Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Dove in the Red Bud Tree

Dove, Redbud Tree, Spring, Alabama
Stock Photo-Dove in a Red Bird Tree

One cool and aromotised May morning, I was enjoying an early sunrise and pondering the next move in the search for George Washington Turner's origins. In a brightly purple Red Bud tree, a native weed of North Carolina, sat a plump, obtuse dove. She seemed to beckon in the dawn and even, the season. Not a needle in a haystack, but a pitchfork, with its long handle high in the air. He's easy to see, she seemed to hint, all you have to do is look.

"George" had never brought up anything but George Lilly Turner, son of Wilson P. Turner, who was a contemporary, and younger and NOT my George. Being born in 1835, my George would have been about 15 in the 1850 census, or close to it, as ages were never exact, but more approximate, in those days. And in his mid-twenties in 1860. He signed up for the Civil War in 1862 in Wadesboro, born in Anson County, so his most likely location would be in Anson County where he lived his later years from the end of the War onward.

Name:Mary Turner
Birth Date:Abt 1798
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Ansonville, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:67
Relation to Head of House:Mother
Marital status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Cannot Read:Yes
Cannot Write:Yes
Household Members:
G.W. Turner45
E. Winey Turner41
James S. Turner21
Robert J. Turner20
Joseph A. Turner15
Mary E. Turner13
Wm. A. Turner11
Susan V. Turner9
Ellison M. Turner7
Sarah C. Turner5
Louis A. Turner3
Winey H. Turner1
Mary Turner82

From working with the census records for years, I knew ages, especially for women and especially for the elderly, were often incorrect, so I knew that Mary may not have been born in 1798. All she needed to be was old enough to be George's mother. The census tells us both she and her parents were born in North Carolina and that her marital status was widow.

Name:Mary Turner
Birth Year:abt 1816
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Cedar Hill, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:666
Household Members:
Martha Turner32
Mary Turner34
Washington Turner16

In 1850, I found a Mary Turner, 34, living with a Martha Turner, 32, and a 16 year old boy named Washington. Washington? Could George have went by his middle name in his younger years? The age was right. If Mary was widowed, she looks like she was widowed by 1850. Neighbors were John Martin, patriarch in another important family in the Red Hill Church and area. And Elijah Sibley, they were certainly living in the right location. Living right next to Martha, Mary and Washington, was a young couple, Thomas and Chloe Turner. Could they have some connection?

Name:Thomas Turner
Birth Year:abt 1824
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Cedar Hill, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:667
Household Members:
Thomas Turner26
Cloa Turner24

I discovered that Thomas and Chloe had been counted twice in 1850. As some people were missed, sometimes two different census takers came close to the border of two different areas and in such, enumerated the same family twice. The couple may not have known to correct them. It seems one found them on one side of their property, next to Mary, Martha and Washington and John Martin, and the other found them living next to John Martin and wife Penelope, both 50 and the family of my Third Great-Uncle, Peter Howell and the son of my Fourth Great-Uncle, John Winfield. They were apparently living on what was once the Winfield plantation, as Peter lived on what was his father, Richard Howell and mother, Sarah Winfield Howell Davis's share. The area of the Winfield division would 50 years later become known as "Wharf".

Image result for wharf area, anson county
Anson County Post Office Map Circa 1900 showing the community of Wharf. Freepages,

Other near neighbors included Robert N. Allen, John Ballard, a 24 year old Carolina Turner with an infant son named Terry A. (or Ferry A.). A 48 year old Milla Turner, with a 4 year old Alexander, and an 82 year old Treasy Turner, in one household, with Edmund Turner 25, Jane 24 and Martha 2, right next door.

I decided to look into these Turners a little bit, and will more so later. While people in different parts of a county with the same surname may have come from an entirely different area at an entirely different time, and be no relation at all, when people of the same name live close, on adjoining properties, more often than not, they are related somehow. There may have been a division of property of an older ancestor. It could lead to something, or it may not. But always worth looking into.

