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Category: Turner

FEMALE ANCESTORS

FEMALE ANCESTORS

How many generations in your direct female line do you know? This question is for females. The way records were kept men can generally go further back with data on male lines than females with their female lines. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from the mother and thus enables the trace of your maternal line back in time. Unfortunately it can’t put a name to the members of the line.

Obviously you are #1 and your mother is #2. My maternal grandmother #3 was Leona Ethel Ryan Downing who was born in 1892 and died in 1975. Her mother was Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan #4. Lillie was born in 1871 and died in 1956. I knew all of these people. Lillie’s mother, #5, was Sarah Katherine Lucas Wood. Sarah was born in 1835 and died in 1896. Sarah’s mother was Mary Turner Lucas #6. She was born in 1813 and died in 1855. Lillie, Sarah and Mary are buried in the same area of Lake Bank Cemetery, Lake Fork Township, Logan County, Illinois.

Mary’s mother was Margaret Low Turner. Margaret #7 was born in Maryland around 1793, had 13 children and died, presumably, in DeWitt County, Illinois, after 1870. Her husband Allen had died in DeWitt in April 1846. Margaret’s mother was Mary Low, maiden name unknown. We know her name was Mary from land records in Ohio. Mary #8 was born about 1771 in Maryland, married Nathan Low and died after 1827, presumably in Madison now Clark County, Ohio, where her husband died a few years later.

Spencer Turner Revisited

Spencer Turner Revisited

I have recently done more research on the Turners, not enough but more. Spencer Turner was one of the first settlers in DeWitt County, arriving in Wilson Township near Waynesville just east of Logan County in 1835. His parents had moved to Illinois in 1827 living first near Athens in Menard County, then Rocky Ford in Logan County, then to Waynesville in what became to DeWitt and eventually to Wapella.

From transcribed newspaper accounts of social goings on, which I read on the DeWitt County ILGenWeb site,  he apparently was not seriously damaged by being charged with murder and stiffing Abraham Lincoln. If I hadn’t read the court record I would have strongly suspected the story was not factual or heavily embellished but no, it is true.

Spencer’s stone in Sugar Grove Cemetery near Wapella does not look like that of a man who couldn’t pay his legal bill. You can see the stone here. When his widow Nancy Hoblit died in 1900 she had three lots in the town of Wapella and an 80 acre farm.

Thomas Lucas and Wives

Thomas Lucas and Wives


The Thomas Lucas Family at Lake Bank Cemetery

The stone on the far right, the tall stone, is that of Thomas Lucas. Thomas had three wives and 17 children. The first wife was Mary Turner. She had 11 children before she died in 1855. Her stone is on the far left. The next stone belongs to her son George. Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan and sister of Spencer Turner.

Seven of the children were under 15 at the time of her death. This might explain why seven months later Thomas remarried to the widow Harriet Gambrel Lanham. Harriet was 38 and apparently without children. Thomas and Harriet had two daughters before she died in 1867. Her stone is third from the left. Five months later he married the widow Charlotte Bowman East who had three children. Charlotte and Thomas were first cousins through his mother Hannah Bowman. I don’t know what happened to her first three children but the happy couple had three children before Thomas died in 1874 leaving a pregnant widow. That child died about six weeks after birth.

Charlotte soon moved to Kansas where she died in 1908 and was buried in Sumner County.

Although his father died when he was 13 Thomas was not a poor man. This may account for his ability to find a new wife so speedily each time.

Abe and Me

Abe and Me

Where I come from is closely associated with Abraham Lincoln. “You can tell you are from Logan County because every school trip for 12 years was to Lincoln something.” [There are several counties which could say the same.] In addition, we had one of the two remaining courthouses where he practiced in town. Unfortunately after they moved the actual court a fire destroyed most of the records from that time.

As a result I confess I am not terribly interested in one A. Lincoln. While others were trying to find a connection I was happy not to have one. My ancestors were farming, not spending time in court…or if they were it will remain secret because the records were destroyed.

2009 is the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. Work has been going on for several years. It caused two web sites of interest to be created. One is the Lincoln Papers and the other is the Lincoln Log.

On July 10, 1834, in Sangamon now Logan County the Rev. Michael Mann married Thomas Lucas and Mary Turner. They had 10 or maybe 11 children before she died.

Mary had a brother named Spencer Turner. He lived in neighboring DeWitt County. Spencer Spencer liked his alcoholic beverages. One cold night, ironically April 15, in 1840 Spencer hit a fellow drinking buddy named Matthew K. Martin. Martin died on April 18 and my 3rd great granduncle became the first man charged with first degree murder in DeWitt County.

Spencer hired the legal team of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas defended him. Turner admitted that he hit Martin, saying Martin was drunk and made insulting remarks about Turner’s wife Nancy Hoblit. Lincoln and Douglas argued that Martin did not die from the assault but from alcoholism or exposure to bad weather. The court agreed and issued a not guilty verdict.

The Turner-Lincoln connection did not end there. As the Lincoln Papers and Lincoln Log show, their relationship would drag on for several years.

Spencer did not pay his legal fees. In October 1841 Lincoln sued for $200. He eventually got a judgment but could not collect. Douglas also sued and, for whatever reason, Spencer paid Douglas.

After the matter dragged on for some time Turner and Lincoln reached an agreement. He offered Lincoln a horse in exchange for the fees due and Lincoln accepted. The horse soon went blind.

Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, the victim of an assassin’s bullet. Spencer Turner died, presumably peacefully, on April 26, 1896, at the age of 79.