The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The old veteran settler and hunter who lived on Crooked Creek and is dead now furnished me with the following account. We refer to Peter Baughman. "In 1845," said he, "I was living on Crooked Creek and was often in the wild forest among the game and frequently met with other animals as well as deer and bear. Part of my hunting grounds were all along Sugar Orchard Creek. On one occasion during the year named I went over to Sugar Orchard as usual to hunt for deer which were then very plentiful in that valley. I went there in the evening and selected a good camping place and lay down early to sleep in order to get a soon start out on the hunt on the following day. I rose ,long before daybreak and eat my morning lunch and picking up my rifle when I just could discern the dawn of day appearing in the east and started. I walked slow and careful for there was danger of stepping on a rattler, but my mind was more impressed on the thought of feasting on fresh venison and collecting deer pelts than getting bit by a poisonous reptile. I went on until it was nearly broad daylight and watched and listened for something worth shooting at. I traveled on until near sunrise without seeing a deer. The grass was tall with heavy dew and I was damp almost to my waist. It was a fine morning. The little song birds were making music. Their charming songs were sang all around me. All nature in that valley seemed delightful. But what is that yonder, for I had noticed a long bodied animal lying at the foot of a tree. At first I was not able to make it out, but soon recognized it as a panther. I stopped and aimed my gun at it and shot the creature dead where it lay. To my utter astonishment the report of my gun roused up another panther which was lying on the opposite side of a log from me and in a few feet of the one I shot. The second panther rose to its feet and placed its forepaws on top of the log and elevating its head glared at me until I reloaded my rifle and shot it in the breast and killed it. I supposed that these two were the only ones here and felt much elated in getting them both. But I was mistaken for two other panthers jumped up out of the grass and sprang up the same tree. I loaded my gun in haste and shot one of them and it hit the ground dead. The other did not seem a bit afraid and stayed in the tree very quiet until I shoved down another bullet on top of another heavy charge of powder and brought him down with the bullet and after kicking awhile he lay still in death. I had stood in one place and shot the four beasts. I had something now to boast of and did not care a straw whether I killed a deer that morning or not and gave my attention to removing their hides." The writer will add that the place where these 4 panthers were killed by Mr. Baughman is between the villages of Zinc and Keener and near where the track of the White River Branch of the Mo. Pacific Railway is and was in Boone County, Ark.

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