The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

From the top of the bluff between where the waters of Little North Fork and Pond Fork mingle their waters together, an observer has an extended view of wooded hills, ridges, hollows and creek bluffs. At an ordinary stage the water in both streams are clear and transparent and the roar of the rushing water as it passes over the shoals is heard at a long distance. On the west bank of North Fork below the junction of the two streams is situated the hamlet of Theadosia. Jim Clarkson was the first settler here. His wife was named Polly and they had two girl children whose names were Nancy and Elizabeth. One morning at day break in war times 7 men on horse back crossed the creek near where the roller mill dam is now and charged up to the log cabin occupied by Clarkson and his family and compelled Mr. Clarkson to go with them to a glade on the side of a hill near where the Lutie Road now passes and near ¼ mile from the creek where they halted and shot him to death and rode on. Two of Clarksons sisters Patsey and Mandy, Jim Pelham and Nathan Young were the first to reach the spot where the murdered man lay. It is said that a pale yellow dog named Tige which belonged to Clarkson followed him to his death and returned back to the house and accompanied the searching party and guided them to the place where his dead master lay in the embrace of cold grim death. As it was nearly impossible to have a coffin made here in those days of blood and strife his remains were enclosed in a common box. I am told that both his children are dead. Nancy was buried at the side of her father’s grave. Mr. Clarkson was an inoffensive man and one of his eyes had been destroyed by fire in the state of Illinoise when he was a little fellow. On the opposite side on North Fork from the bluff is an old time burial place of the dead. This grave yard is marked by a grove of timber and is situated on the upper part of the Lize Friend farm. On the 5th day of October 1905 1 went up to the top of this bluff to view this cemetery and reflect back when the old timers of this neighborhood once enjoyed the balmy air of the Ozarks. Mr. Lize Friend informs me that Agnes a little daughter of John B. Graham died in 1838, her body was the first interment here. The body of "Gid" Brown who was killed on the east prong of Big Creek by a pedlar in 1839 was the second interment here. A large number of pioneer people of Ozark County Mo. rest in this cemetery. Among them are three of the Risleys, Ben Silas and Bert. Two first named were brothers and Bert was a son of Silas’s. Silas Risley’s wife was named Betsey and I am told that Silas was the first settler on the land known now as the sand field which is on the west bank of Little North Fork just above where Paton Keesee lived many years ago known now as the "Dug" Price Place. Here in this sandy bottom Silas Risley cleared one acre of land and planted it in corn and I am reliably informed that he raised 100 bushels of corn off of this acre of land. This was a few years after Paton Keesee occupied the "Dug" Price land in 1823. Returning to the grave yard we are told that the old pioneer settler John B. Graham and his wife whose name was Betsey is also buried here. Other early residents of Ozark County whose mouldering bones repose here are Isaac Copelin, Isaiah Baize, John B. Ford, Noel Hutchison, John Friend and Lewis Clarkson. Jim Clarkson son of Lewis Clarkson who we have already stated was killed in war times was also buried here. This village of the dead was known many years ago as the Betsey Graham Grave Yard, taking its name from Mrs. Betsey Graham who lived here a number of years after the death of her husband.

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