The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Yellville, Arkansas, was a scene of blood and carnage during the latter part of the Civil War. There were a large number of men shot to death in town and their bodies left where they fell for the hogs and dogs to devour. I will mention a few cases in a brief way to show how far this cruel war was carried on in this town at Its worst. These accounts were gathered from reliable sources, Miss Martha Ann Taylor, a daughter of William Taylor, who lived on Water Creek near where the Flag Spring is said that while they were moving from Water Creek to Dallas County, Missouri, in war times they had to stop a few days in Yellville and while they were there she saw two dead men lying in a ditch and the hogs were eating them. Miss Taylor said when this horrible scene met her eye she staggered with terror and her limbs seemed paralyzed for a moment and as soon as she could recover from the shook she fled from the spot. Martha married Wm. Mahan in Dallas County, Missouri, and she would often repeat this story to her husband. She died near Pontiac, Missouri, in 1889 and was buried in the grave yard at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek.

Mr. Brice Milum, a former resident of Yellville, told me that a man of the name of William Busket was shot to death in Yellville one day 100 yards from the Weart Hotel. The weather was cold with snow on the ground and the body lay there three days and the hogs mutilated it by eating the ears off. Mrs. Sally Woods, wife of Derl Woods, and a few other women dug a grave and buried the remains near where Mr. Busket was executed. They had no coffin but they wrapped the body in a blanket. The ladies were not allowed to bury the dead man east and west according burial rites and customs but made them dig the grave north and south or crossways as they termed it. Mrs. Woods was a sister of John Adams and was a daughter of Mr. Matthew Adams.

One day in the early autumn of 1865 I and Lewis R. Pumphrey while passing along the street where the lower part of Yellville now stands he pointed to a spot of ground near where we were and said, "There is where one brave man died." And Mr. Pumphrey and Mr. Brice Milum give me a history of the case in the following way. The mans name was Tom Jobe and he lived in Missouri and was accused of being a southern ‘bushwhacker." It was said that he was a desperate man and had slain several men who wore the blue. The federals captured him at the mouth of the South Fork of East Sugar Loaf Creek just above where the town of Lead Hill now stands. Jobe and Blueff McGroove were together. The latter escaped. Jobe wore a pair of boots and the enemy in shooting at him one of the balls hit his boot leg while he was running and split it open. The ball wounded him in the leg. After they captured him they took him to Yellville and kept him under guard a week and then executed him which was done in the following ways. After Jobe was conducted to the designated place for execution and after being told that he must die he was ask by the commanding officer how many federals he had slain since the beginning of the war and the doomed man reflected a half a minute and then replied in a stoical way, "Well, about 40 is as nigh as I can estimate the number on this short notice." And the answer to this was a volley of bullets shot into the mania body and he passed from life into eternity. Mr. Milum said that Jobe was executed 100 yards in front of his door yard and that his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Milum, saw the execution from the house. Mr. Milum and Mr. Pumphrey both said that Jobe’s body lay in a mud hole several days where the dogs eat on it. Some of the soldiers as they rode by would ride over the body as it lay in the mud. and others would pass around it. Those that rode over him had hearts of stone and cared for nothing of a Christian nature and the ones that rode around him was either of a superstitious feeling or carried a soft heart in their breast. Mr. Milum said that after the federals left the town he and "Ice" Stinnette out cedar poles from the cedar grove nearby and built a pen around the remains of Jobe and filled the pen with stones.

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