Turners of Fayette County and Descendents

Moses T. C. Turner (1786-1866)

Submitted by Ray Turner, Nashville, AR

A will of Moses T.C. Turner identifies Moses as the father of Henson and Moses Turner, Jr. The will also identifies Eli Quick as his son-in-law. Fayette County marriage records show Eli to have married Drucilla Turner. The will was recorded in Fayette County Probate Court, pages 359-360, and was executed on May 6, 1865, probated February 7, 1867. The will names two sons, Moses and Henson; a son-in-law, Eli Quick; and mentions other children, but it does not name them. The executor was Henson Turner.

No date has been found when Moses moved his family to Fayette County Georgia from South Carolina. He married Martha Moses, a Georgia native, February 14, 1849, in Fayette County. Martha was evidently Moses' second wife since all of his children were born in SC before this marriage in Georgia. She was also too young to have been the mother of his older children. Moses and his first spouse had seven children as far as all known records show, and all were born in SC according to Georgia census records. The children's names are as follows:

.Drucilla--spouse, Eli Quick, (Eli was born in SC also)

.Henson, Jul 4, 1814-Jul 2, 1902--spouse, Elizabeth Wilkinson

.Moses J., 1818-Oct 14, 1903--spouse, Malindia ?

.Turner Moses Turner Abt 1838-??

.Francis M., Abt 1845-??

.Caroline J., Abt 1847-??

.Jani, Abt 1849-??

 

Henson Turner (1814-1902) &

Elizabeth Wilkinson Turner (1824-1902)

 

Henson was born in SC, July 4, 1814, and came to Georgia with family members when he was quite young. He died in Fayette County, Georgia, July 2, 1902. There has been no record of his mother found as of this date, 1998. She evidently died while the family was still living in SC.

Elizabeth was born July 20,1824 and died July 23, 1902. She is buried along side her husband Henson, in the Inman Methodist Cemetery, Inman, Georgia. There has been very little information found about Elizabeth, and no information has been found concerning her parents.

Henson Turner married Elizabeth Wilkinson, April 18, 1841, in Fayette County, Georgia. She was sixteen years old and Henson was twenty-six years old; both were three months away from their next birthdays.

The 1850 Fayette County Georgia census records show Georgia to have been Elizabeth's place of birth. The Fayette County marriage record of Henson and Elizabeth lists her name as Elizabeth Wilkinson. In the 1850 census a John Wilkerson, 23 years old, was living in the household of Henson and Elizabeth. This John Wilkerson could possibly be a brother of Elizabeth and the census taker made an error in the spelling of his name. If this is her brother, he is the only one of her relatives found thus far. A listing of the census record follows:

1850 Fayette Co., GA 29th District 10-9-1850

#1091

Turner, Henson, 30, SC

Elizabeth, 25, GA

Nancy J, 8, GA

Alford A, 4, GA

Willis D M, 2, GA (This child not listed in T.B. Turner Bible)

Wilkerson, John, 23, GA (Bro. to Elizabeth?)

The census record above shows Elizabeth to be 5 years younger than Henson, though the dates on their headstones and other sources show a 10 year difference in their ages. At the time of this October 9, 1850 census, Henson would have been 36 and Elizabeth 26 years old.

The (*1) Bible registry of Thomas B. Turner lists nine children born to Henson and Elizabeth. Willis D. M., listed in the Georgia 1850 census above is not listed in Thomas' Bible registry. No family member now living knows anything about him, and no records concerning him have been found to this date (1998). Some of the children had a third given name given them in honor of a respected family in the community. For instance, John Daniel Clontz Turner was evidently named after the pastor of Liberty Chapel in 1856. John was born in 1856 and Reverend William P. Clontz was the pastor of the church.

 

Children of Henson and Elizabeth Turner:

.Martha--spouse, Mr. Smith

.Nancy J., 1843-?--spouse, Mr. Banks

.Aaron Alford, Feb 1, 1846-Apr, 2, 1915--spouse, Martha A. ?

