Biography of Turner W. Shacklett
Erie County, PA Biographies

Turner Washington Shacklett, retired, has for many years been a representative business man and highly esteemed citizen of Erie. He was born in Fauquier County, Va., on Aug. 10, 1848, and is a son of George Washington and Lucy (Morris) Shacklett, representatives of fine old families of the Old Dominion.

The Shacklett family is of French Huguenot extraction, the name being originally Jacquelet, meaning "Little John." George Washington Shacklett continued his residence in Virginia until his death in November, 1861, at the age of 52 years. His wife died in May, 1901, at the age of 87 years. Mr. Shacklett was a Henry Clay Whig in his political adherency, and in 1860 supported Bell and Everett, the nominees of that party for president and vice president of the United States, but when Virginia seceded from the Union and the Civil War was precipitated upon a divided nation, he, following the lead of their beloved countryman, Robert E. Lee, remained loyal to his native state and to the influences under which he had been reared. Thus he cast his lot with the Confederacy, in whose cause two of his sons sacrificed their lives, Sewall, having been killed at Williamsburg, Va., when but 19 years of age, and Edward, having lost his life in the sanguinary Battle of Gettysburg when 23 years old. His other two children were: Turner Washington, the subject of this sketch, and Mary Elizabeth, deceased.

Turner Washington Shacklett secured his early education in private schools and the Piedmont Academy of Virginia. In February, 1868, he went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he was employed in a wholesale dry goods and notion house which was established by his forebears, and remained with it until its dissolution and retirement in 1875, when he removed to Erie where he became actively interested in the Erie Pail Factory. To the interests of this concern he gave his time and attention for a quarter of a century as salesman and general manager. In addition to this business, Mr. Shacklett served as president of the Odin Stove Manufacturing Company, in which he was a large stockholder, for 20 years.

On Dec. 25, 1876, Mr. Shacklett was united in marriage with Miss Ida Adams, the fifth daughter of the late Dr. John A. and Mary Louisa (Barbee) Adams, natives of Virginia and life long friends of the Shacklett family.

Doctor Adams was a distinguished physician of Fauquier County, Va. He died in 1882, and his wife in 1881. Mrs. Shacklett died in December, 1914. There were no children in the Shacklett family, but Mr. and Mrs. Shacklett reared and educated two daughters of his sister: Eva Preston, who is a trained nurse in New York City, and Lucy Turner, who married Joseph J. White, Jr., who reside with Mr. Shacklett in the family residence at 130 East Sixth Street, Erie, Pa.

Mr. Shacklett is a Democrat in politics and has served as a member of the select city council, as water commissioner, by appointment of the court, for nine years, as school director for 12 years, as acting postmaster for 14 months, as president of the Board of Trade for one year, and is a director of the First National Bank.

He is member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in which he has been a Vestryman continuously since his first election in 1883, was the superintendent of its Sunday School for 25 years, and is a licensed lay reader. He has been treasurer of the Episcopal diocese of Erie (and Pittsburgh before the division) for 25 years, and has been deputy to all the triennial general conventions of the church since 1907.

At one time Mr. Shacklett declined his party's selection as a candidate for the State Legislature, but entered the field for congressional honors in the first Wilson campaign, in 1912, when he was defeated, although carrying Erie City by 1,200 majority.

He is affiliated with Lake Shore lodge, No. 718, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has served the allotted term as district deputy for one of the districts of Erie County.

He is a member of Perry Lodge, No. 392, A. F. & A. M., of which he is a Past Master, Erie Consistory of the Scottish Rite, taking active and leading parts in a number of its degrees, a Knight Templar in Mt. Olivet Commandery, and is a 33rd degree Mason. Soon after the death of the late David A. Sawdey, Mr. Shacklett was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of Masons for Erie County in his place.

Mr. Shacklett was gifted not only with a fine bass singing voice which has been used in many ways, concerts, church, light operas, etc., during all of his 50 years residence in the city of his adoption, but also with an inimitable faculty for recitations and effective telling of stories that has made him a popular feature at banquets and gatherings.

His love of nature and the great outdoors has led him to indulge his study of birds and flowers, and upon these subjects he has frequently spoken and written delightfully.

History of Erie County, Pennsylvania
By: John Elmer Reed
Historical Publishing Company

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