The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following are short stories relating to wolves which were gathered from the early settlers.

W. B. Flippin gives a brief account of himself and his father, Thomas Flippin, of being on a camp hunt one night on Buffalo in Searcy Co., Ark., and while broiling some fresh meat on hot embers for supper a lot of wolves began collecting together close to camp and made a direful racket. It appeared for a while that the impudent brutes would charge us and take camp, but we contrived to keep them back by throwing plenty of cedar brush on the fire and other stuff that was easy to ignite, which kept up a big blaze. After a while the wolves slowly retired and did not molest us anymore that night. It was evident that the meat which we were broiling on the coals attracted them to us."

The Jones men, Rufus, Fate and Frank, give an account of a close call their mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, had with wolves one night in 1864 while their father, John Jones, lived on the Hugh Magness farm near Powell on Crooked Creek in Marion Co., Ark. One bright moonlit night after the family had retired to bed Mrs. Jones heard the sheep bell approaching the house in a rush. Believing it was wolves pursuing the flock, she arose and ran out into the yard to frighten them away. She met the sheep at the yard fence hotly pursued by two wolves and the vicious animals left the sheep and sprang at her. Mrs. Jones was greatly frightened and screamed out and turned and fled back across the yard with both wolves following her. In her haste to reach the door of the dwelling she took a nigher way and ran into a narrow way between the smoke house and wheat bin. By this time some of the other members of the family rushed out of the house and scared the beasts away, before they could do the terror stricken woman further injury. It was several days before Mrs. Jones fully recovered from the shook produced by encountering the impudent animals so suddenly.

Bennette Tabor who was born in Hill County, Texas, in 1845 and died in March, 1897, and rests in the cemetery on the opposite side of Little North Fork from the Adosia lived in Ozark County, Mo., from infancy until his death. He told of a narrow escape he and his brother William Tabor (who is also dead now) had from wolves late one evening while his father, John Tabor, lived on Lower Turkey Creek. "I and William were little fellows and had gone out with ax and two dogs rabbit hunting. When about ½ mile from home the dogs treed a rabbit in a hollow tree. While we were chopping on the tree to get the rabbit out a pack of wolves came on a rush up to us, which so terrified the dogs that they instantly fled toward home and we followed in the wake of the two dogs as fast as we could go. The wolves instead of pursuing the dogs remained near us which scared us almost to death. We screamed as we ran. Some of the wolves kept on each side of us. The others ran along just behind us. We believed every moment the terrible creatures would catch and tear us to pieces. We were bare footed but we cared nothing for the jagged stones, snags and briars. The wolves snarled and snapped their teeth together and we were screaming at the top of our voices. Mother heard us and ran and met us in 300 yards of the house. As mother caught us in her arms the entire pack darted about us and it seemed that they would take hold of us, but mother releasing us snatched up some stones and hurled at them and we did so, too. Then we all ran toward the house and the wolves dropped back and finally left us. I do not know how many wolves were in the pack, but I thought there were 25, but mother said there were not over 15 of them," said Mr. Tabor.

The writer remembers, while his parents lived at the mouth of Beaver Creek in Taney Co., Mo., of a pack of wolves coming to the point of the creek bluff and made all sorts of noises. Our cabin stood on a rise on the opposite side of the hollow from, the foot of the bluff. The sheep and calf lot was built of large rails and 7 rails high above the ground chunk and was between the cabin and hollow and joined the yard fence. I was over 4 years old and well remember the fearful fuss the wolves made but they all went off just before daybreak. After daylight we found that one of the wolves at least had leaped over the fence and caught a fine lamb and leaped back over the fence with it and carried it off. The top rail where the beast had crossed the fence had been pulled off while the wolf was getting over.

Among the many wolf stories gather from pioneer residents is a few that we give to show how wolves in some cases were taken out of caves.

Sammy Stone, who was born in McCann County, Tenn., May 17, 1831, and who is a son of William and Martha (Filpot) Stone, has lived in Ozark County, Mo., many years. His father is buried near Linden, Christian County, Mo. His mother is buried in a graveyard on Pond Fork. Mr. Stone in speaking of the manner of hunting and killing young wolves gives an experience of his own. He said that one time in 1860 him and three of the Piland boys, Bill, Sam and Joe, Goodman Daves, and Mike Holmes made a raid on a wolf den at head of Thompson hollow which empties into upper Turkey Creek. The wolves were in a cave, the entrance into of which was too small to admit the body of a man. We could have sent the dogs in but that would spoil part of our sport. We procured a green pole 15 feet in length and after forming a piece of iron into a sharp hook we fastened it to the small end of the pole. With this we worked several hours pulling out 5 young wolves as large as grown foxes. It was amusing when we got a good hold on one with the hook and began hauling him out. He would kick, scratch, growl, whine and bite at the hook and end of the pole. As we would pull each one out of the cave we would turn it over to the dogs which would soon dispatch it. The old wolves would dart up close to us at times while we were capturing their young but they would not stay long enough for us to take accurate aim at them with the guns before they were gone again.

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