Families of Howell County

The Turners of Howell County

John Calvin and James Marion Turner came to Howell County, Missouri from Winston County Alabama in 1870 to homestead land in the Dry Creek Township. During this time under the Homestead Act, a person could file a claim on land, make improvements on the land over a two year period and then be eligible to purchase the land for $1.25 per acre. The two years were very difficult for the two Turner brothers. A story handed down over the years relates the two made a lean-two when they first arrived and they almost froze to death during the first two winters.

In 1872, their mother, Celia Steadman Turner, along with brothers Dock Greenberry, David Alexander, Sister Delilah and youngest brother George Washington also moved to Howell County. Their eldest brother, Rev. William Haden Turner and his family moved to the area from Giles, Tennessee.

The Turner brother’s father, James Foster and Sisters Nancy Elizabeth and Eliza F., died around 1863 in Larissa, Winston County Alabama. Although James Foster was of an age to have fought during the Civil War, his death is thought to have been caused from a fatal disease, not from the war.

All of the family remained in Howell County except for Uncle Hade. Known as the "Marrying Preacher," Uncle Hade moved to Tumwater, Washington in 1900. He established the First Baptist Church of Tumwater and was a well-known preacher in that area until his death in 1920.

In 1917, this article was printed in a local newspaper, The Gazette, a following a trip Uncle Hade made to Howell County to visit family and friends.


Came to Missouri in 1870

Have 245 Grand-children


Turner FamilyOf the many pioneer families who have helped to develop this county few, if any, have had a more prominent part and are deserving of more credit for the wonderful advancement made than the Turners and we are pleased to present to our readers this eek a picture of the five Turner brothers taken recently at the Jones Studio in this city when the brothers were all here together and enjoyed a fine dinner at the Oriental Hotel. The family is a product of Alabama which state with the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky gave Missouri many sturdy pioneers. They came to Missouri in 1870 and have resided in the Dry Creek country in this county, where they have cleared out farms and reared families. Forty-three children were born to the five brothers and there are now living two-hundred and forty-five grand children.
Seated L to R: John Calvin, William Haden. Standing L to R: Dock Greenberry,David Alexander and James Marion.

The Rev. W.H. Turner is the eldest of the brothers and is best known as a minister of the Missionary Baptist Church. He has preached in almost every neighborhood and hundreds have been brought into the fold through his efforts. He is sometimes known as the "Marrying Parson" because of the great number of marriage ceremonies he has performed. He has a very impressive way and while the ceremony is not elaborate he always gives the contracting parties some good advice and never fails to ask a Divine blessing on the newly weds and all the company present. Couples would sometimes go for miles to be married by "Uncle Hade," who has served his Lord and Master faithfully for forty years. He is the father of eleven children, one born in Alabama, four in Tennessee and six in Missouri. Some years ago he moved to Tumwater, Wash. and has been back here on a visit this summer and has held numerous meetings and had many converts while visiting relatives and friends.

He is 75 years of age and was married in 1863. The children’s names are James, Obe, John, Dave, Dock, Mary, Andy, Henry, Nancy, and Benford.

J.C. Turner familiarly known as "Cal," is the second son and has reared nine children. More than twenty years ago he professed his faith in Jesus Christ, and like his elder brother has lived a faithful Christian life and is a true friend and good neighbor.

J.C. was married in 1861 to Miss Minnie Cagle, the children are Henry, Francis, Martha Ann, Esther, Nancy, Emma, Joe, Rosie and Hiram, the last two being twins. (Link will open an additional document with information about Hiram Turner).

James Turner is the father of the largest family, having eleven children, one born in Alabama, the others being natives of Missouri. He is also a Christian and has tried to exemplify in his own life what he would like for his children to do, that they might hope for eternal life.

He was married to Miss Mary Barton in 1868. The children who are now living are William, Delilah, Celia, Nancy, John, Marion, James, Moses and Adam.

D.A. Turner came to Missouri with the others in 1870. He married Mrs. Julia Gregory in April, 1878, and has done his share in making a farm and establishing a home in the Ozark hills where his three children, Tom, Sarah, and Harrison, were born, and where the neighbors all testify as to his worth as a citizen and good neighbor.

D.G. Turner is the youngest of the five and all of his nine children are Missouri born. He did not profess religion as early in life as some of his older brothers but, like them, is now a consistent member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and also like them is a good citizen and father.

Having been married in 1876 to Miss Anna Hopkins, they were blessed with nine children as follows: Savilla, Isaac, Bettie, Mack, Frona, Walter, Stella, Ollie and Bobie.

They are all men of large physique and of strong character. They are ardent Republicans and active politics, school and church work. They have enough of the south in their make-up to be very hospitable and if you don’t want to be well treated don’t stop at any of the Turner’s for they do not know any way to treat people but with kindness and this is so of the younger generation as well as the old.

Vivian Sue McMahan Brake

July 24, 2006 


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