The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Open the 29th of August 1906 I met Mr. David Garoutte at Tulsah Indian Territory who was a veteran of the Civil War on the Union side. He had formerly lived in Green County, Me. but when I interviewed him he was living at Keystone Oklahoma. Among other things he told me the following which relates to his feelings of his youthful days and an incident of his past life and here is the way he said it.

"I was raised on corn bread and it is the best bread I ever ate according to my taste and my way of thinking.

The best people I ever knew was my old time friends and associates of Green County, Mo. My happiest days was when I was a little fellow, playing with my little friends in our old neighborhood in Missouri. I never knew what trouble or hunger was until I left my fathers old home and enlisted in the army of the Civil War. The meanest act I ever was guilty of in my life was scaring a preachers horse and causing the animal to break its neck. The name of the preacher was David geese and here is the way I made his horse break his neck," said Mr. Garoutte. "I did not like him. One day he rode up to our yard gate and dismounted and come into the house. My father says to me, "Dave you hitch Mr. Reeses horse, and I went and got a rope and tied one end around the horses neck and made the other end of the rope fast around the body of a tree. After I had done this my father says you stay out there and see that the horse does not break loose." Though I dared not disobey my fathers instructions but I thought he was too kind to the preacher especially when I disliked Reese and I felt it an insult to my dignity to be compelled to remain out there and watch this horse. The house was off some distance from the yard gate and as my father and the preacher were cooped up in the house I went about working up a scheme to get revenge for having to see after the preachers horse for I knew the man was not over burdened with friends. I got revenge and a whipping too. Our fan mill or wheat fan as we called it was sitting under a shelter near where I had tied the horse to the tree. The horse appeared to be dull and sleepy and it come into my mind that I would make au effort to rouse him up and I put the crank on and began turning it to see if the noise of the fan would produce much life in the horse. As I began to turn the fan with the crank the horse commenced jumping around and seeing that it made him lively I continued to turn the fan. My father heard me turning it but I had turned it so often that he paid no attention to it and the man being in that part of the house where they could not see the horse because the sound of his, capers were drowned by the noise the fan made. I was so pleased to see the horse rear and plunge so pulling at the rope that I turned the faster and the old horse jumped the higher. I kept turning the crank as fast as I could and directly the poor old horse jerked back with all his strength and fell and broke his neck and I quit turning the fan and went off a short distance and sit down to await results. They soon come for the preacher accompanied by my father come out to go home and found that his horse was dead. I was called and responded by advancing up. I was charged with the killing of the horse and I plead guilty, but I told my father that I did not regret it. I was severely punished but I took it just like a little man and laughed about making the horse breaking his neck afterward."

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