The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

Turnbo Home | Table of Contents | Keyword Search| Bibliography | Biography

By S. C. Turnbo

The following account which relates to the whipping of a young man was furnished me by Mort Herrean, son of Lewis Herrean an early settler on Big Creek in Taney County, Mo. Mr. Herrean said that when his father settled on that stream in 1841 Arch Tabor, John Tabor, old Jimmie Tabor, Tom Tabor, John Herrean and John Morris lived on the west prong of the creek from the main fork of the creek toward the head. He said that Dave Taylor an early settler on Big Creek bought the little mill that Russell Tabor built at the Pelham Place and kept it a few months and sold it again. Mr. Herrean says that old Billy Clark settled the Jack Nance Place on Big Greek "and my father", continued Mr. Herrean, "settled 2 miles above the Jack Nance Place and one mile below the foot of the hill where the main road leads up and over to Brushy Creek." "In the mouth of a hollow near this hill" said Uncle Mort, "my father killed 4 bears one day soon after our arrival on Big Creek". Mr. Herrean says that he remembers the first school that was taught on Big Creek. In the early 50’s a few citizens built a small log hut for a school house on the first place below the old John Morris farm known now as the Dave Coiner land. This was a subscription school and William Adair was the teacher. Among Adair’s children were Carroll, Dock, Bill, Jim and Mary, these all attended the school. Carroll Adair was nearly grown and soon after we moved from Big Creek and settled on Shoal Creek one mile and a half south of where Protem now is he married a daughter of the widow Pettigrew and after one child was born to them his wife died and Mrs. Pettigrew took charge of the child. While we lived on Shoal Creek Carroll Adair had no regular home and some said that he was a thief. During the winter seasons while we lived on Shoal Creek we made enough sugar from the sugar maple trees which stood in the creek bottom which we called sugar camp bottom to do us a year. Sunday after we had made a lot of sugar we left it in the house and went on a visit to be gone all day and when we come back home part of our sugar was missing. As Carroll Adair had been strolling over the country and on learning from others that he had been at our house during the day we suspected him getting the sugar. On close inquiry we found that after he had devoured all the sugar his stomach would hold, he sold part of the remainder for a 5 ct. silver piece or half dime and we soon learned that he had visited another house and stole a silk handkerchief and a lot of buttons and got away with them unobserved the theft was discovered soon after he left, and on the same Sunday he had stolen an axe from another party. After learning all these facts, I and my brother Simon Herrean followed him. We left home after night. I rode a gray mare we called Ribon and Simon rode a bay horse. Soon after we started from home I stopped and dismounted and cut a long slender hickory withe for we had decided that if we found and captured him we would give him a spanking good whipping and after ordering him to leave the country we would release him and give him a fair chance to go. The first house we stopped at was Bill Cowans who lived near the river above the mouth of Elbow Creek. Bill told us that Adair was at the old man Cowans father of Bill Cowan. Cowan caught his gray mare and rode with us to his fathers house. When we arrived there the family had all retired to bed except John and Tom Cowan and Carroll Adair and they were pulling off their shoes to get ready to go to bed. When we got into the house Adair seemed to suspect that we were on the hunt for him and worked rapidly to put on his shoes again in order to run off. We told him to hurry up for we desired him to go with us for the sake of company. After he had put on his shoes I said let us go and when we got out to our horses Bill Cowan and Simon guarded him until I remounted my mare and they made him get up behind me but thinking he might leap off of my mare and escape we stopped and Bill and Simon tied Adairs hands behind him with a rope. We did not say anything harsh to him, he submitted to our orders silently not even speaking a word until we had traveled a short distance after his hands had been bound and stopped where we ask him if he was willing to confess that he was guilty of stealing the sugar from us and the handkerchief, buttons and axe from other parties he said that he did steal the things that we charged him with and if we would turn him loose he would not do wrong any more but we were convinced that this assertion was not true and we told him that we were going to punish him according to Judge Linch if he did not want the civil law to take hold of him and we would give him his choice to either go to jail at Forsyth or take a whipping, he said that he did not mind the whipping if we would scatter the licks and not lash him too hard. I then said Carroll how many licks do you really deserve from this hickory withe which I held in my hand. "Well" said he, "about three stripes if they are not too rough." Then we rode on again, and leaving the road we went on through the woods until we were near the southwest edge of Katies Prairie where we halted and dismounted and held a consultation in his presence whether to take him on to Forsyth and turn him over to the proper authorities or give him a whipping and we decided on the latter punishment. There was no moonlight but the weather was clear and the many stars afforded some light. We told Adair to make up his mind to receive a sound threshing, but we would not beat him to death but would whip him in a way that he would not forget it. He was thinly clad even wearing a linen duster in winter time, we held to him and selected a post oak tree, then we untied his hands but did not take off his duster or shirt, we told him to hug the post oak tree which he did without a murmur then Cowan took hold of one hand and Simon the other and they pulled him hard up with his breast against the tree and they put one foot each against the tree to brace themselves and held him fast and with the hickory withe I began the work of whipping him. I struck him hard but he never groaned. He was a large fat chuffy fellow and was well able to bear a severe threshing and he got it there. I struck him 50 licks which the back of his duster and shirt bore evidence. No doubt my hickory cut into the flesh for when I ceased whipping him, I felt on his back with my hands and his back was wet which I supposed was blood. We told him that he must leave the country but he never uttered a word. After we had turned him loose he stood still. We told him to get from there and that in a hurry and never come back again, but he never moved nor said a word. At this Simon jerked what was left of the withe out of my hands and struck him a hard blow with it on the back and he started off on a fast run without any more warning. We heard of him a few days afterward and I suppose he left the country to stay away for I never saw him anymore.

Next Story

Turnbo Home | Table of Contents | Keyword Search| Bibliography | Biography

Springfield-Greene County Library