The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mrs. Mary Jenkins, widow of W. C. Jenkins who died at Protem Missouri July 29, 1895, was born in Washington County, Tennessee, March 19, 1831. Her husband, W. C. Jenkins, was a prominent preacher of the Christian church and was born in the same county and state, May 16, 1828. He and his beloved wife, who is a devoted Christian, were reared in the same neighborhood in Washington County and were playmates together and were married there January 25, 1849. Three children—Star, George and Elizabeth—were born to them there. In 1856 they left their old home in Tennessee and crossed the father of waters and settled in St. Francis County, Arkansas, where they lived one year and pulled up stakes and recrossed the big river and settled in Barren County, Kentucky, where they remained until the early part of 1860 when they went back to Arkansas where they arrived in Marion County in the month of March and settled land in the Flippin Barrens where the Rock Spring is a mile or more northeast of the railroad town of Flippin. Though the water of the Rock Spring did not flow out in a large volume but it was cold, nice and healthy. Mrs. Jenkins, in mentioning a few names of old settlers who lived near them in the Flippin Barrens, says there were Bill Painter and Parlee, his wife, and Tom Painter whose wife was named Adaline and Houston Painter who married Nancy Jane Denton, daughter of Bill Denton. There were also Joe Lewellen and Billy Reynolds, the last named of which his wife’s name was Annie. Mrs. Jenkins’ husband lies buried in the cemetery at Protem where he died. Their three children that we have mentioned that were born in Tennessee, Star lies buried in the cemetery at Flippin. George married Jane Sanders, daughter of Tom Sanders. Elizabeth is the wife T. H. (Tom) Flippin, son of Hon. W. B. Flippin. In speaking of the hardships in Civil War times Mrs. Jenkins said that there was a family who lived on Lee’s Mountain near a small tan yard their names of which are forgotten. Some of the children that belonged to this family starved to death. These children would cut off small bits from the dry hides and either scorch them on coals of fire or chew and swallow them raw. "This is horrible to think of and repeat the story of these sufferings years after it took place, " said Mrs. Jenkins.

In relating the destruction of human lives in the Flippin Barrens during that ever memorable conflict she said that a single man of the name of Jim Brown came with her and husband from Kentucky and was living with them. Brown was an unhealthy man and was subject to epileptic fits at a certain period each month. One morning a lot of bushwhackers killed Derl Woods, who lived on the Fallen Ash road. I heard the reports of the guns while they were shooting Mr. Woods. His wife was named Sally and I heard the poor woman screaming while they were putting him to death. After this band of guerrillas had overrun part of the neighborhood they arrived at Jim Jackson’s who lived a quarter of a mile from our house and began to annoy and chase two negroe boys that were at Jackson’s. Mr. Brown was in our house at the time and went out of the house and started to run and the band of men saw him and charged down the lane toward our house and soon overhauled him and shot him to death. One ball took effect in his face, another in the chest and another in the arm. This occurred near an hour before sun down. There were a few scattering men left in the neighborhood who were friends to the south and when the guerrillas retired that evening these friends collected together and put out guards and buried the dead bodies of Brown and Wood in the Flippin graveyard."

In giving an account of another sad affair In war times Mrs. Jenkins said that there is a bottom on the south side of White River a few miles above old Tolbert’s Ferry that was known as Cave Bottom. It was then called an out of way place and so secluded that it was deemed an excellent spot for the men to hide in on the approach of an enemy. One evening during the winter season while snow covered the ground Shelt Williams, Jack Tate, John Wood, John Tyler and Jim Tyler while in hiding there were attacked by the enemy and Sheit Williams, Jack Tate and John Tyler were killed. Jim Tyler feigned death by falling on his face in the snow after he was slightly wounded and his foes thinking he was really dead did not go to him to make an investigation to see whether life was extinct or not and thus he escaped with his life. John Wood was mounted on a small but resolute mule and its rider compelled the animal to plunge into the ice cold water of the river and swam across to the north shore then he rode the mule a few miles up the river and swam back to the south side again and arrived at our house just before day break. Mr. Wood was bareheaded and nearly froze. The dead body of Williams was hualed home and buried there in a shallow grave. He was buried in the same clothes he was killed in. A few pieces of plank were substituted for a coffin. Jack Tate was buried at Flippin. Do not know where Tyler was buried.

Mrs. Jenkins is a daughter of Joshua and Betsey Davidson. Her parent died in east Tennessee. Mrs. Jenkins related the foregoing account to me at her home one mile east of Protem, Missouri, on Wednesday, September 11, 1907.

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