The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

This detailed account of a bold robbery perpetrated at the writer’s father’s house in war times was given me by my sister, Mrs. Margarette Jones of Protem, Mo. When the robbery was committed my father was living on the left bank of White River in Keesee township, Marion County, Ark. My sister said that it was winter time with a cola rain falling. A light snow had fell in the forepart of the night. There were 7 in the family at home when the robber came. My father, mother, and my brother, Newton, Layfayette (Bubby), myself, and my sisters, Mary L. and Gracie (Cricket) Elmira. Henry Wilson and his wife whose name was Peggie had come to our house the evening before and stayed all night and was there when the robbery took place. My father had a painful cattarh on his right hand which caused him to suffer a great deal. It was just after daylight when two men rode up to the yard fence and called for breakfast and their horses fed. We had just eat and the unwashed dishes were sitting on the table. The men would not permit their horses to be put in the lot but fed them on the ground in the wood yard without taking off the saddles. Both the men wore flop hats and when we prepared breakfast for them they did not take off their hats until after they had sit down at the table when each one took his hat off and laid it on his lap. After they had eat breakfast they rose from the table and picking up the chair they occupied while eating and placed them before the fire and sit down and began to talk. The fire was getting low and as father was not able to do anything on account of his sore hand he ask my two brothers, Newt and Bubby, to get some wood and put on the fire and when they both got into the house with the wood, the two men rose to their feet and each one drew a revolver and sprang to the doors and one stood at one door and the other the other and one of them told my father that if anyone attempted to leave the house they would shoot them down. And the other says to my father, "You are the man that robbed my house in Newton County, Mo. Which of course was not true. Then they both demanded money. My mother had $1300 dollars in confederate money on her person which my father had turned over to her for safety and it was all the money we had. Seeing that we had no chance to save the money or make any resistance father told mother to give the money up to them which she did and when the robbers saw that it was paper money they began to curse and say, "Dam the confederate money. We want hard money." And father said, "Gentlemen, I could hand down the moon to you as soon as I could give you gold and silver." The scoundrels threatened and swore to their hearts’ content thinking they would compel my parents to produce a lot of gold but the thieves were much mistaken and gave It up and took their departure and we were more than glad to get rid of their unwelcome presence. On reaching their horses they mounted them and rode up the river and stopped at the Mat Hoodenpile farm and took two horses from Aunt Sally Hoodenpile, one of which was a Mack horse and the other a gray one. We learned afterward that the name of one of the men was John Huff and the other was Morris.

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