The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One of the pioneer settlers of Marion County Ark. was John H. Tabor who died several years ago. Mr. Tabor was a son of Elijah and Sarah (Green) Tabor and was born in Rutherford County North Carolina December the llth 1809. He came with his parents to the mouth of Big North Fork on White River in 1826. They and others pushed a keel boat all the way up White River. His parents died many years ago and both lie buried on East Sugar Loaf Creek on what was once known as the Akins land. "The year I came to mouth of Big North Fork" said. Mr. Tabor, "I made a crop with Jack Hurst and ‘Snappin’ Bill Woods on the river near the mouth of Big North Fork. In 1830 I made a crop where Buffalo City now stands just above the mouth of Buffalo. I remember that soon after our arrival at the mouth of Big North Fork in 1826 a band of Indians came there one day with several elksheads and horns. The length of the horns were astonishing for by standing them on the points a man of ordinary height could pass under the heads without stooping. There were plenty of Buffalo along White River then, and great numbers of buffalo bones and horns were found all over the country. I have lived at various places in Marion County until I took up my final location on Crooked Creek some two miles below Powell. I bought this claim from an Indian of the name of Little Pumpkin in 1836. This Indian had settled this land two years previous. I built a small log cabin on the claim during the same year I bought it. Some three or four years thereafter I built another log house near a fine spring of water on this same land and removed the cabin that I built in 1836 and attached it to this last house and the logs are In a good state of preservation to the present day. I got acquainted with doctor Cowdrey in 1829 and he was living in Batesville then. I recollect when de Armond shot and wounded John P. Houston brother to the governor Sam Houston of Texas fame, a runner was sent to Batesville for doctor Cowdry end he came and attended on Houston until he recovered from the wound. Houston was at the mouth of Big North Fork when he and de Armond got into trouble and was shot. Doctor Cowdry was the only physician then on White River and came to Yellville in 1835. Cowdry was one among the well educated and was a skillful physician and surgeon. Shortly after I came up White River I married Betsey Magness, daughter of Jimmie Magness." In refering to the graveyard which is situated in the forks of crooked and Clear Creeks, Mr. Tabor said that the dead bodies of some Indians were the first people buried there. "These Indians were put away decently by being dressed in new calico that was bought from traders. The dead bodies were ornamented with pretty shells beads and rings. One night these graves were desecrated by grave robbers. The dead were taken out of the graves and stripped of their shrouds and ornaments. The Indians who lived on Crooked Creek lamented bitterly at the dastardly crime which they charged to two white men named Mose Mecke and Jerry Macks. The first white person buried here was the dead body of a white man named John Wood." said Mr. Tabor. Going on with the account of the history of this graveyard, Mr. Tabor mentioned that Jimmie Magness his father-in-law is buried here and "also Betsey my first wife and a brother of hers whose given name was Jim lies buried here. Hugh Magness once the popular merchant at Powell and son of "Joe Magness rests in this same cemetery."

Mr. Tabor died on his old farm June the 26th 1902 in his 93rd year. He had been living on this land 66 years and in Marion County, Ark. 76 years. He was buried in the graveyard in the forks of Crooked and Clear Creeks near where he resided so long.

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