The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In the early period of the settlement of Crooked Creek which flows through Boone and Marion Counties, Ark., wolves were known to collect together at certain times and make the wild forest hideous with their fearful noise. More than one belated traveler has been annoyed and put to flight by them. Mr. Elias Keesee related to me an account of a man getting into trouble with wolves one night on Crooked Creek when there were but a few settlements on this water course. Mr. Keesee said that a man of the name of Fed Fulkerson stopped to pass the night in the creek bottom below where Yellville is where he received the greatest scare of his life.

Fulkerson was prospecting for mineral with a view of locating somewhere in north Arkansas. He was mounted on a fine mare he called "Gin" and carried a camping outfit and provision with him. It was night when he halted in the dark bottom all covered with cane and thick growth of timber. He had ridden all day and was very tired. Dismounting and unsaddling he hitched the mare until he could strike a fire, and have a light to eat a cold lunch by. Then he would hobble the mare and put the bell on her which he carried with him for the purpose and allow her to graze on the tender herbage and cane till morning. After supper he would lay down on a bear skin and rest his weary bones and muscles in a quiet sleep. Groping about in the dark he found enough pieces of dead wood to make a fire and soon had a blaze sufficient to light up a space a few yards around. Taking out his provision he placed it before the fire and began his night’s repast in the dark dismal forest. Before he had finished the lunch a gang of wolves invaded camp and a scene of a stirring nature ensued. The impudent beasts had charged up so sudden that Fulkerson did not hardly have time to think until they had crowded around him and the mare. In a second or two the man realized his desperate situation and it had to be a fight for life. Snatching up a stout piece of wood that he had picked up to replenish the fire with and which he had thrown down close by to use when he needed it, he took up the defense with vim and vigor and struck them right and left with the wooden weapon until he forced them to back off a few paces, renewing his strength he put in swifter and harder blows until he drove them far enough to gain time to unhitch the terrified mare, mount bareback and gallop away, leaving provisions, saddle and camp equipage on the ground. He never slacked the mare’s speed until he arrived at a cabin and persuaded the man who lived there to grant him permission to lodge with him until morning. The following day Fulkerson collected together courage enough to venture back to the scene of his night’s adventure, and recovered the part of his outfit that the wolves had not pulled to pieces."

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