The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Tomps McCracken, an old pioneer settler of Marion County, Ark., tells of an adventure he had with a panther one night which he told in this way. "I never was attacked outright by a panther, but I had a midnight encounter with one once which I contrived to bluff and it retreated. I had rode out one evening late and while returning back home after night my horse kept shying and dodging. I was following a dim road on the head of Sister Creek which flows into White River at Joe Pace’s Ferry (south side) some four miles below the village of Oakland. As the horse continued to jump from one side of the road to the other I wondered what was the matter with him, when suddenly the terrible cry of a panther rang out some 40 feet in advance of me. I stopped to make up my mind whether to turn back or try to bluff it and I decided that if I turned back it would follow me and probably leap on me, and I concluded it was best to push forward and try to give it a scare. I supposed it was crouched at the side of the road but when I urged my horse forward on a run and while I was yelling as loud as my vocal organs would permit I saw the outlines of the form of the beast spring from a stooping tree over the road. The anima1 as it left the tree growled very coarse and fierce. When it struck the ground I heard it running away. It was my time to run, too, and I dug the horse’s side with my spurs and he did some fast running. I soon reached a herd of cattle that were standing in the road and without halting I charged into the midst of them which caused a scattering among them in a lively way. It was fortunate for me that the panther screamed in time to give me warning of its presence or it might have sprang down on me when I rode under the tree where it was crouched. But as it was I scared the panther as much as it had me."

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