The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

We learned the following account from Mrs. Mary Wiggins who is commonly known as "Aunt Polly". Mrs. Wiggins is a daughter of Charles Coker who lived on West Sugar Loaf Creek in what is now Boone County, Ark. Mrs. Wiggins is the widow of Henry Wiggins who died on White River above the mouth of Little North Fork during the Civil War. In relating the story of the wolves Mrs. Wiggins said that while her uncle Joe Coker lived at the Big Spring below Lead Hill, Ark., his negro slaves would visit the negroes who belonged to Ned Coker who lived on the river and Ned Coker’s negroes would return the visit and thus they would exchange visits with each other. Among Joe Coker’s negro women slaves was one named Violet that usually went on horseback when she paid a visit. One Saturday evening she begged permission to be allowed to go visit Ned Coker’s negroes and her request was granted. It was after sundown when she mounted a horse and with an infant child in her lap she started for "massa" Ned Coker’s to pass the night with his slave women. It was growing dark when she passed over the glady ridge and entered the timber on her way to the Coker’s farm on the right bank of White River. It was now that a howling gang of wolves rushed up to the road which frightened the horse and the woman screamed with terror. She urged the horse into a gallop hoping to get rid of the wolves by out racing them. Before the horse ran far the bad scared woman found that she was not able to hold the infant in her lap and guide the horse too. Fortunately she had a large stout cotton handkerchief with her and halting a few moments and while the wolves were darting around the scared horse she tied the child to her waist with the handkerchief then getting astride of the horse’s back she give him the reins and he seemed to fly along the dark road. Dodging the low limbs that hung over the road the best she could the woman supposed it was her last hour on earth and she uttered scream after scream. The wolves followed her only a short distance when they stopped and she heard nothing more of them which relieved her distressed and perilous position. But her terror did not fully abate until she was safe among the slaves of Ned Coker, said Aunt Polly.

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