The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

To give some idea of the early settlement of Green County, Mo. we write a brief sketch from an interview given me by Layfayette Abbott of Sparta, Christian County, Mo. Mr. Abbott is a son of William and Matilda (Godfrey) Abbott and was born near Sparta, the place of his residence in 1851. His parents were among the earliest settlers in Southwest Missouri. They both emigrated from the famed Wabash River in the state of Indiana to the beautiful prairies where the thriving city of Springfield sprung up into existence some years afterward. On their arrival there they found only one log hut there which was built of black Jack poles. His parents were young people and were unmarried on their arrival in Missouri but when they become older they married and settled down to make a living in the wilds of the pretty prairies. Both of them had been born and reared in a timbered country. Mr. William Abbott prefered to live where there was plenty of trees growing but his young wife loved the prairie country the best and wanted to make a permanent home close to the black Jack cabin but the young husband overruled the wishes of his wife and they moved from the land where the growing city of Springfield now is and went to Crane Creek in what is now Stone County. This stream is a tributary of James Fork of White River emptying into above Galena. Here on this stream the young couple built a little cabin in the timber and enjoyed the clear bubbling water of this little water course. They moved into their hut before it was completed. Here we begin a part of their history as told me by Mr. Layfayette Abbott.

"My fathers hair was as black as a crow. My mother was a red headed woman. They did not live on Crane Creek all the time but changed locations every few years. In the course of time 14 children were born to them. Seven of them were black headed and seven had red hair. My father told me that while they were living in their cabin on Crane Creek wild turkeys were so plentiful that they were hardly noticed unless a big fat gobler was needed for a meal and it was slain similar to a chicken that is you would only get a short distance from the hut and find a flock of turkeys and and shoot one. Deer were so abundant that hunters were not compelled to go fat to hunt one, and were usually found close to the house. I heard my parents both say that one day they counted one hundred deer in a bunch which approached in plain view of the cabin. This was only a few of the forest scenes they observed while they lived on Crane Creek."

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