The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following account of war, love, and a wedding was told me by Mr. James S. Griffin, whose father, Anderson Griffin, settled in the southeast part of Texas County, Missouri, in 1850 where he resided on Hog Creek until in 1856 when he and his family moved into Polk County and settled on Slagle Creek nine miles south of Bolivar, the county seat of Polk County. James Griffin said that Polk County was comparatively a new county when his father moved into that part of Missouri. He said he was about 16 years old when his father moved there, but when the war broke out in 1861, part of the county was thickly settled. The people were divided in their sentiments and opinions regarding the war. Some were strong in their faith in the south. The same was expressed for the north by others. It was readily observed that when the people were in the act of clashing together it was not a difficult matter to distinguish who was for the north and who was for the south. I, like others, had my mind made up many months before I saw that war was inevitable and when uncle Abe Lincoln called for volunteers I enlisted in the federal army. The command I took membership in was Company A, the 8th Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Colonel John Gravelly, Captain McCabe, who was an Irishman was the commander of our company. I took part in the fight at LoneJack and Wilson Creek. In this last battle, I was in 50 yards of General Lyon when he fell from his horse. I also took part in the fight at Helena which was a hard fight. I was also in several skirmishes which is not worthy of mention at present. You will not consider it strange when I tell you that I married in the time of the war for that was common in the north and in the south, too. But I think I will astonish you when I tell you that I married a true southern girl. Her name was Jane Macky and was a daughter of Mrs. Rebecca Macky, widow lady of John Macky. I had been acquainted with her since we had lived in Polk County and she bore the reputation of being an honest and industrious girl. She would never pout or seem angry when in the presence of union soldiers. Her conversation was always pleasant and she would contend in a kind mild way for the southern soldiers and southern rights as she termed it, and was firm in what she said. She seemed so true and faithful to the southern cause that I admired her pluck and constant devotion and faith in the south.

She had a sister named Mandy who liked the south, too, but her love for it was not as deep-rooted in her bosom as her sister’s faith was. I recollect on one occasion while a small command of we soldiers were passing her mother’s house Jane greeted us in a kind manner and says "Hurrah for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy." Some of the boys said they thought she ought not be so bold in advocating southern sentiments so strong. Others said that she was not two-faced about it and that she was a brave girl. These last remarks pleased me for I was coming to the conclusion that she was a lovely being and a deep pang of love and admiration for her took possession of my heart but I kept it to myself until one day when I and a few other soldiers stopped a few minutes at her house to get water. I had a very nice ribbon that I was carrying with me and when she found it out she took it away from me and jokingly remarked that she had "captured my colors" which created a laugh among the others at my expense. I told Jane that as she had taken my ensign away from me that I did not intend to stop until I captured her heart. Soon after this I called on her and begged permission to be allowed to call at her house and spend a few hours in her company, which she granted, then I was happy. I called on her many times and the more the calls the more I loved my southern lady. When finally I told her I could not live without her and she agreed to marry me on this condition, that she believed I was a true union soldier and was not harsh in my expressions toward the south and that she was a friend to the south and that if they were wedded she would not trample on my rights and affections as a union soldier and she did not want me to abuse her rights as a southern woman and that she would be devoted to me as a true wife ought to be. Of course I agreed and we were married. The marriage occurred in 1864 and we could not be together all the time until Grant and Lee agreed to quit by General Lee surrendering to Grant, then we both lived happily together for forty-one years when my devoted companion that I had loved and cherished so long sickened and died. Her death occurred near Coweta, Indian Territory, and we laid her to rest in the Dick Bruner graveyard near Bruner’s Creek In a beautiful shady grove of timber a mile or two south of Coweta.


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