Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thank You Julie!

This is a good way to end the year--a photo of some of the sisters in the first Robert Newton Turpin family.

A big thanks to Julie Gerren, another Turpin researcher, who remembered she had an old photo of these ladies. This picture is probably taken between 1926-1935.
Noted on the back -- left to right:  Emma Zetta, Sarah Jane, and Hannah Catherine

Emma Zetta (#7) 1858-1936 
Born in Greene County, Iowa.  She married John Abraham Groves.  

Sarah Jane (#3) 1848-1935
Born in Owen County, Indiana. She married Warfield Paul.

Hannah Catherine (#9) 1864-April 1939
Born in Greene County, Iowa.  She married Douglas Bell.

In trying to calculate when this photo was taken, it helps to know that sisters Margaret Golden (#2) died in 1926, Martha Ellen (#4) died as an infant, Louise Anne (#5) died in 1880, Mary Amanda (#6) in 1912.  Nancy Elizabeth (#8) lived until December 1939 but is not in the photo; perhaps too ill to get together with the rest of the sisters. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Julia Turpin Jurges

Julia Turpin Jurges
Julia was another of the Iowa-born children in Robert Newton Turpin’s second family.  She was born 11 October 1875 in Grand Junction, Greene County, Iowa per her own handwritten notes.  Her obituary claims that the town of Jefferson is where Julia was born. 
Julia married a young German immigrant, Charles Jurges, on 15 March 1899 according to Rock County, Nebraska marriage records.  Charles was born 15 March 1876 in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Frederick H. Jurges and Johanna Wilhelmina Louisa Ilsemann according to German emigration records and his marriage record. Charles immigrated in 1892. He would have been about 17 years old. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mary Ellen Leonard Turpin's Father

Mary Ellen Leonard Turpin's father was Michael Leonard.

From Dennis Bell -- I've been checking Civil War records lately.  I wondered how Michael Leonard avoided being drafted. 

On March 3, 1863 the U.S. Government passed the Enrollment Act, the national conscription law.  The law called for drafts in July 1863 and in Mar., July, and Dec. 1864 on a state and county basis when there were insufficient volunteers.  The draft law applied to men aged 20 to 45; no married man could be drafted until all the unmarried had been taken.

On July 1, 1863 Michael Leonard registered for the draft, listing his residence in Cedar, Johnson, Iowa.  He said his age was 44.  He was actually 39, having been born June 8, 1824.

Follow-up on James R. Carter

In my Nov 12th blog post about the Iowa 10th Infantry and Thomas Benton Turpin, I mentioned James R. Carter who enlisted at the same time.  The Carters and the Turpins intermarried and I thought there might be a family connection: 

James R. Carter of Rippey enlisted as a Private on 23 August 1861 at the age of 18 in Company H, 10th Infantry Regiment Iowa on 7 Sep 1861.

James is the same age as Thomas.  Carter was probably Thomas’s grandmother’s maiden name. So looking to see if there is a connection could help me.  A bit of research shows there are no records of him in Greene County, Iowa in the 1860 census. I may want to scan the census in case the indexing is in error. I don’t see any James Carters in 1870 census that look like a potential match either. There is a 1890 Veteran’s Schedule which shows many James Carters. I guess this is a research project to put on my rainy day list.

Dennis Bell found the following entry for a James R. Carter in the 1860 census of Washington, Warren Co., Iowa.  Dennis suggested:

... he might be the James R. Carter (b. ABT 1843 in Indiana) who lived in Warren Co. IA in 1860?  See the below.  It appears to me that Charlotte (b. ABT 1820 in Indiana) is his mother, and that she remarried to John Epps and started a 2nd family.  John and Charlotte Epps were living in Washington, Greene, Iowa in the 1870 census.  John Epps was a widower in the 1880 census (Indianola, Warren, Iowa).

