The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Jerry Turner son of Bradley and Mary (Harris) Turner who was born on Bear Creek 1 ½ miles below the mouth of Cheaten Creek in Boone County, Ark. November 18th, 1849, gives this bit of history of Bear Creek.

"When I can first remember" said he, "Charley Whitely a Baptist preacher who lived on Bear Creek was the first man I ever heard preach. John Matlock (Medlock) was the man that owned the little mill on Bear Creek. West Moulden and Sterling Barker also lived on Bear Creek. Henry Thompson lived at Bear Creek Springs and is supposed to be first settler there. Zempsey Thomas lived 1 ½ miles north of the springs. Tile first school I ever attended was taught on Bear Creek one mile below where my father lived by Mrs. Katie Harris wife of William Harris. The school was taught in a small round log house with stick and dirt chimney and small poles were placed on the roof to hold the boards down. I only attended this school 9 days and I reached A base in the Blue Back Spelling Book at the end of the last day. I remember that John McCoy’s three children, Nick, Catherine, and Mary and two of Lize Matlock’s (Mealock) boys, Smith and Bill went to this school at the same time I aid. "I recollect".. said Mr. Turner, "When the emigrant train organized in the fall of 1856 and the early spring of 1857 and started to California and who were murdered at Mountain Meadows in September 1857." Among those that belonged to the train and was killed was John Beach aged 21 years. His parents lived on the Beach Farm on Kings River near the Beach iron works near where Osage Creek flows into Kings River. John had a brother named Abe and a sister named Susan. John was a remarkable fellow. He was only 4 feet 6 inches tall and would put a silver dime on his big toe nail and stoop forward without bending his legs and lick the money off of his toe with his tongue. He was also able to bend his body and legs backward and pick up a brass pin from the floor without touching his hands to anything to prevent him falling over. Well about the wild beast. I will say that there were no lack for them on Bear Creek. I was just 3 years old when I seen my first bear, which happened in this way:

My father and mother, Turn Walker and Mary Ann his wife were going along the side of the field one day near our house. My father was carrying me in his arms when all at once there was a disturbance among the hogs. The bunch was rallying while one of them was squealing. I recollect that father put me over the fence on the inside of the field and the two men and two women started in haste toward the hogs leaving me to cry as loud as I could which I did. My father and Walker thought it was wolves that got in among the hogs and they had run to scare them away. We had one dog we called Guess and he ran ahead and began baying when the men and women approached near enough they found that it was not wolves but a bear which had killed a shoat by the time they reached there and had it up in his arms going off with it, but the dog and men and women made the beast drop it and his bearship made his escape for the time. They picked up the shoat and come back where they had left me and we all went to the house and the men and women drened the shoat and weighed It which was 30 pounds. In a few days afterward Charley White shot and killed a bear in his field near John Matlock’s (Medlock) mill which weighed 400 pounds neat. My father and others said that they were confident that this was the same bear that killed the shoat."

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