The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following account of a death at the beginning of the war was related to me by Mr. Sam Griffin who, when I interviewed him, lived near Aneta, Indian Territory.

"Bill Grider and Easter Grider, his wife, lived at the village of Shanghai, Polk County, Missouri. They were known as respected people and good neighbors. Mr. Grider was a Methodist preacher and when the troubled days of the early sixties come up he argued in favor of the southern people, but he took no active part more than heated discussions against the United States Government and while the names of a number of men were being enrolled for service in the federal army, Mr. Grider talked too much and some of his neighbors and influencial friends whose sentiments were to the opposite of his own advised him to be careful and bridle his tongue, for it was a serious time for men to exercise their speech too freely. But Grider failed to heed their instructions. At last when a company of federal soldiers were organized in the county of Polk, Grider’s language in opposition to the organization of the enlistment of men in defense of the union varied from bad to worse until it reached the ears of the authorities at Bolivar and a few soldiers were detailed and ordered to arrest him and bring him to Bolivar. Though Mr. Grider gave himself up without resistance, yet he considered his arrest more of a joke than reality and while on their way to Bolivar, he told his captors that he was not going to town, but intended to return home, that he wanted his liberty and was going to make his escape from them. The men who had him in custody told him not to attempt to get away from them. They were all acquainted with him, part of which were his neighbors and personal friends, and when he made the threat to escape, they begged him not to do so for if he did it would be at the peril of his life, for according to their oath they were duty-bound to conduct him to Bolivar and turn him over to the military authorities, and for his sake and their sakes not to undertake such a hazardous thing as to try to make his escape for according to their instructions, if he did make an effort to get away, they would be compelled to shoot him. Mr. Grider only laughed. at this and treated the advice very light. It was now that the soldiers watched him with vigilant eyes for after he had made the threats to escape from them, they were determined he should not get away from them. They were all horseback and so was the prisoner. The soldiers were well armed. They traveled on without any serious trouble until they reached Slagle’s Creek and just as they were passing a thicket, Grider leaped from his horse and darted for the thicket, but he had not got but a few yards from his horse when three of the soldiers, without asking him to halt, for they were convinced that it was useless, aimed their guns at him and fired simultaneously and Grider dropped to the ground dead, and the soldiers rode on. His family was notified and they went to where he lay dead and took the body home and gave it burial in the Enon Graveyard. Mr. Grider was the first man killed in Polk County, Missouri, over the issue of the war." Mr. Griffin was a veteran on the union side and gave me this account one day in August, 1906.


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