The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In relating an account of the early history of Little North Fork of White River, Tom McCullough, son of Pleasant McCullough, furnished me the following: "I was 9 years old or in 1844 when my father and mother settled on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. Our family and Herrod Holt and family and others came from Tenn. I remember that Jim Holt and I walked nearly all the way to get to play together. We were from Coffee County and the Holts were from Warren County. The first school house built on our creek was built at the mouth of Otter Creek by my father and Herrod Holt, Gruff Herrod, Jim Standfield, Billy Welch, and Amos Smith. After the wall of the house was put up and covered with long boards the men cut down white walnut trees and cut logs into the desired length and split them open and put the slabs on rocks and chunks of wood and used them for seats on the dirt floor. Mr. McCollough said that he was sent to the first school in this house which was taught by Jim Stanfield, and he did not lack for plenty of whippings from the teacher. Levi Barnette taught the second school in this same house. The next school house built on Little North Fork was at the mouth of upper Turkey Creek. This one was built by Sugar Jones, Simon Handcock and Dave Smith. A man of the name of Alderson taught the first school here. Mr. McCollough in giving an account of the ill conveniences then said that their nearest post office was at the mouth of Bridges Creek near what was known as the Jobe Tever Ball Place on Big North Fork 35 miles from where we lived. We received a letter only ever we had no letter stamps and the letters were sealed with wafers without envelopes, the letter postage was ten cents and were usually sent unprepaid. In sending for our mail the men would go turn about and bring the letters which were anxiously looked for from friends and relatives back at our old homes in other states. The neighbors would join in together and each man or woman would send a silver dime by the man that was going to the post office to redeem a letter at the office if one was there. We visited the office about once a month. News papers and magazines were unknown to us then. Mr. McCollough stated that his father P. J. (Pleasant) McCollough served a term as sheriff of Ozark County in the early days and in the collection of taxes from the people would receive deer skins, fox, coon or otter hides or fur hides of any kind that there was a sale for in payment for taxes for money then was hardly to be had. When my father had collected all the taxes that was due, he would have the furs and pelts hauled to a merchant of the name of Shirley who sold goods at the head of Bryant Fork and exchange them for gold and silver to settle with the treasurer of the state. Mr. Shirley would send the hides to Saint Louis and exchange them for goods and groceries."

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