Silas Claiborne Turnbo
Silas Claiborne Turnbo
By Jane E. Owens
great great grandniece of Silas Claiborne Turnbo
Silas Claiborne Turnbo, Donnie Breeding (my grandmother),
Thana Breeding, Benton Breeding and Leslie Breeding
Silas Claiborne Turnbo
There are so many articles online and in libraries about my great great uncle
Claib, so I decided to write one of my own for our website. Silas Claiborne
Turnbo was born the 26th of May, 1844 in Taney County, Missouri, in a log
cabin on Beaver Creek to James Coffee Turnbo and Elizabeth Onstott
Turnbo. He was the oldest of 11 children. Silas married May Matilda Holt
on the 28th of January, 1869 in Taney County, Missouri. They had 5 children.
Silas was thought by many of his family to be a wanderer, who wouldnít
settle down. Little did they know that his writings would be the greatest
source of genealogy information for future generations.
When Silas was 18, he joined Company A, 27th Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A., he
enlisted with the rank of Pvt. His Unit was engaged at the Battle of Little
Rock 10 Sept, 1863, Jenkins Ferry 30 April, 1864, and the Red River
Campaign March-May of 1864. His unit surrendered in Shreveport,
Louisianna 7 June 1865.
Silas started keeping a journal of his experiences during the Civil War, and
continued writing not only about the war, but of his family and experiences
before and after the war.
Uncle Claib published two collections of his stories-Fireside Stories Of The
Early Days In The Ozarks in 1904 and Fireside Stories Of The Early Days In
The Ozarks II in 1907.
Silas Claiborne Turnbo and his wife are buried at Park Grove Cemetery,
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Here are a couple of his stories:
This one is about my great great great Grandfather Daniel Upton
HURRYING ALONG AFTER NIGHT FROM A PANTHER
By S. C. Turnbo
Mr. H. C. Upton, son of Daniel Upton, and who lives on the main wagon road that leads
from Gainesville, Mo., to Theadosia, furnishes an amusing account of his Uncle Jobe
Uptonís adventure with a panther one night while he lived on Lick Creek below
Gainesville. H. C. Upton lives at the Lone Ash Bald Hill 6 miles west of Gainesville. In
giving the story of his Uncle Jobe, Mr. Upton said that Perry Martin owned a mill on
Brattonís Spring Creek that stood just below the junction of the forks of the west and east
prongs of the creek where he ground corn into meal for the old time settlers. Mr. Martin
was also a famed blacksmith and made many plows in his shop for the farmers. My Uncle
Jobe Upton had gone from home where he lived on Lick Creek to Perry Martinís mill on
horseback with a sack of corn and it was near night before he got his corn ground and
started back home. It was more than ten miles from the mill back home and nearly all the
distance was along a lonely path up the east prong of Brattonís Spring Creek and over the
divide between the breaks of the last named stream and Lick Creek. Darkness set in soon
after he left the mill but he was not molested by a wild animal until he was riding down a
hill into a hollow that leads to Lick Creek when he was startled by the hideous cry of a
panther close by him. The dreaded noise hardly ceased before the animal sprang down the
hillside to the trail where Upton was passing. He was riding a yellow mare he called Snip
and was near one mile and a half from home. The night was quite dark. There was no
moonlight and clouds obscured the stars. When the panther struck the ground so close to
her feet, old Snip was terrified and straightened herself out and did some fast running
toward home. My uncle could do nothing but give her the bridle and let her run. Though
the night was too dark to discern only the outlines of the form of the beast as it darted
along near the path but the noise it made screaming and running was not to be mistaken.
The panther gave the frightened mare and the rider all the urging they needed and the
mare almost flew along the dark trail. The vicious beast screamed at short intervals and my
uncle said he felt in spots all over for he expected to be attacked every moment. It was a
dreadful time for my uncle and the mare was running and jumping so fast that it was most
all he could do to stay on her back. Onward through the pitchy darkness the race
continued. The mare did not slack her speed and the panther did not fall behind the mare
until she had ran in 300 yards of the house when it ceased its blood curdling screams and
my uncle said he heard nothing more of it, but thinking the beast might renew the pursuit
my uncle lost no time in getting into the house after he dismounted from old Snip in the
woodyard. I do not know whether the man lost his sack of meal or not for he never
mentioned that part of it."
