Saturday, May 31, 2014


© Kathy Duncan, 2014

Thanks to the digitalization of newspapers featured on Chronciling America's web page, new information keeps coming to light. Such is the case with Andrew Turner of Hardeman County, Tennessee. Mostly, he has been noted for marrying Lavinia Chisum and engaging in several land transactions. Luckily,  he left a will in Hardeman County that makes it possible to link him to his children: Frances (Turner) Brooks, Mary A. (Turner) Moore, John C. Turner, Lucretia (Turner) Parker, Nancy E. (Turner) Byrum, and Labon D. Turner. Census records indicated that he was born in South Carolina c. 1803. However, not much else has been known about him.

Fortunately, Andrew Turner's death notice appears in the The Whig and Tribune of Jackson, Tennessee:

As far as research goes, this is a lucky find since not many people's passing was noted in the newspapers of the time. The reason for that may be similar to the reason many people's obituaries are not published today: cost. Around the time of Andrew Turner's death the newspapers were charging 2 cents a word for obituaries. This obituary, while lovely, does not tell us much more than we already knew about Andrew Turner although is does document his death date, provides some information on where he lived, and tells us he had lived in Hardeman County since before 1834.

Continued searching and playing with keyword terms, this time searching for Lavinia Turner in google, turned up a tribute from the Patrons of Husbandry that appeared in the Bolivar Bulletin, which is also on the Chronicling America site, but which had not turned up in my previous searches there. (Such is the mystery of search engines.)

Tribute of Respect

"At a regular meeting of Clover Creek Grange No. 502, Patrons of Husbandry, held August the 8th, 1874, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

"Whereas. It is seldom that we are called upon to record the death of a better citizen, a purer man, or a more industrious farmer than Major Andrew Turner. He died on the 30th day of July, half past seven in the evening, after a servere and protracted illness of a complicated nature.

"Major Turner was born in York, South Carolina, May the 7th, 1803, and moved to Lincoln county, Tennessee, with his father when a small boy. Visited this country in 1823, and settled here permanently in 1824.

"The first day of January, 1827, he married Miss Lavinia Chisum, daughter of Major James Chisum and sister of John G. Chisum of this county. The Major was honest in his dealings and eminently social in his character. But few men had a more kindly nature or a better heart. He inspired confidence wherever he went. Intemperance, the curse of this age, he despised and abominated. His zeal in the farmer's movement was truely [sic] earnest.  Something to benefit the farming interest he regarded one of the greatest necessities of the present age. He is gone to that spirit land from whence he no traveler returns. His race is run, his course is finished, and he now rests from labor beyond the dark and turbid waters of death. And while there is an aching void, let us now submissively to the will of the Grand Master of Universe, knowing that all things worketh together for good.

"Resolved, That we tender out condolence to the bereaved family.

"Resolved, That the usual badge of mourning be worn by the members for 30 days, and that a copy of the proceedings be furnished the Bolivar Bulletin for publication.

"Resolved, That the secretary be ordered to spread them upon the minutes and that a copy be sent the bereaved family.

Phil Northern,  }
John G. Chisum }
J.F. Roach}  Com
T. W. Tate}
J.R. Anderson}"
[Source: The Bolivar Bulletin; Bolivar, Hardeman County, TN; 14 Aug 1874]

The Patrons of Husbandry's tribute is loaded with new clues for locating the parentage of Andrew Turner. Born in York County, South Carolina, he would belong to a Turner family with young children that might appear there on the census in 1800 or 1810. He may have had grandparents living in York County, South Carolina as well. Next the Turner family would appear in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Given that Andrew did not relocate to Hardeman County, Tennessee until 1824, at the age of 21, he is likely still living at home on the 1820 Lincoln County, Tennessee census where he will be a seventeen year old tick mark. Since his parents are not named in the tribute, it seems possible that they were unknown in Hardman County, so they may have remained in Lincoln County. The Lincoln County, Tennessee wills and probates need to be searched for a mention of a son or brother named Andrew.

This has set me wondering why he is termed "Major."  He would have been too young for the war of 1812. There a couple of Indian Wars that he might have been the right age for - The Black Hawk War (1832) and The Second Seminole War (1835 - 1842). Then there was the Mexican War (1846 - 1848). He would have been in his forties by then, but it is possible that he participated. So the quesion is how did he attain the rank of major, especially since no military service is mentioned in either his death notice or the Patrons of Husbandry's tribute? Did the Patrons of Husbandry have offices with military ranks attached to them? Is it a military rank, an honorary rank, or a given name?

As ALWAYS, still lots of research to do here.

Andrew Turner: Case Study, Part I

Andrew Turner: Case Study, Part 2

Keywords: Chism, Chisum, Chisholm

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