Fleetwood Family

Fleetwood Stories by S. C. Turnbo

This story is from the Springfield-Greene County, Missouri Library


By S. C. Turnbo

We have given several accounts elsewhere in these fireside stories of panther attacking and slaying deer and will now relate three more stories of this kind in this chapter. The first account we give here was told me by Isaac Fleetwood, a former resident of Douglas County, Mo., and also of Marion County, Ark., but his present home is in the Indian Territory. In narrating the account Mr. Fleetwood said that he never saw a panther attack a deer, "but I will tell you a story of this kind from hearsay that came from a reliable source and I will tell it to you the way my informant told me." said Mr. Fleetwood.

"Just after the close of the Civil War Marion Fleetwood went up Mountain Creek one day to hunt the horses. As is well known this stream is very rough with numerous hollows that lead into it and was once a prominent haunt for wild beasts. The stream empties its waters into Gooley’s Spring Creek. This last named stream passes into White River just above Oakland, Arkansas. Marion was accompanied by a large bulldog he called "Bull". After traveling up the creek some distance he left the main creek and went up a long hollow that heads up at Long Mountain. When he had passed up this hollow a half a mile or more he saw a panther spring off of a stooping tree to the ground and run off. The dog pursued it and pushed the animal so hotly that Marion said that he expected the beast would climb a tree. But soon after the dog chased it out of sight the dog came back. Thinking that the panther had slain something nearby the tree it had leaped from Marion made an investigation and the ground under the tree showed evidence of an attack of the panther on a deer. The ground for several paces around had been torn up by the deer’s feet and the panther’s claws. The ground and grass was also stained with blood. The tracks and blood were all fresh. Being convinced that the beast had killed the deer, Marion searched for its carcass and found a pile of leaves that had just been heaped together. On kicking them apart a big fat buck met his eyes. The buck, though dead, was yet warm. Its entrails had been taken out as nice as if a hunter had taken them out with the aid of a knife. The buck carried a big head of horns. Testimony as found on the ground and in the tree indicated that the panther was in the tree waiting for game to approach and this buck had come along under the tree and the panther sprang down on its back and overpowered the deer and killed it. The deepest wounds were on the back of the neck where the panther had torn into the flesh with its teeth until death put an end to the suffering of the poor buck. Marion did not hunt for the horses anymore that day and went back home and returned back accompanied by his father and they saved the torn hide and what was left of the venison. It was supposed that after the panther had killed the buck and covered it up it had went up the same tree to wait for more game to approach and it would be treated likewise."

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