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John Wesley Longyear

He attended the academy in Lima, N.Y., taught school for several years, and settled in Mason, Ingham county, Mich., in 1844, where he taught school. He was admitted to the bar in 1846; removed to Lansing in 1847 and engaged in the practice of law. In 1852 he formed a partnership with his brother, Ephraim Longyear. He was married in 1849 to Harriet Monroe of Eagle, Mich. He was a Republican representative in the 38th and 39th congresses, 1863-67. He was chairman of the committee on expenditures on the public buildings, and a member of the committee on commerce. He was a delegate to the Loyalist convention in Philadelphia in 1866, to the Michigan constitutional convention of 1867 and judge of the U.S. district court for the eastern district of Michigan, 1870-75. He died in Detroit, Mich., March 11, 1875.
mem.  38th and 39th Congresses, 1863-67, U.S. district  judge for eastern Mich., 1869-1875,


  The Lansing Semi-Weekly Republican
Friday, March 12, 1875
This morning Ephraim Longyear received a telegram from Detroit, announcing the death of his brother, John W. Longyear, formerly of this city, and for five years past, U. S. district judge for the eastern district of Michigan.
It was supposed that he was enjoying his usual good health, and the sad news has thrown this community into sorrow.
Mr. Longyear was born in Shandaken, Ulster county, N. Y., Oct. 22, 1820, where he resided until about 15 years of age, when his family removed to Delaware county. Mr. Longyear received an academic education, and went to Western New York, where he taught school and commenced the study of law. He came to Michigan in 1844, and landed at Detroit April 5. He came up Lake Erie on the old steamer St. Clair, the second trip made that spring by any boat. He remained one night at Detroit, and next morning rode to Dexter over the Michigan Central "strap rail." From Dexter he footed it through a sparsely settled country to Stockbridge, and staid all night with John Dubois. Next day he footed it into Alaiedon, where his father had located a farm the year previous. Soon afterwards he located at Mason, and commenced the practice of law and also engaged in school-teaching.
When the state capital was removed from Detroit he came to Lansing and formed a law partnership with his brother Ephraim, which continued
until 1859. The brothers were among the earliest lawyers in this place and built up a lucrative practice. From 1867 to 1870 he was in partnership with S. F. Seager of this city, and the firm acquired not only a large local practice but a state reputation.
John W. Longyear was elected by the republican party as representative in congress from 1863 to 1867, and served his district with ability and
fidelity. He was a member of the committee on commerce and chairman of that on public buildings. He was a staunch patriot in the trying times of the rebellion, and a ready speaker, doing much to invigorate and unite all true men. He was a delegate to the Philadelphia loyalists' convention in 1866, and an influential member of the Michigan constitutional convention of 1867. He has been one of the best judges who ever occcupied the bench of a federal court,--industrious, prompt, discreet, learned, and extremely fair in his decisions.
He was a fine-looking, genial man, and will be deeply mourned by his widow, two sons and a daughter, and numerous relatives and friends. His
remains will be brought for interment to Lansing, where he owned considerable property, and had many near connections.