.John Daniel Clontz, Aug 16, 1856-May 16, 1931--spouse, Mary Lee Nora Hale

.Elizabeth Minerva, 1859-?--spouse, Mr. Mask

.Mary Jane Harper, 1860-?--spouse, Dock Wesley Stubbs

.Thomas Ballard McGee, Nov 18, 1862-Jun 8, 1933--spouse, Emma Pearl McEachern

.Susan Lucinda Waters, 1865-?--spouse, ?

.Josephine "Josie", 1868-?--spouse, Joe Stubbs

Henson is listed as Exhorter in the, 1883 Register of Members of the Liberty Chapel (*3) in Fayette County Georgia. His wife, Elizabeth, and many of their children and grand children are listed in the Liberty Chapel membership rolls. One of Henson's brothers, Moses, and a sister, Drucilla Quick are in the church records. Two of his sons, Thomas and John, several of his daughters, and many of his grandchildren are also listed in the church rolls. Their father, Moses T. C. Turner is not listed in any of them to my knowledge. It is believed he supported the Methodist Churches, though no record has been found as yet of his membership there at Liberty Chapel. Henson was indeed an active member and supporter of the church as can be seen on page 586 of, (*2)The History of Fayette County 1821- 1971, the following information appears:

"Henson Turner, executor of the estate of Moses Turner, deeded on December 15, 1880 two (2) acres in Land Lot 11 of the 5th District to New Hope Methodist Episcopal Church and the deed states: 'in consideration of his desire to promote the welfare of the Church and in the dissemination of religious truth, as well as in consideration of $10.00 is paid in hand....'."

When Henson was Exhorter at Liberty Chapel, his granddaughters who heard him preach, referred to him as "Grand Pap". One of his granddaughters, Alice Turner Johnson, used to relate that every Sunday when Grand Pap would take the stand, he would say, "Come to the front Alice, we are going to sing." He was a faithful worker in the Church as long as his health allowed him to do so.

 

Henson's Bible Missing Again

In early visits to Georgia back in the 50's, and 60's, many aunts, uncles, and cousins were asked if anybody knew where a Bible belonging to Henson could be found. In late 1964, the son of Thomas and Emma Turner, Horace Henson, stopped in one day at the home of Ms. Kittie Mae Duffie. She was a daughter of Susan Lucinda Waters Turner. While they visited he brought up the subject of whether she knew of any family member who had a Bible belonging to his grandfather, Henson Turner. She indeed did have a Bible that had belonged to him! Looking through the old Bible, he found many notes written throughout, and was going back to the home a few weeks later to copy the information written inside. Sadly, he died of heart attack shortly afterward and he never got back to the Duffie home.

 

Two granddaughters of Henson, Mrs. Alice (Turner) Johnson and a sister, went out to the Duffie home later to look at the Bible and record the notes that their brother Horace had told them about. When they reached the home of Ms. Duffie, they learned she had had a stroke and could not remember where the Bible was at the time. Mrs. Johnson related that she looked the house over from one end to the other, but found no Bible. She added, that if the Bible had been in the house, she would have found it. Hopefully, it will surface one day and the notes will be available to the rest of us.

 

Two Baptist Preachers

Many of Henson Turner's descendants were preachers, farmers, carpenters, and craft workers. Among the group who were preachers, two relatively recent ones were Baptist preachers.

Thomas James "Jim" Turner

Dec 14, 1922-Aug 2, 1970

Thomas James "Jim" Turner, was the son of Horace Henson and Sarah Myrtice (Clay) Turner. Jim was born in Upson County Georgia, December 14, 1922. He went into the ministry when he was quite young. He continued to preach until his untimely death, August 2, 1970. He was killed when returning home from one of his pastoral duties. As he neared the top of a hill, a drunk driver came speeding over it on the wrong side of the road and hit him head-on. He died at the age of only 57 years. His sister, who lives in Thomaston, Georgia, could not be reached for more information on Jim and his family. He was loved by his church congregation and it was a great loss for them as well as for his family. He was a great grandson of Henson and Elizabeth Turner.

