The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. H. C. Upton, son of Daniel Upton, and who lives on the main wagon road that leads from Gainesville, Mo., to Theadosia, furnishes an amusing account of his Uncle Jobe Upton’s adventure with a panther one night while he lived on Lick Creek below Gainesville. H. C. Upton lives at the Lone Ash Bald Hill 6 miles west of Gainesville. In giving the story of his Uncle Jobe, Mr. Upton said that Perry Martin owned a mill on Bratton’s Spring Creek that stood just below the junction of the forks of the west and east prongs of the creek where he ground corn into meal for the old time settlers. Mr. Martin was also a famed blacksmith and made many plows in his shop for the farmers. My Uncle Jobe Upton had gone from home where he lived on Lick Creek to Perry Martin’s mill on horseback with a sack of corn and it was near night before he got his corn ground and started back home. It was more than ten miles from the mill back home and nearly all the distance was along a lonely path up the east prong of Bratton’s Spring Creek and over the divide between the breaks of the last named stream and Lick Creek. Darkness set in soon after he left the mill but he was not molested by a wild animal until he was riding down a hill into a hollow that leads to Lick Creek when he was startled by the hideous cry of a panther close by him. The dreaded noise hardly ceased before the animal sprang down the hillside to the trail where Upton was passing. He was riding a yellow mare he called Snip and was near one mile and a half from home. The night was quite dark. There was no moonlight and clouds obscured the stars. When the panther struck the ground so close to her feet, old Snip was terrified and straightened herself out and did some fast running toward home. My uncle could do nothing but give her the bridle and let her run. Though the night was too dark to discern only the outlines of the form of the beast as it darted along near the path but the noise it made screaming and running was not to be mistaken. The panther gave the frightened mare and the rider all the urging they needed and the mare almost flew along the dark trail. The vicious beast screamed at short intervals and my uncle said he felt in spots all over for he expected to be attacked every moment. It was a dreadful time for my uncle and the mare was running and jumping so fast that it was most all he could do to stay on her back. Onward through the pitchy darkness the race continued. The mare did not slack her speed and the panther did not fall behind the mare until she had ran in 300 yards of the house when it ceased its blood curdling screams and my uncle said he heard nothing more of it, but thinking the beast might renew the pursuit my uncle lost no time in getting into the house after he dismounted from old Snip in the woodyard. I do not know whether the man lost his sack of meal or not for he never mentioned that part of it."

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