The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The author has met old people from time to time who observed the great meteoric display on the night of November 13, 1833, a description of which is gathered from them and we give these accounts to show how this memorable display was observed by the people in different localities. Mrs. Louisa Wood who lives in Keesee township Marion County Ark. says that she was old enough to distinctly remember that remarkable incident. Mrs. Woods maiden name was Louisa Calvin daughter of Peleg and Elizabeth (Sheperd) Calvin and was born near Clarksville, Kentucky in the year 1826. Her parents brought her to Pike County Mo. when she was just one year old and settled on Greenwood Creek 3 miles south of Painville and 10 miles from Clarksville on the Mississippi River. When Miss Louisa was 16 years old she married Mr. James McKinney who died in 1854. About 4 years after the death of McKinney or in 1858 she married George Wood in Lincoln County Mo. her parents and Mr. McKinney rest in the cemetery at Painsville. George Wood her second husband and Aunt Louisa came to Taney County, Mo. in 1868 they lived here until 1869 when they settled on a farm in Marion County, Ark. just mentioned where she makes her home with her son Ben McKinney. George Wood died on the 6th of April 1881 and is buried in the cemetery at Pro-tem Mo. In relating old time reminiscences about her relatives she said that Billy Butler was the husband of her mothers sister Polly and served in the American Army throughout. the Revolutionary War. When Mr. Butler left home to enlist in the war his wife had an infant child which was a boy but he loved his country and he told his beloved wife that he must go and help his people free themselves from the English yoke of bondage and if he survived the war he would return back home as soon as peace was proclaimed. If he never returned she might know that he died for her liberty and that of his people. Mr. Butler had a grown son that went with him into the long struggle. Butler came out safe at the end of seven years but he never got to see his family until after he was discharged from the Army when he and his wife met again once more. It was a sad meeting and a joyful one too. His son who had accompanied him in the Army was captured by a merciless band of men and all treated until he died. He was tortured to death by starvation. My uncle said that he learned in an authentic way that his captors bound him hand and foot hart and fast and placed him on the ground on his back and hung a piece of bread on a limb just over his face and neither allowed him a drop of water nor a bite of provision. He was condemned to ly there till he starved to death and the sentence was carried out. My uncle shed many tears over the sad suffering and death of his son, after he returned home. His child that was an infant when he went away had grown so much while was absent that he did not know him when he came back and was over joyed and clasp the little boy in his arms when he was told that the child was his baby boy. In giving the story of the falling stars Mrs. Woods said that they were living on their old home on Greenwood Creek in Pike County Missouri. I was just 7 years old when that memorable incident took place. Elijah Butler another son of my Aunt Polly was sick at our house and the old folks were sitting up with him. There were father, mother, and Grannie (Polly) Lynch, Polly and two more of Aunt Pollys sons there that night whose names were William and Benjamin, My brother and sisters names who were present were John, Jim, Jane and Sally. I had gone to bed and was asleep when my parents woke me up and said all the stars of heaven were falling. I lit out of bed onto the floor and ran to the door and beheld the mighty thrilling awe inspiring sight. There was no clouds in sight as far as I could tell, the weather being entirely clear. It was a grand spectacle to look at and I cannot explain how I felt. The stars as we then thought were flying so fast toward the earth, that the air seemed to be filled with them. They resembled flakes of snow on fire and apparently struck the ground and explode and threw the sparks in every direction. I could hear them make a peculiar hissing noise as they darted down toward the earth. This shower of sparks and flaming objects was so interesting to me that it remained strange fresh in my mind till the present day. We were all alarmed and believed that our time was up. The display created much excitement and fear among the people of our neighborhood and it was the topic of conversation for weeks and months afterward.

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