The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

This sad story was furnished me by Mr. Lafayette Abbotte, son of William and Matilda Abbotte, who lived in southwest Missouri in the pioneer days.

"Well," said Mr. Abbotte, "you want to know if I ever knew of wolves destroying a human being in Christian County, Mo. I certainly do know a case of this kind. This sad and pathetic incident is so well authenticated that there is no question as to the truth of it. The Clapp boys who rebuilt the Beaver Kissee mills in 1857 were industrious men. There were Irving Clapp and Patterson Clapp who did the most work in putting the mill in good shape, but I was told in a reliable way that David Clapp furnished the principal part of the means to rebuild the mill. These men owned a few slaves but during the war they with others lost nearly all their property. Irving Clapp was living in Christian County, Mo., when the war broke out and he went south and served a while in the confederate army. In the fall of 1864 Irving Clapp’s wife who still lived at the old home in Christian County wanted to go back where she had formerly lived in Taney County and she hired me to move her and her children to Forsyth in an ox wagon. Soon after I had returned back home from moving Mrs. Clapp into Taney County, a negro woman with three children, the eldest of which was a girl 12 years old, came to our house where we lived near Sparta and begged for food. They belonged to one of the Clapp brothers and were in a starving condition. My mother gave them something to eat and also gave them permission to stay at our house two days, when the woman taken the three children and went on their way toward Forsyth where Mrs. Clapp had stopped a few days. On the first day after they left our house they traveled some 10 or 12 miles south of Sparta when night overtook them and they stopped to camp among some pine trees. During the night they were attacked by a gang of wolves and the entire family of negroes was wiped out of existence. I was 13 years old at the time of its occurrence and I remember distinctly the sorrowful feeling it created in our neighborhood when the news of their destruction reached us. Their bones and pieces of their garments were found scattered around under the pine trees. Also a stout billet of wood was lying on the scene of slaughter that the unfortunate woman had used in an effort to beat back the vicious and snarling pack."

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