The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Joshua Baker, give the writer this account. During my early boyhood days a man of the name of Jesse Waddle come into Northwest Arkansas and settled near Hillsborrough in Hashing County. He had come from one of the states east of the Mississippi River and had lost his wife there, and he become party insane over the loss of her. Just previous to the death of his wife she had given birth to a little boy baby and the father brought the child with him. No one else as far as known accompanied him to Arkansas. The state of the man’s mind was so demented on account of the death of his wife that he carried the child astride of his neck and shoulder and held him by the ankles. He lived in his house alone with his baby. He would not leave the house any distance without taking the infant with him. His devotion for the memory of his dead wife and the love for his child was so great that he kept the baby with him all the time. Very often frightful stories of Indians would float around among the settlers and when the news would reach the ears of this man he would grab up the boy which by this time was 5 years old and place it on his shoulder with its legs astride of his neck and he would hold it by the ankles and tell the child to hold to the hair of his head and then he would leave the house on a run and as he would pass by a cabin he would sing out, "Indians, Murder, burn scalp", as fast as he could utter it and continue on as fast as he could go, and repeat the same words as he ran by the next settlers hut. On a few occasions when he would be at Hillsburrough with the child, a band of Indians would enter the village to purchase whiskey and Mr. Waddle would think they had come there for a hostile purpose and he would snatch up the little boy, and off he would go up the Illinoise River toward his home and as he would pass a dwelling he would cry out, "Indians coming". Sometimes he would be so wrought up with fear that he would make for the foot of the Boston Mountains and climb up to a high part of a hill to take a view back the way he had come to ascertain if there were any Indians following him and after waiting some hours and finding no Indians in sight he would pick up the boy and start on home. Long before the settlers had become use to the ways of the man and not knowing that his mind was deranged he would cause a stampede among them when he would pass the house with the child astride of his neck crying out "Indians coming". But finally after he had lived there a while and he had fooled them so much that they all got so that they paid no attentions to him unless they knew there was danger from the red skins. One day after this mans mind was more healthy and his wild spells had grown less frequent and the boy had grown so large that he could not carry him around much he was in Hillsburrough with a crowd of other settlers and one of them says "Mr. Waddle, what made you run at the sight of every Indian you saw whether friendly or otherwise", and the man replied, "Well, I was afraid of Indians and I did not have the power to prevent myself from running when ever I caught sight of one. I suppose my fears were mostly imaginary, but I could not control myself for I thought they would kill me and my little boy".

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