Friday, December 16, 2011

One of the Many Slips of Paper

Here is a copy of one of the many "slips of paper" I've collected over the years.  The source is the family of Francis Charles Turpin who was mentioned in the last post.  I don't know who wrote the note but it lists the birth dates of Susan Carter, one of the many John Turpins, Thomas B. Vanhorn, Mary E. Vanhorn, and Newton R. Vanhorn. 

Francis Charles "Charley" Turpin - Tenth Child

Charley and Cora’s family with Mary Ellen Turpin Estlack

Charley Turpin was the first child in Robert Newton Turpin's second family.  He was born 6 July 1874 in Iowa.  He came with his parents to Nebraska at a very young age. 

Charley's first wife was Cora Mae Miller, the only child of Margaret Ann Vert and Tom A. Miller, and granddaughter of Thomas and Rebecca Vert. The Miller family lived just above the Turpins on the Niobrara River.  Charley and Cora were married about 1895.  Their children were: Anna Eudora, Robert, Earl Elvin, Laura Edna, and Susie Adella.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mary Ellen Leonard

Mary Ellen Leonard Turpin
Back to Newt Turpin’s family…  
Newt and Sarah had a family of nine children and we understand from family tradition that Sarah died suddenly in 1872 after being ill for only 42 hours.  At the time of her death, most of the Turpin children were grown.  Several had died and only three daughters remained at home:  Emma Zetta, Nancy, and Hannah.  Sarah is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery northwest of Rippey, Greene County, Iowa. 
The story then strays into a soggy research area….it says that Newt and Mary Ellen Leonard got married in Pottawattamie County, Iowa by Justice of the Peace Washallkey on September 16, 1873.   No records exist for that marriage or a Justice with that name.  And why would they get married in Pottawattamie County, across the Missouri River from Nebraska, instead of in Greene County?  But I don’t see a marriage record in Greene County either.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Doc Middleton and the Niobrara River Settlers

A follow-up to Susan Ingraham's information:
We know from history that for a number of years Nebraska's Niobrara River area was the home territory for many horse thieves, including the notorious D.C. "Doc" Middleton.  The terrain made the area ideal for hiding.  Vigilante committees were formed to hunt down anyone who seemed even slightly suspicious.  As a result, neighbors sometimes would suspect neighbors and any little action suddenly became the grounds for accusations.
It was said that Newt Turpin, as well as other neighbors, stayed "on friendly terms" with Middleton.  Rock and Brown County were sparsely settled and people had to depend on one another.  If someone wanted to steal your horses, they could.  If they wanted to be good to you, they could.  The law was too far away to act as a referee.  Harold Hutton’s book The Luckiest Outlaw (The Luckiest Outlaw: The Life and Legends of Doc Middleton, Harold Hutton, Lincoln: Bison Books, 1992) explains that the settlers in northern Nebraska were aware that Doc expected friendliness and frequently could be good-hearted in return.  Hutton also described how the Tienken brothers, Holt County’s German settlers, did not have the right attitude and suffered at the hands of Doc and his friends.

"A Shooting Affray"

Robert Newton Turpin
Susan Ingraham is a fellow Turpin descendent.  Newt is her great-great-great grandfather and my great grandfather.  She has sent in the following on our common ancestor:
My maternal great-great-great grandfather, Robert Newton Turpin, certainly came to an unfortunate end, and the local newspaper told about it.
Robert (who was usually called Newt from his middle name) was born in 1821; married twice, he was the father of 19 children. Born in Virginia, he moved quite often, living in Indiana, Iowa, and eventually Nebraska.

In 1893, when he was 72 years old, Newt was involved in a dispute with another rancher. He was shot on May 11, died on May 18, and was buried on May 20, 1893, at Willowdale Cemetery near Bassett, Nebraska. He left behind his widow, Mary Ellen, with nine children, the youngest only a baby. Newt’s children from his first marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Lowery were grown by the time of his death, ranging in age from 29 to 50. Just a few months previously, his granddaughter, Josephine Amanda Porter, had married Michael James Mahoney in Heartwell, Nebraska. Josephine Amanda Porter was my great-grandmother.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

#9 Hannah Catherine Turpin - Another Adventurer

Hannah Catherine
Turpin Bell
Hannah Catherine Turpin was the youngest child born to Sarah Elizabeth Lowery Turpin and Robert Newton Turpin.  

