The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The writer received the following history of an incident that occurred in the bloody days of the Civil War. This was written at Arlington, Washington, by J. D. Row under date of August 11, 1907. Mr. Row wrote that he learned it from an old timer who lived on Bee Creek which has its source in North Boone County, Arkansas, and empties into White River in Taney County, Missouri, Here is the way he told it to me.

"When the war come up the people who lived in what is now Boone County, Arkansas, were divided in their political views. Many honest soul went into the southern service, others went with the north. Several of the men in the federal army were located at Springfield, Missouri, and their families were having a seriously hard time at their homes. Some of their neighbors who sympathized with the south were not manly enough to go into the regular service and they took pleasure in making it as disagreeable for these women and their children as they could. Finally three of these families decided to yoke up a span of oxen to each of their wagons and make their way to Springfield where their husbands were located, in the northern army. They had but fairly got started when they were overtaken by several of their reckless neighbors, boys and men. They were set out of their wagons by the road-side, their wagons and contents set on fire, and their oxen driven away. They were more than 60 miles from Springfield without food and shelter and nothing but their scanty clothes on their backs, Nothing at home to go back to. They wended their way on foot toward their destination. In 12 days of destitution and untold suffering they reached their husbands and fathers in Springfield. One sweet little child was laid away in the cold ground by the way side. The whole union force was much exasperated at such treatment given to help-less women and children. Their starved and almost naked condition corroborated the account of their ill treatment. The officers in command told the men whose families had been treated so cruelly, to pick out what help they thought they needed, from the command, and go and teach that neighborhood a lasting lesson. About 25 men took the Fort Smith road which lead them into Carroll County. From there they went east into what is now the middle of Boone County. The women had give the names of their assailants, and they knew where to find where they lived. From about the vicinity of where Harrison on Crooked Creek now is these twenty-five men went north and visited the homes of each person who had taken part in abusing these women. They would call at the yardgate and woe to the man, or boy of any site, who appeared at the door. They would throw leaden balls till their victims sank down, then ride on in haste to the next man’s house who had been named by the women. Among the band that had done the awful deed was one young man by the name of Denton. The women had not stated to their husbands and friends that it was the young Denton and when the soldiers called at the Denton house the old gentleman opened the door fearlessly, and as he stood in the midst of the open door he received the first ball that was fired at him which took effect in his bowels. He immediately sank to the floor and the men silently rode away. But he did not die. He recovered and lived until about the year 1898 when he died. When the war come up he told his two or three boys who were nearly grown that they must remain at home if it was possible to do so, attend to their own business, and let all others do what they may. But when the war spirit took possession of them they got into many desperate affairs and difficulties. Mr. Denton said afterward that he had to suffer for the meanness of his boys.

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