The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

It has been many years ago. It is not definitely known now how long it has been but it was some time before the breaking out of the bloody war between the north and south when a man and his wife and 4 children 3 girls and a baby boy and his wife’s sister with one baby or a total of 7 people were moving down White River. It is not known now where they were from but it was supposed they had been living some where in Southwest Missouri. They had two canoes lashed together and two good sized logs were lashed to the canoes. They had their bedding provision and cooking vessels with them. They had good luck on their way down the river until they got into Marion County Ark. where they met a terrible mishap at the lower end of the Bull Bottom. Just before they reached the Bull Bottoms Shoals the mans wife’s sister tucked her baby up in her dress and sit down in the stern end of one of the canoes and began to steer them with a paddle. The mans wife was combing one of her children’s head when her sister instead of keeping the main channel of the river ran the lashed canoes into a chute on the east side of the river. Though at that time the river was swollen and the chute looked almost as big as the main channel. About the time they had got well into this the swift water hurled the craft against the limb of a stooping sycamore tree which hung down into the water and tore the canoe and logs apart and threw them all in the water and were all drowned except the man and his sister-in-law and her baby. Fortunately this woman had clung to one of the canoes and as the water carried it along down stream she held to it with all her strength and kept her head and that of her baby just above the surface of the swift current. The woman as she floated along screamed for help. It took some time for the man to reach the shore and thinking it was his wife who was screaming followed along on the east shore as fast as he could go. As he ran he saw a man cutting sprouts in a field which proved to be John Terry and telling the man of his trouble, Mr. Terry left his work and ran down to where his brother Loranzo D. Terry lived and found him in the field plowing. As soon as his brother John informed him of the sad calamity he ran to his canoe and by the time he had headed the craft out into the stream, the canoe with the woman and child clinging to it was passing the landing and he made all motions to reach the drowning woman and child before they would pass over the shoal at the mouth of Music Creek. By this time the woman was so chilled by the cold water that she was not able to halloo any more and the poor infant was too nigh gone to cry. Mr. Terry was an expert in the water and he done some of his best work in that canoe to over take the woman and little babe and did overtake her between the shoals and where Jim Jones Ferry is now when he had approached within a few feet of her the woman said to him in a weak voice "Hurry, I cannot hold much longer". It was now that Mr.
Terry renewed his energies and run his canoe on the side of the other canoe where the woman and infant was and took the child and laid it down in the canoe then he took hold
of the woman’s wrist and pulled hard before he could breath her hold from the canoe and with hard work he managed to pull her into the canoe. Her and the infant was almost lifeless now. He now snatches up the paddle and quickly seating himself in the stern end of the canoe soon got
the bow headed for the east shore just in time to prevent going over the shoals. John Terry and the other man reached that part of the bank of the river just as Ron Terry landed his canoe and the man was badly grieved when he found that the rescued woman was not his wife. John Terry and the other man carried the woman to Ron Terry’s house. Ron Terry picked up the almost lifeless form infant and ran with it toward his house to make an effort to revive it but after running a short distance the infant lost its breath and it was seemingly entirely dead, but Mr. Terry rolled it around in his hand and the child caught its breath again. Mr. Terry soon found that if he run it would lost its breath for good and he was compelled to walk until he reached his house and by the help of his good wife the little infant was restored by changing its wet clothes for dry ones
and giving it warm stimulants. The same was done for the helpless woman when John Terry and the other man arrived at the house with her. The alarm was now given and a number of settlers who lived along the river collected on the following day and after procuring several crafts began a search (This story is incomplete.)

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