The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Aaron Frederick, formerly a resident of Howell County, Missouri, but when I saw him in the summer of 1906 he was living at the head of the beautiful cave at the head of Coweta Creek in the Indian Territory where he related to me an amusing story of war times. Said he, "When our mill on Jacks Fork of Spring River was set on fire and destroyed by a party of soldiers we were compelled to see other quarters or starve to death and we bid adieu to our old desolate home and moved into Douglas County where we lived on Fox Creek. Soon after our arrival there my father rented a farm that belonged to a Mr. Davis near where Jack Alsup lived. We put in a crop of corn and it did well and we were beginning to get over a part of our troubles when along in the summer after our corn was in full roasting ear a large body of cavalry came along one day and stopped and camp on the farm where we lived and remained here several days. They throwed the fence down and turned their horses and mules into the field and kept them there until the entire crop of corn was destroyed and they used the rails to make fires to do their cooking. The destruction of our crops brought us to distress and destitution again though it was sad to have to give up our crop in such a way which gave us more discouragement, but it was our misfortune and we had to make the best of it. There was a little incident in connection with the ruin of our crop that I never will forget until my eyes are closed in death. One of the soldiers had his camp near our residence and cooked and ate his rations at the fire made of rails taken from the fence. This man was rather old and beyond the prime of life. On one occasion a fat shoat which belonged to us went up near the fire where this fellow was preparing rations for dinner on the hunt for something to appease its appetite. The shoat was a pet and consequently was gentle. when the shoat had got up near the fire the soldier quit work at his cooking immediately and picked up a sharp-pointed knife and struck the pig with it in the side and let go the handle and the pig started off running with the knife hanging to it which was what the man intended. After the wounded shoat got off a few yards with the knife still sticking in the wound the soldier snatched up his gun and shot the pig and killed it. It was against instructions from the commanding officer to shoot fire arms in camp and the patrole guard on hearing the report of the gun went to see what was the cause of the shot and on arriving near the scene the officer of the guard soon located the man that done the shooting and he found him very busy cooking his noon fare with the shoat lying dead nearby with the knife stuck in its side. The officer demanded of the man why he shot and the man very cooly says, "Captain, do you see that dead shoat lying there?" "I certainly do and it seems like you are intending to have fresh pork for dinner," said the officer. "That was not my real intention at the start but I will eat some of it for supper. The reason I killed it was that the derned thing run off with my knife and I was compelled to kill it to recover my knife, " said the man, which seemed to be a satisfactory explanation to the officer for he thought he had done his duty in saving his knife and passed on and the soldier proceeded to dress the pig and divide the meat with the officer for being so kind and merciful to him."


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