The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following story of the turbulent days of war times was told me by John Ray, son of John Ray. His mother’s given name was Martha. Both these old people died in Boone County, Arkansas, and were buried in the Foresee graveyard at the Foresee school house in the north part of Boone County. John Ray (junior), son of John Ray, senior, was born in Lawrence County, Missouri, December 19, 1855. In giving the war time story as mentioned above, Mr. Ray said that a man of the name of Reed was a prominent merchant who lived in the town of Alton in Oregon County, Missouri. One night during the war a band of robbers on horseback come to the town and robbed Reed’s store and fled away as fast as their horses could take them. On the following day a company of men was organized to pursue the bandits and they followed them into Arkansas, and after they got into the state the posse deemed it prudent to divide and make an effort to entrap the band. Near 24 hours after this the party of men that Mr. Reed was with over hauled the thieves and the robbers proposed a parley and the pursuers accepted it on certain conditions which was agreed to on the other side. Both parties selected two men each who met midway between their friends, and while they were talking one of the robbers drew his revolver and shot Mr. Reed in the breast. George Ray, who was with Reed, said he saw the smoke of the discharged pistol enter Reed’s body. At the report of the pistol Reed’s horse wheeled about and lunged forward a long jump or two but the wounded man stayed in the saddle. The guerrillas retreated and got away before the other men could interfere. Mr. Reed lived an hour after he was shot and rode one mile before he was compelled to dismount and lay down on the ground. His comrades remained with the dying man until he was dead. Then arrangements was made to convey the body home by a few of the men. Soon after the dead man was sent back to Alton the guerrilla and the remainder of the posse encountered each other and had a fight and the robbers scattered. More men collected together to give all the aid they could to capture or kill the band. Mrs. Reed, the widow of the dead man, ask permission to accompany the posse in order to identify some of the robbers if they were caught. In a day or two they encountered part of the band on the Eleven Points Creek just over the line in Arkansas and after a hot fight they captured alive the man who shot Reed and the bereaved woman begged permission of the men to be allowed to slay the murderer of her husband herself and her request was granted and she took deliberate aim at the bandit with a gun and shot him dead."

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