The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The pupils that were in the school room in the early days were compelled to use a mixed class of books unless it was Noah Websters Blue Back speller which we all loved so well. There were different kinds of arithmetic and works that treated on grammer was hardly known. At noon and night the scholars toed the crack in the floor of the school room if it had any, to spell by heart. The school room of the present day and the school books are different to what they were then.

At the lower end of the old Ned Coker farm which is owned now by Alex Prewit is a fine spring of water which gushes out of the river bank. This water comes out just above the level of a low stage of water in the river and Is in Crocket Township Marion County, Ark. In the latter 50s a log house stood in the lower end of the bottom and just above the spring, and Billy James was employed by a few of the citizens to teach a three months subscription school in it. The house had a puncheon floor and puncheons were used for seats. Among the students who attended the school from the north side of the river and crossed back and forth in a canoe were Mary Matilda, Sally and George Holt who were children of Fielding and Betsey Holt who lived at the mouth of Shoal Oreek. John Bruce son of Jim Bruce boarded at Mr. Holts and attended school with the children and those who went from the Billy Holt farm were Jim Holt, Sarah Holt and Mary Ann Holt who were children of Uncle Billy and Aunt Polly Holt. Lewis Pumphrey and his two brothers Bill and Joe Pumphrey, nephews of Billy Holt went from the same farm. These boys were children of Tomps and Peggie (Holt) Pumphrey and were living at their uncle Billys. Also Margarette and Fielding Pumphrey children of Frank and Matilda (Holt) Pumphrey attended this school from this same farm. Those who went to this school from the south side of the river were Harry Hudson who lived on East Sugar Loaf Creek and M. P. Rays children, Henry, Mary and Marth who lived on East Sugar Loaf Creek just above the mouth. There were 5 of the Jake Nave children, Ned, Mary, Bill, Dice and John, who lived with their grandfather Ned Coker and went to school here. George and Winnie Coker, children of "River" bill Coker who lived opposite the mouth of Shoal Creek were among the little men and women who learned to spell and read in this school. One day while the school was going on Miss Mary Ann Holt who was a sickly girl did some trivial thing that was against the rules and the teacher whipped her for it. Jim Holt her brother interfered and told the teacher that she had not done enough to deserve a whipping and the teacher flew in on him and began threshing him severely. Jim did not resist except that he looked up at the teacher and says "Please sir scatter your licks" and the only answer the teacher gave him was that he applied the lickery with thicker and heavier. Miss Mary Ann Holt died in the fall of 1861 and her body received interment the old time grave yard at the lower end of the Jake Nave Bend where the moldering dust of her father and mother and sister Peggie lies.

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