James Turley was born January 8, 1761, in Fairfax County, Virginia. We know a great deal about James Turley because he wrote about his life in detail his application for a Revolutionary War pension.
“I was born in the year 1761 at my residence in this County, I have a record of my [birth] copied from my Father’s family Bible.” It was in Virginia in 1781 that he married Agnes Kirby. Agnes was one of the daughters of David Kirby and Elizabeth Tarrant. (They will come up again.)
Turley wrote “the first time I entered service I was a resident of Fairfax County, Virginia.” In his letter for his application for a pension he said he was only 16 when he enlisted in August of 1777. He was a private in Captains Thomas Pollard’s and John Seal’s companies of Colonel Rumney’s Virginia regiment. He served at the Battle of Germantown and was discharged about December 1, 1777.
“I moved to Henry County in 1778 and resided there fourteen years.” In the spring or summer of 1781, he enlisted and served three months as a private in Captain Hill’s company of Colonel Richardson’s Virgina regiment. Immediately after completing that service he enlisted and served four weeks as a private in Captain Torrence’s company of Colonel Lyon’s Virginia regiment.
“I moved thence to South Carolina where I resided four years, thence to Montgomery County Kentucky and lived twenty years…” In 1807 he was the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Kentucky.
“…then to Union and lived five years…” I haven’t looked into this. It is likely Union County, Kentucky, on the southeast border of Illinois. Union County, Illinois, would be out of the way for his journey from Kentucky to central Illinois.
“…and thence to this County in which I have resided thirteen years…” According to his account, made in 1831, he arrived Sangamon now Logan County, Illinois, in 1818.
His chronology makes his arrival in Sangamon County to be 1821. He is recorded as being one of the first settlers in the area, probably arriving a bit earlier. His granddaugher Martha, born in 1822, was the first white child born in what became Logan County. He voted in Sangamon County on June 23, 1821, in the Militia election, and on August 2, 1824, when he was Clerk of the election.
On June 7, 1832, he was awarded a pension effective March 4, 1831, in amount of $23.33 (and a third) per year, payable semi annually. How they divided that one third cent is not stated.
He died on June 4, 1836, and was buried in the Turley Graveyard, now Carlyle Cemetery. The exact location is unknown.