The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In Keesee township, Marion County, Ark., is a deep hollow that was once known as the Cal Hollow which took its name from Calvin Clark who built a cabin in the forks of the hollow where Jim Ridinger’s barn now stands. This was in 1851 and Clark lived here until the following year. This hollow flows into the river at the farm where my parents lived from 1859 until their death after the close of the bloody war. This land is known now as the Jim Roselle place. On the east side of the hollow near the river is where the old Indian trail leads up the Point of the Bluff and was used by the white people long before the Indiana evacuated the country. In the hollow near ¾, of a mile above the mouth and on the east side is a fine spring of water which runs out of the ground at the foot of a hill. The spring is just below a rough gulch that empties Into the hollow. A short distance above this spring in the branch bottom is where a school house use to stand that was built in the summer of 1873 and removed in the spring of 1894. On the opposite side of the hollow from where the school house stood Is another living spring of water which runs out of a bluff of rock. On the bank of the river some 80 yards below the mouth of this hollow is where William Trimble settled In 1814, which is in section 28 and township 21 and was surveyed In the month of February, Mr. Trimble had come to White River below here in 1811. His wife was a Miss Sally Coker, daughter of Buck Coker. Trimble had married her in Alabama before coming to White River. Here on this land Allin Trimble, son of William Trimble, lived from the time he was 3 weeks old until 5 years afterward. Mr. Trimble informed me that his parents told him that on the 15 Of May, 1815, or just one month before he was born his father and mother went down to the mouth of Big North Fork where there was a settlement and here I was born on the 15 of June," said Mr. Trimble, "and 3 weeks after I was born when my mother was able to travel my father brought her back home where we lived in our cabin that father built on his arrival here until after my father’s death and my mother had married Mike Yocum." William Trimble was killed in 1817 on the south side of White River 3 miles above the mouth of Calico Creek. He was shot by a man of the name of Grant. Mr. Trimble said that he saw plenty of Indians in this bottom while he lived here but they were friendly. He remembers about wandering away from the cabin one day and getting lost in the tall cane and it was some time before he found his way back to the house. Mr. Trimble said that while his father, William Trimble, lived here he met a bear one day in the hollow that gave him a little more fun than he needed. The incident occurred in 1816 before I was old enough to remember anything but it was told me by my mother and uncle Charles Coker. "Uncle Charles Coker was my mother’s brother. One day in the year just named he come to our cabin on a visit to see father and mother and remained with us a few days. My father owned several head of stock which did well on the cane. One afternoon while Uncle Charles was at our house my father failed to locate some of the stock in the cane and he and Uncle Charles rode up the hollow to hunt for it without a gun or dog. When the two men reached the spring that comes out of the bluff of rock they met a bear and two small cubs. Each man was thirsting for fun and wanted to see Mrs. Bear and her family run and urging their horses forward into a gallop and raising a big yell they charged up to the bears which were In the narrow bottom on the opposite side of the branch from the spring and near where the old schoolhouse once stood. But mother bear was not in a humor for running and she squared herself for battle. She looked so fierce and dangerous that the men when they had got in a few yards of her stopped and wheeled their horses and galloped away from her 50 yards before they halted and reining their horses around they sat on their horses and waited until she and the cubs started off up the hollow. Then with a loud yell they charged their horses close up behind her. They did not doubt but that she would run this time but lady bear was not to be frightened and she turned on them and they wheeled their horses again and galloped back the way they had come. The bear followed them a few yards then turned around and pursued her way on up the branch bottom. The two men after running their horses 60 yards or more stopped, turned and looked at her a moment then followed her but kept at a safe distance behind her. When old Bruin had got up near the forks of the hollow where the flat rock crossing is she sent the young Bruins up a tree and while they were going slowly up the tree trunk the two men laughed to see their actions in hugging the tree and pulling themselves up It. As soon as the bear saw that her young was out of danger she braced herself again to resist her human foes. While the two men sat on their horses and viewed the actions of the furious animal their conscious told them to let her alone but they deemed it foolishness to allow an old she bear to scare them away while they were mounted on good horses. Their desire was to enjoy real fun and sport and now was the opportunity and with this end In view they charged their horses up to Madam Bruin again to compel her to flee. Each man was whooping and yelling. They meant something and so did Bruin. She stood without budging an inch to receive the charge. When the horses heads almost touched her and the men made wild gestures with their arms and hands and done everything they knew how to frighten her, but in vain for she assumed an ugly face and started toward them. The distance between the bear and the men was so little that the enraged beast caught my father just as he turned his horse around to avoid the rush of the bear. Her sharp teeth penetrated the moccasin and crushed into the fleshy part of the bottom of the heel. As the now frightened horse sprang forward out of the way of the hot tempered creature his foot was jerked from the bears mouth. She got part of the moccasin and some of the flesh. This was their last attack on the bear for as soon as they had got out of her way this time, they did not molest her anymore and rode back down the hollow leaving, the bear and her family In possession of the battlefield. The wound Inflicted on my father’s heel by the bear’s teeth was very painful and bled freely before he reached his cabin. When he arrived there my mother dressed and bound up his heel and it was many days before the wound healed over and he was able to be on his feet again."

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