Biography - James L. B. Turner

JAMES L. B. TURNER. Farm life on the Illinois Prairie! To the writer the very thought is a poem, and the mind instantly clothes it in the words that Longfellow has used in so exquisitely describing the prairies in the beautiful poem, "Evangeline." If it is a life of toil, that of the farmer, it is also one of beauty, for even the black loam overturned by the plow has a fragrance of its own in the early spring-time that fills the heart with gladness, and makes the laborer conscious of an exaltation and a nearness to Divinity, that one gets in no other occupation.

He of whom we write belonged to the class of agriculturists, who inspire with each breath, a sense of freedom and elevation. He was a farmer born and bred. His father was thus engaged before him. James Turner, Sr., our subject's father, was born in Buckingham County, Va., in 1790, and his mother, Elsie (Pendleton) Turner, was a native of Buckingham County, Va., and was born about 1795. After marriage they settled in the county in which their wedding took place, and after various changes of location, they came to Illinois and settled in Effingham County, in 1830.

James and Elsie Turner were the parents of eleven children of whom our subject was the third in order of birth. He was born in Wilson County, Tenn., October 21, 1824. He was six years of age when his parents emigrated to this State, and his youth and early manhood was spent in Effingham County. He made his home under the paternal roof until twenty-three years of age when he was married in Shelby County, Ill., October 24, 1847, to Hannah E. Poe. Mrs. Turner's father was James F. Poe, who was born in Franklin County, Tenn., about 1802. Her mother's maiden name was Hannah Parks. She was born also, in Franklin County, Tenn., about 1807. After marriage they settled in their native county, where the wife died November 23, 1829. Mrs. Hannah E. Turner was the only child, being born the same day that her mother died. Her father came to Shelby County and settled in Richland Township in the spring of 1830, and continued to be a resident of the county until his death, which took place on his own farm in Ash Grove Township, October 18, 1838.

After his wife's death. Mr. Poe was for a second time married, his wedding being celebrated in Tennessee, in 1830. His third wife was Mrs. Rebecca (Miller) Elliott, by whom he became the father of four children, whose names are respectively, Franklin, Amanda M., George and Ann, and an infant killed by being thrown from a wagon. Mrs. Rebecca Poe, was, after the death of her second husband, united to Charles Loomis. Her death took place in Tazewell County, Ill. After the marriage of our subject he settled with his bride on a portion of the farm that was formerly owned by her father. It was located in Richland Township, between Richland and Ash Grove Townships. They there resided from February, 1848, until April, 1891, when they removed to Windsor, where he died Augusl 31, 1891. He was the owner of between six and seven hundred acres of finely improved land. Four children have been born to Mr. Turner and his wife. They are James L., William W., George R., Zinnette M. The last named is the wife of G. F. Schlack.

His second son, William W. died in 1875 at the age of twenty-four years. The original of our sketch has held many of the most important offices in the township. He has been Supervisor of Richland, and also Assessor and Collector. He was independent in politics. Since 1882, our subject and his wife have been connected prominently with the Universalist Church. He of whom we write was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and had been thus connected since early in the '60s. James L. married Grace A. Smith; William W. married Laura B. Smith; George R. took to wife Mary Ann Curry.

James L. B. Turner held an enviable position in the respect and confidence that he had among the people with whom he has been connected in business or in a social way. He was a Christian and a gentleman in every sense of the word, and although having reached quite an advanced age, he was progressive and interested in every measure that promised to be for the welfare of the community of which he was a part.

Extracted 29 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 629-630.

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