Captain William H. Turner was born in Boston. He rose to the rank of master mariner and engaged in the coasting trade. He was lost at sea in 1812. He married Marcy Risley, of an old Connecticut family, born at Glastonbury, Conn. Richard Risley, immigrant, came from England about 1633 and settled first in Cambridge, Mass., but went to Hartford with Hooker and was one of the founders of that town in 1637.
Children born at Glastonbury, CT.:
William H. Jr., Chauncey, James B., Alanson, Robert, mentioned below, Sanford, George.
(II) Robert, son of Captain William H. Turner, was born at Glastonbury, 1804. He was educated in the common schools. and began when a boy to follow the seas. When he was twenty-three years old he went to Winchester, New Hampshire, to enter the employ of his elder brothers, who were engaged in the manufacturing of woolen goods in that town. In 1841 he removed to New York state and located in the town of Vienna, Oneida county, and for three years manufactured woolens there. He then removed to Stockbridge, Madison county, New York, and continued in the same line of business until 1865. Then he located at Dexter, Michigan, and carried on woolen manufacture until 1874, when he retired. He then made his home at Saginaw, Michigan, where he resided the remainder of his life.
His death in May, 1893, was caused by an accident. He married, Coraline, born at Orange, Franklin county, Mass., 1808, daughter of Seth and Susanna (Cheney) Ellis. The Cheney family has been prominent in New England from the first settlement.
Children: 1. Henry E., mentioned below. 2. Helen, widow of William W. Whedon, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. 3. Susanna W., widow of Rev. Edwin Spence, of Ann Arbor. 4. Sarah C., married Charles H. Holland, of Saginaw. 5. Child died aged two years.
While serving his term as judge the civil war appealed to his patriotism and he decided to go to the front. He aided in raising the First New York Light Artillery Regiment and was chosen lieutenant-colonel. He sent his resignation of the office of county judge to the governor of the state and it was refused. Judge Turner was given, instead, a leave of absence from the army in order to hold court during the next term. He had had military training as a private in the Lowville Company of the National Guard, in which he enliested in 1858, becoming captain in 1860. He was with his regiment in the winter of 1861-62 in Washington and Maryland. In March 1862, he was given command of the reserve and light artillery depot for the Army and of the Potomac near Washington, and for his efficient service received the special commendataion of Genearl Barry, chief of artillery, Army of the Potomac. On account of continued ill health he resigned his commission in the army, April 30, 1862, and his illness lasted during the entire summer following. In the winter of 1864 he again entered the service as captain of Company H. Twenty-sixth New York Cavalry. In April, 1865, he was ordered to hold his command in readiness to join General Sheridan in Texas, but subsequently was ordered to Madison barracks, where he and his command were mustered out July 10, 1865. On the recommendation of General John A. Dix, under whom Judge Turner had served, he ws tendered a captain's commission in the regular army, but he delined.
After the war he resumed the practice of law in Lowville. In 1870, though he declined to be a candidate, he was nominated and electred district attorney. During the term of office he tried more cases than any prececessor in the same period of time.
He was elected from the eighteenth district, comprising Lewis and Jefferson counties, to the state senate for the term beginning Jan. 1, 1878. He was appointed to the judiciary committee and was also chairman of the committee on priveleges and elctions. His work as a legislator was untiring and efficient. He received the formal thanks of the New York Chamber of Commerce and the New York Board of Trade and Transportation and of the students of the Law School of New York City for his efforts in behalf of good government in matters in which those organizations were especially interested. Largely through his efforts the Soldiers' Home at Bath, New York, was established.
During his second winter at Albany he introduced and carried through a bill to appropriate $300,000 to equip the National Guard of the state with overcoats, knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, blankets and tentage. His interest in military affairs did not cease with the close of the war. He was appointed inspector with the rank of lieutenant-colonel on the staff of the major general commanding the Fourth division; was promoted in 1871 to the rank of colonel, serving as assistant adjutant general. In 1881 he was elected a member of the board of regents of the State University, serving until April, 1904, when he declined to become a candidate for re-election. In 1886 he was again elected county judge of Lewis county and he continued on the bench until Jan. 1, 1903. In June, 1901, the degree of L.L.D. was conferred upon Judge Turner by Alfred University.
In September, 1882, he joined the Grand Army of the Republic and was elected commander of Post No. 200, of Lowville, and with the single exception of the year 1889 he has served in this office by annual re-election to the present time. He was adjutant general of the Department of New York, Grand Army of the Republic. He has been a member of Lowville Lodge, No. 134, Free and Accepted Masons, since 1859; of Lowville Chapter, No. 293, Royal Arch Masons, since May 1868. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. Judge Turner's law partner is Frank Bowman and the present firm name is Turner & Bowman.
He married in January 1857, Amadna L., born 1838, daughter of W. W. Hill and grand-daughter of Ebenezer Hill, one of the first settlers of Lowville. Mrs. Turner was an amiable and gifted woman, an artist of rare ability. She died May 25, 1894. Children: 1. William Henry Allison, born Dec. 1858, died May 25, 1900; educated at Lowville Academy, Hungerford Institute at Adams and at the Albany Medical College; practiced medicine at Denmark, Lewis county, for a time; removed to Wisconsin, where he practiced successfully until his death. 2. Edith L., Sept. 15, 1861; married Daniel J. Dorance, of Camden, New York, cashier of the First National Bank; children: John Gordon, Neil H. and Henry T. Dorance. 3. Cornelia A., May 12, 1865; resides at home with her father. 4. Louise, Sept. 7, 1872; married Edgar A. Barrell, of New Bedford, Mass.: child, Edgar A. Barrell. Jr.
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