The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One of the citizens of the Ozark region who fell a victim to the ravages of the angry war days was Theodoric Green, father of Mike Green, who settled on the south fork of East Sugar Loaf Creek in the early fifties. I received this account of his death from Mike Green himself, who said that his father was killed in the Horseshoe Bend of White River during the war. He said that the particular details of his were about this way.

"Some few of the settlers in the Horseshoe Bend had concealed some corn in the face of a bluff or rough hollow for safe keeping but they had decided that its hiding place was not safe and the parties that hid the corn hired my father to bring his canoe up the river and assist them to carry the corn across the river and conceal it in a more isolated spot where the eyes of a prowler would be less apt to find it. Other parties had agreed to be on the lookout for an enemy while the men were at work removing the corn in sacks and baskets.

After my father had pushed the canoe up the river to the designated place agreed on by himself and the other men where the corn was to be carried to the bank of the river and Put into the canoe and my father was to take it to the opposite bank of the river and unload it and return back for another load, this was to be repeated until all the corn was carried across, then they were to conceal it. It appears that after my father had landed the canoe and had got out on shore an enemy who was concealed nearby shot him down. The other parties who were to carry the corn to the bank of the river heard the report of the gun, took fright and run away. The bushwhacker seeing that father was dead approached the body and picked it up and placed it into the canoe and set it adrift, the river was swollen a few feet and the craft with its dead and mangled freight was carried downstream rapidly by the current until it lodged against a bunch of willows just above the mouth of Elbow Creek where the canoe was found a few days afterward. But when the canoe had struck the willows it capsized and the dead body of my father was thrown into the water and it floated in the water until it caught against some driftwood between the Elbow Shoals and the mouth of West Sugar Loaf Creek where it hung until the water fell and was discovered one day by Mrs. Lee Ann Brown, widow of Arren Brown. She was a daughter of the old man Rhines. Mrs. Brown notified her brother, John Rhines, and he with the help of his widowed sister and his sister. Miss Mary Rhines, and Mrs. Parlee Brown, wife of John Brown, they lifted the body from the driftwood and placed it on a homemade bed blanket that had been spread on the ground to receive it. The remains were in an advanced state Of decomposition and was difficult to handle. After they had placed the body on the blanket they took up the four corners of the blanket and carried the body to a canoe that had been brought there by Mr. Rhines and placed in it then they covered the remains over with the blanket and pushed the canoe up to the lower end of the bottom where the John Yandell farm is at the mouth of Elbow Creek and landed the canoe a few yards below where the old ware stood and carried the remains to the top of the bank and laid them down and rewrapped them with the blanket. It was now nearly sunset and they had no tools to dig a grave with so they all remained with the body all night and on the following morning they procured an old grub hoe and an old ax and using an old board for a shovel Mr. Rhines and his two sisters and Mrs. Brown dug a grave near where the remains of my father lay, and lifting them up they placed them down in the grave as they had found them only they had wrapped the blanket around them and then they filled the grave in with dirt and marking the grave where it could be found in future Rhines and the women took their departure for their respective places of abode."

This is only one among hundreds of the awful sad scenes that occurred in the dark days of death and blood among the people who lived on the upper White River.

Mr. Green said that 11 years after the close of the war he decided to have the remains of his father exhumed and have them placed to rest in the graveyard on the river above the mouth of Elbow Creek on what was once known as the Tom Morry place where Uncle Mike Green’s sister, Millie, was buried a few years before the death of her father.

In taking up the remains of his father, Uncle Mike, said that he and John Brown and others made a suitable coffin for the reception of the bones and took it to his father’s grave and exhuming the remains they placed them in the coffin and buried them in the cemetery just mentioned. The apparel that his father had been buried in had all disappeared except the shoes, the buttons on coat, shirt and pants, and some rotten pieces of the blanket.

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