DEER, TURKEYS, CATAMOUNTS AND A RATTLESNAKE
By S. C. Turnbo
On the south side of White River in Franklin Township, Marion County, Ark., is a dividing ridge that is partly prairie where an old trailway lead along the crest of this divide from the mouth of Trimbles Creek to the mouth of Long Bottom hollow. This path was frequently used by the early day settlers and is also used by the people of this section to the present day. From the highest part of this ridge we have a fine view of the hills and hollows of Trimbles Creek on the one side and that of Beccas Branch on the other. Between the head of the last named creek is a black oak ridge that divides it from the head of Long Bottom Hollow where hundreds and thousands of wild pigeons would alight on the ground in the long ago during the fall and winter season and pick up acorns. Beyond Beccas Branch is the head of Open Hollow. Between the two main prongs of Beccas Branch is a long sloping hill that was once an open glade with a few scattering trees, but is now partly covered with small cedar, yellow wood and other brush. On Thursday the 7th of November, 1907, I stood on the highest part of the ridge mentioned at the opening of this chapter and took a view of the hills and hollows that I have mentioned and was reminded of an old time incident. During my boyhood days and while my parents lived on the farm in the southeast corner of Taney County, Mo., and opposite the Panther Bottom, I helped to herd my fathers cattle in the valley of Beccas Branch, Long Bottom and Trimbles Creek. I well recollect one Sunday in September, 1855, while I was alone, barefooted and afoot and in search of some of my fathers cattle and as I was crossing the point of the hill between the two main prongs of Beccas Branch I saw 13 deer and a flock of 27 wild turkeys together on the point of the hill below me. I was going toward the right prong of the branch and the deer and turkeys were traveling toward the left prong. I stopped and watched them until they began to separate and had nearly gone beyond my view, when I heard a disturbance among a bunch of crows in the timber that grew along the bed of the right hand prong. They were making a mighty racket over something and I crept down on the hillside to where I could obtain a fair view of that part of the bed of the branch where the crows were collecting and making such a noise and saw two large catamounts standing near together in the dry channel of the hollow. It seemed that they did not notice me but I snatched up a small stone and with a loud yell I hurled it at them and both animals wheeled and retreated up the hill toward the old trail and I fled in the opposite direction and ran on to a rattlesnake lying stretched across some flat stones. Leaving the serpent in peace I hurried through the grass, saw briars and over the sharp stones and never halted until I reached the top of the hill that divides the breaks of Beecas Branch from the head of the Open Hollow.
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