Biography of Robert Turner
Decatur County, IA Biographies





Robert Turner, who was for many years actively engaged in farming, has lived at Lamoni since 1901, and is now giving some attention to the real estate business. He was born on the 2d of December, 1835, in Berkeley county, Virginia, now West Virginia, of the marriage of Robert and Nancy (Jackson) Turner, the former a farmer, who was also interested in two saw and grist mills. Both parents died when our subject, their only child, was still quite young.

Robert Turner of this review attended school in his native state until the winter of 1854-55 and then with another young man he started for Texas and went as far as Marshall, that state. He then returned eastward, going by way of New Orleans and thence by boat to Burlington, Iowa, where he continued his education. After completing his studies he worked at different occupations until the 11th of August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company E, Twenty fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Fifteenth Army Corps, and was with Sherman in practically all of the battles in which he was engaged. Mr. Turner served for nearly three years, participating in the Grand Review at Washington. He was mustered out on the 6th of June, 1865, at Washington, D. C., and returning to Davenport, Iowa, he received his pay. He then traveled through a number of counties in Iowa, including Decatur, and also several counties in Missouri, making the trip on horseback, studying care fullv the conditions and the natural advantages offered by each district. He decided to locate in Fayette township, Decatur county, and went to Fort Madison, Iowa, where he remained until the following fall. He then established his home in Decatur county, arriving here on the 20th of October, 1866. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 21, Fayette township, which was for many years his home. For two terms he taught school at Davis City and also followed that profession in Fayette township and in Eden township, but not long after his marriage he began to concentrate his activities upon his farm, which he had improved in the intervening years. Later he bought twenty acres of timber land in Missouri and secured rails for fences and lumber for buildings from his own timber. As time passed he brought his farm to a high state of cultivation and made many valuable improvements, developing one of the best farms in his township. He continued to reside there, with the exception of sixteen months when he engaged in the mercantile business in Lamoni, until 1901. He then left the farm and took up his residence in Lamoni, where he owns a fine home. He engages in the real estate business to some extent, but is enjoying a large measure of leisure, as he has accumulated more than a competence. A number of years ago he bought the block where the school is now located.

On the 7th of January, 1871, Mr. Turner married Miss Dora A. Graham, who was then eighteen years of age and who was a sister of Mrs. J. R. Smith, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Turner passed away on the 7th of June, 1883, on the home farm, leaving four children, as follows: Inez A., who was born on the 9th of June, 1872, married Clifford B Anderson, of Lamoni, and they have a daughter, Tuloir. Gilbert Edgar, whose birth occurred on the 2d of January, 1874, is cashier of the bank at Kellerton. He married Jennie Hickman, by whom he has a daughter, Arline. Lydia Beatrice, born March 30, 1877, is the wife of Frank J Horton, of Goodland, Sherman county, Kansas, and they have three children, Dortha, Forrest and Helen B. Robert Clyde was born May 31, 1883, and died January 18, 1885. On the 4th of June, 1884, Mr. Turner married Mrs. Helen B. Lawhorn, who by her first union had two sons: N. W. Lawhorn, now a resident of San Antonio, Texas; and Osa Lawhorn, who died several years ago, leaving three children, all of whom are living.

Mr. Turner cast his first vote for Dodge, who was candidate for governor on the democratic ticket, but as a rule has supported the republican party at the polls. He served a term as mayor of Lamoni and since 1905 has been justice of the peace, winning much commendation by his fairness and impartiality. He belongs to John R. Andrews Post, G. A. R., in which he has filled all of the chairs and in which he is now serving as adjutant and quartermaster. While he has never belonged to any church, he is in sympathy with all movements that are characterized by moral endeavor, and his own life has been fashioned after high standards of conduct. Although he is past seventy nine years of age, he has excellent health and is quite an active factor in the work of the world and he attributes his health and energy to the fact that he has obeyed the laws of nature, has observed regular hours and has abstained from the use of tobacco in any form and from the use of liquor except as a medicine. He has worked hard and has also given much thought to the planning of his labor so as to secure the greatest efficiency, and the success which he has achieved is richly deserved. Since 1866 he has resided in Decatur county and in the intervening years has taken part in the transformation of the county from a district that yet bore many signs of pioneer life to a region with all of the comforts and conveniences of an advanced civilization.

From:
History of Decatur County, Iowa
And its People
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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