The young couple, Thomas and Chloe Turner, would migrate to Mississippi before the next census. They had 4 children: Martha Penelope Turner Bennett, John Martin Turner, William F. Turner and Sarah Elizabeth Turner Smith. A very quick look at the family information online from the Wiki's and Rootsweb appears to show Chloe Martin Turner as the daugther of John Martin and wife, Penelope Parker Martin, whom they lived next door to in 1850, with John being the son of Kinchen Martin and wife Chloe Hough, who migrated to Anson from Northhampton County, NC in the early part of the century. There were multiple marriages between the Martins and Parkers. As the 1860 census shows Thomas working as an overseer beneath the farm of a Peter A. Parker, there could possibly be some connection between this Parker family and the Anson County Parkers.

The Martin family did play a significant part in the life of George Washington Turner, being neighbors and church family and intermarriage occured later, between the families. As Thomas Turner also lived next to Martha, Mary and George Washington Turner in 1850, there may be some relation there.

Tombstone of John Martin at Red Hill Baptist Church. Cellphone photo May 2019

The other Turners living nearby may also deserve further investigation. Treasy Turner was advanced in age, especially for the times, and did not linger long past the 1850 census. She left a will, and in the will, she mentions her two sons, William and Jesse, her daughter, Sarah Ballard, obviously wife of a William Ballard, also mentioned, and her daughter Milly Braswell, wife of Burwell Braswell, named as the spouse in the will, her grandson, Alexander Turner, son of Milly and her "brother by law, Isham Ingram." She did not mention Edmund Turner, who lived next to her. He may have been a grandson, child of one of her living children. Her daughter, Milly, obviously married Burwell Braswell between the 1850 census and Treasy's demise two years later. Many folks have Treasey as an Ingram, due to her mention of Isham, however, while researching the Isham Ingrams, I discovered this one had married a Mary Turner, so "brother by law", probably meant what we refer to as a brother-in-law. Mary Turner Ingram may have been the sister of Treasy's deceased husband.

The father of Alexander Turner, in turn, is no section. In the Anson county land records, Book 14, Page 470 is the following deed, "Sept 29 1855 Jackson Chavers of Anson County, to his niece Laura Chavers & his son, Alexander Turner of the same, for natural love and affection and for $2 sold 12.5 acres on the north side of Wadesboro, border begins at Elijah Covington's old beginning corner white oak stump, joins Salibury Road, William Hammond, John Jeans & Mrs. Cameilla Smith's Road."

It was signed with an "X" by Jackson Chavers and witnesses by J P Jones.

If only finding the parentage of Washington Turner was so easy. No such luck.

Going back to the only land record involving George Washinton Turner, it was between him and Uriah Staton and bordered a field already owned by G. W.. But this was in 1880, 30 years later. I knew that the two most prominent men he was tied to was S. P. Morton and Uriah Staton. Find them, and I might find George's roots.

So I decided to look back at the 1840 census for clues.

Bingo. There, right beside Uriah Staton was a James Turner. Also nearby were Alexander Beard, and William Ballard, Treasy Turner's son-in-law, followed by Joseph Ingram and a Richmond Turner next to him. Richmond Turner was a younger man, and I will look into him later. I see no immediate link, but there could be, dating back to a further reaching Turner.

James Turner living next to, or near Uriah Staton, in and of itself does not mean anything. It just gives one a spot to dig in. Interestingly enough, the census takers name was James S. Turner.

Excerpt from the 1840 census of Anson County, NC. NC Archives via

The 1880 census had given me a big hint with the inclusion of Mary, his mother, having moved in with him in her latter years. A story on his father-in-law, Rev. Samuel P. Morton, stated he had also lived with G. W. and Wincy in his last days.  So knowing a James Turner was living near Uriah Staton in 1840, who was no where to be found in 1850, and that Uriah Staton later sold George Washington Turner a tract of land adjoining a plot he already owned or had possession of, I now had something to go on. Add that to knowing his mother was Mary and that he was possibly called Washington in his younger days, I had something to go on. Now to look more closely at James.

The problem is, there were more than one.....

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