The State Journal
Lansing, Michigan, Thursday evening, July 11, 1912
Mrs. Marion M. Turner Passed Away at Home of Daughter, Mrs. Dodge. WAS 93 YEARS OF AGE
Beloved Pioneer Came to Michigan in 1836--Funeral Services Will Be Held Saturday Afternoon at 2 o'clock. Mrs. Marion M. Turner, one of the oldest and most beloved residents of the city, died Wednesday night shortly after midnight, in her ninety-fourth year, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Frank L. Dodge, North St., where she had lived for the past 22 years. Mrs. Turner was one of the earliest if not the earliest pioneer of Lansing and Michigan living in this day.
Came to Michigan in 1836.
Mrs. Turner was a wonderful woman and a member of an extraordinary family. Born in Amhurst, Erie county, N. Y., December 8, 1818, she came to Michigan with her father, Jesse Monroe, in 1836 and settled in Eagle, Clinton county. She was the oldest of 11 children and, up to three weeks ago, she was one of seven of these children still living and each past three score years and ten. Late in June her brother, Josiah Turner, aged 89 years, died in Eagle. She is survived by three sisters, Mrs. Betsey Webber, aged 91 years, Mrs.  John M. Longyear, aged 87 years, and Mrs. Liza Turner, aged 80 years, and a brother, William Monroe, aged 75 years, of this city, and Horace Monroe, who is past 70 years of age, of California.
Mrs. Turner had been in perfect health until recently, taking active part in family, social, philanthropic and church work, and even during the past few months when she was failing in strength she has attended frequent social functions and has been active in her home life. Her faculties were all keen and perfect to the last. In June last she attended the graduation exercises of the high school when her grandson, Willis Dodge, was a member of the class, and June 5 she attended the wedding of her grandson, James M. Reasoner and Miss Bessie Davis. She possessed a character of wonderful sweetness and goodness, kindness and gentleness, which endeared her to all who knew her.
During the past few months when her health has been failing she has been patient and uncomplaining.
Married to James Turner. In 1843 Mrs. Turner, who was Miss Marion Monroe before her marriage, was married to James Turner, who was then a merchant of Mason, and in 1847 they came to Lansing. Mrs. Turner taught school in Ingham and Clinton counties before her marriage, in the earlly forties. Many were the interesting and thrilling stories which she told to her children and grandchildren--stories about old Chief Okemos who camped on the river bank nearby, stories of blazing the way through rugged woods, making paths which later became the streets of the city, fording the rivers, and other incidents of pioneer life. Mr. and Mrs. Turner were both active in church and philanthropic work and were among the founders of First M. E. church at North Lansing. Mrs. Turner was a member of both the state and county pioneer societies and until the last year attended all the meetings of these societies.
Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Turner of which only three survive Mrs. Turner. They are Mrs. Marion T. Reasoner, Mrs. C. P. Black and Mrs. F. L. Dodge. The 11 grandchildren surviving her are Sophia, Franklin, Willlis O., Josephine and Marion Dodge, children of Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Dodge; Allen Black, son of Judge and Mrs. C. P. Black; James and Scott Turner, of Detroit, son of the late James M. Turner; James T. Reasoner of this city, Rev. Arthur T. Reasoner of Detroit, and Fiske Reasoner of Chicago, sons of Mrs. Marion T. Reasoner. Also two great-grandchildren survive her, children of James Turner of Detroit.

Husband Prominent in Pioneer Days.
Hon. James Turner, husband of Mrs. Marion Turner, was a prominent man in pioneer days of Michigan and Lansing. He filled several state offices, and was at the time of his death one of the officers and owners of the road which is now known as the Jackson-Lansing branch of the Michigan Central railroad, which was then in the process of construction. He also built the railroad now known as the Pere Marquette, extending from Ionia to its present eastern termimus, and was a member of the company which built the plank road early in the fifties. He was prominent in church and Masonic work, and in the government of Lansing in its early days. Turner St. at  North Lansing was named for Mr. Turner and the frame house which Mr. and Mrs. Turner occupied when they first came to Lansing, was the first frame house built on the site of the city of Lansing, and it still stands on Turner St.
The funeral of Mrs. Turner will be held Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the residence, 106 North st., and Rev. I. T. Weldon of First M. E.
church will officiate.
Pall bearers will be six nephews of Mrs. Turner: Dr. Frank N. Turner, Charles M. Turner, J. Arthur Turner, Howard and Jesse Monroe of this
city and Lewellyn Monroe of Eagle.

