The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The small stream known as South Fork which enters East Sugar Loaf Creek just above the town of Lead Hill in Boone County, Arkansas, was settled in the early days. A number of old time people who have lived on this little water course have passed into the great beyond. Though their earthly remains are resting beneath the sod but their memory is still fresh in the minds of the present residents who occupy the small farms in this valley. There is life and enterprise among the inhabitants, most of which take an interest in education and religious matters. Two good schoolhouses stand in this valley that have been built by the recent settlers which are also used for church purposes. One of these buildings is known as the Macedonia church house. The other was named for Handy de Shields who was an old time resident of this section. There is a cemetery where the Macedonia house stands where a number of pioneer men and women are awaiting the final call at the great judgement day where we all will have to render an account of ourselves while living on earth. This village of silent sleepers is a beautiful spot for the repose of the dead.

Among the first settlers on this creek is Mike Green whose home place is up near the head of the creek five miles from Lead Hill. On the 23 of August, 1905, I enjoyed a short interview with Mr. Green at the residence of his son-in-law, John Baily, who resides a short distance below Elixir Springs. I found Uncle Mike to be quite lively for a man of his age and he talked freely of the bygone days when men used oxen and bull tongue plows on the farm, and the women spun and wove the home wear, and the little boys beat the tan oak bark to pieces in order to get it ready to be placed in the tan trough to tan the leather to make the homemade shoes out of. Mr. Green was born in Anderson County, Tennessee, December 5, 1822. Soon after his birth his parents moved into Roane County where he lived until in 1845 when he married Miss Hannah Lacy. In recounting the time when he settled on South Fork of Sugar Loaf Creek and the incidents following it, he had this to say. "I and wife came here in the year 1851. This section was then embraced in Marion County. Soon after our arrival here we settled on a ridge one mile west of South Fork where we lived a few weeks in a camp or until I could build a small house. Deer were plentiful here then and it was but little labor for me to keep plenty of venison on hand for our use, but I will leave out all my hunting experience except one little incident. In a few days after I had settled on the ridge I made a deer lick in 150 yards of my camp which attracted numbers of deer to it especially in night time and I shot several deer here. One bright moonlit night while I was sitting on the platform that I had constructed in a tree which stood nearby to watch for the approach of deer, I saw a fine buck come onto the lick ground and stop. He was a monster and carried an enormous set of horns. I raised my old muzzle loader to my shoulder and took aim at him and fired and he fell on his tracks. I left my rifle up in the tree and hurried down and cut his throat with my knife. The animal was so large and fat that It took the combined strength of myself and wife to carry him to the camp where we had more than an hour’s hard work in removing the hide and caring for the meat. After I had lived on the ridge several months I moved to the creek and settled the land which is known now as my homeplace."

In speaking of the names of settlers who lived on South Fork when he came there he mentioned Mr. Pleas McBride, Jimmie Jackson, Joe Coker and Martha Ann Phipps who was Coker’s housekeeper, and the three de Shields brothers, Bill, Handy and John. Situated on Mr. Green’s land is an old time graveyard where his daughter Almeda Green, who died in the latter 50’s, was the first interment here. In referring to the building of the first schoolhouse in his neighborhood Mr. Green said that John M. Gill and Jimmie Jackson had the honor of building the first schoolhouse on South Fork. The house was put up near where the Macedonia church house now stands and John M. Gill was the first teacher that taught a school on this creek which was taught in this same house.

Mr. Green said that some years after Gill and Jackson built their schoolhouse he and Tobe Huey cut pine loge and hauled them to a selected spot of land near where Mr. Huey lived and built another school house which stood not far from where the de Shields schoolhouse is now. At the breaking out of the Civil War which Mr. Green said he did not think was very civil, he aided with the South and served in Col. Schavel’s battalion of mounted men. He was with this command when it accompanied Gen. Price on his raid into Missouri in the fall of 1864, where in the fight near Kansas City, Mo., he received a severe wound in his breast which disabled him from further service in the army. The bullet wound after it had healed over left a well marked sear which indicated that he came near giving up his life in defense of the Southland. After the close of the war Mr. Green served his township seven years as Justice of the Peace. After he and wife had lived together 54 years she died on the 15th of June, 1899, and was buried in the graveyard on the old home farm. The given names of Mr. Green’s brothers were James., S.J., Hue, Bradford and Avery. The names of his sisters were Almeda, Leethe Ann, Millie and Amandy. J. Hue was killed in the fight near Booneville, Mo., during Price’s raid. Avery died in Sharp County, Arkansas, where his mother crossed the dark river of death.

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