The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

A large number of people who were born in Arkansas live in Texas now. John J. Vandiver writing from Marguer Leon County Texas under date of October 6, 1906 says "I was born and raised in Eastern Arkansas, St. Francis County, Croleys Ridge, Withburg being our town. My father’s old homestead, two and one half miles from this place. My father being a pioneer settler not many years after Davy Crocket killed the big bear near the earth shakes on Longweille River. I have heard the wolves howl within 200 yards of the house so long before sundown and the panthers scream directly after dark, and caught bear in log traps. Mr. Vandiver was a Union soldier in the 2nd Tennessee mounted volunteers Murphey’s regiment. Capt. J. W. Chambers company served in the campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee under General Thomas and was at Nashville when General Hood was defeated. His father James Vandiver came from Lawrence County Alabama to St. Francis County Ark. in 1842. There were 8 families, the Browns, Barnes, Smiths, Boones, Herds, Waffords, Sanders, and Lawsons. These were heads of families. We lived in a split poplar log house with puncheon floor in this house was the first preaching I ever heard which was a Methodist. The first school I ever attended in St. Francis County was taught by Mrs. Cole in a small round log house with puncheon floor with summer unlined cracks with split logs for seats with pins in logs at the side of the wall with clabboards placed on them for writing desks and to lay the books on. We used quill pens and home made ink all the school books we used then was the old blue back speller. Our mills were holes dug out in logs and the corn beat with a pestle most every one owned his own mill. We spun and wove and ginned cotton on our fingers.

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