The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Joseph Hall was born on White River in the month of September 1820 and died near Pontiac Ozark County, Mo. May the 17th 1900. His residence in the Ozark region was nearly 80 years. His remains lies buried in the cemetery at the mouth of Bratton’s Spring Creek. His father Dave Hall was a colored man. His mother whose maiden name was Sallie Williams was nearly white in color. I know nothing about their nationality but the old settlers the majority of them said they were free negroes. Dave Hall originated from North Carolina. From there he went to Tennessee and not being satisfied there he come to White River in what is now Marion County, Ark. in 1819 and settled in the river bottom on the south side some 7 miles below the mouth of Little North Fork and near three miles below where Joe Paces Ferry is now. On this land Joe Hall was born and is where Dave Hall and his wife died and bothlie buried here. The body of Dave Hall was the first interment in the graveyard there. Joe Hall said that his father was an exceedingly stout man. "I have seen him", said he, "Stand in a strong home made wash tub and should a sack containing five bushels of wheat and my father was the first man", continued Mr. Hall, "that brought a whiskey still into what is now Marion County." In giving other early incidents and reminiscences along White River Joe Hall said that he remembers seeing plenty of Indians here when he was a little fellow. "On one occasion a band of 200 of them camped one night in the river bottom where we lived but they were all peaceable and friendly. I was just four years old when the great freshet in White River occurred in September 1824 and have only a dim recollection of it except one little incident that occurred at the time of the highest stage of water. I was with one of my brothers that was nearly grown and he was trying to drive a small heifer along the edge of the water. The heifer did not want to go the way he wanted her to and she attempted to run by him and he knocked her down with a rock and killed her. I remember all about the big rise in May 1844 and those who were acquainted with the water marks of 1824 said that the rise of that year was several feet higher than the water was in 1844." In refering to the customs of the early residents along White River Mr. Hall said that the boy children went in their shirt tails until they were 10 or 12 years of age, when they was allowed to wear breeches and a hunting shirt made of dressed buck hide. Shoes or moccasins were made of leather tanned in a trough dug out for the purpose. Moccasins were also made of deer skins. Hats were made of straw and caps were made of coon skins. Later on flax was raised and manufactured into cloth. We had no such thing as soda then but women made potash as a substitute. Some used sugar and coffee of a Sunday morning for breakfast only. The more wealth, used these articles a little oftener. The usual price for coffee when I first could recollect was 50 cts. per pound." The writer will add that Joe Hall was intelligent and peaceable and that his accounts of early times can be relied on as truthful.

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