The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following war time incident was furnished me by Mr. Willlam Alaxander Hudson a former resident of Howard County, Mo., but now lives 3 miles south east of Protem in Taney County. He said that the Haltsclaws lived in Howard County Mo. Their residence was on the high lands midway between Glassgow and Fayette the county seat of Howard. Jim Haltsclaw and Matilda Halteclaw were the names of the parents. The old man was 80 years old. They had 12 children, 7 boys and 5 girls. 4 of the girls names were Lizzie, Lizy, Fannie and Sallie. Lizzie was burned to death in the following manner: some of the family had found a keg of powder that had been concealed in the woods and took it to the house and spread a sheet on the floor before the fire and poured the powder out of the keg onto the sheet to dry it, and while they were drying the powder Lizzie who was a large stout fleshy girl would pick up a few grains of the powder at a time and throw It into the fire to see it flash. The other members of the family told her to quit or she might cause the powder to catch fire and blow the house up but the girl was so mischevious that she would not stop and thinking she would have more fun picked up a larger quantity and tossed it into the fire and the explosion of the grains of powder threw a live coal of fire onto the powder and part of which was dry exploded instantly and set Lizzie’s clothes on fire. The panic stricken girl dashed out of doors with her dress in a flame of fire. Some of the members of the family caught her and made an effort to tear her clothes off her but her strength was too much for them and she jerked loose and they were not able to control her and she ran screaming & screaming around the house until nearly all her clothing was consumed. Mrs. Matilda Haltsclaw her mother was an invalid and not able to walk and was sitting in a rocking chair when the powder took fire and set her clothes on fire also. She managed to get out of the chair onto the floor and rolled over and over until she had extinguished the fire and thus saved her life without being seriously burned. Lizzie lived 9 days before death relieved her suffering. The Haltsclaws were a prominent family and well to do and owned slaves. The boys took an active part in the civil war on the Southern side. Among the boys were Clift, Jimi George, John and Bill. Clift was a noted confederate officer and commanded a company during part of the war. He and his brother Jimmie were the only ones of the brothers that lived through the war and returned home - George, John and Bill were at Vicksburg and were blown up and killed there during the siege. As old Jimmie Haltsclaw father of the boys was a very old man and well thought of none of the Union soldiers that had been his neighbors offered to hurt him. The girls were enthusiastic for the southern cause and would sing southern songs while the federal soldiers were present to irritate them. Unfortunately one day a lot of union soldiers from Kansas while passing through the country stopped there and the girls as usual began singing their foolish songs and the soldiers became angry and they made the old man go with them to the barn lot where they killed him and the hogs had eaten his head nearly off before his dead body was discovered. The girls did not know their father was killed, they supposed they had taken him to Fayette as a prisoner. The soldiers set fire to everything on the farm except a negro cabin which was occupied by two old negros named Phil and Lize, the latter was a bad cripple.

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