A PANTHER DARTS THROUGH A SETTLERS HOUSE
By S. C. Turnbo
Mrs. Elizabeth Beasley, wife of George Beasley, told me the following story at the house of her son-in-law, Jim Yocum, who lived a few miles northeast of Oneta Post Office, I. T., on the 25th of June, 1906. She said, "I was born in Franklin County, Illinois, March 22, 1829. I was married to Mr. Beasley, my second husband, in 1849. The first panther I ever saw was after I and Mr. Beasley settled between Bryants Fork and Bryants Spring Creek in Ozark County, Mo., six miles from Rock Bridge. At the time I speak of we had four children, the names of which were Mary Ann, which was our oldest child; Sallie was the next oldest; Sam was the next, and Francis was the baby. Early one morning my husband and John Moore started into the then wild woods for a days hunt and took all the dogs with them. I was late with my housework that morning and did not commence washing the dishes from the breakfast table until sometime after the men had left the house. The three oldest children were playing between the beds and while I was at work washing the dishes I heard a disturbance among my flock of ducks which were making for the house as fast as, they could partly fly and run with quack quack quack as rapid as they could work their bills. When they reached the yard I heard them darting across it to the house and dart under the floor where they always went when they saw and felt danger. I hardly had time to look to ascertain the cause of the trouble among the ducks when to my utter astonishment a panther leaped into the house through the doorway on the side of the house where the ducks ran under the floor. When the great ugly beast sprang in it lit in the middle of the house at the other door and ran through the back yard and leaped over the yard fence and a few more lengthy bounds put the creature beyond my view. As the animal sprang out at the door Sam says, "Mother, what is that?" The panther darted through the house so quick that I did not have time to get scared, but after it was gone I trembled all over for awhile. When my husband came back I told him about it and he said, "Lizzie, did you get scared and close the doors" and I says, "George, of course not, do you think I was foolish enough to lam the doors shut with that fierce animal in the house." But I told him that I was so nervous after the animal was gone that I did close both doors and fastened them tight and kept them closed for three hours after the panther had disappeared or until the dread of its expected return had worn off. My husband did not believe my story. He said I only imagined that a panther had run through the house, but I pointed to the floor where the animal had left the marks of its claws and I showed him where it lit in the yard after leaping out of the house and its tracks were so plainly visible and the dirt so torn up by its claws and after he had followed the trail of the beast across the yard fence he was convinced that it was no delusion of mind, but a real panther."
Springfield-Greene County Library