We are so fortunate that Hannah left her story for others to read. She chronicled her pioneering adventures for the Williston Daily Herald and it is an amazing story.  It reminds us that we need to write our own stories to share with others in the family. Of course Hannah’s example could intimidate us into wondering what anyone would find fascinating about our own lives.  But don’t you think that Hannah was a bit like us though?  She probably thought her own life was somewhat normal…until the newspaper wanted to do a story on her.

Hannah was born 25 December 1864 in Greene County, Iowa.  She arrived in Nebraska with her father and step-mother.  Her step-mother was almost the same age as she was.  Soon after coming to Nebraska, she married Douglas Bell.  I have the marriage date as Oct 12, 1880 and the marriage records should be in Holt County, Nebraska.  I found Nancy and Joe’s marriage but not this one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

#8 -- Nancy the Adventurous Daughter

Nancy Elizabeth Turpin was born 25 February 1861 in Greene County, Iowa.  Nancy was one of the daughters who moved to northern Nebraska with her father Newt Turpin and his new wife Mary Ellen Leonard.  

Nancy and her younger sister Hannah were married on 12 Oct 1880 -- just a few years after arriving in Nebraska.  Nancy married Joe Bell; Hannah Catherine married Douglas Bell, Joe's brother. Like Nancy and Hannah, the Bell brothers had Iowa roots.  

The sisters and their husbands soon moved to Williston, North Dakota.  The first to head towards the Dakota territories was the father-in-law Jacob Bell and his son Bent. They were looking for land and hunting buffalo.  Then it seems Hannah and Douglas followed.  Eventually Nancy and Joe must have joined them. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seventh Child Emma Zetta Turpin

Emma Zetta was the seventh child in the family of Robert Newton Turpin and Sarah Elizabeth Lowery.   I love the name Emma Zetta!  While searching censuses, I noticed that there was another Emma Zetta born in Iowa in 1858.  So out of curiosity I googled the name and found plenty of them – it was obviously a name making the rounds in the 1800s. 

Yet the 1870 census taker mangled her name quite badly.  Here is a clip from that census when the Turpin family lived in Grand Junction, Washington Township, Greene County, IA.   Emma Zetta appears as Henertta.  Even the name Turpin is mangled.  

This census was post-Civil War.  Thomas has died, as has Martha.  Margaret is out of the house and married. Anna and her husband Will Turpen are living next door.  With a household full of women, Newt has a 13-year-old boy, William Pickett, living with them to help with the farm.

Turpin Family in 1870 Census

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sixth Child Mary Amanda Turpin – A Nebraska Pioneer

Robert Newton Turpin arrived in Nebraska in April 1878 and settled in what is now Rock County, Nebraska.  However one of his daughters, Mary Amanda Turpin Porter, arrived earlier!  Known as Amanda, she was born on 14 Oct 1855 while the Turpins were still in McLean County, Illinois.1 
Amanda was the sixth child.  According to the marriage records, she married 25 October 1871 in Greene County, Iowa “on consent of Mary's mother” to William Cassius Porter.2  The Porter had eight children:  Charles A. Porter, Josephine Amanda Porter Mahoney, Leona A. Porter Howard, Frederick A. Porter, Louisa I. Porter Converse, Mary E. Porter Holmes, William E. Porter, and Daniel O. Porter.3

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Louise Anne “Anna” Turpin, Fifth Child

Anna Turpin was born 25 Dec 1852 in Illinois (or Indiana according to the 1856 Iowa Census).  At a young age, she married Will Turpen who was about 25 years old.  They married 10 March 1868 in Greene County, Iowa.

