Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Black Eagle!

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Junior Eagle

Brooklyn – New York

Sunday, June 15, 1916

Page 3



The Mysterious Black Eagle That
Always Was Seen Before a War

Bird of Ill Omen Would Be Seen on a Missouri Crag Before 
United States Went to War.


In the Ozark hills, back from
the main lines of travel, lives a
simple, sturdy race, descendants
for the most part of the best pio-
neer stock which peopled our
country. Among 'them one may still
hear curious folk legends and
songs, some of them of the greatest
antiquity and many derived from
primitive association with the Indians.
The following account of a
strange belief—firmly held—is not
fiction, although it reads like it,
says .the author, writing in the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch. Captain Turn-
bull is a real person and to him the
legend of the Black Eagle is not
 a legend at all.


The melancholy hoot of an owl
echoed through the forest; a whip-
 poorwill was calling from the opposite
ridge. The sun had sunk be
hind the hills, giving way to the
soft twilight that settled down on
the Ozark country. In front of his
rude cabin on the banks of the little
 river Caleb Turnbull sat smoking
his corncob pipe.


Turnbull was an old. old man;
lean and picturesque. Snow
white hair hung to his shoulders;
deep wrinkles furrowed his weather
beaten face; rough clothing covered
his shrunken frame. But,
withal, he was rugged: erect, clear
of eye and quick of foot—a typical
Ozark mountaineer.  As he blew a
cloud of fragrant smoke of home
cured tobacco into the air and
gazed far into the sky beyond the
hills his memory turned to the days
of long ago.

He though of the Indians who
camped and hunted in the Jacks
Fork country; of Chief Big Wing,
whom he had known so well; of the
old bear and buffalo hunts; of the
first settlers, and then of the Black
Eagle.

The Black Eagle—would he and
his mate return? It was eighteen
years since they last nested on the
face of the cliff across the river.
Just eighteen years since the war
with Spain.

The boy, but a baby then, now a
. tall,husky lad, a man in size. How
time flies! The Civil War seemed
like a dream of yesterday; the
Black Eagle had nested on the cliff
. during those four years of hell ‘and
misery. And the Mexican War of
the '40s, when the old man first saw
the  Black Eagle seemed not  so
long ago. The Black Eagle, a bird
ill omen,'' was to him as a friend
of the years gone by. If the bird
did return soon, he hoped to live
to see him once more.

Caleb Turnbull is a child of the
hills, born and reared in the Ozark
country, on the banks of the stream
he loves.  His parents came
to the Ozarks from the hills of the
Carolinas in the early '20s, a year
before Caleb, was born. Silas Turnbull,
the father, was a soldier in the war of 82
and fought with Old Hickory Jackson
 at New Orleans.
A hunter, trader, trapper,
whose courage or integrity never
was questioned, he sought newer
fields.

Coming to the Ozarks, he found
the Indians in full possession of
the country, hunting bear or buffalo,
beaver or wolf, as was their wont.
With the red men the elder
Turnbull soon made friends. Their
Chief, Big Wing, had led warriors,
with other Indians, against William
Henry Harrison at Tippen____
Earlier he had joined to forces
with those of the white man
and helped defeat the British in the
second war with Great Britain.
Thus a common bond of friendship
sprang up between the two warriors –
the pioneer and the aborigines.


It was Big Wing who first told
Silas Turnbull about the Black
Eagle. According to the red chief,
his tribe had camped in the little
valley of Far Jacks Fork, and were
hunting buffalo through the hills,
which were then covered with long
blue stem grass, and very little
timber. A party of hunters returning
from the chase one day In the
early spring, reported having seen
a very strange bird, "big like eagle,
black like crow." on a high cliff
far up the river.