This one references several of my direct ancestors.
SAD MISFORTUNE OF A FAMILY
By S. C. Turnbo
I am told that Moze Lantz was the first settler on Brattons Spring Creek a tributary prong
of the Little North Fork. He located near one half of a mile below the famed water known
as the Dick Martin Springs. This great bubbling spring flows out of the ground on the
west side of the left prong of the creek a half a mile or more above the forks of the creek.
Another remarkable spring runs out of the ground near where the left prong and right
prong comes together. These two springs furnishes the main volume of water in this
stream below the forks of the creek during a low stage of the creek. The water is as clear
as crystal, and during the warm season of the year the beautiful limpid water as it flows
over the gravel and rough stoney creek bed remains cool and refreshing until it enters
Little North Fork several miles below the Martin Spring following the course of the
stream. Mr. Lantz settled on this stream in 1834. He mashed corn in an Indian mortar for
bread until 1836, when he built a little mill below the spring. Later on, when the settlers
began growing small crops of wheat, Mr. Lantz wife manufactured a bolting cloth out of
sheeps wool by means of hand cards, spinning wheel and hand loom. The chane and filling
were spun entirely of wool. When Lantz wife had prepared the bolting cloth he put it to
use in his mill and he found that it did excellent work for home made stuff.
Several years after this John Brock and Eliezes Poplin built a small mill just below where
the Carroll Johnson farm is. This mill was known in the latter fifties as the "Cline" Turley
Mill. Mr. Brock died on this creek and was buried in the cemetery at the mouth of the
creek. While Mr. Brock was living here this water course was known as Brocks Spring
Creek, but when Henry Bratton lived at the Martin Spring and sold goods there, the name
was changed to Brattons Spring Creek, and it has retained this name to the present day.
Up near the head of the right prong on the creek is the Center Point School House where
there is a grave yard where I am told that the remains of Versa the infant daughter of
William and Sarah Bunch was the first interment here. Here also ly the remains of Lige
Breeding. Below the school house on the Jim Reynolds land is another small grave yard
where Bertha a little daughter of Jim and Mary Reynolds was the first body intered here.
In this pretty spot of land is the burial place of Mrs. Nancy Upton wife of the old timer
Daniel Upton. Some of the main hollows that lead into the right prong of the creek are
locally known as Uptons Spring Hollow, Big Spring Hollow Rocky Branch, Turnback,
Jackson, Spencer, Trace, Double Mouth and The Pockets. A tall hill known as Breshy
Knob stands near the head of Trace Hollow. Lone Jack Hill was named by Daniel Upton.
It stands apart from any other hill and is covered with black Jack timber. The most
prominent hollow that leads into the left prong is Little Creek which heads up at Bald Jess.
Among the Bald Hills of note is the Lone Ark situated between the two forks near the H.
E. Upton Place. The Isabella and Gainsville wagonway leads along at the base of this
Nearly a mile above the forks of the creek on the east bank is where a man of the name of
Darr lived in 1860. There were 6 in the family: Darr and his wife, a married daughter and
her husband, a widowed daughter and her daughter which was 12 years old. The name of
the son-in-law was John Cantrel. The afternoon of the 7th of June 1860 was clear and very
sultry. The air was almost calm. At night the sky was overcast with threatening clouds.
