MAGNESS FAMILY STORIES
SHE WANTED THE INFANT TO HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT
By S. C. Turnbo
Among a few names of the pioneer settlers who lived on Clear Creek, a tributary stream of Crooked Creek in Marion County, Ark. was Bill Magness who resided at a fine spring of water in a hollow that runs into Clear Creek. Bill Magness was a son of Joe Magness and married Miss Jane Onstott a sister of the writer’s mother. Jimmie Magness a relative of Bill Magness lived on Crooked Creek. Jimmie Magness was an old man and had several sons and daughters the names of which were Morgan and Perry who were twins and John, Jim, Sam and Bill. The last named died quite young. Among his daughters were Betsey who married John Tabor and Nancy who married Nimrod Teaf and Polly who married a man of the name of King. He had another daughter named Patsey. Wilshire Magness son of Joe Magness lived on Big Creek just over the line in Marion County. Wilshire was a brother of Bill Magness and these men would exchange visits with each other every year after crops were laid by. One warm day in the month of July 1855 when their first born was an infant which they named Joseph R. Wilshire and his wife whose name was Nancy Elizabeth started from their home on Big Creek to visit their relatives and friends who lived on Clear and Crooked Creeks. It was a long hot day’s ride and a while before they arrived at George Woods Mill on East Sugar Loaf Creek the little baby boy become fretful and irritable and its mother was unable to pacify it. They stopped at the creek and gave it some water but this did not seem to relieve it and they went on the residence of Mr. Woods and stopped at the yard fence to get it some sweet milk. Mrs. Woods whose name was Nancy, come out of the house with a big pone of corn bread and a half gallon tin cup the last of which she gave to one of her little girls and says to her "run to the spring house and get this cup full of sweet milk and bring it back to me", and while the child was absent she stood at the yard fence and held the bread in her hand until the girl come back with the milk and reaching out her hand for the cup the girl gave it to her then she handed the bread and milk to Mrs. Magness for the infant. This amused Mr. Magness and his wife but they thanked Mrs. Woods in offering their baby plenty to eat. But said our child is not grown and can not eat so much as you have offered it and the infant itself refused to accept it and Mrs. Magness gave the bread and milk back to the kind woman and after thanking her again for her courtesy they went on their way. The foregoing was told me by Mrs. Magness herself a short time before her death. But she had been married twice more since the little incident occurred. Her last husband was Henry Clark.
A DANCING YOUNG FELLOW GOT HIS SHOES BURNED UP BY THE YOUNG
By S. C. Turnbo
George Woods who owned the mill at the Big Spring on East Sugar Loaf Creek below Monarch in Marion County, Ark. had a large family of children the majority of which were girls, all the family delighted in the old time dances. Many young people who lived far and near attended these "Ho downs" as they were commonly called. One day Bill Magness son of Joe Magness who lived in the river bottom one mile above the mouth of Big Creek went to mill there. The weather was cold and the river was up also and Sam Magness brother of Bill Magness, assisted him to swim Bills horse across the river at the side of a canoe. Bill Magness wore a new pair of shoe made of home tanned leather that was not well tanned. When Bill arrived at the mill he received an invitation to remain at a big dance the Woods family were going to have that night and he accepted without having to be persuaded. The fire place of the Woods dwelling was wide and as the temperature was nearly down to zero the Woodses kept a hot fire all night and the young men and women never stopped dancing during the entire night. The fire was so warm that it had a drawing up effect on Magnesses shoes and they hurt his feet so bad that he was compelled to pull them off his feet and danced in his stocking feet. The girls who were very mischievious watched for an oppertunity to burn them and getting a chance without Magness observing them they tossed them into the middle of the fire place and stirred the fire with the fire iron until the shoes were covered with live coals, chunks and cinders. When day light come the dance broke up and Magness, wanted to go home but he could not find his shoes. At last he got a hint that when he come there he had on a pair of shoes but he had none now to wear back home and the man had to ride back home in his sock feet and the bottoms of his, socks were worn out at the dance. When he got to the river opposite where he lived his brother Sam brought the canoe over to help him across and seeing his brother in his sock feet and his toes frost bitten he says "Bill you sentimental old rascal you got your shoes burned off of your feet did you. No matter for you though for you ought to have come back home and let the dance go to the devil where it belonged."
CHASING A PANTHER ACROSS WHITE RIVER AND KILLING IT
By S. C. Turnbo
On the south side of White River in the southeast corner of Taney County, Mo., is the old farm where the writer’s parents lived several years in my boyhood days. Some years after the close of the great civil war this farm was known as the Bill Dial place. Long before we went there Joe Magness and his brother William Magness lived on this same land. The house they occupied stood on a rise of ground just below what was once called the 14 acre field. The Magness boys were sons of Joe Magness who lived in the big bottom on the north side of White River one mile above the mouth of Big Creek. One day while the two Magness brothers lived on this land they spied a big panther which had got near the house before it was discovered. The dogs darted at it and the ugly creature darted away and bounded through the bottom to the river where it plunged into the water and swam across to the bluff. The dogs followed it across the river and chased it along the bluff near the water’s edge into the Panther Bottom where it went up a bending box alder tree. The dogs kept it there until the Magness boys and their father who was visiting his sons at the time crossed the river in a dugout canoe and when they reached the tree the panther was up the senior Joe Magness shot the animal as it lay crouched on the trunk of the tree. As it reeled over to fall it grasped the tree with its forelegs and as its body swung off it sank its sharp claws into the bark and wood. It remained suspended a few minutes before it fell and was dead when it struck the ground.