The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Among the anecdotes as told by old timers of Missouri is the following which was related to me by J. C. (Jim) Rhodes near Jackson Switch in the Indian territory one day in August 1906. Mr. Rhodes said that in moving from Kentucky into Missouri in 1856 they crossed the Mississippi River at St. Louis. On the evening previous to our crossing over to St. Louis, we camped in the bottom opposite the city. The weather was cloudy and cold and the night was solid dark. Soon after night fall an old man who was afoot made his appearance at our camp inquiring for sheep that he said belonged to him and had strayed off. Jim Fields a nephew of my father John Rhode did not believe the old mans sheep tale and said that he was a robber and Fields after the stranger went away collected a big pile of wood to burn as it was needed and said that he was going to sit up all night by the fire and watch for his return and soon after supper he put his gun in good shooting order and said that if that old fellow come back to rob them he would put him in a shape that he would not attempt to rob any more movers. The rest of us did not suspect the old fellow as being a thief but we could not prevail on Fields to go to bed and he sit down on a chair by the fire with gun in hand to guard us from the intrusion of a supposed robber. Some time during the night Fields become drowsy and placing the gun across his knees he leaned his head forward and went to sleep and his hat which was a new one fell from his head and rolled into the fire and was burned up and when we crossed the Mississippi River on the following morning which was done on a ferry boat Mr. Fields went through the city bareheaded."

Continuing Mr. Rhodes said Waynesville in Pulaski County, Mo. was a small village when we arrived there from Kentucky. My father before we got to the village had made inquiries of the settlers for names of streams and towns ahead of us and misunderstood what was told him. He thought Rubidoo Creek was a town instead of a stream of water and when we had got into the village my father said to one of the residents there "This is not Rubidoo you crossed to Waynesville" to which the villager replied "You are in Waynesville now." And my father not to be out done entirely said "This village looks too small to bear a name." My father passed on without asking any more questions but he never heard the last of this until the day, of his death.

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