The State Republican
Lansing, Mich., Tuesday, July 7, 1896
Ex-Mayor Turner Passed Away This Morning.
Was at Alma Sanitarium Where He was Receiving Treatment When the Death Summons Came--The News a Great Shock to His Fellow Citizens.
At an early hour this morning a dispatch was received by relatives in this city of the death at Alma sanitarium, shortly after 4 o'clock of ex-Mayor James M. Turner. The news was such a surprise and such a shock, so few of his friends knowing of his serious condition, that it was at first discredited, but the sad news was soon confirmed by later dispatches announcing that the remains would arrive here on the Grand Trunk train at 10:40 o'clock.
Mrs. Turner, his two sons, Scott and James and his cousin and physician, Dr. Longyear of Detroit, were at his bedside when death came. The remains arrived at 10:40 and were met at the depot by Gov. Rich, Mayor Ostrander, and other state and city officials and citizens and escorted to the family residence on Franklin street west. The exact time of the funeral has not been decided upon but it will probably be held Friday and will be from the late residence.
When, a few weeks before the expiration of his term as mayor, Mr. Turner was taken ill, the trouble was thought to be nothing more serious than a cold or perhaps the grip. At each returning meeting of the common council his friends expected to see him once more in the mayor's chair but the disease which finally carried him off slowly tightened its grip and with the exception of one brief interval, when he seemed to rally a little, his health slowly broke down. His rugged constitution, fostered by a life of activity and out-door exercise, was slow to give way to the ravages of disease but at last the awful truth dawned upon his friends and family that the end was surely coming. The immediate cause of his death was heart failure, the result of Bright's disease.
It was May 2, after his illness had lasted about three weeks, that he decided to go to the Alma sanitarium. He returned somewhat improved and spent a part of his time in his office, transacting business. On June 26 the disease had made such inroads that he returned to Alma but without benefit. He sank rapidly and was unable to retain any food upon his stomach for some time before the end came.
James M. Turner was born within the present limits of the city of Lansing on April 23, 1850. His father was a citizen of Mason and in 1847, the year the capitol was located here, he removed from there to the place ever since known as the Turner homestead on the north bank of the river and in the northern edge of the city. In those days the most of the present site of this city was a wilderness, and James M. Turner was born in the midst of it.
Fortunately for him, he inherited the rugged courage and iron will which makes the pioneer. He did not merely grow as the city grew. He made his own career and compelled the very difficulties which surrounded him to minister to his success. Speaking of his early life and the difficulties with which he contended, he once said "We were wretchedly poor in those days. I was one of ten children. Our clothing was strictly confined to the limits of what our financial circumstances would warrant. Such things as shoes and stockings in summer were unknown. I never had a suit of flannels in the winter at that time and I never owned an overcoat until I was old enough to work and earn one."
When he was 15 years of age he got the only schooling he ever had, outside of the district school. That was at a seminary at Cazenovia, N. Y., and lasted about a year, but he improved every moment. Upon returning to Lansing he entered the employ of Daniel L. Case as a clerk in a general store, where he acquired the rudiments of his business education. After two years of life as a clerk he went to work in the land office of the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw railway company, his father being the land commissioner of the road.
Mr. Turner, the elder, was then engaged in building both the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw and the Ionia & Lansing railroads and the son was given charge of the construction of the latter road. It was not long after these enterprises were started that Mr. Turner's father died and left him, a boy 19 years old, in charge of the family. He assumed the duty of caring for his widowed mother and his sisters and brother manfully, and as paymaster and cashier of the Ionia & Lansing railroad he earned a revenue which cared for them all. Next he went into general land business with Dwight S. Smith, now of Jackson. Mr. Smith had charge of the office, while Mr. Turner acted as land-looker and surveyor. It was in this capacity that he accumulated a vast fund of information regarding northern Michigan and its great wealth, which he afterwards assisted largely in developing.
In 1876 he was maried to Miss Sophie Porter Scott, a daughter of Ira Scott, then of Chicago, and now of this city. The tender and affectionate side of Mr. Turner's character was always manifest in his relations with his family. To the two sons he was a companion as well as father. The sight of Mr. Turner and his sons driving away to the farm with dog and gun for a day's hunting was familiar to many of the citizens, and it was at his fireside, surrounded by his family and friends that the great large-hearted man was at his best.
Besides the first two railroads which Mr. Turner assisted in building he built the line from Lansing to Flint, now a part of the Grand Trunk road, and the Iron Range & Huron Bay road in the upper peninsula. His numerous other business enterprises are familiar to people in Lansing. He was at one time president of the condensed milk company, and was for many years a manufacturer of brick. His Springdale farm is perhaps the best known farm in this section of the state and one of the widest known stock farms in Michigan.
His political career embraced one term in the Michigan legislature, the term of 1876; two terms as mayor, once in 1889 and again in 1895, and a term as a member of the board of education. He was a candidate for the office of governor in 1890 and the history of that memorable campaign is too well known to need comment. His great popularity with his own townspeople was best demonstrated by the very large majority accorded him when he was last elected mayor.
James M. Turner as a business man was enterprising, sagacious and energetic.
He possessed both breadth of view and mastery of detail which enabled him to conceive great enterprises and carry them to successful issue. In politics he was aggressive and his personal qualities were such that he possessed a host of friends always ready to work and sacrifice for him. Among the people of this city he was the most approachable of men. He was never too busy to see the humblest workman on his brick yards if the man had any sort of a reason for seeing him. He was open in his conversation and never hesitated to state to anyone during his two terms as mayor what his views were upon any municipal affair. In private life and among his friends he was companionable and generous. It is related of him, and by good authority, that he once started a man in this city in business, lending him money enough to buy a stock of goods without security, simply because he thought the man to be worthy, capable and honest. His judgment proved correct and the money was repaid. This is but one of many similar instances.
No one save his family will ever understand his home life except that we all know it to have been what the home life of an ideal husband and father should have been.
Mr. Turner leaves, beside his immediate family already mentioned, three sisters, Mrs. Marion Reasoner, Mrs. C. P. Black and Mrs. F. L. Dodge, all of this city; his mother, Mrs. Marion Turner, who resides with her daughter, Mrs. Dodge, also survives him.
Besides his large property interests he carried $120,000 life insurance, divided between the Equitable of New York, New York Life, Mutual
Benefit of New Jersey, Michigan Mutual and the Union Central.


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