The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One day in the month of August, 1906, I had a pleasant conversation with Mr. M. O. (Miles) McClelland who lives in the Indian Territory Creek Nation. Mr. McClelland informed me that he is a son of Doctor Nichols McClelland and was born at Nashville in Boone County, Missouri, in 1950. In giving the recollections of his boyhood days in Civil War times, Mr. McClelland said that his parents were living in the town of Claysville when the war turned its fiery darts loose. Claysville is on the north bank of the Missouri River just over the line in Calaway County near the division line between it and Boone County. One evening just before sundown when I was eleven years old, we saw a steamboat coming up the river with a full head of steam on. The bow of the boat was fairly plowing through the water. We did not know what boat it was until it steamed up opposite town and we read the name "White Cloud" on the Pilot House. We noticed that there were a large number of people aboard of the boat and we were at a loss to know the business of the steamer going up the river in such a rush. But we learned in a few hours afterward that Governor Jackson and other state officials were aboard fleeing from Jefferson City to Booneville in Cooper County to reset up the state government there. On the second day after the White Cloud passes us we observed another steamboat hove in sight and when it got near enough so we could have a better view of it, we saw that it was loaded with federal soldiers, part of which were cavalry. The boat landed at our town of Claysville, but just before the bow of the boat reached the landing, my father put his double barreled shotgun in a thick growth of dog fennel between the house and barn. Then he mounted his horse and rode out of town. After the boat had landed we were told that the soldiers were a detachment sent in pursuit of the Governor and the other state officers. The soldiers came ashore and when they came in to town, some of them said they saw a man hide a gun in the weeds, but they did not know who the man was nor they could not find the gun. The officer in charge of the troops had part of the horses taken off of the boat and a small squad of cavalry was sent out into the country to pick up Southern men if they could find any, and in the roundup they captured my father; but seeing that he was a doctor they released him. While the soldiers occupied the town I went to the spring for a bucket of water. The spring run out of a bluff 150 yards below town and as I went back to the house with my bucket of water, the soldiers kept asking me for water and I gave it to them until the bucketfull was exhausted, and I returned to the spring and refilled my bucket and started back again. But before I reached the house the thirsty soldiers drank it all up again and I went back for another bucketfull, and succeeded in getting to the house before the bucket was entirely empty. I relate this small incident because I was a child at the time of its occurrence and remember it so well. Soon after this the fight at Booneville went off. "I have told you," said Mr. McClelland, "that I was born at Nashville in Boone County. This town is no more now for it vas washed entirely away by the Missouri River by cutting the land away to the bluff and destroyed the town. There was one house standing there in 1866 and this one has been gone many years."

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