Alfred Wayne Turner

Aug 4, 1925-Nov 19, 1976

Wayne was born in Hempstead County near Hope, Arkansas, August 4, 1925. He was the son of Alfred Benjamin and Coral Louise Turner. A. B. and Coral moved to Hope, Arkansas with their three children in 1920. They had lost all their cotton crop to boll weevils in Fayette County, Georgia, and decided to try farming in Arkansas where a few relatives had moved. One relative wrote back to Georgia of great prosperity in Arkansas; stopping just short of saying money was to be found growing on the trees!

Wayne was the first of the three children to be born into this family after they moved to Arkansas. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, he returned home and married LaJaun Bright and they had five (5) children.

He entered the ministry in March 1956 and attended the Bible College at Magnolia, Arkansas, and served as pastor and/or missionary until his death. He had been pastor of Baptist Churches in Hope, Okay, Gum Springs, Patmos, El Dorado, Magnolia, and Bussey, all in Arkansas. He also served as pastor of a church in Denham Springs, Louisiana, and was an Arkansas state missionary. At his death he was pastor of the Sweet Home Baptist Church at Blevins, Arkansas, twenty (20) miles north of Hope. He died of a heart attack in a Hope hospital at the age of only 51 years. He was a great grandson of Henson and Elizabeth Turner, and his mother, Coral Turner had been a member of Liberty Chapel in Fayette County, Georgia, before the family moved to Arkansas.

Henson Turner's House

Henson built an old house himself just before, or during the Civil War. He was evidently a carpenter as well as farmer and preacher. He was active in the Church for as long as his health would allow him. During the last few months of his life, he could be seen sitting on the porch of his old house in a straight-back chair. The chair had had some kind of wheels attached so he could maneuver around the house.

The old house was standing and occupied by an African-American family in the first week of July 1967. An 8mm home movie clip was made of the old homestead. Three of Henson's granddaughters were also in the group visiting there at that time. They told of playing under the old sycamore trees when they were young girls. Several of the sycamores were still standing in July of 1967, and there were several other kinds of large trees surrounding the house.

The old house had three fireplaces with tall chimneys, which had been made of mud and straw. Time and the heat of the sun had nearly pulled some of the 100 year-old square-shank nails out of the siding used in the building of the house. One nail was easily pulled out with the fingers! One of Henson's granddaughters suggested the nails may have been made in the blacksmith shop standing near the house. The nails did appear to have been hand-made!

The old blacksmith building on the east side of the old house looked to be just as ancient. Both were built of the same kind of siding and nails. An old hand-crank charcoal forge was standing in the center of the blacksmith building. Evidently, the old forge was used through the years making and repairing farming tools.

Lying just outside the rear wall of the blacksmith building were a pair of very old home-made "firedogs" that were fashioned from old buggy axles. The firedogs had been severely damaged by the hot fires from years of holding logs in the fireplaces, and had been repaired many times through the years. Henson's granddaughters suggested that he probably made the firedogs himself in the old blacksmith shop.

When shown the way back to the old Henson Turner home place by two of his granddaughters in the 80's, the old house and other buildings could not be found. The object of this visit was to get a 35 mm still photo of the old house. It is suspected that we were not at the correct area. Memories of the route to the old home place 20 years previously had faded a bit. Nothing could be seen that looked familiar, no large sycamore trees, no large trees of any kind. The home movie clip that was made in 1967 showed many large trees around the house; none of these were to be seen at the site we were in the late 80's. In the first week of July 1967, we traveled westward from the home place of Thomas and Emma Pearl Turner. That route took us across nearby Flint River on Hill Bridge Road towards Inman. Not very far west of the river, near the Inman Methodist Cemetery, the driver turned right and drove north. He may have turned again onto another road, but memories fade in 20 years of time! From my memory of a route taken over 30 years ago now at this time, it seems the old home place was only about two and a half miles from Inman; possibly northeast of Inman.

Henson was listed as farmer in the census rolls. Most anyone who looked at the house and blacksmith building would come to the conclusion he was carpenter and blacksmith, as well as preacher and farmer! Farming and carpentry ran in the line of the work of his descendants, even in present day descendants. At least two of his sons, Thomas Ballard and John Daniel, were farmers and carpenters.

