The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following account was told me by Mr. John C. Carter a former resident of Barry County Mo. but now of Red Bird Indian Territory.

"We lived 20 miles from Cassville the county seat of Barry County. When I was a young man I loved my associates like other young fellows love their friends now and we often whiled away time together in a jolly manner. On one occasion we all got too jolly and we were all up two nights in succession and the majority of us never closed our eyes for sleep. On the morning following the second night of our wakefulness my father told me to ride to Cassville and buy a bushel of salt and bring it home. This was in the pioneer days when most of people bought their salt in little "dribs". When my father said "John you go to Cassville today and buy a bushel of salt I did not say, "Pap I’m too sleepy to go now. You wait till tomorrow and I’ll go." I knew better than to say that, but went and caught a horse we called "Ball" and putting the saddle on him I started. It was late in the evening when I reached town and started back toward home with the salt and it was some time after nightfall when I reached the head of Rock Creek 8 miles from Cassville. By the time I had rode to the breaks of this creek I was desperately sleepy and when I had went a little further I lost all conscience of myself and everything else and knew nothing more until I was startled by the howling of wolves all around me. I had went to sleep while riding along and fell off of the horse without knowing it. The noise and approach of the impudent animals had aroused me from my deep slumbers and as I woke up I heard chickens crowing as well as the howl of the wolves. I knew by hearing the chickens crow that I was not far from a house. I did not take time to rub my eyes before I got up, but I rubbed them on the run and it was not a slow run either for I got away from there on quick time and the noise of the wolves sounded fearful to my ears while I was getting away. I did not experience the least trouble in keeping my eyes open while fleeing along the road. Though the night was dark yet I could find the way very easily all I had to do was to follow the road and if I stumbled and fell it did not delay me but a moment in getting up and starting on again in a wild rush in the dark. I fully believed that the wolves would catch me and rend me into small bits and by this you may understand that my race that night was not a happy one but good luck to my flesh and bones the wolves did not pursue me. Daybreak was showing in the east when I reached Isaiah Brocks down on Rock Creek where in my almost exhausted condition in running so fast I roused up the family and told Mr. Brock of my adventures with the wolves and how it happened. He listened attentively to my tale and told me to wait till after breakfast and after we had partaken of the morning meal he loaned me a horse and I went back to the place of my nights experience and found that the wolves had retired and so had my horse. I got on his trail though and followed it to Mrs. Mary Coxes a widow lady who lived in the barrens. She said that the horse come to the yard gate early in the morning with the saddle on and the sack of salt was lying across the saddle. Mrs. Cox said she took the salt and saddle off the horse and put the horse in the lot to await the coming of the owner or his friends. She told me that when she saw the horse with bridle and saddle on and a sack with something in it she feared that the rider was killed and when I went to her house inquiring for the horse she looked at me as though she knew I had been drunk. And I felt ashamed to tell the kind hearted woman how it happened that the horse got away from me for it looked more like I had got away from the horse. I returned the borrowed horse to Mr. Brock add rode on home and on my arrival there I had to explain to my father the "reason you did not get back last night". He said he thought my wolf story was a fancy of the brain or imagination rather, but I told him that it was true, but I forgot to tell him that my horse got away and that I borrowed a horse to hunt him up on."

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