The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In the month of July 1873 Elias Keesee, John Jones, Rufe Jones and John Copelin put up a box school house in what was once known as the Cal Hollow in Keesee Township, Marion County, Ark. The house was built in a little narrow bottom of land on the east side of the channel of the hollow. A living spring of cold water runs out of a bluff of rock on the west side of the channel and only a few yards from where the house was built. The lumber used in the construction of the house was sawed at Anderson Chapman’s saw mill in Chapman’s Hollow that runs into East Sugar Loaf Creek below Dodd City. In the early spring of 1894 the citizens of school district number 38 built a new school house up on the hill east of the hollow and the old school was torn down and the remnants removed. The first school taught in the original house was by Miss Fannie Chihainey Sister-in-law of Lee Rainey who lived on East Sugar Loaf Creek. The students who were sent to this school were the writers two brothers Jim and Andy Turnbo and his sister Lizzie Turnbo who in 1886 married H. E. (Ed) Upton and died 5 ½ miles west of Gainsville, Mo. June 27, 1899, and lies buried in the grave yard at the mouth of Bratton’s Spring Creek. Also John Riddle son of Bill Riddle, Fate and Malissa Jones son and daughter of John Jones and four of the Jake Bingham children George, Margarette, Martha and Missouri. Isaac Copelin son of John Copelin, Joe Copelin son of Tamps Copelin and two of Elias Keesee’s daughters Sirepta and Margarette, Jobe Keesee son of Peter Keesee, George and Richard Keesee sons of Paton Keesee, Bob Magness son of Wilshire Magness, Mary Terry and her brother Tom Terry son and daughter of Tom Terry and Almus Clark son of Henry Clark were regular attendants at this school. George Owen son of Captain Christopher Columbus Owen went to this school part of the time. The school was made up as a subscription school and was taught 3 months beginning the latter part of the summer of 1873. Tom Terry whose name we have just mentioned and who was 10 years old relates an amusing account of the opening of this school which he says was strictly true. "On the morning of the first day of the school and while Miss Chihainey was registering the names of the scholars in a small blank book she asked George Bingham what his name was and he answered prompt and loud ‘George Washington Bing-ham’ which amused all the other students so well that the teacher had trouble in getting them quiet. On another occasion before the school expired Joe Copelin brought a few nice peaches for the use of himself and laid them where he supposed was a safe place until he wanted to eat them but when he went to get the fruit (it) they were gone and Joe raised a row about it. The teacher interrogated the students about the missing peaches but each one claimed to be innocent of knowing anything about it and denied appropriating them to their own use. Joe was discouraged and being irritated at the loss of the peaches he spoke out loud enough for all to hear him and said, ‘If I were to guess one thousand guesses on who got my peaches I would say George Washington Bing-ham got them’."

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