The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

During the Spring season of 1860 a fruit agent who represented a large nursery at Lock Port New York came into Marion County, Ark. soliciting subscribers and he sold a large amount of fruit trees. We were living then on the north bank of White River in Keesee Township. My father bought 72 apple grafts at 25 cts each, 9 pear at 75 cts. each, three grape vines at 25 cts each and two peach at one dollar each, or a total of $25. The man was to deliver the trees in November of the same year, but when that time arrived, the war was being hotly agitated by many who sympathized with the South and the man experienced great difficulty in getting his steam boat load of fruit trees as far up White River as Buffalo City and sent word to his patrons that it was impossible for him to deliver the trees as promised and that if they would come after them they could have them at a reduced price. Several parties who lived in the north part of the county that were subscribers refused to go themselves or send after the trees. They said it was Northern fruit and they would not have it if the agent were to make them a present of it all. My father and "River" Bill Coker who lived opposite Shoal Creek on river and M. P. (Mose) Ray who lived on East Sugar Loaf Creek near its mouth went down to Buffalo City and paid the man as they had promised to do and brought the trees home with them. It was in the middle of January, 1861 when they returned back home and I and my father set ours out in a few days afterward. The trees had but little care while the war lasted but after the close of it my father gave the trees close attention until his death. These trees bore fine fruit and turned out to be what the agent represented it to be. A few of these trees are standing at the present (June 1st, 1907) day.

I well recollect that in the month of November, 1865 I went to the top of the bluff opposite where the big log house stood on the bank of the river where we lived and dug up 35 small cedar bushes and dug 35 holes around the house and placed a flat rock in the bottom of each hole and placed the cedar’s roots on these stones and filled in the dirt. A number of them died out and when Jim Roselle the present owner of the farm removed the old house to cultivate the land he destroyed all the remaining trees except three which are standing now and these remind me of the lonely hours that I whiled away on this farm during that beautiful fall season after the close of the War.

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