The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

"The first religious service I ever heard in my life was under peculiar circumstances," said Mr. Jim Griffin. "It was while we lived on Elk Creek in Texas County, Mo., in an early day. There was a man of the name of Sam Hughes who lived In our neighborhood that was a preacher and a doctor also, and he is the man that I heard preach, but it was only while I was going into the house for the news I carried there broke up the meeting. Here is how it happened," said he. "One Sunday Mr. Hughes announced that he would preach some three miles from our house and my father and mother told we older children to remain at home that day and care for the house and they would go to hear Mr. Hughes preach. After my parents had left we stayed in the house until we become tired of being in the house and went out to play 50 or 60 yards from the house. My brother Sam Houston Griffin who was younger than myself become separated from us and noticed some thing’s head sticking out of a hole under a stump. Not knowing what it was he went up to the stump and the head was drawn back into the hole out of sight and Sam childlike poked his finger into the hole to find if he could tell where it went to and as he did so he was bitten on the end of the finger. I heard my brother scream out in pain and I ran to him at once and not knowing what had occurred to him my little brother told me what he saw and what he had done and that something bit him on the finger. I knew at once that It was a snake but I had no time to fool after the serpent to kill it and took off my yarn suspender which my mother had knit me and bound his arm at the wrist with them as tight as I could and then picked him up and carried him to the house and leaving him in the care of the other children I started on a run to inform my parents. I run and trotted all the way there and my strength was nearly gone when I got there. I did not stop on the outside and wait till the services were dismissed but I rushed right into the house and stopped in the midst of the congregation and yelled to papa and mamma that "Sam was snake bit." My running into the house so unceremoniously and hallooing so loud surprised the people which caused the preacher to quit off his discourse and the meeting was at an end. Father and mother hurried home accompanied by several others including the preacher. A runner was sent for a pint of whiskey who brought it soon after we got home. My little brother was suffering much pain and his finger and hand and wrist were swollen, but fortunately the fangs of the serpent did not enter deep enough to inflict a serious wound and the boy recovered in a few days. On the following morning after Sam had been bitten we dug up the stump and found a copperhead under it which we supposed was the same reptile that had bitten my brother."

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