The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

I am told that Benton County, Mo. was organized January 3, 1835. The principal streams in this county are the Osage River, Grand River, Big Tebo, Thibean, Pomme D Terre, Cobe, Camp Deer and Turkey Creeks. It is said that the first settlement in the county was made by three men by the names of Bledsoe, Kinkhead and Howard in 1834. The town of Warsaw was at first named Osage and was established in 1838 and called Warsaw afterward. It is in Lindsey township, The land on which the town stands was first settled by D. C. Ballou. To give a further history of the early days of Warsaw and the neighborhood I give the following account as it was related to me by Z. H. (Jiles) Harris an inmate of the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri near Higginsville on the 26th of June 1907. Mr. Harris Is a son of Ben and Nancy (Audspeth) Harris and was born In Barren County Kentucky November lst 1829, and came with his parents to Missouri in 1836 and settled in the woods 4 miles south of the Osage River and 15 miles southwest of the present site of Warsaw. There were a few small roving bands of Osage Indiana in Benton County on their arrival there but the most of them soon left that part of the state. In speaking of the settlers who were living in that locality when they located there in 1836 and others who settled there a few years afterward Mr. Harris gives the following names. "Daniel Gray, John Howard., Andy Hanks, King Keys, Old Billy Keys, Jim Adkinson, Jim Wisdom, Lize Ramsey, Wiley Hood, Alaxander and Henry Brashares, David Kidwell, Nathan Huff and the old man Rankins. There were also Jess Drake and his brother Len Drake who was a well to do man, an old man of the name of Salsberry, Tom Berry, and George Alaxander. Mark Fristow was living on the land where Warsaw is and he was the only man living there when we went there. A man of the name of Vaughn sold the first goods there. John Holloway was a captain in the Mexican war and returned back home soon after the close of hostilities. Jim Smith was sheriff of Benton County when we settled there. Lee Least another early timer was a hunter and would visit our home while he was on a camp hunt. Tom Berry who we have already mentioned was the man that built the first mill on the Osage River in Benton County and was 5 miles north of where we lived. George Alaxander built the second mill which was put up on the Pomme De Terre which empties into the Osage above Warsaw and was 8 miles southwest of this town. The first school house built in the neighborhood of where we lived was a small log building with dirt floor which was named the Shilah Church House. Mr. Stanford McClerren taught the first school and in it. I was one of the students at that school and was 8 years old. There were several boys and girls who attended school but I can remember but one name except my own and this was Miss Malinda Moton. I suppose that the reason I can remember her so well was that she was a very pretty girl. She was a daughter of Jimmie Moton. The best pair of shoes I ever wore in my life was bought from Jim Adkinson for 90 cents in 1851. Mr. Adkinson was a merchant in Warsaw at the time I speak of and was the best man to poor people I ever met. Among the war time reminiscenses that took place in Benton County, Mr. Harris mentions about the shooting of Charley Sooten who was an old settler there and lived two miles from their house. Sooten was a southern man and gained the enmity of some of the men that held opposite opinions. He was shot down in his field while he was replanting corn. Arthur Mathis lived 3 miles south of us. One morning a party of armed men rode up to his dwelling before the family had ate breakfast and compelled Mr. Mathis to go with them and after they had took him a quarter of a mile from the house they stopped and shot him to death. The murderers would not permit the men of the neighborhood to give burial to the body and the women had it to do. Both the body of this man and that of Mr. Sootens were buried in the grave yard at the Shiloh Church House.

Mr. Harris said that both his parents lies in this same grave yard. When I interviewed Mr. Harris at the soldiers home he was an invalid in the hospital there. Mr. Harris said that he belonged to Co. D. llth Mo. Infantry CSA.

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