 

Thomas Ballard McGee Turner (11-18-1862-6-8-1933) &

Emma Pearl McEachern (9-15-1866-8-27-1948)

 

Children of Thomas and Emma Turner:

.Ernest Andrew, Dec 12, 1885-Aug 25, 1887

.Jewel Ivine, Sep 1, 1887-Apr 25, 1931--spouse, Ed Turner

.Pearl Mae, May 17, 1891-Apr 17, 1925--spouse, Grady Wesley

.Coral Louise, Nov 26, 1893-Apr 2, 1966--spouse, A. B. Turner

.Alice Chrystal, Jul 31, 1895-Oct 5, 1994--spouse, Henry Ernest Johnson

.Tommie Irene, May 26, 1898-1974--spouse, Charlie Robert Lindler

.Horace Henson, Mar 15, 1901-Oct 19, 1964--spouse, Sarah Myrtice Clay

.Mary Emma, b. Oct 28, 1903--spouse, Willis Marvin Callaway

.Lois Myrtle, b. Jul 28, 1906--spouse, Samuel Hubert Price

.Ruby Clyde, Dec 4, 1910-Mar 16, 1996--spouse, Johnnie Ralph Gibbs

Thomas B. Turner House

Thomas built his own house with the help of another man. It had two fireplaces made of brick, instead of mud and straw. He hauled rocks from the nearby Flint River which he put deep into the ground for the foundations for the two large brick fireplace chimneys on the east and west side of the house. In recent years, both chimneys have been torn down in order to make some modern-day improvements to the house.

Sometime after Thomas built his house, he and a brother-in-law, Larkin McEachern, went to Florida on at least one occasion and helped rebuild homes that were swept away by a hurricane. The large house he built is about two miles east of the Inman Cemetery, just east of Flint River, near Panhandle Road. A daughter of Thomas and Emma Pearl Turner now lives in the house. She has a post card that her father mailed from Florida to his family while he and his brother-in-law were helping build and rebuild damaged houses there.

Thomas built many pieces of furniture, some of which are still in the Price Family. One piece, a large pie safe with fly screens on both doors, and another piece, a dining table, are still in use at the home of one of his daughters, Mrs. Lois Turner Price. She lives with her daughter and son-in- law in the house her father built

.

On the night of the death of my maternal grandfather, Thomas B. Turner, he called his wife Emma Pearl and told her he had something he needed to tell her. He went on to tell her how much she had meant to him all these years, and how much he loved her! He became very ill later that very night. His wife, Emma Pearl, ran for several miles to get their family doctor. When they got back to the house, he was already dead. He must have had a premonition of some sort of his impending death, and felt he needed to tell her just how much she had meant to him through the years. What a comfort that must have been to our grandmother afterward, having him tell her how much she had meant to him just hours before he died!

Six of Thomas and Emma Pearl Turner's eight daughters were living when he died. Coral, who was then living in Arkansas, was expecting her sixth and last child in a couple months. She could not go back to Georgia for his funeral. The other five living daughters went to their Dad's funeral dressed in white, because as Aunt Alice put it, "Papa didn't like for his girls to wear black dresses!" That family was really close, it is a shame I never met either of my grandfathers, and only saw my maternal grandmother once, when I was only four and a half years old.My paternal granddad died when I was only two and one half years old, so I have no recollection of him. All I have concerning my grandparents are the stories from other older siblings, aunts, and cousins.

Thomas and Emma were members of (3*)Liberty Chapel in Fayette County, Georgia, and were very active in the early church.

