The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

A former resident of Boon County Ark. by the name of Jame M. Ridinger and who lived near Bellfonte is credited with this account: "One day" said he, "a man and a woman were seen traveling on the Yellville wagon road going south. The man was a foot and carried a gun. The woman was on horseback. In a day or two afterward, two men passed over the same road making inquiry of the man and woman. These men were mounted and heavily armed. After they had followed them some distance they overhauled the couple and captured the man and brought him back and stopped at Jimmie Boxes who lived at the foot of a hill. Boxes wife was named Martha. This was 8 ½ miles east of Bellfonte. Here they eat a lunch and after leaving Boxes house the two men conducted their prisnor up a hollow and hung him. The Prisnor wore a federal overcoat that had been colored brown. The mobbing of this man was not known until some days afterward when Burrel Cloud discovered the body while hauling new rails out of this hollow. When Mr. Cloud first observed the body it was at a distance from him and he supposed it was an old man of the name of John Layer on his knees in silent prayer. But noticing that the form did not move he walked up nearer and found that it was a dead man hung to. the limb of a post oak tree. Mr. Cloud gave the alarm to some of his neighbors as soon as he could reach them and a number of men collected there to view the grewsome sight. The authorities held an inquest and the jury decided that he had been hung until he was dead on some other spot of ground, and had been carried there. His neck was broken and bruises found on the body indicated that after the man had been hung the body had been tied to a horses tail and dragged some distance and then taken up and carried to the spot where It was discovered. One knee touched the ground. The cape of the overcoat he wore was buttoned up and throwed back over his head and face. He wore a growth of heavy red whiskers and the corners of hie mouth was wet with tobacco juice. While the officials were holding the inquest over the dead man they took a small piece of tobacco out of the breaches pocket of the corpse and dropped it on the ground and one of the bystanders picked up the tobacco and put into his pocket. Joe Ruckman was a member of the jury and after deliberating some time they all decided that the man had been dead 4 days. The time of year was in the early spring. It was not known for certain what his name was but it was supposed to be Prater. "As far as I knew" said Mr. Ridinger, "none of my neighbors or myself ever found out for certain the crime that this man had committed but a rumor had it that he had eloped with some mans wife after deserting his own. The dead man was buried on the spot where it was found".

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