A PANTHER FRIGHTENS TWO LITTLE GIRLS
By S. C. Turnbo
In 1869 a man of the name of William Fears settled on the ridge three
miles east of Oakland, Marion County, Ark. The place where he lived was
on the divide between the head of Bull Hollow which flows into Sister Creek
and the head of Beasleys Hollow which empties into Gooleys Spring
Creek. Among Mr. Fears children is Nettie, the wife of John Belt,
who related the following story to me, the incident of which occurred at
her fathers home place where he settled as mentioned above.
"One evening after sunset," said Mrs. Belt, "my mother whose name was Mary Jane, daughter of Tom Down, sent me and my sister, Mina, to the spring for water. I was 12 years old and my sister was 9 years old. While we were going to the spring we heard something scream which we supposed was somebody halooing, until it was repeated again and we knew then that the noise was not made by a human. On arriving at the spring which was in the head of Bull Hollow we discovered a large animal crouched down on a low ledge of flat rocks near ten feet below the spring. We recognized the animal at once as a panther. The ugly creature was striking its tail and patting its forefeet against the rock. We were both bad scared and screamed out at the top of our voices and our brother John and sister Laura came to us on a run, and when they got to us I and Mina were trying to hide behind each other. We had three dogs, two of which were large and a small fice. John got between us and the panther and pushed us back out of his way and snatched up a rock and threw it at the beast, but missed his mark. Picking up another stone he hurled it at the crouching beast and struck it on the back of the neck and top of the shoulder. This put a move on it and it darted away; as it started the two big dogs ran back to the house, but the fice chased the panther out of hearing distance."
Springfield-Greene County Library