The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

On the south side of White River in the southeast corner of Taney County, Mo., is the old farm where the writer’s parents lived several years in my boyhood days. Some years after the close of the great civil war this farm was known as the Bill Dial place. Long before we went there Joe Magness and his brother William Magness lived on this same land. The house they occupied stood on a rise of ground just below what was once called the 14 acre field. The Magness boys were sons of Joe Magness who lived in the big bottom on the north side of White River one mile above the mouth of Big Creek. One day while the two Magness brothers lived on this land they spied a big panther which had got near the house before it was discovered. The dogs darted at it and the ugly creature darted away and bounded through the bottom to the river where it plunged into the water and swam across to the bluff. The dogs followed it across the river and chased it along the bluff near the water’s edge into the Panther Bottom where it went up a bending box alder tree. The dogs kept it there until the Magness boys and their father who was visiting his sons at the time crossed the river in a dugout canoe and when they reached the tree the panther was up the senior Joe Magness shot the animal as it lay crouched on the trunk of the tree. As it reeled over to fall it grasped the tree with its forelegs and as its body swung off it sank its sharp claws into the bark and wood. It remained suspended a few minutes before it fell and was dead when it struck the ground.

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