The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Between Big Creek and White River in what is now Ceder Creek township in Marion County, Ark., the hills and hollows are rough and rugged. In these hills stands a little patch of pine trees. Not far from these pines Is a cave which I am told leads 25 or 30 feet nearly straight down into the ground. One day in pioneer times while Joe Magness lived on what is now the Ross Cantrel farm on White River and Paton Keesee lived on Little North Fork the latter named settler in company with Fed Fulkerson while riding near these pine trees one day with dogs and guns they met a bear pursued by Joe Magnesses dogs. Bruin had come up the bluff out of the bottom and the dogs were pressing him close. Keesee’s dogs joined in the chase and in a short time more. Magness himself who was also on horseback and following the chase joined the other men and they all followed the dogs, and after a short and hot chase the bear took refuge in the small opening in the ground that we have referred to. The bear was not able to hide its entire body from view, but not enough of the animal was in view to shoot it in a vital part. The cave was too steep to send the dogs down Into it. The only way to kill bruin was to irritate him until he become angry enough to cause him to try to climb up and fight his way out. And the three men tossed stones down into the opening until his bearship grew furious and here he come scrambling up toward the entrance. But before he had time to reach the outlet the men sent three leaden balls from their guns into the bear’s head and he rolled back to the bottom of the cave and was dead in a few minutes. Soon after Bruin had died Magness and Fulkerson remarked that it was a problem to them how they would get the dead bear out of the cave and referred the matter to Keesee and who replied, "Gentlemen, this is a small matter to solve and I will explain to you." Which he done in the following way. "One of you fellows tie one end of my lariat rope around both my ankles and lower me down to the dead bear head foremost." Which was put into action at once, and when they had let Keesee down in reach of the bear, he with his knife slit a hole in the bear’s upper and lower lips and tied the end of another stout rope In the orifices and gave the signal to pull him up which was done with feet foremost and the three men went to work immediately and after hard pulling they succeeded In hauling the bear up and after a breathing spell they removed the hide and made an equal division of the meat among themselves and departed for their respective homes well pleased.

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