The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

A few items of interest of early days on White River. is given by Mrs. Polly Ann Hasket who came to Marion County with her parents Steve Tucker and Patsey (Barber) Tucker in 1842. She was born in Hickman County Tennessee February 15, 1828. When her parents came to Ark. they crossed White River at a place called Elizabeth and stopped 4 months in oil trough bottom. Whey they moved to the Rock Ribbed hills of Marion County, on their way they crossed Sycamore Greek and crossed Little Red River near where Clinton now stands and though the beautiful valley of Wileys Cave. Mrs. Hasket says that when they stopped in the now famous oil trough bottom there were only a few patches of land cleared, the remainder of the bottom was a dense cane brake. The trip from the bottom to Marion County was interesting. The pure air and fine scenery of the then wild woods was not easily forgotten. Only a settlers cabin was seen here and there. "The first deer I ever seen in my life was on a pine ridge below the present site of Clinton, but I did not know they were deer at the time. Me and my sister Nancy had rode ¼ mile in front of the wagon when 7 animals rose up from behind a big pine log and darted away. Two of them were large and carried great horns which sprangled out into sharp points. Two others were smaller and had no horns The other three were little fell over and spotted ail over. We girls were superstitious and foolish and thought the animals were big devils and little devils. We wheeled our horses around and galloped back until we met the wagon and told a frightful tale to father about seeing so many devils rise up from behind the pine log and run. But after we gave him a description of the beast he told us they were deer - two bucks - two does and three fawns. When we come Into Marion County I was 14 years old", said Mrs. Hasket. "It was here in this county I married Jess Hasket in 1850 but when we first went there in 1842 father bought a claim from John Jenkins who lived on Fallen Ash Creek 1 ½ miles east of Yellville. Jenkins had been digging a well and he contracted to finish the well for father but one day when he had gone down in the well to work he was overcome by foul air and died before he could be rescued." Mrs. Hasket in giving the names of settlers living in Flippin said that Mort Runnels, Jim Gage Jim McCabe and old man Tacket and Jimmie Lover and his wife Becca. These last lived on Fallen Ash Creek." Mrs. Hasket went on to say that their manner of living in those early days were plain and frugal. "We mostly lived on wild meat but used some pork ever now and then. When the settlers began to raise hogs they were compelled to use every precaution to prevent their destruction by wild animals. I remember when we put up a hog to fatten it had to be enclosed in a stout pen and the top of the pen covered with and we weighted these down with stones to prevent bear from scratching into the pen and killing the hog. When our family needed coffee and salt father would carry a lot of fur and peltry to Little Rock and make an exchange for these necessaries. We women made part of our wearing apparel with cards spinning wheel and hand loom. A few women would keep a web of cloth on hand for emergencies or in case the family should move away on short notice. Of course it was then like it is now somebody was on the move all the time. The majority of the men wore home made hats or caps. The latter was made of skins of coons or wild cat and worn with the tail hanging down at the back part of the neck. Abe Woods was the first man we got acquainted with after coming into Marion County. I well remember Uncle Tom Flippin father of Hon. W. B. Flippin. We lived on his farm awhile. One Sunday evening Uncle Tom took a notion to select a place for the burial of his body after death. He requested his wife to accompany him and his wife invited me to go with them and I accepted the invitation. Mr. Flippin went to a spot of ground where there was one grave that of a child, where he selected a spot of ground to suit him and made a mark on a black Jack sapling to indicate where he desired his mortal remains to rest and when the old man was called away into the chilly arms of death he was laid to rest on this same spot of ground. This grave yard is known now as the Flippin Graveyard. I remember that while we lived on the Flippin farm 10 Indians came there one evening on their way to Batesville. They said they were from the Indian territory and ask permission to stay all night. Mr. Flippin gave his permission and allowed them to cook, eat and sleep in a small log hut that stood near his dwelling. The party were composed of men, boys and one woman. The chief of the band was an old man. W. B. Flippin and Agnis his wife daughter of Straud Adams gave them some provisions which pleased them so well that they would bow their heads and grunt. When these Indians got ready to retire for the night they placed their bows and arrows in a row in the cabin and spread their blankets down on the floor and lay down on them like a lot of children." In speaking of old times Mrs. Hasket relates an amusing anecdote of Dr. Cowdry who came to Yellville about 1836. "But It is only hearsay to me", said Mrs. Hasket, "but the settlers said it was true. Many of them laughed and told it after we came into Marion County. Dr. Cowdry was well known along White River from Batesville to the Mo. state line as an honest and an able physician and had a host of friends. Sometimes he was known to visit the sick 75 miles distant. Though while he knew a great deal of the practice of medicine and surgery and alleviated the suffering of the afflicted far and near but he had no experience in growing corn and did not understand the formation of a ear of corn. One spring season Cowdry’s wife who was a daughter of a man by the name of McCubbin who built a little mill at a spring below mouth of big North Fork - knew something of the art of farming planted a few rows of corn in the garden. One day after the shoots had formed on the stocks the doctor went into the garden and saw the shoots and supposing they were suckers and detrimental to the formation of roasting ears pulled them all off and carried them into the house to show his wife. Laying them down he told her they were suckers and he had snatched them off so that the ear could form. His wife was so astonished that she threw her hands up and exclaimed "why doctor you have ruined my roasting ear patch for them are the shoots that the ear is formed from". But Cowdry refused to believe it until his wife went on to explain the matter to his satisfaction then he gave it up. This incident shows that the most intelligent are liable to be mistaken in some things once and a while." Continuing Mrs. Hasket went on to say that her father lived a while on Isaac Wilson’s mother’s farm on Crooked Creek two miles below Yellville. "If you remember" said she "Isaac Wilson kept a hotel In Yellville before the war. Mrs. Wilson was a well to do woman. Among her stock was several fine milk cows which kept fat on the cane in the creek bottoms. Mrs. Wilson allowed us to milk the cows and I well re-collect what a quantity of nice butter and cheese we made from the milk of these cows. Mrs. Wilson said that she had suffered a great deal from the depredations of wild beast before we went there. The old lady said that a few months before we went there a panther came into the yard one night and went up a persimmon tree that stood near the house. The tree had a bushy top and being in the fall of the year the limbs were loaded with possom fruit. The panther cut some awful diaoes while in the tree by screaming, growling and breaking off the limbs by its weight. Mrs. Wilson said that she and the other members of the family were bad scared. Finally the ferocious beast leaped out of the tree and went away. Next morning the ground under the persimmon tree was covered with persimmons that the panther had knocked off."
S. C. Turnbo

The above was written in 1901.

Please note in the sketch that Fallen Ash Creek runs into White River on the opposite from Cotter or just above. The Flippin Barrens lies between White River and Yellville. The Flippin Graveyard is on the summit of a low wooded hill ¼ mile north east of the town of Flippin. This August 16, 1907.

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