 

John Daniel C. Turner (8-16-1856--5-27-1931) &

Mary "Mollie" Lee Nora Hale (5-27-1861--7-22-1889)

 

 

Children of John and Mary Turner:

.Sara Elizabeth C., Apr 16, 1880-Jan 5, 1904

.Howard Lee, Aug 6, 1882 -?--spouse, Alene Jones

.Jossie Emma, Jul 18, 1884-Jun 10, 1954--spouse, Charles Albert Robertson

.Johnnie Clyde, Oct 8, 1886-?--spouse, Robert Lee Prichett

.Alfred Benjamin, Mar 30, 1889-May 14, 1987--spouse, Coral L. Turner

John Daniel Turner, called affectionately, "Papa John" by his grandchildren, went to Hope, Arkansas to visit his daughter who was visiting her aunt and uncle, Emma and James "Jim" Bearden. (James and Emma Bearden are listed in the early membership rolls of (3*)Liberty Chapel.) While visiting in Arkansas, John's daughter, Emma met her husband to be, they married and continued living in Hope, Arkansas until their deaths.

John Daniel lost his wife just a few months after the birth of their last child, Alfred B. Turner. When the boll weevils destroyed the cotton crops in Georgia, he wrote back to his son, Alfred Benjamin, and convinced him to move to Arkansas with wife Coral, and their three children. They never returned to Georgia, though they wanted to do just that!

 

John Daniel, was a farmer and carpenter. He left the pieces of furniture which he had made in Georgia. The only belongings he brought to Arkansas were his trunk, his Bible, straight razor and razor strop, 12 gauge shot gun, a few clothes, and some hand tools. The Bible, trunk, and his straight razor and razor strop were lost in a house fire of one of his granddaughters. All that remains of his personal things are the 12 gauge shot gun and an old draw knife. The draw knife is an old tool used for shaving down boards and other wood pieces. It was the crude fore-runner of the present day block plane used for planing down boards, etc. John Daniel used it for making handles for axes, hoes, rakes, etc. He also used the draw knife for cutting thin strips of green willow wood to be used in the making of baskets.

 

John Daniel was known as a "tinkerer", because he was always making gadgets and toys. One type toy was an airplane complete with a propeller, to be swung round and round on a long string threaded through a hole bored in the tip of the wing. The propeller would buzz in the wind as it was swung round and round. Other toys he made were "tractors" made from the large empty spools on which thread had come wound. He took those empty spools and cut a notch in one end and on the other end he attached a sucker stick, a large button from old clothing, a washer made from a bar of hand soap, and a piece of thin rubber strip cut from an inner tube of a car tire. He would fold the rubber strip over the sucker stick (or piece of wood whittled from a small tree limb), thread the rubber strip through the button, then through the "washer" made from soap, thread the rubber band through the spool and tie it around the small stick, such as a piece of a match stem. The match stick was pulled into the notch which he had cut on the far end of the spool. You could then wind the rubber band inside the spool by cranking the sucker stick around and round and then set the "tractor" on the floor and it would slowly move across the floor or ground, climbing over small obstacles in its way. The soap washer kept the band from unwinding too fast so it would move at a very slow pace. Many hours were enjoyed playing with those hand- made airplanes and tractors with "engines" made from a rubber band! To "Papa John's" grandchildren, these "tractors" were as just as much joy as the modern battery-operated toys with remote controls are to children of today.

 

John's wife, Mary "Mollie" Hale, died, July 22, 1889, less than four (4) months after her son, Alfred Benjamin, was born. She was only 28 years old and is buried in the Inman Methodist Cemetery. John Daniel died much later in Arkansas while living in the home of his son, Alfred Benjamin. He is buried in the Shover Springs Cemetery, near Hope, Arkansas. John and Mary were members of (*3) Liberty Chapel, Inman, Georgia.

Only eternity will reveal the full influence and impact the little congregation once known as Liberty Chapel, will have had on the world. May God continue to bless the Inman United Methodist Church in the close knit community of Inman, Georgia

.

Resources:

*(1) Thomas B. M. Turner family Bible in possession of Mrs. Lois Turner Price, Hampton, GA.

*(2) "The History of Fayette County 1821-1971 Book" can be found at the Fayette County Historical Society in Fayetteville, GA. Permission to reproduce the excerpt in this article taken on page 586 of the book was given by the editor and Fayette County Historian, Carolyn Cary.

*(3) Liberty Chapel Membership Records

 

 


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