The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The old timer, John B. Hudson, of Marion County, Ark., related to me this account of a panther. "During the great civil War, my father removed to White River and lived awhile 6 or 8 miles above old Tolbert’s ferry. One afternoon while I was living on George’s Creek I paid him a visit and remained overnight with he and my mother. On the following morning I bid them both goodby for awhile and started on my return home. It was a critical period of the war and dangerous to be safe, for no one knew the moment he would meet an enemy and then it was kill or be killed. I was afoot without a dog following me, but I had a rifle and a revolver with me. While on my way back home I heard a scream ahead of me that resembled the distressing cry of a woman, but the noise did not deceive me for I had heard the same kind of cry before, and I recognized it as the cry of a panther. This was repeated a few times and it became louder and nearer to me. The animal was advancing slowly to meet me. I looked to my rifle and revolver and found that they were in good trim for shooting and walked on. Directly I observed the beast 100 yards from me. I felt a little nervous but I had rather meet a panther than an enemy that carried a gun. I took steady aim with my rifle at the creature and fired and the panther quickly raised on its hind feet and fell backward and after it had struggled a few seconds as if it was dying it caught a black oak bush in its mouth and snapped it in twain. Then it got up on its feet and staggered around a few moments like it was intoxicated and started. I seen it fall twice and get up again before it passed from my view. I was convinced that it was severely hurt from the effects of the shot, but my conscience opposed my following it and I obeyed and let the wounded panther alone and went on home. On the following morning I went to Billy Jone’s and he and a son of his named Conway Jones and Doc McCracken and myself went back with the dogs to the spot where I had wounded the beast and trailed it by the blood stains to where it went into a cave in the river bluff near the Bull Bottom Shoals. But we did not succeed in capturing it. A few days after this a party of men discovered a dead panther lying in the edge of the water at the river near this same cavern which we supposed was the same animal I had met and wounded."

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