Biography - James T. Turner

JAMES T. TURNER. We are pleased to record among other prominent and prosperous farmers of Shelby County, a brief sketch of the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this paragraph, whose pleasant home and attractive farm are an ornament to section 7, Oconee Township. He was born in Robinson County, Tenn., August 28, 1840. His parents, Charles and Susan (Price) Turner, natives of Virginia, early became residents of North Carolina, and finally settled in Tennessee, where they were married and long made their home. All of their family of nine children were born in Tennessee or across the line in Kentucky. The family of Charles Turner and Susan, his wife, are as follows: John H., who married and engaged in farming in Fayette County, Ill.; Nancy E., who married Thomas Thomas Hill and died in 1854 in Montgomery County, Ill.; Susan C., who became Mrs. R. B. Evans, and died in 1869; Avy J. was twice married. Her first husband being George W. Ishmael, who enlisted in the Seventy-third Illinois Infantry and died of small-pox at Memphis. Her second husband, James Slater, is a merchant in Oconee. The sketch of his life will be found elsewhere in this volume. Warren enlisted in Company G, Fifth Illinois Cavalry in 1863. He married Anna Poland. William K. and James T. were also members of the same company; they having enlisted in the year of 1861, the former married Emma Lamar. They were quartered at Camp Butler, Springfield, from September, 1861, until February, 1862. This regiment was known as an independent cavalry organization and was not assigned to any department but took part in almost every campaign. The regiment did patrol duty along the Mississippi River, guarding trains, chasing and fighting guerrillas and bushwhackers and also doing garrison duty. It participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg and accompanied the victorious army in pursuit of the rebel Gen. Johnston.

Soon after this our subject was discharged on account of disabilities as he contracted the measles and not having proper care and being exposed to the inclemency of the weather, the disease settled in his eyes, so that he finally lost one and the other is much injured. The other two brothers passed through the war without serious detriment. The Fifth Cavalry went to Memphis and finally to Texas under command of Gen. Custer. Charles S. Turner enlisted in the spring of 1864 in the One Hundred and Forty-third Illinois Infantry, and served one hundred days. After returning home he learned the carpenter's trade and remained at home with his parents until their death, the father passed away February 4, 1885, at the age of eighty-one years and the mother dying January 12, 1888, being seventy-eight years old. Charles then felt relieved from further responsibility and starting in life for himself, went to St. Louis, where he carries on the carpenter trade. Amanda W. married F. P. Vest. Her home is in St. Louis and she has one daughter.

After James T. Turner returned from the war he engaged in farming. His marriage with Miss Kate McLaury took place September 9, 1866. This lady was one of a family of four sons and three daughters, children of John F. and Margaret M. (Humphrey) McLaury, and was born in Mercer County, Pa., August 24, 1845. Mr. McLaury was a native of Pennsylvania and his wife of the Empire State. Mrs. Turner's brothers and sisters are Thomas F. Jr., Calvin B., James A., William A., Margaret and Alice, all of whom are living except James A., and all the survivors are married. Thomas F., William A., and Alice (Mrs. Wylie), are residents of the Lone Star State, while Calvin B. resides in Missouri and Margaret (Mrs. Wilie), in Tennessee. Mrs. Turner's family removed to Illinois in the fall of 1845, and located in Montgomery County. They removed to Texas before the death of the mother and when last heard from the father was in Arkansas.

The Turner family removed from Tennessee to Fayette County, Ill., in 1848, and soon after removed to Montgomery County and finally made their home in Oconee Township, Shelby County, where the parents died as has been previously stated. Our subject was educated in the public schools of Illinois and has been a farmer all his life time. For six or seven years he was engaged in the hay business, buying, bailing and shipping hay, to Eastern and Southern cities.

To Mr. and Mrs. Turner have been born five children, all of whom are living, namely: Lena E., born June 8, 1867, married George W. Hinton a merchant at Assumption, Ill. Charles Franklin, who was born May 11, 1869, now resides with his wife, Flora March, on his father's farm in Oconee Township. Gladys was born June 19, 1875, and is still attending school and qualifying herself for the profession of a teacher. James F., born April 30, 1878, and Maggie B., December 17, 1881, are attending school and studying music as well as well as making themselves generally useful in the home and upon the farm. Mr. Turner has always been a stanch Republican and ever takes an interest in political and public affairs. Mrs. Turner, her son Frank and daughter Gladys are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Frank, Gladys and James are members of the Independent Order of Good Templars. Mr. Turner is a worthy member of Coplin Post, No. 268, G. A. R. of Oconee and is the present Junior Vice Commander. Besides giving attention to general farming he raises a good grade of stock.

Extracted 26 May 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 547-549.

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