The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

"In the month of January, 185l, when I was 13 years old I had an amusing experience with a bear. We lived then on George’s Creek 5 ¼ miles north of Yellville in Marion County, Ark. My father, Jesse Hudson, owned a little cotton gin on the creek that was run by water power. My father was a paralytic and was not able to work at the gin but very little and it fell to the lot of we boys to gin out the many sacks full of seed cotton that was brought far and near to this small gin. Many of our patrons would not take the cotton seed back home with them for they said they could pick enough seed out with their fingers to plant. As cotton seed was not considered to be worth anything then they give them to us and so we got the seed and toll both. We made good use of the seed by feeding them to our cattle. On the morning mentioned I and my brother Jim Hudson went to the gin to get a basketful of cotton seed and filled the basket full of the seed and carried it to the cow lot and emptied the seed into the feed trough and had just started back to the gin to refill the basketfull of seed when we heard the hogs rallying in a little hollow a short distance north of the house. One of the hogs began to squeal. We supposed it was wolves disturbing them and we dropped the basket and ran toward the rallying swine in order to scare the wolves away. We met the other hogs running to the house. The one that was squealing was In the hollow in a bunch of bushes and we approached in 10 yards of it before we found out what had hold of it. It was not wolves but a monster bear killing the hog. I and my brother were quite brave as long as we did not see anything but when we discovered old Bruin we got greatly excited and terribly soared. The black beast Was holding the hog down with its forefeet and biting it behind the shoulders. Though we were much terrified yet we made an attempt to make it leave the hog by yelling and slapping our hands together. The animal was so busy engaged in killing the porker that he apparently did not notice us until we had kept up the racket a half a minute or more when he turned his head toward us and released the hog and rose to his feet and charged at us and we left there at fast speed. We owned seven dog’s that were gritty and as we raced along toward the house we called lustily for them. The bear did not pursue us but a few yards before he stopped and went back to the hog. The dogs soon met us and we halted and encouraged them and they darted on toward his bearship and we yelled sic.’ sic, sic at the dogs as they passed on. When they reached the bear they all flew at him and onto him and actually pulled him down and stretched him on the ground for three or four seconds when the beast recovered from the shock and got up on his feet In spite of the dogs. Then he sit down on his haunches and went to work clearing the right of way. he knocked the dogs every way until the way was open then he beat a retreat. Five of the dogs out of the seven had enough of Bruin and refused to take any interest in pursuing the bear. The other two dogs were game and chased his bearship a mile and a half, when he turned on them and after a hot fight he sent them both back home. One of them was seriously wounded."

This account was given me by John B. Hudson.

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