Monday, June 15, 2015

John M. Turpin and Elizabeth Carter Marriage Document

Thanks to Dennis Bell who passed along a PDF file today that he'd found while doing some Internet genealogy.  

This document is stamped "Halifax County Circuit Court, VA" and has a hand-written label identifying it with John Turpin and Elizabeth Carter (Newt Turpin's parents) on February 27th, 1797. John's mark and Elizabeth's brother Richard's signatures are at the bottom. 

This is a bit hard to decipher due to the handwriting and ink that bled through from the other side.  You can tell the paper was folded into fours.  We're glad to have it regardless. This was posted on the Reynolds Friends and Family website if you'd like to check it out further. 

Goochey Acquittal

Revisiting the matter of the murder of Newt Turpin (see, I have searched for evidence that Judge Moses Kinkaid acquitted Louis Goochey in a second trial. Thanks to a genealogy friend, Susan Petersen, who this weekend posted a link to some digitized Nebraska Newspapers (see and I found a reference to the real story in the Omaha Daily Bee, November 26, 1895, Page 5.

The presiding judge was Judge Barlow, not Judge Kinkaid. In the article, the murderer's name was spelled as Goochy, not Goochey.  And the article was in the Omaha Bee but not found in the local papers, perhaps due to the fact some of those volumes did not survive the years. If one just keeps looking, sometimes things finally show up!

Anyway, we can verify that the second case resulted in an acquittal. The original conviction was for manslaughter. It was shown that one of the jurors was disqualified and Goochey deserved a new trial. The theory of the defense was that the killing was excusable on grounds of self-defense. The jury was out for 70 hours but could not agree.  

All families have a bit of folklore develop through the years, with embellishments added where appropriate to make it a good tale.  And it's a challenge to track down the facts to verify them. This is not quite the same story as was told.  Definitely a bit more dull.  It's the exciting stories that drive genealogists sometimes.  

But, another question resolved!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ice Skating on the Niobrara River

Ice Skating Party on the Niobrara River circa 1920

My mother, Letha Turpin Stewart, was born on March 6 in so she would have a birthday this week if she was still with us.  She was born in 1915 so she’d be 100 years old!  On my FaceBook page, I posted a photo of my mother and an ice skating party on the Niobrara River.  I’ve shared that party photo here.

My mom is the little girl standing in the front about seven people from the left. Her brother Clifford Turpin is among the three boys close to center. He's the middle lad. Their father Will Turpin is immediately behind Clifford with the tall light colored hat.  

R 18 W is circled along with Section 1

The party must have been near the Robert Newton Turpin homestead which was located in Rock County, Nebraska in Township 32N, Range 18W on Section 1. The river was not quite at their doorstep.  My mom told the story of learning to shoot the eyes out of flies across the Niobrara.  Wishful thinking but I’m sure she was a good shot.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Virginia Records for James Turpin (brother of John Turpin)

This is from Anne Washburn of North Carolina.  Anne has researched the tax records from the time period our Turpins were in Halifax County, Virginia.   The following is information for James (the elder who is a brother of our John Turpin, not the younger one who is the son).  Thank you Anne! 

Halifax Co., VA, Deed Bk 16, p. 632, Jun 24, 1796 from James Tirpin [Turpin] to Robert D. Milner, both of H, for 10 lbs 10 shillings, about 7 acres in H on Sandy Cr near the Mouth, and bounded by James Powell's gate on the New Sandy Creek Rd, sd Robert D. Milner, sd Powel's Tobacco ground below sd Powels Spring. 
Signed--James Tirpin. Wit: J. Eastham, Reuben Smith [brother-in-law of James Turpin], Benjamin Clements, Elisha (x his mark) Towlin. Recorded Jun 27, 1796.

Halifax Co., VA, Deed Bk 19, pp. 159-60, 6 Oct 1801, James Turpin to James Smith, for 50 pounds current money…lying in Sandy Creek…devised by John Turpin and the same James Turpin jointly in and by the Last Will and Testament of their deceased father Michael Turpin…

p. 160, James Turpin…for the consideration of two hundred and sixty pounds current money to me in hand paid have this day bargained and sold unto James Smith of said County & state the following property to wit, one bay stud horse, one wagon & five horses, one white, one sorrel & three bays, and one negro girl named Amy, the right of which said property I, the said James Turpin, do bind myself, my heirs, etc., to warrant and forever defend unto the said James Smith his heirs and assigns forever. In witness whereof I the said James Turpin have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this sixth day of October one thousand eight hundred and one. 
Ack’d in presence of Arm’d Watlingotn Jr., Henson Hardy, Samuel Williams. 

At a Court held of Halifax County, the 26th day of October 1801. The within written Bill of Sale was proved by the oaths of three witnesses thereto subscribed to be the act and deed of the within named James Turpin party thereto & ordered to be recorded. 
Teste John Wimbish C.H.C. Truly recorded Berryman Green D.C.H.C.

From Anne:  James Turpin sold his land and all personal possessions to (likely) his brother-in-law, James Smith (as opposed to his father-in-law who died the next year). No mention of Mary being examined privily to confirm willingness to sell, relinquishing dower, etc. Elizabeth Carter Turpin was routinely party to her husband’s legal actions. Notice that this was a Bill of Sale and not the Deed of Trust (mortgage) that James (the younger and probably the son of our John Turpin) & Jincy [his wife Jane Mills] executed later in 1829. The older James started selling off land he inherited from his father almost as soon as he got it. Selling off everything usually indicated that the person was moving away, often west. But, James was mentioned in a land dispute arising after the death of James Powell. James Powell and Polly Turpin were married in 1788 and Obadiah Turpin was the bondsman. 

Halifax Co. Pleas no. 22, p. 124, David Tucker v. James Turpin, James Smith & Polly Powell, widow of James Powell dec’d, John, Joshua, Cary & Polly infants under 20 and children of said James Powell, Nov. Ct dispute.
And of course, he was also mentioned with wife Mary in the 1802 estate settlement of her father, James Smith Sr. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Mary was still alive OR that he was still in VA. However, “a” James Turpin appeared in the tax records, on and off, until 1812.  I think these earlier records were James brother of John.