Hunting In the "Sunk Country" of Missouri

January 22, 1876

The Portsmouth Times

Transcribed by : Tina Easley

Ad scanned from an old 1948 Newspaper


Sunk Country


On the 1st of November a party consisting of Reuben Thompson, , the

veteran buckhunter, Lewis and Geo. Brown, Martin Long , all practical

hunters, and Frank Hines, Wm. Roberts and Jesse Honaker,  left Springville,

Ky.,for tbe South, to take their annual hunting trip.

They  landed on the Missouri shore, in the sunken land district,

and after crossing a body of water four miles wide, pitched their tent

iu the swamp regions,: where game was pronounced plentiful. For the past

two weeks their friends became uneasy about them, and all sorts of rumors

were set afloat. Tbe worst joke was perpetrated upon Uncle Reuben. All

Springville was excited over tbe well told story that the old hunter had fallen

in love with a buxom young Indian woman, and her husband, the chief of

the tribe, had taken the scalp of the pale-face lover.  But the gossip-mongers,

like frightened rats, hied themselves to their domiciles when the old gentleman

 returned home Friday morning of last week , safe and sound, with the

jerked venison of a two hundred and ten pound buck be had brought down

with his unerring rifle, knew of the story was what he learned

in gossipy Springville. He had fallen in love with no dusky matron or maiden,

and no red man had sought to lift his silvery scalp:

During the time the party were absent they killed twenty-two deer,

twelve wild turkeys,sixty coons, fifty minks, ten wild geese, two dozen ducks,

two black polecats, and numberless squirrels. At one meal, Mr. Thompson

says, they sat down to a mess of twenty-six squirrels. Lewis Brown

brought back fortypounds of dried coon hams,one hundred pounds of

honey, besides a goodly share of game ,and furs. Mr. Hines went to

the Gulf coast, and the other hunters remained.

Mr. Thompson thinks he will return in a few days , and he would

have remained, but learning of his wife's illness , he hurried home.

He has gone on annual hunting expedition for the past forty years, and

seems to enjoy the sport as much as ever.

On Christmas day be says there was the shock of an earthquake, which

shook water out of their buckets, and rattled the culinary articles in such a

manner as to create an alarm. Such shocks are of frequent occurrence in

that region. In 1811the earthquake of New Madrid occurred, and over an

extent of country three hundred miles in length , from the mouth of the Ohio

to that of the St. Francis , the ground rose and sunk in great undulations,

and lakes were formed and again drained. The country is still called

the "Sunk Country." The American Cycliapedia, in referring to the Missouri;

earthquakes, says:

"They continued until the destruction of the city of Caracas, which took

place March 12th , 1826. One evening, about this time, is described by

tho citizens of New Madrid as brilliant and cloudless, during which time the

Western sky was a continued glare of vivid flashes of lightning, and peals

of thunder were incessantly heard, proceeding apparently, as did the

flashes , from below the horizon."

When we remember the loss of life by the New Madrid earthquake, recall

the loss of twelve thousand inhabitants at Caracas, and put this and that together,

we would rather choose a hunting place where there is less game and

fewer earthquakes.

Tina Easley
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Greene County , Arkansas Website