The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In a usual way a man in following the wicked ways of the world is inclined to reach out too far which has been the downfall of many men unless they repent in time and cease to do evil. Mr. Peter Keesee son of Paton Keesee was born and reared on Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. He said that his first wife was Miss Jane Johnson daughter of Sam Johnson. "After our marriage" said Mr. Keesee, "we lived on what is now the Carroll Johnson Place on the east bank of Little North Fork. Sam Bevins married my sister Gennie Keesee and they lived on the same side of the creek I did and just below where Theadosia is now. One day Mr. Bevins invited a number of the settlers to a big log rolling in the creek bottom. It was winter time and the weather was cool and disagreeable. On the morning of the day set for the log rolling, I says to my wife, "Jane do not go to the field and turn out the cattle, it is too hard on you to have to hunt all over the field and collect the stock and turn them out to water. Let them alone. I will come back before night and turn them out myself, you stay in the house and do not go out in the cold. You may look for me back in the evening for I will come sure." Then I left the house and my trusting wife and went on to my brother-in-laws to take part in the log rolling. There was a big crowd there with plenty of whisky and hard work to do. But we got all the logs piled by night. The names of a few men who were present that day was Peet Jones, Jim Tabor, Ron Burdon and my brother Dick Keesee. At night just before supper time Sam Bevins who was an excellent violinist tuned up his fiddle and began playing on it. At this Mac Holmes and his daughter Sarah stepped onto the middle of the floor and commenced to dance. This was a great surprise to us for Mac and his daughter were members of the Freewill Baptist Church. In a little while others were induced to dance and from this others took it up until nearly every one present, men, women, boys and girls joined in a general dance. I forgot I had a wife who I ought to have known was waiting for me at home. It was the most awfullest dance I ever attended. Part of us got dog drunk and the remainder of the men and boys were not far behind this. I wore a heavy pair of boots that I had bought of Henry Bratton and I danced in them so long that night they give me the string halt. On the following morning I come to my senses and oh how mean I felt for not returning back home as I had promised my wife. Some of the men proposed to take Mr. Holmes and his daughter down to the creek and rebaptize them for we blamed them with it. They were members of the church and they ought to have set us a better example than to be leaders in a dance. We all said that they had not been baptized deep enough in the water. But we did not take them. Soon after breakfast I started back home and limped all the way. My poor wife who had suffered uneasiness about me all night met me before I reached home. I acknowledge to her that I had treated her wrongfully and if she would forgive me I would not treat her so bad any more. She said she would forgive me if I would be a better man and I told her I would. I was so bad used up by the boots at the dance that I was not able to walk any more for two weeks. I repented of my folly and told my wife it was my last dance and this time I stayed with my word and never went to another one."

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