The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The writer has gathered a considerable number of stories relating to the early days of Green County, Mo. and of early incidents that occurred in that section of the state and I add more of them here. On the 29th of August 1906 I met David Garoutte accidently at the Frisco depot in Tulsah Indian territory and had a pleasant interview with him while I was waiting for the train to start for Springfield Mo. Mr. Garoutte was a soldier during the Civil War serving in the union army. He is also a pioneer of Southwest Missouri. He said that he was a son of Samuel Garoutte and that his mothers maiden name was Jane Reynolds. His parents soon after their marriage settled in Gasconade County Mo. and David Garoutte the subject of this sketch was born there February 25, 1838. He said that his father and mother both Informed him that they were the first residents in Pond Creek township on Gasconade river in Gasconade County. And they also told me that they moved out of that county into Green County when I was only three months old. By this you may know that myself and my parents were among the early pioneers of Green County. My father opened up a farm 16 miles southwest of Springfield. My parents told me that there was not a human being living in that neighborhood when they went there and their neighbors were the howling wolf. The black bear and the stealthy panther. On one occasion when I was just old enough to take notice to anything my father killed three panther during one day, two of which were shot in the woods and the other he killed off of the fence near the house. This last one measured 9 feet in length. He also killed three bear one day some three miles south of where he lived. During a fight with the last bear killed bruin slew one his dogs named Ranger. Deer was so numerous at that period of time that you could see one or more deer almost any time during the day you looked out of the house. We lived on the head of a stream called Pickeral Creek an affluent of Sac River. My father finally owned 640 acres of land there in one tract and he was the heaviest tax payer in Green County before the great conflict between the north and south commenced. My father set apart two acres of land on his farm for a graveyard and my parents rest here. My mother lived to be 86 years old. This cemetery is known as the Garoutte Graveyard. I recollect that the first time I visited the then small village of Springfield a man of the name of Debruin and another man of the name of Sheperd were the only merchants there. John Layer was the only blacksmith and doctor Chenneworth who lived in Springfield at the time I speak of was the first physician I ever saw. I recollect that there was a post office kept there and that the town contained only 20 buildings. I also recollect that George W. Keely was sheriff of Green County when I was a little fellow. Among the first families who moved Into our neighborhood after our arrival there were Dave Reynolds and Polly his wife and Edward Blade and Nellie Blade his wife. William McDonald whose wife was named Sallie Ann. Royal Harleton and whose wife was also named Sallie. Alaxander Owen whose wife was called Aunt Sallie. Joseph Buchanon and Saphira his wife. Magruder Tannihill whose wife was named Tressie, Steven Batson and his wife whose name was Jane. The first school I was sent to was taught by A. G. Robertson in a small house built of round logs with dirt floor and seats made of sapling poles split open and auger holes bored into the ends of them and wooden legs put in. We had one window which was made by a log being cut out 10 feet long. Some of my associates and beat friends who attended this school with me was Warren Christopher and the two Blades boys William and Edward, Anthony Robinson and Tobe Batson. The names of a few young ladies who went to this same school were Saphira Tannihill. Tennessee Christopher, Bathiza Laney and Rebecca Batson. This school was taught in our neighborhood. The first preacher I remember seeing in our neighborhood was David Tatum who belonged to the missionary Baptist Church. The first plow I ever used was in 1849 when I was 11 years old. It was a wooden mold board called a bar share. I used this plow in breaking a piece of new land where a hazle rough had been cleared off the previous winter. This plow was drawn by a stout yoke of cattle and I got very tired hollowing at the cattle and handling the cumbersome plow before I finished breaking the ground. The first pair of moccasins I ever wore was made of hog skin after it was tanned and I was seven years old when I put them on. I helped tan the hide that my first pair of shoes was made out of and Mr. Even Betson made them for me when I was 16 years old. They were square toed and when I put them on I felt so exalted that the governor of Missouri’s overcoat would not have made me a thumbstall. I married Miss Louisa Jane Smart at Billings Missouri in 1868. Five children were the result of this marriage. My wife died here in Tulsah in 1855 and lies buried here.

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