The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Among the interesting accounts of early day life In Washington County, Arkansas, is one about a bear getting among a bunch of hogs which was furnished me by Mr. Joshua Baker. "While we lived on Illinoise Creek near where Prairie Grove is now it was little trouble to raise hogs except that the bears, panthers and wolves would attack and catch one occasionally. The wild beast were all the detriment to the raising of hogs in that locality for there existed no hog diseases then to take them off and they did well in the creek bottom. I recollect that our hogs would collect together at night under a shelving rock at the base of a hill just below our spring. The spring and jutting rock was on the opposite side of the branch from the house. One cloudy and damp evening in the month of February, 1841, while my father and my brother, Russell Baker, were cutting firewood oh the side of the hill and my brother, Calvin Baker, was hauling it to the house on a sled pulled by a mare that we called doll which my father had brought from Tennessee with him, we heard a disturbance among a bunch of 30 hogs commence at the shelving rock. When the hogs began to rally my father dropped his axe and went to the house for the gun and by the time he had put it In good shooting order all the hogs except one had left the shelving rock and reached the yard fence. The gun my father owned was a Choctaw rifle which was the best gun to kill game with up to that period. With gun In hand father ran to the shelving rock which was west of the house, but no animal was in eight. But blood was found on the ground and bear tracks were imprinted in the soft dirt. The bear had went up the side of the mountain. It had just left and my father followed its fresh trail near 100 yards when he saw bruin walking on his hind feet with the hog in his hug which was a good sized shoat. The bear showed evidence of being very tired In carrying the dead grunter up the steep mountain and on reaching a big log which lay horizontally along the side of the mountain he dumped the hog across the log and held it there with his paws while he took a resting spell. My father advanced toward the bear in a cautious way without the animal seeing him and stopped and took good aim at bruin in the region of the heart. As the report of the rifle sounded out and before the echo died away the bear struck the dead hog two hard blows with his paw and fell back dead and lodged against an object and the dead hog fell off the log onto the dead bear and lay across him and father walked up to where they both lay and took the hog by the hind legs and pulled it down the mountain and went back and dragged the bear down which was easily accomplished by the mountainside being so steep. After he had got the bear down he called Calvin who was several years my senior to bring the mare and sled and when he got there we all put the bear and hog on the sled and Calvin hauled them to the house and we scalded and dressed the hog and we hung the bear up and took off his hide and cared for the meat and we were blessed with plenty of hog and bear meat as long as it lasted."

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