Mr. Turnham pursued his early studies in a subscription school conducted in a log cabin with greased paper for window panes, and sometimes simply mother earth for the floor. The benches and desks were fashioned from slabs, all hand made, and the other appliances of the institution were of the most primitive style. After the death of his mother young Turnham was thrown largely upon his own resources, and since that time has had many a rough encounter with the world, but for the most part has been successful. He was employed as a farm laborer, during his early manhood, a number of years, and after accumulating a little capital operated as a renter. In 1869 he purchased 160 acres of land in township 16, range 13, section 24, in which he still retains a one-half interest. During the early days he broke quite a large amount of prairie with oxen, and probably no one man has done more downright hard work on the frontier than Mr. Turnham.
Our subject has been three times married, and is the father of three children. Mr. Turnham's first marriage was September, 1847, to Sarah Beauchamp, by whom he had one son George. She died when he was two years old. His second wife was Mary Beauchamp, whom he married September, 1851, and by her had one daughter, Mary, now the wife of Mr. Waldo. Mrs. T. died when Mary was twenty-eight days old. He was married to his present wife, Mary Jane Thompson, Aug. 18, 1855, and by her has one child, Horace. Thus it will be seen by each wife he had one child. George Turnham married Martha Ann Harris. He carries on the old homestead. Mary, is the wife of James D. Waldo; and Horace is seventeen years old, and resides with his parents; he was graduated May 6, 1889, at the High School at Meredosia. Our subject cast his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk, and since becoming a voting citizen, has given his unqualified support to the Democratic party. He has led a strictly temperate life, and has always been warmly interested in the labors of those who are endeavoring to put down the liquor traffic. Otherwise than serving as a Township Trustee, he has had very little to do with public affairs, but is regarded as one of those reliable and substantial citizens, of whom the best elements of the community are formed, and whose word is considered as good as his bond.