The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One rainy afternoon late during the Civil War, a company of federal soldiers who were mounted discovered where five horsemen had rode along a few hours previous. The trail was found on the Little North Fork in Ozark County, Missouri. The travelers were headed toward Big Creek and the union soldiers gave pursuit. The party that the soldiers were following seemed to be traveling rapidly and the soldiers likewise pursued them. Night settled down and the rain set in harder and the beds of the hollows were soon little rivulets. Though it was cloudy and raining hard, yet the moon was full and it was not very dark. The soldiers urged their horses forward, for they knew they were southern men making their way south, and hurried on through the mud and rain to kill or capture them. The majority of the pursuing cavalry men were expert guides, for they had been born and reared in the Ozark region an number of them had killed deer and turkey on this same 1 they were riding over, and the fresh torn-up ground torn up by the horses’ feet of the southerners made were easily followed. In the course of a few hours the union party reached the crest of the divide between the breaks of Lower Turkey and Big Creeks and onward they pushed forward until they reached the Berry Morris place on the east side of Big Creek known now as the "Buisness" Smith place. They halted at the Morris house and roused the family from sleep and inquired if they had seen or heard anyone pass. The woman told them they had and that part or all of the party had taken shelter in the barn that stood near the house. The federals dismounted and surrounded the barn and ordered them out. The southern men were asleep. They were very tired, cold, wet, and sleepy. When they woke up, their enemy ordered them to surrender for the enemy had got possession of their horses and knowing they had small chance to escape they gave themselves up as prisoners. The five southern men proved to be good citizens of Greene County, Missouri, and were making their way south and had taken shelter in this old makeshift for a barn to remain until daylight, not thinking they were being pursued. It is said that one of the men was named Smith and that his father was in the banking business at Springfield. It was said that their captors treated them with great respect.

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