whose company afterwards formed part of the 14th Regiment of Arkansas Infantry. Capt. Mitchell marched his company back and forth through the streets to the music of two violins in the hands of Dan Coker and "Yellville" Bill Coker who were members of the company. As the soldiers marched along with the colors flying at the head of the column, invitations to the men present to enlist in their ranks were extended by both officers and soldiers. A number of those gallent, young men responded to the call of their friends** and fell in line to shed their blood for the sunny South. Most all of them gave up their lives on the battlefield or fell victims to exposure to the wintry weather and ravages of disease. In many cases their bones repose in unmarked graves. Oh, let us not forget to honor their names by remembering their patriotism in a cause they believed was right.
Here in these works the fourteenth sustained heavy losses and hardships. Among the deaths was that of "Coon" Coker who was so well known in Marion county. A coffin was prepared for him and William Riddle and Tom Maxwell dressed the body and otherwise prepared it for burial.
Nearly two years after the surrender of Port Hudson and Vicksburg or in the month of June 1865 our boat the Col. Chapin loaded with parole Confederate soldiers from Shreveport landed in each of these places where at both points my heart grew heavy at the loss of so many lives of the Blue and the Grey...while the former was attacking and the latter definding...these ever memorable places.
James Coffee Turnbo was an officer in Capt. Lewis Hudsons command fourteenth Arkansas regiment.
John Jones was a confederate soldier.
(This concerns an old school house that my gr-gr-grandfather, John Jones, and my great-grandfather, Rufus Jones helped to build. John Riddle, my grandfather, attended this school.)
In the month of July, 1873 Elias Keesee, John Jones, Rufus Jones and John Copelin put up a box schoolhouse in what was known as the Cal Hollow in Keesee Township, Marion County, Arkansas.
The school was taught three months out of the year, beginning the latter part of the summer of 1873. Miss Fannie Chihainey was the teacher and the students included Jim and Andy Turnbo and their sister Lizzie, who in 1886 married H. E. (Ed) Upton and died 5½ miles west of Gainsville, Missouri, June 27, 1899. John Riddle, son of bill Riddle; Fate and Malissa Jones, son and daughter of John Jones; and four of Jake Binghams children..George, Margarette, Martha and Missouri.
In 1894 citizens of school district No. 38 built a new school and tore this old one down.
(Rufus..referred to in this story was my great-grandfather; Fate and Frank were his half brothers and their mother, Elizabeth, which was Rufus Jones step-mother, was William Riddles own mother.)
The Jones boys, Rufus, Fate and Frank gave an account of a close call their mother, Elizabeth Jones, had with wolves one night in 1864 while their father, John Jones, lived on the Hugh Magness farm near Powell on Crooked Creek in Marion County, Arkansas.
One moonlit night after the family retired to bed, Mrs. Jones heard sheep bells approaching the house in a rush. Believing it was wolves pursuing the flock, she arose and ran out into the yard to frighten them away. She met the sheep at the yard fence hotly pursued by two wolves and the vicious animals left the sheep and sprang on her. Mrs. Jones was greatly frightened and screamed out and turned and fled across the yard with both wolves following her. In her haste to reach the door of the dwelling, she took a higher way and ran into the narrow-way between the smokehouse and wheat bin. By this time some of the other members of the family rushed out of the house and scared the beasts away before they could do the terror stricken woman any further injury.
It was several days before Mrs. Jones fully recovered from the shock produced by encountering the impudent animals so suddenly.
One and ¼ mile northwest of the little hamlet of Cedar Creek and one quarter miles southwest of the Bald Knob schoolhouse in Taney County, Missouri is a prairie hill known among the early settlers as Milikens Bald Hill. The scenery observed from the top of the hill is wide and attractive. The low hills which divided the sources of Yokum, Cedar and Elbow Creeks loom up in view. The intermingled hills and hollows makes one think of a beautiful landscape as seen in pictures. During the early hours of the morning when the air is calm and fog hangs over White River, it is interesting to trace the zig-zag course of this stream for miles.
It is a sad tale to relate and is in connection with this bald hill..the occurrence of which happened during the bloody days of the war of the sixties and is suppose to have taken place in the night time. The scene where it occurred was sad to look upon by the one that made the discovery. The awful circumstances was in the shape of three human beings slain and eaten by wolves. There was scarcely any traveling through this section at the time and no one knew of the terrible tragedy until several weeks elapsed.
