The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Tom Barnette, son of the pioneer settler, Jim Barnette, who died on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo., in the winter of 1896-7, tells of an exciting experience he had with a catamount one morning before daybreak on Little North Fork two and one-half miles above the mouth of Barren Fork. I was just old enough to hunt and had my dog I called Bounce to kill a coon. In passing along a bluff near the creek and while I was near a cliff of rock I was assailed by an animal springing on my back. I supposed it was a panther and I did some of the loudest yelling I ever did in my life. When the beast struck me it knocked me down, but I jumped up with it on my back and bounced around at a lively rate. The dog was not near me, but the racket I made soon brought him to me and he attacked the beast at once and made it release me. When the beast let me go I started and ran 100 yards or more before stopping and when I halted I turned round and heard the dog fighting. I did not know what it was for certain, but as I said I believed it was a panther. While I was standing there in the dark, for It sometime before daybreak, I collected courage enough to go back. It and the dog went on with the fight and I encouraged the dog all I could and finally after a hard fight the dog killed it and then I discovered that it was a small catamount and I picked it up and carried it home and my father took off its hide. The animal clawed and bit me until my clothes were torn and the wounds on my back bled freely and was sore many days before they healed over. I carry some of the scars yet that was made by that catamount said Tom Barnette as he ended his story.

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