The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Among the settlers of the southeast part of Ozark County, Missouri, who came there in the fifties was David Chyle. Among his children is Davis Chyle who was born in Bullet County, Kentucky, August 23, 1840. When Davis was 8 years old his parents moved into Owen County, Indiana, where hie mother whose maiden name was Miss Patience Ritchy, died. After the death of his wife, Mr. Chyle moved to Missouri and settled in Ozark County in 1855 where he married Polly Davis. Mr. Davis Chyle who was 15 years old on their arrival in Ozark County says that his father bought a claim from William Russell who lived on the north side of Big North Fork 12 miles from Rock Bridge. This land is known now as the Ambrose Cobb place. After living here three years he swapt places with William Browning who lived on Bryant Creek 4 miles from us and moved there. Mr. Chyle said that they done their milling at a little mill on Spring Creek 12 miles from home. This mill was known as the "Breakdown Mill" and was owned by Henry Spears. Mr. Chyles says that he remembers the names of a few settlers Who lived on Big North Fork when his father moved there. These were Miles Russell, whose wife was named Malinda, Press McClary and Clark McClary, who were brothers, the wife of the first named was Eliza, Isaac Workman and Annie Workman, his wife, Jack Smith, a son in law of Workman’s. There were also the two of the James—Johny and Bennette. The latter was a bachelor and Jemima was the wife of the first named. Mr. Chyle said that when the war come up he espoused the cause of the union and enlisted in the first Arkansas cavalry regiment, Col. Harrison commanding. His first captain was R. R. Travis. This officer was succeeded in the command of the company by Capt. William Johnson. His last company commander was John B. C. Turman. He said that he remembers going to school to Milton Smith a few years before the beginning of the war. The school was taught near Big North Fork. Mr. Chyle gives an account of the horrible death of his father in war times. He said that one day a bunch of mounted guerrillas who claimed to be southern men rode up to our house and compelled my father who was 6o years old to go with them. They also made a half brother of mine named Henry and another boy of the name of Manpus and another boy of the name of Sam Sanders accompany them. The bushwhackers had also captured Jim Martin and Johnny Allcorn and made the men and boys all go along together and after crossing Big North Fork to the South side the guerrillas released the boys and told them to go back home, and after conducting my father and the other two men to a flat of land known as the pigeon roost where they shot them to death. The spot where they were killed was close to where a lot of wild hogs lay of nights and the hogs discovered the dead bodies and destroyed them. There was nothing found of them except a few bones and pieces of clothing which lay over a wide space of ground which were collected and buried. It was told that these cruel men cut my father’s heart out after they had killed him but I do not know whether it was true or not. My father was a large man weighing 200 pounds. Continuing to recite the awful bloody scenes of war days, Mr. Chyle said that shortly before his father was killed the guerrillas hung two men in their neighborhood of the name of Jesse James and Wilse Brown. James wife who name was Elizabeth was a small woman but she carried the body of her dead husband home on a horse. James lived on Big North Fork and it was two miles from where he was hung. My father assisted the poor grief stricken woman to bury her man which was done at her home. My father said that it was strange how this devoted wife managed to lift the lifeless form of her husband upon the horse and convey it home in this way. Mr. Brown was a hump shouldered man and those wicked fellows just before they put the rope around his neck tied his feet together leaving a few inch slack and after they pulled him up they placed the small end of a log between his feet where it rested on the tie rope. It was told that they said in a mocking way, "We do this to weight him down to straighten his back." "We should be thankful that the cruel war is over, " said Mr. Chyle.

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