The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

On the 14th of July, 1906, Mr. Robert Morris, who lived near Jackson’s Switch in the Indian Territory, told me the following account. "I do not know of but one instance where wolves attacked a human being in Shannon County, Mo., and that man had a very narrow escape from them. On one occasion while we lived In Black Valley, Henry Dye, a neighbor to us who was a famed deer hunter and shot deer at licks. These licks he had made himself and while he lived near us he made a deer lick one day at a small pond of water in the flat barrens known as Crow’s Pond which took its name from a man by the name of Crow who was the first settler near this water. One mile from this pond of water is a large sandrock known there as Round Rock. The rock is flat with a thick top edge and rests in the ground slightly sloping. The top of this rock is as high as a man’s head and is in Black Valley and 14 miles from Round Springs where we formerly lived and one quarter of a mile from where we lived a few years in Black Valley. Mr. Dye went to the lick at the pond of water most every other night and killed several deer. One night his visit to the lick was not a success for he only shot one deer and as no more came onto the lick he started home, but not before he took out the deer’s entrails and hung the deer up, for the weather was cool and the meat would remain fresh until the following day when he would come after it. In taking out the entrails his hands and clothes were saturated with blood but being accustomed to this he gave it small attention. The moon shone bright and the way home was easily found. The trailway lead by Round Rock. He never dreamed of danger from wild beasts. He had lived here many years and was never interrupted by them while he was out on the hunt for game. But there was a surprise awaiting him this time for just before he reached the big rock a pack of wolves which had scented the deer’s blood on the hunter’s clothes came running up near him growling fiercely. This alarmed the hunter and he fled with gun in hand as fast as he could go toward the rock and reached it just a moment before the wolves overhauled him and throwing his gun down he sprang up on the top of the rock. It was not high enough to be safe from the knashing teeth of the beasts for the vicious animals surrounded the rock and snapped at his feet and legs. It was busy work for the man to kick them off as they reared up on the edge of the rock. The wolves renewed their energies and it was not but a few minutes before they got too hot for the frightened hunter and he realized that if he escaped their teeth he would have to seek new quarters. A small pine tree stood in a few yards of the rock and he made up his mind that if he could manage to reach that tree and get up it he would be safe. It was a dangerous risk to leave the rock and attempt to climb up the tree but it was just as dangerous to remain on the rock and just as one daring wolf leaped up and snapped at his foot he kicked it and leaped from the rock and struck the ground in a few feet of two of the wolves and the next jump he was at the foot of the tree and up the trunk of it he climbed almost as fast as a housecat until he was out of danger. When the man leaped from the top of the rock so sudden it seemed to shock the wolves with surprise and the man was up the tree and out of their reach before they could make a rush for him. But in a few seconds more they raised a dismal howl and all of them darted up to the tree and cut all sorts of shines by whining, snapping and biting at the tree. In the meantime Mr. Dye did some loud yelling for help and the noise of the beasts and himself made the night hideous. My father heard the distressing calls of the man and the howling of the wolves. He was in bed and asleep when the racket was going on and it awoke him. He was convinced that wolves had attacked some belated traveler and he arose from bed and putting on his clothes and shoes and went out into the yard and got a piece of rich pine wood and reduced it to splinters and ignited it and taking his gun he started in the direction of the signal of distress. On nearing the howling pack he hallooed and waved his torch and they appeared to be afraid of the light and rushing up with the bright torch he caused the entire pack to leave the tree in haste. After the wolves had disappeared father called out "Who are you?" and a voice answered "It’s Dye." "Well," says father, "your time is not up to die yet. Come down from that tree. Your enemy has fled," and the hunter slid down the tree and thanked father very cordially for his intervention. On examination of the tree by the light of the torch and moon it was found that the wolves had gnawed the bark off of the pine tree as high up as they could reach," said Mr. Morris as he ended his story.

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