The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The writer’s brother, J. N. (Newt) Turnbo, gives the following story. "One late afternoon during the war, I and father, Allin Trimble, "Thresher" Bill Yocum and Abe Perkins met at the Willow Spring on Trimble Creek in Marion County, Ark., to camp out overnight to avoid encountering the enemy. We had our horses and guns with us but did not allow a dog to follow us for fear they might bark during the night and attract a body of federals to our camp. It was in the month of June and the weather was clear and serene. We did not need any fire except to toast some bread and broil some meat. Just after night wolves began to collect near our camp and howled terrible. As the night grew deeper in darkness the wolves gathered in greater force and it seemed that each animal tried to excel each other in noise until finally the hills and hollow surrounding our camping place appeared to have turned to wolves. After awhile they divided into three bunches and advanced up closer to us. We expected they would attack us and we made preparations to defend ourselves. But outside of heavy threats they made no attack, but they approached so near us at times that we could hear the pebbled rattle as the wolves walked on them. There was no sleep for us that night. Near an hour before daybreak the old ones ceased howling. Then a lot of young wolves turned loose to howling awhile and they quit, too, and we heard nothing more of them. Soon after daylight we searched for the den of the whelps and found it in a little hollow on the west side of the creek from our camp. But they were gone. The old ones had taken them away before daylight.

Mr. W. H. (Will) Lewis, son of Wiley S. (Judge) Lewis and Hezekiah (Lakey) Lewis and born near the present site of Ava, Douglas County, Mo., contributes the following.

"When my parents lived near where Ava is now my father went Into the woods one day to haul a feed trough to the stock lot with a yoke of oxen we called Bright and Berry. After he had unyoked the cattle and went into the house and had sit down to dinner and before the meal was finished mother happened to look out into the woodyard and exclaimed, "Look there, the old Berry steer is hooking at a wolf." Father rose from the table in a moment and grabbed his rifle and stood in the door and shot the wolf. It was a gray one and was only about 30 steps from the house. At another time," said Mr. Lewis, "while we lived on the dividing ridge between Big Beaver and Little Beaver Creeks and some 1O miles west of Ava, Tilman Elon, one of our neighbors, come to our house one day to help father butcher his fattening hogs. In the evening after the hogs had been killed and the meat salted away Mr. Elon asked me to go home with him which I did on receiving the consent of my parents. When we reached his place it was nearly sunset and without stopping to rest Mr. Elon went into his field to get some corn and shock fodder for his horses and I went with him. Mr. Elon had only one dog which was mixed with cur and shepherd and he followed us into the field which contained only a few acres. After getting into the field we noticed a gray wolf going across the field at a moderate gait. Elon encouraged the dog and he ran and caught the wolf by the tail and gave it a vigorous shake and let go and turned around and walked back to where we stood. The wolf was scared and made no offer to fight the dog, and when the dog let go its tail the animal ran to the fence and leaped over and went out of our sight. Elon tried to persuade the dog to follow it but it refused to pay any more attention to it."

Fate Jones furnished the following brief account.
"During the war while we lived on Crooked Creek 10 miles above Yellville, Ark., and near where the village of Powell is now my father rode off one day and was absent until dusk of the evening before he returned. After he took the saddle off of the horse I lead the horse into the lot and into the stable. Pulling the bridle off I stepped out of the stable to close the door and was nearly scared to death at seeing a black wolf standing in a few feet of the stable door. I was a little fellow then, but I called loudly for the dogs, but before they had time to get there the wolf darted off and leaped over the fence and was gone almost in an instant."

