The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

We have occasionally made some allusion to the old Isaac Mahan farm on Little North Fork of White River. This land is situated in the first creek bottom on the west side of the creek. John Mahan son of Isaac Mahan says that his father bought the improvement on this land from "Black" John Graham in 1845.

Isaac Mahan was born in McMin County Tennessee in the year 1823 and came to Green County, Mo. when he was quite a young man and after stopping here a while he went to Brattons Spring Creek in Ozark County in 1841. Here he married Miss Louisa Ford daughter of John Ford and sister of Elijah Ford. Soon after his marriage Mr. Mahan settled on what is known now as the Jack Ellison Place on Brattons Spring Creek where on the 27th of November 1843 John Mahan son of Isaac Mahan was born. Mrs. Louisa Mahan died in 1878 and was buried in the silent village of the dead at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek where the remains of her husband lies at rest. When Isaac Mahan and his wife went to this bottom they built their house on ridge-like formation above the main creek bottom high above overflow. It was a beautiful spot to live on. Back from the house was wooded hills and hollows. In front of the door was the pretty stream of North Fork. In the creek bottom on the part of the land that Mr. Mahan used for an apple orchard was once a camping place for the Indians. A large number of well shaped arrow heads and other relicts of the red men have been picked up here from time to time. Mr. Mahan was a prosperous farmer and stock raiser while he lived here. At the breaking out of the Civil War he owned 200 head of cattle, 38 head of horses and mules, 40 head of sheep and a fine bunch of hogs.

John Mahan son of Isaac Mahan in giving old time reminiscences says that the farm on Brattons Spring Creek where W. C. (Carroll) Johnson lives now was settled by John Brock. In giving the burial place of two old settlers of Little North Fork he says that Alex Castleman after his death was buried on the Jess Evens farm at the mouth of upper Turky Creek and that Bobby Holmes deal body received interment at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek. At the upper end of the Isaac Mahan farm is the mouth of the Bevins Hollow which took its name from John Bevins who lived in this same hollow near where the Schofield School House now stands in the latter fifties. John was a brother of Sam and Andy Bevine who were early settlers. Just below the Isaac Mahan residence is the Mahan Hollow which runs across the bottom. Up this hollow one half of a mile from its mouth is a short hollow or gulch known as Spring Hollow which comes in from the west side. Up this gulch a short distance is where a noble spring of cold water gushes out at the base of the hill. The water comes out from under a ledge of rock and affords an abundance of everlasting water. On the hill side south of this spring upon a ledge of rock once stood a log cabin where Bill Johnson and his family lived while Johnson and Pert Howard manufactured whisky in a small hut that stood 75 yards below the spring. Johnson while he lived in the cabin on the ledge used the solid rock for a floor. It is said that Johnson’s children complained a great deal about their bare feet getting so cold on the rock floor during winter time. While Johnson was running this whiskey still W. C. (Carroll) Johnson said that one day when he was a small boy he was present at this still and seen John Bias and Gus Barnum come there astride of a yearling calf each. The one that Bias was riding had martin gales on. Wm. Mahan another son of Isaac Mahan and who was born on the old farm January the 24, 1847, says that two other cabins once stood just on the east side of this spring hollow. One was 40 yards above the mouth and the other was only 10 yards. In this last named cabin was where Elijah Ford and his wife Jane (Wood) Ford used to live. "In the other cabin" says Mr. Wm. Mahan, "is where Alex Duggins died. He lay 9 days with winter fever before death relieved his suffering. Alex was a brother of Cage Duggins who died on what is now the Pate Duggins Place on Big Creek in the month of April 1872. Alex Duggins was the first dead person I ever saw and it made a lasting impression on me. After he was buried his wife whose name was Lina and who was a daughter of Sam Johnson carried the bed her husband had died on and put it in a hole of water in the Mahan Hollow just below the mouth of Spring Hollow and weighted it down below the surface of the water with stones where she let it remain 10 or 12 days before she removed. The woman supposed in doing this that the germs of the disease would be soaked out of the bed clothes. Lina has been dead many years and the mortal remains of herself and husband lie in the cemetery at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek."

John Mahan married Miss Mary Nave daughter of John Nave. She lived to be nearly 57 years old and died on Possom Walk Creek near Mammoth, Mo. on the lst day of June 1905 and was buried in the grave yard at Pontiac, Mo.

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