Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: Turk-Jones Feud, aka “Slicker War”

FeudingFightFridayThis Ozark Mountain feud was carried on much like the more famous Appalachian Hatfield-McCoy feud, encompassing the Missouri counties of Benton and Polk.  Benton County was a newly organized county when two families, the Joneses and Turks, migrated from Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively.  Colonel Hiram Turk came to Benton County with his wife and four sons: James, Thomas, Nathan and Robert, settling in an area known as Judy’s Gap.

The Andy Jones family settled along the Pomme de Terre River, a tributary of the Osage River.  Jones and his sons had a penchant for gambling, horse racing and were suspected of counterfeiting.  They were said to be coarse and likely illiterate as they always signed their names by a mark.

Colonel Turk, as he was called, had served in the Tennessee militia and was said to have been full of buck shot.  A businessman in Tennessee, he also opened up a general store and saloon in the recently-designated county seat of Warsaw.  Although his family was generally described as being courteous and well-educated, they also had a reputation for being “quarrelsome, violent and overbearing” (A Sketch of the History of Benton County, by James H. Lay).

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