"In the early 30’s," said John H. Tabor, "while I lived in what is now known as the Flippin Barrens between the present town of Yellville, Ark., and White River, a bunch of horses belonging to Jim Montgomery was grazing one day close to my house. Among the bunch was a mare that had a bell on and this mare fell over a precipice that is some 15 or 20 feet high, and falling on a dry cedar top some of the ends of the limbs pierced her side and killed her. No one knew for a certainty how it happened that she fell off but it was supposed that while she was grazing near the edge of the cliff one of the other horses kicked her off. The wolves soon discovered the carcass and would collect from every direction at dusk and howl all night. One morning about daylight after they had quit howling I took my gun and went out to shoot one. The cliff of which was only a short distance from my cabin. But before I got in sight of the carcass I heard the tingle of the bell at short intervals and I was satisfied that some of the wolves were there. On creeping up in sight, I saw two of them eating on the carcass. I shot one of them and the other made its escape. This one was gray. The one shot, which was a black one, tried to leap to the top of the cliff but failing to do so after several efforts left the rock and ran toward me, but fell dead before it reached me. I dragged it to the house and examined for the track of my bullet and found that it had penetrated through the body of the heart. The animal was a she."

Mr. W. A. Holt, a long resident of Ozark County, Mo., tells of a man of the name of Wilson who settled on Little North Fork and built a cabin in the creek bottom just below the mouth of Barren Fork. Wilson owned a dog which was a severe one. One night after the settler had killed a fat shoat and after the family had ate supper and when his wife threw the scraps from the supper table to the dog which was near the door some animal came into the yard and attacked the dog and after a long fierce fight the noise of the combat grew silent. Wilson thinking that the beast whatever it was had killed his dog and supposing it would attack his cabin refused to go out to make an investigation and barred up the door until daylight the following morning when he peeped out through an opening between two of the logs of the house and was astonished at seeing a big gray wolf lying in front of the door dead. The brave and trusty dog had killed it."

"One day many years ago," said Loranzo McEntire, an old timer of Crooked Creek, Marion Co., Ark., two of Nimrod Teaf’s boys, Nim and Joe, while rambling around on the right prong of Sugar Orchard Creek they heard wolves howling nearby and the two youngsters beat a retreat toward home as rapid as their legs would take them. On arriving home and after relating their story two of their brothers, Henry and Jim Teaf, concluded they would go out alone and slay some of the wolves for scaring their two brothers. But by this time Nim and Joe had recovered from their fright and went back with them. The boys were accompanied by two dogs. On approaching the ground where Nim and Joe had heard the wolves howling Jim began howling like a wolf. It turned out that the animals were not gone and they answered Jim. The four boys and two dogs made a rush toward the beasts. There were a big gang of the wolves and they stood their ground until the boys and dogs had ran up close to them before they give back. The boys encouraged the dogs and they sped on in pursuit of the pack. The boys followed on making the wild forest echo with their yells. The wolves ran across a hollow and up the hillside to a cave and the entire bunch ran into it. The animals could not get into the cave fast enough and with an amusing scramble some of the hindmost wolves crowded over the front ones in the mouth of the cave. The dogs reached the mouth of the cave in time to catch one of the wolves before he could force his way to the inside and after a hard fight the dogs with the help of the boys killed the wolf. The boys then placed the dead beast in the entrance of the cave to prevent as they said the other wolves from coming out and went off for assistance to exterminate the whole bunch. After notifying a few settlers they and the boys returned to the cave with more dogs and found that the wolves were still in the cavern. The men concluded to smoke them out and started a big smoke in the mouth of the cavern for that purpose but the smoke failed to bring them out. Late in the evening the men changed their minds by deciding to put the fire out and stop the wolves up in the cave and fix a date and notify every settler in reach to come with their dogs and have a grand time taking the pack out of the cavern. So they carried stones and stopped the entrance of the cave in such a way that the wolves could not possibly escape. The wolves growled and whined while the men were at work. In a day or two word was sent in every direction for miles with an invitation for every settler to come and bring his dogs and gun. When the day appointed arrived more than 50 men collected at the cave with nearly 100 dogs. After unstopping the mouth of the cave some of the men took their dogs and crawled into the opening to bring on the fight and extermination. But they found the cave was empty. The game was gone. They had escaped through another outlet that heretofore was unknown to the men. The wolves had fooled the settlers and the fun had ended before it began," said Mr. McEntire as he finished his old time story.

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