The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Pruitt post office in Boone County, Arkansas, is at the old Burlington stand 8 miles south of Omaha, on the Spring-field and Harrison wagon road. Omaha is near where the White River branch of the Mo. Pacific railroad passes through the tunnel. Mr. J. D. Row, a former resident of Pruitt, gives the following wartime incident to the writer in a letter dated at Pruitt on the 9 day of July, 1903.

"My fathers name was Jacob J. Row. My mothers maiden name was Julia A. Winters. Both of them were born and raised in Harrison County, Indiana, and were married in the same neighborhood where they were reared. After their marriage they moved into Boone County in the same state where they remained until the fall of 1857 when they left their native state and started west of the father of waters and settled in St. Clair County, Missouri. At the breaking out of the war my father sympathized with the union but did not wise to take up arms, but this did not prevent him from falling a victim from the hands of the guerrillas which occurred in the spring of 1862. At the time of his death he was several miles from home on the Osage River. He was killed with two other men who were our neighbors and were all three in a skift when they were discovered by the bushwhacker and shot to death.

Going on with the wartime story, Mr. Row said in his letter, "I remember a case in southern Missouri that come under my personal observation., though I was but ten years old. It was in 1861. Mr. Richard Worst had expressed his sentiments most too freely in favor of the union, and someone thought they would be doing their country a service to send him to his last long home by the shotgun route. One night near 9 o’clock, this brave patriot crept up to Mr. Worst’s house, shotgun in hand, and concealed himself In the chimney corner, Mrs. Worst had already retired and Richard was arranging the fire to keep overnight. All at once he heard a peculiar noise outside the house by the side of the fire place. He finished arranging the fire, went to bed and ask his wife if she had any idea what was making that noise in the chimney corner. She raised up on her elbow and listened, and said she expected it was a cow that had jumped into the yard and was licking at the soap barrel. He said he would go and drive her away and started for the door. Mrs. Worst jumped out of bed, grabbed hold of his arm and stopped him and said. "No you won’t go out there. I’ll go myself." So out she went, dressed in a long white night robe, and as she stepped around the corner of the house, she saw a gun with its muzzle near her breast and a man holding it by the breech. They both stood still an instant, when the man withdrew the gun, started to run, leaped over the yard fence and disappeared in the darkness. I have heard Mrs. Worst say repeatedly that she had no other idea than that it was a cow licking, until her husband said he would go out and turn her out, when the thought flew through her mind that it was a man there to kill him. She instantly made up her mind she would face him and die if need be to save her husband. The next evening at dusk Mr. Worst thought it would be safe for him to go outside the yard fence near fifty yards and bring in a couple of sticks of wood. He put one stock on his shoulder and the other under his arm and started to the house. When nearly to the yard fence a bullet struck the stick of wood on his shoulder and at the same time he heard the report of a gun in the timber behind. Mrs. Worst was standing in the door fearful that her husband would be shot down and I afterwards her say that when the gun fired, she was almost frightened to death but she remembered that Richard was not long in dropping the sticks of wood and in jumping the fence and was in the house before she hardly had time to move out of his way. He never stopped in the house, but telling his faithful wife goodby, he shot out of the house at the opposite door, and soon disappeared, bareheaded, into a cornfield back of the house. She never saw him for many days afterward, and when she did see him he was with a company of soldiers. This happened in St. Clair County and they soon afterward made their way into the state of Ohio where they could lay down in peace and not be shot at while carrying wood into the house."

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