The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

On the 30th of August 1906 I interviewed a man of the name of John H. Shipman at Springfield Mo. who said that he was born 3 miles east of Ozark in Christian County, Mo. August 18, 1843. Mr. Shipman said that his father Nathaniel Shipman settled on Findley Creek in 1820. "My father informed me", said Mr. Shipman, "that there were only three settlers on Findley Creek when he came there and their names were Bill Garrison, Bill Gardener, and his grandfather on his mother’s side John Hoover. "My father" continued Mr. Shipman, settled on a tract of land three miles east of where the town of Ozark now stands. I have lived on and own this same farm where my father first settled to the present time which is the same land I was born on. My father lived to be 85 years old before he passed from this life and lies buried at Linden in Christian County. My mother was 84 years old before death called her away and is buried in the cemetery at Sparta. Billy Friend is said to be the first settler on the land where the village of Linden now is. There was an Indian village or camping place at Linden before the Indians moved from Southern Missouri. There were numbers of tommyhawks, war clubs, arrow heads and other Indian relicts plowed up there by the early settlers after the land was put into cultivation. A village of the Delawares stood in the forks of Findley and James where it is said that the Indians constructed huts out of bark which with their bark floors and bark bunks with other vegetable accumulations was a menace to the few white settlers in that locality who rose up in anger and kicked against the nuisance and demanded a stop put to it. The white people claimed that the decomposing vegetable matter produced chills, malarial fevers and other kinds of sickness." Going on with his early reminiscences Mr. Shipman said "There is a place on Findley Creek known to the early settlers as the rock house where John Young a blacksmith and Bill Stacy father of Doctor Silas S. Stacy and others were the first settlers in that immediate vicinity. The Cherokee Indians while moving to the territory use to camp under this shelving rock and chant their wierd songs which put a move on the bats and screech owls and stirred them from their places of abode. It is said that several wagons could take shelter under this projecting cliff. My first recollection of Springfield is that there were only five business houses there. Among the merchants of that day who sold goods in Springfield is that there were only five business houses there. Among the merchants of that day who sold goods in Springfield were Gen. Holland and Billy McElhaney. A man of the name of McCracken kept the post office then. The buildings were chiefly made of round logs. Mr. Calvin Johnson taught the first school in our neighborhood and was the first school I ever attended. The school house consisted of round logs 17 by 20 feet with an open fire place 10 feet wide. I was only a little shirt tail lad of a boy then but I distinctly recollect the rough log seats we had to sit on to learn our A. B. C’s. and A. B. ABBs in the old blue back speller. This same house is standing to the present day and is now weather boarded on the outside and sealed on the inside. Every time I pass this building I think of my early school days there, " said Mr. Shipman.

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