THE OLD BEAR REFUSED TO BE DRIVEN
By S. C. Turnbo
We have on several occasions referred to Pew C. Anderson who was among the earliest residents of the upper White River. He was well known among the earliest pioneers in south central Missouri and north central Arkansas and was a good citizen, kind neighbor, farmer and stock raiser. As have already been said he lived on the right bank of White River at the mouth of Open Hollow in what is now Franklin township, Marion County, Ark. We have also referred to Jimmie McVey as being an early settler on the Aaron Quick farm on Big Creek In Ozark County, Mo. Mr. McVey had been married twice. Mr. Anderson married the 5th time before his death. A daughter of McVeys whose name was Tempy was Pew Anaersons second wife. This girl of McVeys was by his first wife. After the death of Tempy Mr. Anderson married Peggie Nipps. She died in the month of February, 1854, after two children were born to them. Their names were Aaron and Margarette. Mrs. Peggie Anderson was the first dead person I ever saw. I remember being at Mr. Andersons house In a few minutes after her death. With the exception of the little children just named there was no one present at the deathbed scene only the almost heart broken husband. Peggie like her husband was a kind motherly woman. She was buried in the graveyard opposite the Panther Bottom where uncle Pew himself received interment when he passed over the great beyond. In the autumn of 1856, Mr. Anderson married Miss Malissa Wilkerson, a young lady who was living at Asa Yocums. They were married by Tommy Norris In the presence of a goodly number of people just over the line in Ozark County, Mo., between where Pew lived and the graveyard. A boy was born to them at the beginning of the war and they called him Jeff Davis. Malissa died during the war and was buried in the same graveyard where Pegie, the third wife lies at rest. In the fall of 1867 Mr. Anderson married Mrs. Eliza Yocum, widow of Asa Yocum who we have already stated was killed during war times.
Jimmie McVey was a very deaf man and took no interest in hunting and killing game. Years before he built his hut on the hillside on the east side of Big Creek and just below the mouth of the hollow that was named for him where Rufe White was murdered in 1856 he and Pew, Anderson were often in the woods together hunting stock. One day they met some bears which resulted in a laughable incident which was told by Pew himself one night In 1852 while we lived on Elbow Creek. Uncle Pew was full of talK that night and we all stayed up late that night at our house to hear his stories of exciting and amusing tales of adventure that he and other settlers had with wild beast since he come to White River 30 years before. Among these accounts he told the one mentioned above in the following words or nearly so.
"Eight years ago or in 1844, It said he "Jim McVey and I rode out on Trimble Creek one day stock hunting. it was only a short ride from my house to Trimble Creek where the principal part of our stock range were on this stream. There were plenty of bear there too. As we had rode out to hunt stock instead of game I left my gun and dogs at home. We were both in the prime of life and as we rode over the bald knobs and across the prairie valleys we were fairly delighted at natures scenery. It was in the fall of the year. The leaves on the trees was beginning to face into tints of red and yellow. The grass was tall, so high that some of it was taller than a horses back. The day was serenethe atmosphere being so calm that only a few small clouds were observed to float slowly along high up in the air. It was a fine day and all nature seemed to be joy and peace. We saw several small groups of deer and a few flocks of wild turkey that were grown and several flocks of young turkeys lead by the old ones. Away up on the creek near Short Mountain, a big hollow from the east side puts in, which had no name then but since that time they call it Terrys Fork from the Terry boys Tom, John and "Ran". who made the first trail to cross Trimble Creek that high up from White River to east Sugar Loaf Creek. When we rode into the mouth of this hollow which was mostly prairie or open we saw two cub bears traveling along through the grass as fast as they could go. Their action indicated that the mother bear had gone on ahead out of sight and they were following her. I and McVey dismounted and pursued them on foot and tried to hit them with stones. The young animals did not go far before they went up a tree. They both looked so pretty and plump that I concluded not to throw anymore stones at them and bruise their tender flesh, but I would climb the tree and make them both jump out and then have another race and kill or capture them alive. So returning back for our horse we rode back to the tree where the little bears had sough refuge. McVey organs of hearing being defective which made him so hard of hearing that I was compelled to speak loud to make him understand I requested him to remain on his horse and watch for the old Bruin while I dismounted and climbed the tree to force the cubs to leap to the ground. Jim agreed to drive the bear away if she come while I was in the tree. I knew his promise was good if he was able to carry it out. After dismounting and hitching my horse, I looked up at the little fellows who seemed to be quite content up there sitting on a limb. They appeared so fine that mg desire for them for pets grew stronger and up the tree I went. While I was climbing up toward them I did not neglect to keep one eye on the lookout for old Bruin, which I expected to see come running my way at any moment. I dreaded the thought that she would show up and catch me up the tree bothering her little ones. So I looked for her stronger than I looked at the cubs as they sit nestled together. Sure enough before I had got near the little bears I beheld her coming on a run that was faster than moderate not over 300 yards distant. Warning McVey of her approach he turned his horses head In her direction. When she advanced nearer he urged his horse forward and galloped up to meet her and yelled at the top of his voice to frighten her away. But she failed to heed the man and his noise and kept straight on toward the tree. It was amusing to see Jim spur his horse out of her way but he galloped around her again to head her off. But old Bruin was angry and her actions proved that she resolved to pay no attention to him., McVey made all the efforts in his power to turn her in another direction but all in vain for she had a way of her own. I was amazed as well as alarmed and forgot the cubs and watched the mother bear compel Jim McVey to give her the right of way. It was so funny too that I burst out into a hearty laugh to see him get out of her way and forgot my own danger. But the laugh did not last long until I thought of myself and realized that If she got up where I was in the tree It would go hard with me and my coonskin cap. Then I quit laughing at once and felt as cool as a pickled cucumber encased In a chunk of ice. The change from merriment to fear was so sudden that I nearly collapsed, but in my agony of dread I made out to yell, "Drive her off, Mac, drive her off." For I was feeling desperate. But on she came in a rush and McVey would dash out of her way. In a moment more she was at the foot of the tree and I was thoroughly terrified and kept yelling at Jim to drive her away and not let her get up the tree. Jim was just then reining his frightened horse out of her reach and when he thought he had galloped his horse out of danger from the furious beast he wheeled his horse around and looked up at me with pity and fear and hallooed out, "Pew, she wont drive." I thought so too and gave it up for I deemed my prospect to escape from the bear was rather gloomy. But luckly for my flesh and bones the cubs now uttered a peculiar cry and both jumped to the ground. The mother bear run to them and after caressing them a few seconds they started off together and we soon lost sight of them. We let them go their way for we had bear enough for one time at least. Jim and I laughed about this many times and we laugh till yet ever time He think of this funny incident. But it was no laughing matter for Jim McVey and myself at the time of its occurrence."
Springfield-Greene County Library