The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. Dave Bancum, an old pioneer resident of Marion County, Ark., told me the following bear story which he said was strictly true.

"One day while I lived on Crooked Creek above the town of Yellville, I and Riley Price, Joe Sanders and the Pig boys—Dick and Oliver—took a wagon drawn by a mule team and went to Music Creek on a camp hunt. A big snow lay on the ground but the weather was not very cold. We stood in need of a supply of bear meat and we were satisfied we could find plenty of bear on this rough water course. The first night out we camped on the head of Music where next day we left our camping outfit and wagon, and visited a cave down on the creek where we were convinced that a bear occupied it. I went into the cave first and got fast in a very narrow place. I pulled, kicked, scrambled and scratched some time before I was able to release myself. This frightened me and I was much more anxious to get out of the cave than I was to go in. After I made my exit Riley Price took one of the other men and went in and killed one. When they come out Price said that he saw another bear in the cave. All of us went in and pulled the dead bear out, and Price and his companion went in again and killed the other. While we were tying the rope to this one to drag It out, we noticed another bear lying within four feet of the dead one. We did not molest it until we got the dead one out. Then Price and his man returned and slayed the third one. After we took this one out Price reported that there were signs of another in there, and he and his friend, after a long search by torchlight, found and killed it in a large roomy part of the cave. This was four fine fellows taken from the same cave.

Several settlers who lived on White River above and below the mouth of Music Creek got word that a lot of hunters were taking a few bear out of a cave up on the creek and 16 men assembled at the cave and gave us their assistance in removing the hides of the bear and caring for the meat and we divided the meat with them all. This camp hunt was not remarkable, except that we had struck a nest of bears and were successful in killing them all."

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