The chief was interested, and the
next day. taking the medicine man
of the tribe with him, he went to
look for the bird. They found him
and his mate where the braves had
seen him the day before. The Chief
wanted to kill the bird, but the
medicine man advised him against
It, saying that it was probably a
bird of omen. '


The chief returned to the camp,
and that very day a French trader
came into camp and told them of
"the big war With the big tribe of
palefaces from the land of the rising
sun." The next day the chief
led his braves to the east, and before
one moon had passed he joined
his forces with those of the white
Americans, his former enemies.
The Black Eagle and his mate
stayed with their nest on the" cliff
during all the war, but when the
braves returned the birds were
gone. Thus the red chief related
the story.

For Silas Turnbull the years rolled
swiftly by. The Indians had
left the Ozarks, and white settlers
were coming to the hill. The boy,
Caleb, Was now a man grown and
of man's estate. Game was yet
plentiful, and the son, following the
steps of the father, had become a
mighty hunter. Together, father
and son hunted and -trapped in the
hills and along the streams in winter,
and in summer tilled a meager
crop of corn and cotton and tobacco
in the patches cleared in the fertile
little valley in which they made
their home. Thus father and son
provided food for the family, while
mother and the girls spun the cotton
and wool and wove the clothing.

When the Black Eagle Fore-
shadowed the Mexican War.

One day a big, black eagle and his
mate were seen on the cliff that
crowned across the river, and
Silas Turnbull remembered the
story told by the Indian Chief. He
had never doubted the red man’s truthfulness,
 but up to now had
given the story little concern. In
a few days a settler from the White
 River country of Arkansas
returning from St. Genevieve, where he
had traded furs for powder and
bullets, told the Turnbulls that
Mexico and the United States were
in war.

The next day Silas and Caleb
Turnbull shouldered their flintlock
rifles and started on foot for the
 Missouri River.  Arriving at a
settlement they enlisted as volunteers
in the United states Army, and
went with Doniphan into the country
south of the Rio Grande. The
father never returned; a Mexican
bullet had done its work. Caleb
returned to his Ozark home.

The Black Eagle and his mate
had left a month before.

Soon after the son returned the
mother died, the sisters married
men of nearby settlements, and
Caleb Turnbull took unto himself
a wife.  Time moved on. Caleb
was now a man of middle-age with
half-grown children. He and his
family were living peacefully, happily,
contentedly, after the manner
of pioneers.

One morning in the spring of
1861. Looking  across the valley from
the field he had just planted, Caleb
saw the bird of ill-omen perched in
the branches of a dead tree, far
above the cliff. The Black Eagle
had returned.


Not many days later rumors of
war were heard, and as the days
went by the rumors became more
numerous, and soon factional feeling
began to permeate the peaceful
Ozarks. Turnbull was no coward.
He was Southern born and bred,
but loyalty to the "Union was, to
him, inborn.” Leaving his knee-high
corn to be cared for by his wife and
children, he made his way on foot
over the dim trails of the hills to
Rolla, where he offered his services
to the Union.


For four long years ho followed
the fortunes of a soldier.  He was
at Wilson’s Creek, at Shiloh, and in
a score of other fights.  Returning
home in ’65 he wore the uniform
of an officer and bore a captain’s
commission.

Ill-news awaited his coming. Hid
eldest son, seeking adventure, had
joined the army of the Confederacy
as a drummer boy, and by an irony
of fate had been killed at Shiloh.
During all those years the Black
Eagle and his mate had nested on
the high cliff, and did not leave
until a few days after Captain
Turnbull's return.

In the year of 1898 he was living
with his granddaughter and her
young husband on the same little
Far Jacks Fork Farm. On the very
day that the young-man-returned
from a-nearby town-with word that
war had been declared on Spain, the
Black Eagle and his mate returned
to the nest on the cliff.

That was eighteen years ago, but
to Captain Turnbull it seems a
day. The boy is man size now and
with his great-grandfather, he
watches for the return of the Black
 Eagle.  Captain Turnbull pays little
attention to the doings at Washington
and to international affairs to
which the United States is a party,
but he feels war is in the air, and he
considers the Black Eagle an
unimpeachable prophet.




Publically Available Article.




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