The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Just below the old Charley Smith mill site on Big Creek in Ozark County, Mo. is the Charley Smith claim which is now converted into a nice farm and lies on the west side of the creek opposite the mouth of Lick Creek. When Charley Smith left Big Creek he sold his claim to Martin Johnson and the latter moved there in the early part of 1858 and built the wall of a hewed log house but never finished it. The Creek bottom where Johnson lived was mostly timbered with hickory trees. This bottom extends down to the Daniel Quick Ford of the creek. The waters of Big Creek contained an abundance of fine fish then, and soon after Mr. Johnson went there he constructed a fish trap in a shoal of water close to the mouth of Lick Creek which furnished himself and family with plenty of fish while they remained here and the water in the creek stayed low enough. Johnson married MY father’s sister Gracie and I would go there and stay all night with the family frequently. I remember one night in particular that I was there soon after he had prepared this trap and I and Johnson visited the trap 4 times that night and total catch for the night was twenty big fish. In 1859 Johnson sold this claim to Hugh Jones and went to Texas in September of the same year he sold out where he lived until the beginning of the war when he enlisted in a Texas (Confederate) regiment and died at St. Johns Hospital at Little Rock Ark. in July 1862. Hugh Jones sympathized with the south and was arrested in the early part of the war and taken to Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis Mo. where it is reported that he died. Jim and John (Jack) Jones sons of Hugh Jones sold their fathers claim to Cage Duggins who lived here until in April 1872 when he died. Between the old Charley Smith mill site and where Johnson lived in the log cabin that had formerly been occupied by Smith and his family is the scene where John Ramsey son of Lewis Ramsey was hung one night in 1867. Ramsey lived on the east side of Big Creek just below the mouth of McVeys hollow. During the night mentioned a party of men taken Ramsey from the house and after conducting him to the spot refered to they strung him up to the limb of a tree where his dead body was discovered on the following day. The crime was committed by mob violence and it was never known accurately why his murderers perpetrated this foul act unless it was done in order to make an effort to cause some innocent parties to suffer. The supposed guilty ones tried to lay the crime to R. S. Halet, Bill Pumphrey, and Billy Hawes but no one who knew the good standing of these men believed a word of their accusers. Pete Duggins son of Cage Duggins is the present woner of the land on which Ramsey was hung.

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