The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following account of an early time incident of Pulaski County, Mo., was told me by Mr. William Robinson, who was born and reared in Pulaski County on Rubidoo Creek 12 miles south of Waynesville. His father, Pleasant Robinson, married Miss Rhoda McNeely in Pulaski County in 1838 and William Robinson was born to them in 1846. His father died in 1850. William Robinson in referring to their old home place on Rubidoo Creek said, "We had an excellent spring of water which gushed out from under a bluff some 75 yards from our house and I have stood in the yard and saw deer approach the spring and eat moss that was so abundant in the spring branch. Though my father died when I was only four years old, but I can distinctly remember of seeing him stand in the door of our house and shoot deer down at the spring. My mother told me that soon after her and my father were married, my father took great interest in killing deer. She said that one cold day in December, 1839, or one year after they were married, my father went out to hunt and killed a dozen deer and took out their entrails and hung eleven of them on limbs of trees. The last one was hunt on the limbs of a fallen tree. The deer were not all killed near together but was slain in separate places while he was making his circuit away from home and back. It was his custom to do this and return home for a horse and carry the dead deer home at leisure. If he had too many deer to carry at one load he would return back into the woods for the second load and go back for the third one if necessary. My mother said that on the following morning after breakfast he said, "Rhoda, don’t you want to go and help me bring in my dead game today?" Though the weather was very cold, but I had been raised to endure hardships of pioneer life and was glad of the opportunity to accompany him. We did not have but one horse and I rode in the pack saddle on the horse and your father walked in front and carried the gun. It did not take us long to make the first trip and we brought in three of the deer. I carried two of them on the horse and your father carried the other. We repeated these trips until we had taken nine of them home and put them in the smokehouse. Then we went after the other remaining three and when we got to the last deer he killed which was as stated left hanging on the limb of a fallen tree, but when we got in view of the fallen tree the deer was gone. It evidently had been taken from the limb by a wild beast. When we had approached closer to it we noticed the top of some animal’s back just behind the log from where the dead deer had been left hanging on the limb. The animal appeared to be busy at work. Your father told me to stop and wait until he crept up to see what it was and slowly creeping around to the big end of the log where he could have a better view of it he was astonished to find that it was a big panther and a very ugly one. It was covering up the dead deer with leaves and was so busily engaged in hiding the deer that it took no notice of him and your father took quick aim at it with his gun and shot it dead."

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