The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

There was a time in the state of Arkansas when buffalo were plentiful but they were gradually reduced in numbers by the early hunters until they were all killed or driven out. An amusing story was told by Mr. John Young and Mrs. Elizabeth Young, his wife, who lived in Yell County, Ark., from 1843 to 1850 when they moved to Crooked Creek in what is now Boone County, Ark. They said there were a few buffalo in Yell County while they lived there and the hunters would kill one occasionally before they were entirely exterminated. Mr. Young and his wife said that a little incident occurred in his neighborhood While he lived in Yell County that is too interesting to be lost.

They said that one morning in 1844 a man who was not a renowned hunter and who was afraid of wild beast and buffalo In particular went out with gun in hand to hunt for a deer, when he spied a buffalo cow with a fine calf following her which was only a short distance from his cabin. The calf was nearly a year old. The man concluded that he would shoot the cow and procure help and capture the calf and raise It for a pet. He worked his way carefully until he was in gun shot range of the cow and shot her down. The calf appeared to have some knowledge that Its mother had been killed and it stood and looked at her a few moments as she lay broadside on the ground dead. When all at once it seemed to be overcome with anger and turned its head around and saw the slayer of its mother standing where he had shot from and leaving its dead mother and ran toward the hunter for a fight. The man was struck with terror and turned and fled toward his hut. The calf’s temper was boiling over with rage and it soon overtook the fast retreating hunter and gave him a hard jolt with its head. The man sped on as fast as he could run. The calf pursued and kept right along just behind him and butted him severely. The race was exciting and those witnessing it could not refrain from slapping their hands together and laughing loud. The frightened hunter aid his best to outrun the calf but in vain. The enraged little beast stayed at his heels and jolted the discomfitted man with Its head at every opportunity. The terrified man cleared several yard of space at each bound, and yelled everytime he struck the ground, "Buf- buf- buffalo. Buf- buf- buffalo after me. Help - help-help - or it will butt me to death." The fleeing man kept up this noise with the young buffalo immediately in his rear until he reached the doorway of his domicile and darted in and the calf stopped and turned around and ran back to its dead mother."

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