Biography - Lorenzo H. Turner

LORENZO H. TURNER. The majority of men who have attained high position either in public affairs, commercial life, or literature, have spent the early part of life in the enjoyment of bucolic peace and quiet. The mind is like a field, which having been allowed to be fallow for a time produces the richest harvests. Our subject, Lorenzo Turner, who was brought up on a farm has become one of the most influential men in the State of Illinois, and in mental calibre he ranks well with the representatives of any State. The years passed upon his father's farm were full of development to the lad whose eager mind absorbed each fact, and in the crucible of his reasoning powers he has distilled the pure waters of truth. Early acquiring the habit of studying human nature, he has found it to be of great use to him throughout his career. Men to him are as open books, to be read at pleasure.

Born of Southern parents, our subject inherits the suavity and gallantry for which the Virginians are noted, and also their eloquence in speech. His father, James Turner, was born in Buckingham County, Va., in 1799. His mother was Elsie (Pendleton) Turner, also a native of Buckingham County, and born about 1795. There they were reared and there they married, settling in their native county, but about four years after their marriage they emigrated to Wilson County, Tenn. This was about 1823, and in 1830 they came to Effingham County, where they died on the place which they had entered from the Government.

Our subject was born while his parents were residents of Wilson County, Tenn., his natal day being May 14, 1826. He was only four and a half years old when his parents removed to what is now Effingham County; there on his father's farm he matured, his young mentality growing broader and stronger as he looked out upon the vast prairies. There was plenty of work, however, for the young man to do, for the days of his boyhood were the pioneer days in this State. He, with others who have since become famous in the history of the State, were ripening for the events that lay before them. He continued to live with his father until 1845. After having entered a farm from the Government, which they improved quite extensively, they both died, the mother in the fall of 1858 while earth was golden with the yellow of autumn, and the granaries were filled to repletion with golden grain. The father followed her a good many years later, his decease taking place February 3, 1888.

Our subject has always followed the pursuit of agriculture, paying special attention to the raising of fine stock. In 1845 he was married to Miss Cynthia Field, their marriage being solemnized September 23 of that year. The lady was a daughter of Abraham and Grace (Rainey) Field. The former was a native of Kentucky where he was born December 27, 1793. 'The latter was born in South Carolina, July 31, 1797. Their marriage took place in Gibson County, Ind., March 8, 1815. They settled in the same place where they were married until the mother's death which occurred March 30, 1863. The father followed her April 12, 1870. Mrs. Turner's parents were farmers by occupation. They had ten children, and our subject's wife was one of the eldest members of her father's family. She was born in Gibson County, Ind., December 25, 1825, and there she lived until her marriage.

After marriage our subject and his bride settled in Effingham County, Ill., and in April, 1864, came to Shelby County, locating in Richland Township, where he has since resided. He has now retired, however, from active farming, having disposed of all his property with the exception of two hundred and fifty acres upon which he lives. Mr. Turner has made many improvements upon his farm and in all his business undertakings and enterprises has been exceedingly successful. He and his wife are spending the afternoon of their lives in quiet enjoyment of the home comforts that his early efforts have provided. They are the parents of six children, all of whom have reached manhood and womanhood and are the heads of families. It is a commentary upon their parents' government that they are all honored and respected members of society. James B. married Emeline Renner and resides in Shelbyville; Nancy J. is the wife of John M. Storm; Lewis W. married Florence Carmain; Charles A. B. was united to Sarah Jackson; Sarah E. is the wife of Seymour Grove; Arthur is the husband of Annie L. Field.

Mr. Turner was formerly allied with the Democratic party and did active service for his party in his part of the State. More recently, however, he has allied himself with the Prohibitionists, believing that to be one of the most important issues of the near future. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace for seventeen years and has also been Township Trustee for several years. In their religious relations our subject and his wife have been members of the Missionary Baptist Church since 1854, and he of whom we write has been Deacon of this church for upwards of thirty-five years. Their children also are all professors of religion. Mr. Turner has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1863. He is also a member of the Farmer's Mutual Benefit Association and by his wide experience and broad intelligence, is able to make many suggestions to that body that are of great value. The original of our sketch has a very good and comfortable residence, well located and surrounded by fine trees. It is perfectly adapted to the declining years of a man with a philosophic turn of mind.

Extracted 12 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 392-394.

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