When Will first came to Greene County from Owen County, Indiana, he reportedly lived with his Uncle Nate.  I believe Uncle Nate is actually Newt.  Robert Newton Turpin was known as Newt -- many in the Turpin family were known by their middle name or a nickname. 

Will is almost definitely the son of  Jim Turpen and his wife Nancy Jane Carter who followed the Turpin clan from Owen County, Indiana to Greene County, Iowa.  Their son Will was born in 1844.  Anna's husband Will would have been born approximately 1843-44.  This would make Anna and Will first cousins.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Iowa 10th Infantry Regiment, Company H

Using ancestry.com’s American Civil War Regiments records, I did some follow-up research on the regiment Thomas Benton Turpin joined. That set of records consists of four sections: regiment records, soldiers, battle histories, and officer records.

Thomas only served a few months before he died however I wanted to check to see who else might have enlisted with him.

After searching for the Iowa 10th Infantry Regiment, I reviewed the three year history of the regiment. I see that 10 companies were mustered in during September and October.

“The regiment received its equipment at St. Louis and moved to Cape Girardeau, where it went into camp. In early November it was ordered to Bloomfield to drive out Jeff Thompson's force, but found it gone on its arrival. Taking possession of a large amount of property left by Thompson, it returned to Cape Girardeau, and in December went into winter quarters at Bird's Point.”

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran’s Day Research

Charles is a common name in the Turpin family.  One of Robert Newton Turpin’s sons was named Charles Francis Turpin.  Today I’m looking at one of his great nephews who registered for both World War I and II.
Charles L. Turpin was a great nephew of Robert Newton Turpin.  Born 1877 in McLean County, Illinois to William Richard Turpin and Audra Adeline Hinthorn, he was the grandson of Henry W. Turpin.  He married Nancy Leona Turney in 1891 and Martha Frances Huffington in 1897.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Martha Ellen, the Fourth Child

Martha was the infant child of Newt and Elizabeth who died tragically.  The story is that she was bitten by a mad dog. Martha was born 18 March 1851. I’m not sure where.  She died at the age of 10 months.  If the story is correct, it would place her death in mid-January 1852.  I have not found a gravesite for Martha. 

Where does one look for more information on a child that had such a short life?  I need to start with the family timeline and see if I can determine where the family lived at that point in time.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Civil War Pension Records

Back to Child #1, Thomas, for a minute.  Thomas died in the Civil War and one might think that there would be no pension documents.  However, there is an application!

Application for Civil War Pension

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sarah Jane Turpin, Third Child

Sarah Jane was the third child of Robert Newton Turpin and Sarah Elizabeth Lowery.  She was born 9 October 1848 in Owen County, Indiana. The family moved to Illinois and then Iowa where Sarah met Warfield Paul who was a neighbor.  

According to Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa by E.B. Stillman, Warfield lived with the John and Alvina Hall family.  The 1860 census of Rippey, Washington Township, Greene County, Iowa shows the Halls and the Turpins as neighbors. Like the Turpins, the Hall family members were natives of Virginia.  The "do" that you see on some lines means "ditto"  --

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Margaret Golden Turpin, Second Child

When Thomas died while serving in the Civil War, he had seven little sisters at home.  Margaret Golden Turpin was the next in line -- the second child and first girl born to Newt and his wife Sarah.   She was born in Indiana on 13 April 1846 in Indiana.  She came to Iowa as a young girl when her parents settled there. 

Margaret married into the Vanhorn family which had an Owen County, Indiana heritage like the Turpins.  She married Ralph Wilson Vanhorn on 17 October 1864. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thomas Benton Turpin

Tonight was the last session of the Beginning Genealogy class that I'm teaching this quarter.  I shared with students some of the things that we can do with our family history findings...picture books, reunions, histories, blogs...and how one family, like the Turpins, can get us totally addicted to this endeavor.  So, there are 5 freshly-hatched and very enthusiastic genealogists on the streets this week. 

Thomas Benton Turpin was the oldest child of Robert Newton and Sarah Turpin.   So this is a good place to start with that first family. 

