John Turner, Pioneer Farmer And Mail Carrier

by

Owen Symington

Sixth Grade

 

John Turner, a retired mail carrier, was born in St.VincentTownship in 1889 and has lived there ever since. His first schooling waswhen he was seven years old. He attended school until be became twelve.The school term lasted nine months. The greatest attendance in the schoolroom was 38 children under one teacher.

Mr. Turner helped his father on the farm. To put in a realgood day, he had to work sixteen hours or more. His farm chores includecarrying water, wood, cleaning pens for pigs and feeding pigs and chickens.During breaks from work, the boys would play baseball. Every Sunday theywould go to church.

Mr. Turner is the oldest member in his family of nine children.His father was Scotch and his mother was German. Turners lived in a sevenroom house. This house was heated by one coal burner and one kitchen range.Every wintry night they had to empty the water pail and wash basins or thewater would be frozen solid. Mr. Turner was nineteen before he had his firstpaying job. This job was to clean manure from his uncle Al's farm. All hehad to work with was a pitchfork, a wagon and a team. He received $25 amonth. The place where he was working was a half a mile from the Canadianborder.

He was married at the age of 24 in 1913. He owned and operateda farm of 400 acres. In 1916 he bought his first car. This car was a ModelT Ford.

The house he owned had two rooms, one upstairs and thebasement. This house was heated by one wood burner. The Turners had fiveboys and one girl, now all married except one boy, Dale. Another boy, Lester,is dead.

The beds in his home were called ticks and were filledwith straw. Every year after harvest, the ticks had to be refilled.

In 1918, he started a job as a mail carrier in St.Vincentfor the post office. At first, this job only paid $130 a month. At the endof the job, he was receiving $400 a month. There was more mail sent in earlydays than ever today. He always got the mail through. During blizzards,you could see him struggling through snowbanks to deliver important letters.On nice days, he would drive his car.

He was the manager of the St.Vincent baseball team. Histeam played teams from within a 100 mile radius, even up into Canada. Histeam was undefeated in the twelve years he managed this team. Their toughestopponent was Oslo, Minnesota.

He moved to his present house in 1918. If you go theretoday, you would find him relaxing in his living room, or out in his shoprepairing guns. Maybe he would even by out hunting wild game.

Bibliography

Turner, John, St.Vincent, Minnesota, Interview, February1, 1975t.Vincent, Minnesota, Interview, February1, 1975