The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In my collection of hunting stories I have one account of a possom being skinned alive which was told me by Mr. Ira J. Davis who said that the incident occurred on Beths Creek which runs into the Missouri River at Beths Iseland. This creek is in Franklin County, Mo. "One night during the early days of Franklin County," said Mr. Davis, "Jack Davis who was a cousin of mine, Bud Gantry and Solomon Smith while they were boys went out on the above named stream to catch possoms and among other persimmon eaters they captured a very large one alive which they decided to remove its hide alive and after making a fire for a light they tied the possoms mouth with a stout thong cut from a dressed buck hide so it could not bite and while two of the boys held it fast the other proceeded to flay it alive with the sharp edged blade of a pen knife which took some time to complete the work. The tortured animal struggled and growled while the unmerciful lads were engaged In the horrible work. When the boys had finished the job the possom was still alive and had plenty of nerve and action about it. They now untied its mouth and turned it loose and it got up on its, feet and turned around with Its head toward them and growled, and the boys grew superstitious and backed off from it and stopped to see what it would do and the suffering animal turned around and started off. They saw it go 10 feet or more before it disappeared in the darkness. This was the last they ever saw or heard of it. They brought the bide home with them and they all declared that they actually did skin the possom alive.

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