THE BANDITS WHIPPED HIM, HUNG HIM
AND TORTURED HIM WITH FIRE
By S. C. Turnbo
The following account of a man being tortured for his money in war times was told me by Mr. Rila Mullen who said that William Cranfield lived on Big North Fork at the mouth of Pigeon Creek. He was industrious and had accumulated considerable property and a sum of money. Mr. Cranfield had married a daughter of the old man Tribbets in North Carolina and when Mr. Cranfield and his wife moved to Arkansas his father in law who was a well to do man brought him family and came with him and settled on Pigeon Creek one mile from where it enters Big North Fork in what is now Baxter County, Arkansas. Both these families were early settlers there. Mr. Tribbets owned a large amount of property and several hundred acres of land and he divided a part of it with his children giving each one 80 acres apiece. Tribbet had two sons named Tom and Isaac. Both families were hard working people. One night during the Civil War a band of robbers attacked Cranfields house and got into the building and proceeded to inflict painful tortures on Mr. Cranfield to try to compel him to give up his money to them or tell where it was. They whipped him severely on his naked back then they hung him until he was almost dead and finding they were unable to force him to reveal to them the whereabout of it by that means, they now raked live coals of fire out on the hearth and forcably held the old mans feet on the coals until he suffered untold agonies before they set him free. Mr. Cranfield had made all the efforts in his power to remain at home and live in peace but knowing now that he could not, he as soon as he was able to travel after he had been so horribly treated by the bandits he went to Jackson County, Arkansas, where he remained until after the close of the war and returned to his old home on Big North Fork and remained there until in 1897 when he died and was buried in the Tribbet graveyard on the old Tribbet farm on Pigeon Creek."
Springfield-Greene County Library