The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In alluding to the wild beast that inhabited Washington County, Ark., in the early period of its history, Mr. Joshua Baker, an old pioneer of that section, said that he had been frightened many times at the herds of buffalo that fed on the spurs of the mountains and along Illinoise Creek. "I remember," said he, "of seeing 60 buffalo in one bunch that was lead by a male buffalo that was estimated to have weighed 1800 pounds. It is a remarkable truth but I have seen small herds of them get frightened in Washington County and while they were stampeding they would grunt so loud that they could be heard two miles. It was something Interesting to me to see two buffalo bulls meet and engage In a savage fight. It was a worse fight than when our domesticated cattle engage in a combat. The hunters in Washington County had plenty of buffalo meat to eat before they were all killed or driven out. Some of them were very fat. One day my uncle Caleb Baker got up near a herd of buffalo and picked out a very large one and shot it down. The others took to flight and was soon beyond his view. He now went up to where the dead one lay to examine it and found that it was so big and fat that he was not able to turn it over and he come to my father’s house for assistance and he went back with him and they removed the hide and dressed the meat. My brother Calvin Baker hauled the meat home on a big sled at three loads. The animal was killed near our house on the Illinoise Creek one mile above where Prairie Grove is now."

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