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Martha Leah (Grant) Turner was born December 20, 1834, inmourning woman Henry County, Virginia, to Archibald Grant and his wife, Lydia Roberts. On December 13, 1853, she married Monroe L. Turner, the son of Stephen Terry Turner and Nancy Doubett Gilley.  

Beginning in January 1861, several southern states seceded from the Union. In April 1861, after the attack on Ft. Sumter, Virginia also seceded and the south created its own government, with the capitol in Richmond. Martha's husband, Monroe, joined the Confederate forces on November 28, 1862. 

Like so many wives of Confederate soldiers, when Monroe left to fight the war, Martha was left to care for the farm. She had four children all under the age of seven, and was pregnant with Monroe's fifth child.  That child, Ida Monroe, was born May 20, 1863, joining her siblings Clarissa Ellen, Thomas Averett, Furman Hydric, and Nannie Lydia.

Monroe was one of many Confederate troops present at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  The battle, which lasted December 11 to December 15, 1862, unfolded in a natural amphi-theater, bounded on the east by the Rappahonnock River, and on the west by a line of hills fortified by General Robert E. Lee.  During the battle, Monroe was wounded (December 15th). Fredericksburg was a brutal battle with 4,576 Confederate soldiers killed and the Union losing 13,353. Monroe Turner was one of the casualities, succombing to his wounds in Richmond on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1862.

At the end of the War Between the States, Martha Leah and her children joined her father, stepmother, and older sister, who had moved to Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1859.

Five years later, on June 9, 1867, Martha Leah remarried to James Sherley.  With him she had three additional children: Florence, George Washington, and Rosetta.

Martha Leah died on September 17, 1875, and is buried in Sugar Camp Cemetery, Moore's Prairie Township, Jefferson, County, Illinois.



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