TOM NORMAN AND HIS FAMILY AND
THE DEATH OF FOUR OF THEM
By S. C. Turnbo
We have often mentioned that part of White River where Buck Coker settled in 1815. This land as we have said is on the left bank of the river in the Jake Nave Bend in what is now Boone County, Ark. When Buck Coker went to West Sugar Loaf Creek soon after the freshet of May 1844 Lewis Clarkstone moved into the house vacated by Coker. Mr. Coker sold the improvement to Clarkstone. The latter was a hunter after wild animal and kept a fine pack of hounds to chase the fox, wild cat and catamount. Mr. Clarkstone or Torman as he was commonly called. He was from the state of Virginia and lived here In the early fifties. Normans wife was an educated woman and taught school. They had five children when they moved to this land, the names of which were Elizabeth, Willie, Virginia, Nettie and Susan. This family was unfortunate for Elizabeth their grown daughter fell violently ill and died. In a few days after the death of their daughter Mrs. Norman gave birth to an infant and her and the child both died in a few hours of each other. Very soon after this sad event Mr. Norman himself sickened and died. The remaining children were heart broken at the lose of their parents poor things would cry and lament "Oh, what will we do for a father and mother". It was hard for these orphans to give them up but they had to bow to the Inevitable. Mr. Norman had selected a spot of ground a year or more before any of the family died where he desired his body to rest should he die there. Mrs. Norman and her infant was buried in the same coffin, the baby being placed in Its mothers arms. The father and daughter were buried in separate graves. Where these people lie at rest is In the same graveyard where Buck Coker lived and is known now as the Dave McCord land. Mat Hoodenpile and Sally Hoodenpile his wife taken the surviving children home with them and cared for them until their uncle who lived in Virginia could be communicated with and he come and taken them back home with him. Soon after the death of Mr. Norman and his wife this land fell into the hands of Ned Coker. Mr. Coker bought the land from Mr. Clarkstone. Normans did not own the land while he lived on it only had it rented. Coker sold the land to R. S. (Dick) Halet for the consideration of one fine black mare and three hundred dollars in cash. Mr. Halet sold this land to Isaac Rhodes for a one thousand dollar bill and one hundred dollar for 20 acres of nice wheat that Mr. Halet had growing on the farm. While Halet owned the land he had a well dug and a log house built near the foot of the bluff where the Pro-tem and Naves Ferry wagon road leads now. Mr. Halet said that the man he employed to dig the well told him how many feet it was to water and the kind of rock he would have to penetrate before reaching the water and he found it exactly as the man had predicted. This was the same well that was claimed to be haunted in the year 1860. Some parties claimed that while passing this well after night great fiery objects would dart out of the well and they fled in terror. Of course, these stories were mostly exagerations but it is said there were some reality about it for some parties had arranged a trick of some sort at the well to raise an excitement and frighten the owner of the land by trying to make him believe that the well was haunted so that they could purchase the land for a small price, and as the house was vacant they had a good oppertunity to put their trick into execution. But the owner of the land did not scare though and the ghost died out.
Springfield-Greene County Library