The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One of the earliest settlers on Little North Fork was Jimmie Friend who went from the state of Virginia to Scott County, Mo. where he married a Miss Jane Dillwood in 1828. A few days after their marriage the young couple bid adieu to friends and kindred and started on their honeymoon to the then wilds of upper White River and settled on Little North Fork. The Creek bottom where Mr. Friend lived is known now as the Bud Breedlove farm which years ago was called the "Burnt" Cabin Place deriving its name from a log cabin that burned down which belonged to a man of the name of Burns who lived on this land. Here in this bottom Elijah Friend, Uncle Jimmie Friend’s first born saw the light of day in 1830. In the year 1831 Uncle Jimmie sold his claim here and settled a claim on Pond Fork a mile and a half from the mouth of the creek and is known now as the Tom Mahan Place. Mr. Elijah Friend son of Uncle Jimmie who lives on the farm opposite Theadosia’s related to me the following history.
My brothers names were John, Elias, Elisha, and Tom. My sisters were Sally, Betsy, Susan and Busha; Elisha, Lura, Betsy and Susan are resting in the graveyard on my farm known as the Betsy Graham grave yard. Sam Eslick taught the first school on Pond Fork. I remember he had two boys named Beden and Joe who attended this school. Ben Risly also come to the school it was a subscription school and was taught 3 months. "It was not strange" said he "to see 75 or 100 deer during one day. One morning early Alferd Graham while hunting on the west side of Little North Fork one mile above mouth of Pond Fork shot and killed 5 deer as fast as he could load and shoot. The deer all fell in a few feet of each other. This occurred on the crest of the ridge that divides the waters of the two streams. On another occasion" said Uncle Lige, "my brother John Friend who was a famed hunter, while hunting in the hills one day between Little North Fork and Lower Turkey Creek killed 9 deer within a radius of a few miles. Though I never took any delight in hunting after deer but I have had a great deal of fun with wolves. I well remember that I and my father and my brother John went out one day and killed 6 wolf pups in a cave, that their bed was 15 feet on the inside of the cavern. When we come out of the cave one of the old ones made its appearance and we shot at it 7 times before killing it, situated between Pond Fork and the head hollows of the right hand prong of Big Creek is a chain of bald hills known as the Washington Balls. How these hills derives this name was this. Back in the early forties, Ben Risly, Alferd Graham and Alva Graham went out into Washing County Ark. to look at the country there. When they returned back home on Little North Fork they said that the hills and flats in the vicinity of these bald hills resembled some parts of Washington County, and they called them Washington which retains the name to the present day. One day I and my brother John while hunting in the neighborhood of these bald hills we come to a den of wolves in a shallow cave under a ledge of rock. The young wolves were the size of grown foxes. It was amusing to see them run out from under the ledge when we reached their den. There were seven of them and they give us all tile sport we needed for an hour. We only got 4 of them. The others escaped. Mr. Friend said that finally his father sold his place on Pond Fork and bought an improvement from Alva Graham where the village of Lutie now stands. Alva was a son of John B. Graham. At this place my father and mother lived until they died and their mortal remains rest in the cemetery rear this village. My sister Sally is also buried here. The body of my mother was the first interment here which occurred on New Year’s Day 1866.

Bear and bear hunters were common in my boyhood days and hunting game was the custom then among hunters and stories of hunting were told by a majority of the settlers. The big game is all gone now and our talk is about something else in line with the customs of the country. But we need not be ashamed to repeat the stories as told by our old time friends and relatives who have passed from life to death and gone on before us. And now I will give you an account of the death of a bear that come under my personal observations. One day in 1837 while we lived on Pond Fork a big bear came down the bluff on the east side of the creek. A thick growth of cane grew all over the creek bottom. The bear had come down close to the mouth of a hollow and approached the house. It was common for wolves and panther to venture up near our house until that day. It was in 50 yards of our cabin before we or the dogs discovered it. But there was a lively stir among us and the dogs when we did find it out. Henry Cowan who lived on Pond Fork on what is now the Jim Wallace Place was at our house that day and he and my father and the dogs started for his bearship. There were 8 dogs part of which belonged to Cowan. The dogs sprang out of the yard towards Bruin. The two men with guns in hand followed them. The bear started off in a run but the dogs soon overtook him and brought him to bay and fairly swarmed around him and fought him desperately. Boy like I followed the men to enjoy the chase and the pleasure of seeing a bear fight. Bruin’s temper rose to a high pitch and he boiled over with rage and picking up one of the dogs with his teeth and bit it severely, the poor dog yelled with pain and when the bear released it he gave up the fight. When Bruin turned the dog loose he beat a retreat. The other dogs followed on after him and annoyed him until he halted again and backed up against a large white walnut tree and raised on his haunches and sent the dogs right and left with his paws until all of the dogs were fairly whipped and they needed no second warning to keep them at a respectful distance from Bruin who was a daring old fellow and seemed to look on the vanquished dogs with contempt and appeared to be glad of his victory over the dogs. His rejoicing did not last long for father and Cowan advanced up in close gun shot range and aimed carefully and sent two bullets into a vital part, and he had no more oppertunity to strike terror among another pack of dogs. He was fat and furnished all the bear meat that my father and family and that of Mr. Cowans could consume in some time," said Mr. Friend as he closed his old time reminiscence.

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