Thomas born 14 February 1843 in Owen County, Indiana.  On 23 August 1861, at age 18, Thomas enlisted to fight for the Union in the Civil War with approximately thirty others from Greene County.  It was passed down to through the first family that the Turpins were not in favor of slavery and that might have been part of the reason they left Virginia.  And here is Thomas enlisting. 

He was mustered in at Camp Fremont near Iowa City with the 10th Infantry, Company H of Iowa. His group embarked for St. Louis on September 24th where they received their arms, uniforms and camp equipment.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Trail Back to Iowa

My mother Letha Turpin Stewart about 1943
When I first started seriously working on the Turpin history, I had my mom, Letha Turpin Stewart, as a source.  My mom was proud of her family and knew all the currently-living relatives, all her aunts and uncles, and she knew who her grandfather and grandmother were.   What she did not know about her family didn’t seem to bother her – but she did say something to the effect that I may not want to dig up those skeletons.  I think she was kidding (although I’d already done that on my dad’s side) and just basically wasn’t too interested.
One of my first questions to her was about where my great grandfather Robert Newton Turpin was born and where did he live before Nebraska.   She vaguely remembered something about Jefferson City but wasn’t sure at all. 

John and James

In the previous post, I included a clip of the 1830 Halifax Co., VA census showing John Turpin and James Turpin recorded next to each other.   John was 50-60 years of age with a wife and family.  James was 20-30 years of age with a wife and a son under age 5.
John and James can be traced through 3 censuses – 30 years.  The ages are consistent.  The families are generally consistent.  Besides a marriage record for a John Turpin and Elizabeth Carter in Halifax County, Virginia, this is the best evidence I have to tie our Turpins to Halifax and to tie John Turpin to James Turpin/Turpen.  It’s indirect evidence but it seems fairly solid.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Carters

I'll talk more later on about Jim Turpen and John Turpin who always lived nearby each other, and about the Carters.   But cousin Julie G. brought up a good topic today:

Out of curiosity do you have RN Turpin's mother as Elizabeth Carter??? His father as John.

I find the Carter part hard to believe considering the 1850 census in Clay, Owen, Indiana.

Monday, October 10, 2011


1872 Nebraska Map

When the Turpin Family arrived in Nebraska in 1878, there was no Rock County. 

According to family stories James Robert Turpin, the third child of Robert Newton and Mary Ellen (Leonard) Turpin, was born in Iowa in April 1877 and celebrated his first birthday in Nebraska. A history of Rock County From Oxcarts to Orbits: A Brief History of Rock County, Nebraska and Its People, published by Diamond Jubilee Committee in 1962, backs up this story

Willowdale Cemetery

In June 2010 I drove up to Rock County, Nebraska to visit the Willowdale Cemetery north of Newport.  This is where Newt Turpin is buried.   His tombstone is marked with a Masonic emblem which I had not noticed years ago when I was there.

It's amazing to me that this is my great grandfather.  He was born 190 years ago!  But my grandfather Will Turpin was one of the youngest of his 19 children.  Newt's oldest was Thomas Benton Turpin, born in 1843, who died of measles while serving for the Union in the Civil War.  His youngest was Nelle Turpin, born in 1893, who married Wilson Clark and lived in Stratton, Hitchcock County, Nebraska.  Nelle died in 1966 in Denver, Colorado.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Newt Turpin

Robert Newton Turpin was born June 10, 1821 and appears to be the youngest child of John and Elizabeth Turpin.  Various censuses indicate he was born in Virginia however we find the family living in Indiana.

Grandma Turpin's Box of Photos

When I was about 5 years old or so, my Grandma Jennie Elizabeth Beck Turpin and I shared a bedroom.  At bedtime we oftentimes would look through her chest of treasures -- a mix of old photos and cherished hankies that had been hand-embroidered and given to her as gifts.  Grandma had a story with each item.  I think that was the start of my interest in genealogy.