The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The great meteoric display spread terror among the few settlers of Marion County Ark. as well as it did elsewhere in North America. Let us go back to an early period of Yellville and relate a brief history of the display as it occurred here on the night of November 13th 1833, which was witnessed here by a few settlers and spread terror and consternation among the inhabitants. At that time Yellville was known as Shawnee Town and only a few white people lived here then. The Indians had been leaving the village and Crooked Creek for more than a year and at the time I speak of there were but few stationary Indians here. The account of the display was told me by John H. Tabor, who said that on that day he moved into a small hut that had been vacated by an Indian of the village. His brother Smith Tabor had assisted him to move from the Flippin Barrens on pack horses.

In giving the story of the display Mr. Tabor went on to say that his brother and Nimrod Teaf remained overnight with him and "we were so tired that we all lay down early and went to sleep", said he. "Just before midnight my brother woke up and was nearly paralyzed with fear at beholding the air filled with "falling stars". When he was able to speak he woke us all up and told us to hurry and get on our clothes for the world was coming to an end. I was almost stupified with wonder and astonishment and hurriedly rose from my couch of bear skins and looked out at the door and saw that the whole heavens as far as I could observe, was brilliantly illuminated with hundreds and thousands of "stars" shooting swiftly down toward the earth. Apparently they would disappear or go out before reaching the ground. It was a grand but fearful sight. Like my brother I and Nimrod Teaf thought it the last of earth, and we all concluded that it was too late to pray and submitted ourselves to await the approach of our destruction. I fully believed that we would have to give an account of our sins to God at once and we sit down and waited for the awful moment to appear. Me suspense of waiting was dreadful. If I was condemned to be hung and were standing on the trap door with the noose around my neck waiting an hour for the trap to be sprung, I could feel no worse than I did that night. We waited and went on waiting for the coming of our doom. The grand display continued and our terror aid not grow less. The night seemed a month long, and the end of the world had not come yet. When at last to our surprise we noticed that day was breaking in the east and it looked as natural as it ever did, as we discerned the approach of day and as it grew lighter we found to our joy that mother earth was still here and the end was not in sight. The flying meteors were gradually obscured by the light of day and we were left unharmed and as far as we knew the earth remained intact. God in his mercy and goodness kept the earth in its proper place and did not allow the great flying objects to harm us in the least or knock the earth from its hinges. Others who had viewed this remarkable phenomenon said that they were as bad scared as I was and believed that earth and all living creature would succumb to the wrath of God that night. I was a wicked man then but after the date of the "falling stars" I did not live so sinful toward God."

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