The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

"Away back in the early days of Southern Mo. a few men took an interest in giving their children a very limited education and would employ a man to teach a subscription school ever now and then. In refering to schools taught in Texas County, Mo. in those early days Mr. Sam Griffin had this to say about it.

The first school I vent to was on Elk Creek when I was quite young. The school was taught in a log cabin that was floored with lumber sawed with a whip saw and slabs of plank were used for seats. A man by the name of John Worthington was the teacher. My three brothers, Tom, John and Jim and my sister Nancy Jane went to the school. Also Bob Miller, Mary Lynich, John Lynich and Sis Johnson attended it, the last named was a daughter of Mr. Wesley Johnson, one of our nearest neighbors on Elk Creek was a man of the name of Ingram. This man had a daughter named "Puss" his eldest boy was named Bud his second boy was named Alexander and the next was a girl 10 years old named Moriah. These children were our playmates before the school was taught and they also attended this school. The teacher was a member of the methodist church and was strict in the school room but entirely too harsh in the punishment of the students when they violated any of his rules some of us were severely punished for very little matters. Before dismissing the school of evenings he would have all the students to kneel down then he would kneel and devote himself in a long drawn out prayer. He would pray and watch the scholars too, to to see if they were behaving themselves. One evening while he was in the midst of a prayer that seemed to be five miles in length he looked over the room and noticed one of the girls that was not in a kneeling posture but was seated with her head bowed down. He quit praying now and after telling the scholars to be seated he went out of the house and cut a long stout hazle bush that had a number of limbs on it and stripping off the foliage he come to the door of the school room and called the little girl to him and whipped the child until her dress that was manufactured by her mother on the spinning wheel and band loom was in tatters and the flesh on her back and shoulders was cut until the blood dripped from the wounds. It was the most terrible punishment that I ever saw inflicted on a child and came near causing a big disturbance in the neighborhood but the trouble was finally reconciled and the teacher was allowed to continue the school according to contract. The girl that Worthington punished so brutally was Moriah Ingram." Mr. Griffin gave me this at his home one mile and a half south east of Oneta Indian territory on the 12 of August 1906.

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