The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

"One of the most entertaining fights between man and a wild cat," said Zeke Eslick, "occurred in the pioneer days of Taney County, Mo. As I have stated heretofore my father, Artis Eslick, settled in what is now Douglas County, Mo., in the early days and I have spent the most of my life near Arno in Douglas County. Some years after we settled in Douglas County we moved to White River and lived awhile in the noted Horseshoe Bend over the line in Taney County. One day while my father lived here he and Dave McBride went hunting together, but their luck in killing deer that day was not a howling success for they succeeded in slaying only one yearling buck. It was several miles back home from where they killed the deer and they removed its hide and cut off the hams which was the best part of the meat and leaving the remainder of the buck for the buzzards and wild beasts to devour, started for home. McBride carried the deer’s hide and the two hams and father carried both the guns. When they got to the river and while passing along the river bluff and near the water’s edge McBride was a few yards behind my father with the hide and hams swung on his shoulder and hanging down at his back and as they were walking along in a few feet of a cliff of rock a hungry wild cat pounded down on the hams and hide from the top of the cliff. When the cat lit on the man’s back it put a quick move on him and he jumped here and there and yelled out so terrible loud that his actions and awful noise made my father roar out with laughter. It was bad to laugh at a man in such a predicament but his actions were so funny and he was bewailing so awful that my father said he could not help laughing at McBride in his amusing resistance against the attack of the cat. In a few moments he called on father to help him and father knowing he could whip the little beast he says, "Ah, no, Dave. A fair fight—hurrah for the cat—hurrah Dave. I will cheer you both and let you fight it out and neither one of you can say that I interfered and showed foul play." At this McBride grew furious with rage and swore that he would get even with my father when he got free from the cat. Rather knew that the man meant what he said and was on his guard. The lively tussle went on and father continued his cheering the combatants. Directly McBride remembered having his bowie knife with him and quickly taking it from the scabbard and reaching back with one hand he jerked the cat over his shoulder in front of him and cut it into mincemeat in a little while and would have treated father likewise but he kept out of his way and it was an entire year after this before McBride got on speaking terms with him."

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