STARTLED BY THE SCREAM OF A PANTHER
By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. George Bonner, formerly of Carroll County, Ark., has been a resident of Taney County, Mo., a number of years. He lived a few years on the John Hoozier farm on the east prong of Shoal Creek and finally moved to Big Creek where he died on the 12th day of October, 1906, and was buried in the cemetery at Protem.

Mr. Bonner was born in Warren County, Tenn., August 27, 1828. He was a son of Beding and Parlee (Billsby) Bonner. His parents both died in Warren County where George was born and their mortal remains rest in the graveyard at Philadelphia church house. Mr. Bonner came to Osage Creek in Carroll County March 12, 1861. A few months after his arrival in Arkansas he enlisted in a regiment which was finally consolidated with the 27th Arkansas in the month of December, 1862, while we were in camp in the river bottom opposite Van Buren, Arkansas. As we have mentioned on several occasions this east command was the one the writer was a member of and I and George Bonner served together from this time until we surrendered at Shreveport, Louisiana, In July, 1863. Some of our men were attacked with yellow fever and a small church house which stood a mile and a half more or less from camp was converted into a hospital and the sick men were taken there and cared for. One morning at sunrise two men of the name of Charley Smith and Jim Strange who were members of our company (A) died. Volunteers were called for to bury the bodies and I recollect that myself, George Bonner, and B. Stroud were among those that offered our services and were accepted at once. We dug a grave near the little church house where they died and enclosed each body in a rough coffin that was furnished us and buried them both in the same grave. The day was very warm and decomposition set in soon after the two men died. Though we worked hard to get them put away as soon as possible, yet it was late in the afternoon before the bodies received interment. We were compelled to bury them in the same clothes they had on when they died. It is rather strange to relate but none of us who took part in assisting to bury these dead men took the yellow fever and stranger still, we had no disinfectant for we had none on hand for use.

In referring to the locality where Mr. Bonner lived in Carroll County, he said that one night a party had an adventure with a panther. "A man of the name of James Dobbs lived in our neighborhood. One night Dobbs’ sister who was living with her brother and wife taken violently ill and Mr. Dobbs started on foot to where his grandmother and one of his aunts lived, which was two miles away. The night was solid dark, cloudy and a light rain falling. Mr. Dobbs carried a pine torch with him for a light in order to find the way. On the return back his grandmother and aunt rode double on a mare with a young colt following her. Mr. Dobbs walked in the advance with the torch. While on their way they were suddenly startled by the cry of a panther in 20 yards of them. In a few moments the panther leaped up toward them into the light of the torch and they all saw it distinctly and it frightened the man and two women very bad. But fortunately the beast made no attempt to attack either of them. The animal would leap out of the circle of light and disappear in the darkness and then jump back again into the light of the torch which it repeated in this way a few times and then it threatened to attack them, but after it had threatened to leap on them and had followed them 150 yards, It bounded away and they saw nor heard nothing more of it. It was supposed that the presence of the colt was the cause of its near approach and that the light of the torch prevented the beast from attacking one of the party or colt. This incident," said Mr. Bonner, "occurred 8 miles west of Carrollton and a mile and a half south of the Carrollton and Huntsville wagon way."

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