They were dark and ominous and seemed to centralize over parts of Ozark County,
especially over Brattons Spring Creek. A great display of lightning and loud crashing
thunder soon followed the formation of the dark angry looking clouds, then rain poured
down in sheets and torrents. The cloud had collapsed and turned to water. In other words
it was a "cloud burst" and the result was that most of the water dropped down on the right
prong of the creek. In a few minutes the stream was over flowing and continued to rise so
rapidly that it swept the cabin and its occupants away. It is a difficult matter to obtain all
the particulars of that sad event, but what I present here is no doubt near the main facts
and needs but little correction. My principal informants were Jim Lantz son of Moze Lantz
and Elijah Ford. They said that the cabin as it was carried along by the raging waters
struck against a water oak tree which stood 150 yards below where the house stood and
was knocked to pieces. Mr. Darr caught to a limb of this tree and pulled himself up out of
the water where he remained until day light. The storm clouds passed away, the rain
ceased and the water in the creek soon subsided. When the lightning ceased to flash,
intense darkness spread over the flood swept valleys. Mr. Darr as he sat up in the tree
waiting for the approach of the light of day, suffered terrible agony of mind. He had good
reason to believe that the entire family with the exception of himself were swept into the
land of eternity. The hour of darkness seemed long, and the grief he sustained for the loss
of his family seemed unbearable while passing the dark lonely hours away in the tree. But
finally the darkness began to disappear and the light of day began spreading over the hills
and an awful scene met his tearful eyes. The dead body of his wife lay at the foot of the
tree where it had lodged and was partly hidden by driftwood. A big log lay across her
breast. Nearby where the body of his wife lay was the remains of his widowed daughter.
Mr. Darr descended the tree and went to Brattons who lived at the Dick Martin Spring to
notify him of the terrible misfortune and the news of the disastrous flood of water in the
creek spread rapidly in every direction and kind and sympathetic hearts collected on the
scene of death and a search was made for the other bodies and when found was tenderly
cared for. The dead bodies of John Cantrel and his wife were found near 300 yards below
the tree where Darrs wife and widowed daughter was discovered. They had lodged in an
open space where the water was too shallow to carry them over it, their bodies lay 10 feet
apart. Mr. Darr said that when he last seen them in the flood they were clasp in each
others arms. A close search was made some distance below the forks of the creek for the
body of the little girl but it was not found that day. While some continued the search for
the remains of the girl child the other people were preparing the other 4 bodies for burial.
Mr. Jim Lantz said he took an ax and cut the log in two that lay on Mrs. Darrs breast and
they lifted it off of her. A few years before this sad calamity befell these people an infant
child of Henry Brattons had died and he selected a spot of ground for the resting place
above the spring and buried it there and a grave was dug near where this child lay for the
reception of the 4 bodies of the Darr family where they were all put in one grave. Mr. Darr
owned a big black ring neck dog he called Tray and on the following morning this dog
was standing at the foot of the tree in which Darr and his son was in. The dog had escaped
the flood and had found the refuge of Mr. Darr and was seemingly standing guard over the
bodies of Mrs. Darr and her daughter. The body of the girl was not found for two days
after the others were buried. Her remains were discovered in the creek opposite the Jeff
Lantz Place known now as the John Johnson land. The little dead body was cared for and
prepared for burial and a grave was dug near where the others had received interment and
the body of the little girl was lowered into the vault to rest with her dear mother, aunt,
uncle and grandmother. John Cantrel son in law of Mr. Darr was raised by Henry Brattoh.
Bratton wife whose name was Martha was Cantrel aunt. Mr. Jim Lantz informed the
writer that after a number of people had collected on the scene of the disaster of the ill
fated family to care for the dead, Mrs. Bratton who was among the number said that John
Cantrel was a crank in the sympathy for the south which was agitated then by
sympathizers of both sections. He was so strong in his faith for the southern people that in
debating the question with others who held an opposite opinion that he would become
angry and use hot words. Mrs. Bratton said that Cantrel was at her house the afternoon
before the cloud burst occurred that night and he and another man got involved in a
discussion over political matters and Cantrel flew into a rage and remarked that he wished
it would rain hard enough to raise all the streams in the north high enough to drown all the
abolitionists." Though no doubt it only happened that way yet the words of Cantrel were
idle and foolish and little aid he think that while he was using those awful expressions of
language that such a calamity as he wanted to fall on others would overtake himself and
family in a few hours."
More on Silas Claiborne Turnbo and his Stories