The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

The following account of a battle with an angry bear was told me by Isaac Fleetwood.

"One day during the early settlement of what is now Douglas County, Mo., while my uncle Isaac and uncle Adam Fleetwood lived on Bryant’s Fork, they took their dogs, guns and hunting knives and went up on Rippy’s Creek on a bear hunt and soon struck the fresh trail of one and the dogs gave chase and overhauled the animal and brought it to bay which was followed by a bloody fight between it and the dogs. Just before bruin halted for a combat uncle Isaac shot and crippled his bearship which put him in a fighting humor. The scene of the fight commenced on the side of a steep hill with a gully just below them and soon after the fight began dogs and bear rolled into the ditch, where bear and dogs were mixed in such a way that the men were afraid to attempt to shoot the bear again for fear they would kill or wound one of the dogs. They had not been in the ditch but a short time when the bear got hold of one of the dogs. Seeing that his dog was in danger of being killed by the infuriated bear, uncle Isaac exclaimed, "by heavens, Adam, we must save that dog’s life. I’m not ready to see him pass in his checks yet." The poor dog was suffering with pain and was crying out as if begging for quarter and before uncle Isaac had time to interfere, uncle Add rushed up to the edge of the gully and sprang astride of the bear’s back and with his huge knife which he held in his right hand sank the blade to the hilt in the bear just behind the shoulder, then leaped off of the bear’s back and up the bank out of the ditch before the bear could turn the dog loose and offer to bite him. Just as he reached the top of the bank the bear sank down and died. The dog was desperate wounded but with close attention he finally recovered his usual strength and was ready for another bear fight."

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