The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

An amusing account of an adventure with wolves was related to me by Mr. W. A. Collis, a former pioneer resident of Baxter County, Ark. "I have often heard of settlers climbing trees from wolves, but I have never known of but one man being treed on his wife’s ash hopper by wolves. Really I do not know this, but it is too well authenticated to be disputed," said Mr. Collis. "A man of the name of Ben Peacock lived on the head of Bruces Creek which empties into White River above old Tolberts Ferry. One night after the family had retired to bed they heard the tingle of the sheep bell come in hearing distance. The sheep were on a run toward the house. It was easily guessed what was pushing the flock along so fast. These sheep were the only dependence for he and wife and children’s winter clothes and Mr. Peacock bounced out of bed and ran out of the house in his night clothes to protect the sheep by driving the wolves away. The man owned a few dogs but they were gone that night out in the forest, but were not entirely out of hearing distance. Peacock, when he got out in the yard, ran across the front yard and leaped over the fence into the wood yard where he met the sheep with several saucy wolves in pursuit of them. He made an effort to frighten the wolves away but they were anxious for a bait of mutton and refused to be driven off and part of them left the sheep at once and darted at the man who turned and leaped back over the yard fence into the yard closely pursued by the wolves. The terrified man barefooted tried to reach the door of his house but the wolves cut him off from his domicile and as a last resort he sprang up on the ash hopper. The scene in the door yard and wood yard on that dark night was a lively and stirring one indeed. The man yelled with all his might for the dogs. His wife was screaming in the house and the wolves at the ash hopper where they had treed Peacock were whining and growling and trying to get at the thoroughly scared man but he was kicking them back with his bare feet. The wolves on the outside of the yard fence were keeping up a disturbance among the sheep and slaying some of them. Things were desperate. It seemed that almost everything had turned into the shape of wolves. The loud hallooing of the discomfitted man brought the dogs which came bounding over the fence and engaged the wolves around the ash hopper. The dark scene in the yard now assumed a different form. The brave dogs routed the wolves out of the yard by making them retreat over the fence and Mr. Peacock lit off of the ash hopper and hurried into the house. The yard was cleared and all the wolves left the dead sheep and scampered away. The interference of the dogs was timely and Ben and his wife and the remaining sheep were left in peace."

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