VIEWING 5 DEER WHILE THEY KILL A BLACK SNAKE
By S. C. Turnbo
Just after the close of the war between the states ammunition in the south was exceedingly scarce among the ex-confederates. Provision was so scarce that those who possessed as much as one load of powder and a bullet to go with it was very careful to not waste it by shooting at nothing. As has been stated on several occasions the people of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas who had escaped the horrors of the four years of strife had to live on almost anything that would sustain life until a crop was raised. The ex-confederates and their families suffered great hardships before they were able to live without feeling the distressing pangs of hunger. It would not have been quite so bad If every one could have obtained a good supply of powder and lead to kill wild game with. Soon after the war when John Jones, who was a confederate soldier, returned home to his farm in the southeast part of Taney County, Mo., known now as the Henry Clark place, he stood in great need of ammunition to kill deer enough to furnish himself and family with wild meat. He contrived to keep a few loads on hand which he used only when he needed a turkey or deer. One late afternoon in the fall of 1865 he started out to hunt a deer and kill it if he could. He had crossed the hollow called Little Buck Creek and approached near the river bluff just below where the Missouri state line crossed the river and where the John Brightwell farm is now where he noticed 5 deer running in a circle in single file, close up together, as each animal reached a certain point he would close his feet together and jump on some object and leap as far away as his strength and activity would let him, then the 5 animals would start around again and repeat the same as they did before, until several minutes had elapsed, when they ceased work and bounded off. Mr. Jones said that he was so much interested in watching the deer that he never thought of shooting at one, until after they were gone, and now it was too late. On approaching the spot where they had been running and jumping so strangely he was surprised to find a black snake trampled so nigh to death that there was not the least chance of its crawling anymore.
Springfield-Greene County Library