To make the story more complete, we will state that when the war broke out, Ned Coker and his son, William,.."River Bill" They called him to distinguish him from "Wagon Bill", "Yellville Bill" and "Prairie Bill" Coker..lived on the south bank of White River in Marion County, Arkansas. The formers named residence was on the farm on the right bank of the river just below the mouth of East Sugar Loaf Creek. The latter lived on the farm opposite the mouth of Shoal Creek. Both of these men were slave holders and possessed about fifteen negroes each. As the war progressed, father and son sought safety in Green County, Missouri where they both died, eight miles north of Springfield.
A few of the slaves left before their masters but others remained until later before they went off. A few stayed until the summer of 1864 when the ravages of war forced them to vacate their old homes. Among the latter was a negro woman and her two small boys. They were almost famished for food when they waded across the river at Fish Trap Ford where Bradleys Ferry is now and stopped at John Jones who lived on the Mat Hoodenpile place. Mrs. Elizabeth Jones gave them food. They were in such starving condition that Mrs. Jones and family kept them a few days and divided such food with them that they had. The woman's name was Delilah; the children were known as Sambo and Mugginhead. The woman wanted to go to Green County, Missouri where Ned and Bill Coker resided in order to procure food and raiment.
Early one morning the mother and children departed on their long walk. Mrs. Jones gave them food sufficient to last them to Keesee Mills on Beaver Creek. As it was summertime, they could use the soft grass for a bed at night and the foliage of trees for shelter.
It is told that they got on the Yellville and Forsyth wagon road at the John Yandell farm on Elbow Creek. This was the last heard of them until their bleached bones and bits of clothing were found near the foot of the bald knob. An investigation proved that the remnents of apparel belonged to these three unfortunate negroes. It was supposed they reached near the base of the hill the first day, they stopped in the timber for the night and were attacked by a pack of wolves during the night and destroyed. Their awful doom and distruction can never be accurately described, but never let us imagine the heart rending shrieks and dying moans of the unfortunate family. This mixed with the noise made by the wolves snapping and snarling was certainly awful.
It was told by those who discovered their remains that the evidence on the ground showed that the woman made a desperate effort to defend herself and her children. She had fought the wolves over the space of half an acre. Stones, clubs and chunks of dead wood that she had used in resisting the atack lay scattered on the down-trodden grass. They were the only weapons of defence and she made desperate use of them to the finish.
Probably she had beaten them back and kept them at bay for some time before the ravenous beasts finally overcome her and gloated in the blood of the helpless human creatures. Their fate was simply awful. Who can imagine the consternation and terror of these poor beings when they were attacked by the vicious and hungry pack, and with loud screams and hard struggles were forced to yield their lives in such a horrible manner. Their destruction is sad to reflect upon.
One Sunday morning during the hottest days of the Civil War, a party of mounted men met Lize Sims on a public road near the Keesee farm which is located on the north side of White River and shot him to death and left his body lying on the roadside where it
leads down the hill toward Buck Creek. His father was an old man and lived then in what is now known as Mrs. Nancy Elizabeth Clarks dwelling. This house is located in the southeast part of Taney County.
On the same day Sims was killed, his body was brought to his fathers house and Margarette Turnbo, Adaline Jones and Jane Jones, the later two daughters of John Jones, and Mrs. Moore, mother-in-law of the dead man, took his body out of the wagon box and carried it into the house. John Jones made a rough coffin while the women stood on lookout for the approach of the enemy.
Only a part of this flat on which they lived was under a fence then and a spot of ground was selected on a flat just outside of the fence 1/4 mile south of the house where the grave was dug and the remains of Sims was buried there on the Tuesday morning following his death. Since that time the entire flat has been cultivated. The spot of land where the grave was dug was well known until 20 years afterwards when the locality where the body received internment was obliterated by time and cultivation of the land and no one knows the exact locality of its whereabouts.
A few days after the burial of the dead man, some of Sims family tied a white cloth around a post oak tree where he was slain which remained for many months before it rotted away.
Lize Sims wifes name was Netha. She was a daughter of Anderson Moore. Netha Sims visited her husbands grave ten years after he was killed.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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