The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

A few stories of wolves as told by the early settlers are funny. Here is one which occurred on the head of Pond Fork near where Igo Post Office is in Ozark County, Mo., which was related to me by Levi Sallee, a brother of Capt. James H. Sallee who commanded a company of mounted men on the union side during the war between the states. The Sallees were early settlers of Ozark County and "Chat" Sallee, father of Capt. Jim Sallee, Levi, Richard and the other Sallee children, the given names of which we cannot call to mind now, was a Methodist preacher of considerable prominence and influence. The writer has heard the old Sallee preach on several occasions before the breaking out of the war. Capt. Sallee was also a preacher of the Methodist faith and preached to the settlers along White River in the latter fifties.

Returning to Levi Sallee he said that "the wolves were so daring that they would approach in 30 steps of the house of nights and kill sheep, and we boys were afraid of them." Said he, "I never was attacked by wolves but I remember one day of getting awful bad scared at a wolf which hurt me as bad as if it had bit me. This was when we lived where Igo is now. I and my brother Richard Sallee had gone out into an enclosure some 200 yards from the house where there was a grove of timber. There was a dog with us and while we were passing through the grove the dog trotted along in advance of us until it passed from our view, but very soon he came running back toward us at his best speed making that peculiar noise, woo, woo, woo, as all other dogs usually utter when wolves are pursuing them. The dog was frightened and cleared several yards at each bound. A second glance at the fleeing dog revealed a savage looking wolf running along at the dog’s heels. A white oak tree with limbs branched out near the ground was standing in a few yards of us. I sprang at it and pulled myself up among the limbs. Richard followed my example for like myself he was so scared at the appearance of the wolf following the retreating dog that he was reckless and outstripped me in going up the tree and while scrambling over me to get high up from danger I was so confused that I lost my equilibrium and lost my hold and down I went to mother earth. When I hit the ground I was scared too bad to feel the effects of the fall. I saw the dog and wolf in a few feet of the tree and I gave up for lost for I expected to be devoured by the wolf at once. Then there was a blank space in my mind for awhile and I did not know what I did. But Richard said afterward that when I struck the ground the wolf was terror stricken at my sudden appearance on the ground and the scared animal left the frightened dog and ran off out of eight as rapid as its legs would take it, and that I sat on the ground at the foot of the tree and hugged the tree as hard as I could and yelled in terror until he climbed down and told me in a laughing way, "Levi, the wolf is not here. It ran away with all its might." Richard provoked me by laughing at me long and loud at my foolish actions. I was very angry at my brother for poking fun at me because I fell out of the tree and it was a time before we made up, but when I got in a better humor we returned to the house and informed the old folks of our funny experience with the wolf. I have never heard the last of that to the present day," said Mr. Sallee as he finished this humorous story.

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