STIRRING SCENES IN THE EARLY DAYS OF YELLVILLE, ARKANSAS
By S. C. Turnbo

Two miles west of Yellville, Arkansas, where the Yellville and Harrison wagon road passes over a bluff is a pretty view of Crooked Creek. Nature’s scenery, including farms and farm houses, is delightful to the eye. This bird’s-eye view of the charming valley of Crooked Creek is a sample of the magnificent scenery of wooded hills and fine farms found along this noted stream. Here on this bluff is where the iron horses of the White River Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railway passes along at full speed which reminds us that no country is so rough that a railroad cannot be constructed through it. In this part of the valley, as viewed from the wagon way or railroad is where Josiah Bancum and Priscilla, his wife, located in 1845. Among Mr. Bancum’s children is Dave, who was eight years old when his parents came to Marion County and first saw the beautiful waters of Crooked Creek. He was born in Maury County, Tennessee, in 1837. When the war broke out in 1861, Dave took sides with the south and cast his lot with the lost cause. As the war went on Dave Bancum proved to be an excellent teamster. He was so skillful in this line that he was promoted to the rank of regimental wagon master, which was a responsible position. He had the confidence of officers and men and he was claimed to be one of the best wagon masters in the Trans-Mississippi department. While our Brigade, which was commanded by General J. C. Tappan, was on detached service in Louisiana, the men of our regiment knew that the wagon train would reach camp promptly each night as long as Dave Bancum had charge of them and the enemy had not captured them.

In relating accounts of Yellville and vicinity, Mr. Bancum says that his father, on his arrival on Crooked Creek, rented land of Jesse Wickersham, son of Daniel Wickersham. Daniel was living then on Mill Creek one mile south of Yellville. John Wickersham, brother of Jesse, was selling groceries in Yellville when we arrived. John Martin and Jesse Wickersham owned a partnership store at Yellville. Jim Wilson was selling goods there, too. Mike Mathis lived one-half mile below town. Dave Stinnette lived on what is now the William Wilkerson farm one and three-quarter miles west of Yellville. John Powell lived on Crooked Creek, on what is now the Tom Davenport land. John Rose owned a little mill on Greasy Creek. Billy Brown, who was afterward made sheriff and was killed near the village of Dubuque, while acting in discharge of his duty, lived seven miles west of Yellville. All these names mentioned were here before we arrived or near about the time we did. My father was present when the bloody battle occurred in Yellville, between the Everettes on one side and the Kings on the other.

Yellville was only a small village then, but it was a noted rendezvous for settlers from far and near, and on this particular day the fight occurred a big crowd had collected. Among them were the Everettes and Kings, accompanied by their friends.

"At one time during the day," said Mr. Bancum, "when both aides were ready for battle, a violent whirlwind swept through the village, collecting a great cloud of dust. The force of the wind was so strong that several hats and caps were sent whirling into the air and the men scattered for the time. The storm cloud that accompanied the wind was an ugly one and the blow had developed into a minimum tornado. Soon after the storm had passed on its way to the northeast, the men assembled together again and the quarrel was renewed,, which culminated in a battle the same day. Sim and Bart Everette were killed.

Jack King was desperately wounded and died the following day. Jim King was slightly wounded, a man named Watkins was wounded in the head, and another man’s arm was broken. The Everettes and Kings were prominent families."

 

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