MISTOOK HIM FOR A WILD TURKEY AND KILLED HIS OWN SON
BY S. C. Turnbo
Bull Creek is a prominent stream of water it has its source in Christian County, Mo. and after entering Taney County empties into White River between Forsyth and Branson. A very sad incident occurred on that stream in the long ago which was told me by John Shafer. In giving an account of it Mr. Shafer said that while his father Abraham Shafer lived on Bull Creek over the line in Christian County. "My brother Simon Shafer went out to the creek one morning to shoot wild ducks with his double barrel shot gun. Very soon after he was gone my brother William Shafer stepped out of the house to wash his face for breakfast and noticing a flock of wild turkeys flying from the creek to the top of the bluff called to my father and pointed his finger toward the turkeys and my father picked up his piper gun and went up into the bluff to a ledge of rock that was not high enough to prevent him from seeing up the face of the bluff above him. At the moment he reached this ledge he heard what he took to be a turkey yelping up in the bluff some 60 yards from him and at the same he noticed a black object moving slowly through the grass. My father said that he had no other thought in his mind but that it was a turkey and rested his gun on the top edge of the rock and shot at the object. The cliff or ledge was so shaped where he shot from that he was unable to climb up it and he passed around one quarter of a mile before he could get up the ledge and when he went to the spot where he supposed he would find a dead turkey he was paralyzes with sorrow at finding the dead body of his own son who had left the house a few minutes before to kill ducks and seeing the flock of turkeys had followed them in order to get a shot at one. We heard my fathers cries of distress and not knowing what had occurred started to him. There were four freight wagons in the creek bottom near the house. The freighters who drove the teams had camped there the evening before on their way to the Bull Creek Saw Mills for lumber to haul to Springfield, Mo. The 4 men were watering their horses when my father hallowed and knowing that something was wrong they hitches their horses and ran around the ledge of rock and beat us there and found my brother dead and my father crazy with grief. One of the men went to the house and brought a quilt and they carried my dead brother to the house on it. My fathers gun was charged heavy with turkey shot 18 of which had took effect in Simons chest and face. My brother was just 15 years old and wore a black hat when he was shot. The sad news soon spread over the neighborhood and a large number of people gathered at our house to assist at the burial."
Springfield-Greene County Library