The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Some of the interesting stories of catching coons is as follows:

The Jones boys—Fate and Frank, sons of John Jones—told about catching 13 coons one morning before breakfast while they lived on the old Mat Hoodenpile farm below Bradleys Ferry on White River. This farm is as well known is in Marion County, Ark. The most of these coons were caught by the dogs in the cornfield and the remainder we caught along the sloo between the river and field. This was done in war times.

Jake Hetherly said that while they lived in Douglas County, Mo., he and his father and Jake’s brother, Jack, went out one day during the deep snow in the early part of 1856 and caught 12 coons before sundown. They were not accompanied by a dog but tracked the coons in the snow to where the animals had climbed trees and went into the hollow limbs or cavities in the stem of the trees for shelter, and they would chop the trees down and capture the coons before they could make their escape from their place of refuge from the cold weather. Mr. Hetherly said that he was only seven years old but "enjoyed himself well that bitter cold day while catching the coons."

The best coon story I ever heard as regards the number of coons caught in one day was told me by William M. (Mort) Ingram who was born in Scott County, Virginia, January 20, 1817, and came to Taney County, Mo., in 1860 and lived near the Five Oak bald hill on the head of Big Buck Creek in the southeast part of the county. Mr. Ingram said that one day in 1871 while he was hunting in the hills on the east side of Shoal Creek he located a lot of coons in hollow trees. "I went home now and brought my ax and dog and hunted for coons instead of deer and caught 14 that day. Also John Ingram, a grown son of mine, in company with John I. Smith killed 11 coons the same day, and Jim Henderson, son of "Chris" Henderson in company with another man whose name I have forgotten killed 9--all the same day, making a total of 34 coons slain the same day. Of course, the weather was cold with plenty of snow on the ground or none of us would have been so lucky at capturing so many of them in one day," said Mr. Ingram.

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