The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Hundreds of men proved true and faithful to their charge in war times. These men would rather die than reveal the Thereabouts of a friend that an enemy was hunting to kill. Mr. R. S. Holt of Lead Hill, Arkansas, gives an account of a case of this kind which we give here to show the fidelity of a young man to his benefactor. Mr. Holt said that some years before the war while he was living with his father on the farm just above the mouth of Shoal Creek in what is now Boone County, Arkansas, he started up to Dubuque one morning and he met a stripling boy in the Jake Nave Bend of White River. he was a sickly looking lad and was chilling, bare footed and thinly clothed he said he was an orphan and that he was born In Sharp County, Arkansas, and give his name as Jim Turpin. The boy was a pitiable looking being and seemed to be telling me the truth and I took compassion on the child and brought him home with me and prepared clothes and medicine for him and other attention that he needed until he recovered his strength. As he seemed to be a good hearted boy and true to his word as well as being industrious we kept him with us and I never regretted bringing him home with me and caring for him until he was able to recompense us with labor on the farm. My father died as the war was brewing up and when It did come myself and brothers and the Pumphrey boys, who were living with us, could not remain at home and Jim Turpin being only a boy stayed with the family to assist them with the work. On day at the greatest heat of the war an armed force of the enemy rode up and dismounted and took young Turpin out of the house and made him go behind the barn with them where they demanded of him where myself and Bill Pumphrey were. Of course Turpin did not Know exactly where we were but he knew close about it. But he refused to give them the least benefit of his knowledge. They beat him on his body, head and face until he was badly hurt, but he held out faithful and refused to give them any Information. Then they proceed to hang him for a short while and lower him until he could breathe again, then pull him up again and let him down, before he was dead. It was a terrible ordeal to have to pass through, but he was true grit to the last his neck was badly Injured while being suspended. They would curse him and threatened to Kill him if he did not divulge the whereabouts of I and Bill Pumphrey. Turpin would curse back at them when we was able to talk and told them If he lived to be grown he would have revenge. After they had tortured him in such a barbarous manner some time without forcing him to betray his trust they went off and left him. After the war Mr. Turpin lived at Ash Grove, Mo., and paid us all a visit in 1870. He always seemed more like a brother to me than a stranger, " said Mr. Holt as he ended the story of this war time incident.

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