The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

What is known as Big Buck Creek, a small water course which runs through Keesee Township in Marion Oounty, Ark., has its source in Taney County, Mo. This little creek was once a prairie valley. The writer remembers that in the fall of 1853 when my parents moved from the mouth of Elbow Creek to the farm opposite the Panther Bottom we struck this creek at the mouth of the second hollow above where the division line between Arkansas and Missouri crossed this stream and traveled down it to where the main road crosses the creek now just above the mouth without having to out down only a few small saplings for the wagons to pass, which was done where the Henry Lewellen homestead now is; one mile or more north of the state line is the Hester Schoolhouse which is situated on the main wagon way leading from Protem to Dugginsville. Just across a hollow south from the schoolhouse is an old settled farm where there is a beautiful spring of living water, but before this land was settled this spring run only during wet weather. At the mouth of the hollow mentioned is another spring of living water, but the vein is weak. Martin Johnson was the original settler on this land which was in the fall of 1856 and cut out a small basin in a solid rock at this last named spring in order to dip up the water. The names of other settlers who lived on this land from the time it was vacated by Johnson until the breaking out of the Civil War were John Fritts, Dave Anderson, (D.A.),Winters and the writer’s parents.

Returning to the spring of water at the mouth of the hollow where Mr. Johnson cut the basin in the rock reminds me of an account that Johnson told me about an eagle catching a deer, which he said was in December, 1856. "I was at work improving my claim and one day while I was cutting logs to build my cabin with I heard what I supposed was a calf bleating in the creek valley just below the spring. Thinking a wolf or panther had caught it I ran down the hill with axe in hand and discovered that it was not a calf though, but a deer which had been attacked by a monster eagle. The deer was lying broadside on the ground and the eagle was on the deer and had sank its talons into the deer’s back near the loins." Mr. Johnson said that he rushed up and scared the eagle from the deer but the animal was dying and was entirely dead in a few minutes. "The deer was a small one," said Mr. Johnson, "but I was surprised at the ferocity and strength of the eagle in slaying the little deer so soon."

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