The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

As we have mentioned elsewhere Jess Bias settled on Shoal Creek in Taney County, Mo., in 1832. A few months after Hiram Bias, son of Jess Bias, had killed the big bear in the burr oak tree which we have told in another place. He and his father started out into the hills together to kill deer. They had only went up the creek a short distance above where they lived and found a spring at the foot of the hill on the east side of the creek where the creek bottom extends along the stream. This spring is on what Is now the Rufe Jones farm below Protem. "After we had drank water at the spring we crossed the creek to the west side and went up the bluff and after walking along on top of it a short distance up the creek when we saw a bear on the side of the bluff below us) It said Hiram Bias. "We carried a rifle each. My father’s gun was large and carried a big ball. My gun was small and carried a little bullet. When we saw the bear it was standing still and looking at us. My father says to me, ‘Hiram, we must kill that bear, but it will take both of us to do it. We must shoot at it the same moment. We will take aim at it with our guns and when I give the signal you pull the trigger and I will too; `and directly father says, ‘Shoot,’ and we shot and the bear dropped on the ground and lay quiet. Deeming it prudent to reload our rifles before venturing up to It for fear the animal might revive and while we were reloading the guns father says, ‘My gun did the work for your gun is too small to hurt a bear very much. Your bullet only tickled its ribs. I aimed behind the shoulder and I know my bullet killed it,’ said he. I told him that I aimed behind the shoulder too but I will not claim to have wounded or killed Bruin until we examine and find out something about it. As soon as we had reloaded the guns and the bear showing no sign of life we went down where It lay broadside with its back down the hill and found that one of the balls had struck It behind the shoulder and the other bullet had took effect in the shoulder high up, but owing to the long shaggy coat of hair on the beast we were not able to determine which one of the balls hit it behind the shoulder until we had taken off the hide when we found that the small bullet from my rifle had penetrated Bruin’s heart. The big ball from father’s gun had struck the bear’s shoulder and lodged in the joint of the shoulder blade. This settled it as to who killed the bear and my father like a good fellow gave me the praise of killing Bruin which made me feel as big as any bear hunter could feel. I kept the hide of that bear until long after I was married and it was the only bed I and my wife had to sleep on until we were able to own a better one."

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