The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

It is something serious to think how cruel some men were in the Civil War. Billy Keesee, son of Paton Keesee, was killed during the great struggle. His death occurred at a small place known as Vera Cruse in Douglas County, Missouri, which was then the county seat of Douglas before it was removed to Ava. Keesee was a southern man and was a member of Captain Johnson’s company. It was reported that he charged his horse over a little boy and killed him and as the nearly distracted mother ran up to try to save her child from the relentless man, Keesee spurred his horse up against her and knocked her down. The company that Keesee was with numbered near 25 men and a man of the name of Hite who lived in Webster County was their guide. It seems that a force of federals was near at hand. Soon after the little boy was killed Keesee himself was shot. It seems that a man who killed him was concealed in Bobby Hicks’ house. Mr. Hicks was once sheriff of Ozark County before Douglas County was organised. After Keesee was shot he rode nearly out of town before he fell from his horse. It was reported that the ball passed entirely through his body and he suffered great agony before death relieved him. He fell in A few feet of a deep gully. When he fell from his horse one of the company dismounted and caught his horse and secured his shot gun. The body was left where it fell and it was said by reliable authority that the hogs devoured part of the body before the remains were finally buried. William Keesee or Billy, as he was commonly called, was born on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Missouri, July 5th, 1839.


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