The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

We have said elsewhere that Jimmie Tabor settled on Big Creek in Taney County, Mo., in 1835 and that he died December the 22, 1895. In an interview with him a short while before his death and in relating reminiscences of the early days he said in answer to a question, "Did I ever get into a fight with a wounded buck? No I never did," said he "I have had chances, but I was too careful for that. I never allowed a wounded buck an opportunity to fight me. I always refused to run to a buck after shooting it down unless I was perfectly satisfied it was not able to injure me, but I have know of a few fierce encounters between them and hunters. The worst one I remember now occurred on Pond Fork. Jimmie Friend, father of John and Elijah Friend, was living on Pond Fork Creek in an early day. One of his daughters was my first wife. Friend’s wife was named Jane but she was always known as Aunt "Jennie." Mr. Friend was a noted hunter and almost every settler in Ozark County, Mo., knew him. On one occasion while he lived on Pond Fork he went out to hunt and when he had went a quarter of a mile from his cabin he saw a fine buck and shot it. The deer fell but struggled and Friend ran to it with knife in hand to out its throat. When he got in a few feet of it the buck attempted to get up and to prevent it rising he caught it by the beam of one horn with one hand and tried to stab it with the knife but the deer in its endeavors to rise on its feet kicked the knife from his hand and it fell several feet distant. The buck was reviving rapidly and a desperate struggle commenced and the enraged brute did all in its power to gore the hunter with its sharp horns. Mr. Friend exerted all his strength to prevent it. It was a furious battle. Though the buck was wounded and loosing blood, but Friend was growing weak from his exertions in contending against the deer faster than his forelegged adversary. Very soon after the knife fell from his hands he grabbed the beam of the other horn and held it with all his strength. Mr. Friend and the deer were both on their feet, but the angry animal surged and pawed so desperately that the hunter come near falling several times. At last he was about to give up for he realized that he could not hold out much longer. He was convinced that the furious animal would soon overcome him. With these serious thoughts looming up before him he thought of his wife, the dear good girl that he married in the southeast part of the state and both of which started to Little North Fork in a few days after they were married to locate them a home. He had just left her at the house. He would never see her again on earth. They had lived together many years and now to be parted in such an awful manner was appalling to think of. Then the thought came into his mind. Let me call for Jennie and she will hear me and come to my aid and kill the buck, and with a loud voice he called once for his faithful wife. She heard his despairing voice and knew something was wrong, and hardly knowing what she was doing she ran out of the house and snatched up the ax and sped off in the direction she heard him hollow. Before she had time to go more than 100 yards she heard him call again and she answered and increased her speed and was soon on the scene. The buck was in the act of goring him for the man’s strength was nearly gone. She took in the situation at once and needed no one to tell her what she ought to do, but with a strength and will saved her husband from death. She dealt it blow after blow with the ax until it fell and kept up the work until it was dead. The old hunter was overcome with joy and exhaustion and fell, but soon recovering he looked at the resistless form of the deer as it lay dead before him, then at his loving and affectionate wife as she stood and held the bloody ax in her hand and says, ‘God bless you, Jennie. How grateful I feel for your timely aid. I never knew how well I loved you until this moment."

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