The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Sam Griffin, a veteran of the Civil War on the union side, told me the following at his home near Oneta Post Office, Indian Territory, one day in August, 1906. "John Cook, who lived in Polk County, Missouri, was a slave holder and was in strong sympathy with the south when the war broke out. Cook was an agitator and made a number of speeches in favor of the southern cause. Some of his harangues were fiery and boastful. One day when the war sentiment was being stirred up among the people and most everyone agitating it in some way or other, some in favor of the south and some in favor of the north. I heard this man Cook make a speech to a large crowd and he said in part, ‘If the people of the north and south get involved in war together I can whip any five men that take sides with the north.’ This language was not approved by men of reasonable sense whether they sympathized with the north or south. Mr. Cook had three sons whose names were Jeff, Roth, and Bob. The first named was a southern sympathizer like his father and held to the opinion that any state of the union had a right to withdraw from the government and set up a republic of its own. But his two brothers were bitterly opposed to this, they contended that the people of the United States ought not to divide themselves against each other, that if the southern people had been wronged they should lay their trouble before the administration and ask a hearing and if the rights of the people of the south had been trampled on and abused it would be properly investigated and treated with respect and the wrongs righted and the great war would be avoided. When the clash of arms together began, Mr. Cook and his son Jeff went south and his other two sons Roth and Bob went north. I do not know whether either of them belonged to the army or not, but anyway father and sons all come back home soon after peace was declared."


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