Monday, January 2, 2012

James Robert Turpin - Cloyd and Delbert’s Dad

James Robert Turpin
James Robert Turpin was the last of the Turpin children to be born in Iowa.  He was born 9 April 1877 and spent his first birthday in Nebraska as the family relocated. 

Not much is known about his youth, but at age 18 (a few years after his dad's death) James went to work at Carns in Keya Paha County, Nebraska in the A.O.U.W. (Ancient Order of United Workmen).  He was living at home in the 1900 census and his brother Charles and family are living next door.  In 1900, his father Newt Turpin was no longer alive and his mother Mary Ellen had not yet remarried.  James was listed as a farmer and I’m sure that at 23 years of age, he was helping his mother with the farming as she raised the family – there were six other kids living at home in 1900.

Then Mary Ellen remarried in 1902.  She married the butcher, James Edward Estlack.  Estlack’s biography was included in the Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska Containing a History of the State of Nebraska published in 1909 by Alden Publishing of Chicago.  But by 1910 Estlack and his wife Mary Ellen had relocated to the western end of the state in Dundy County, Nebraska. 

And it was in 1909, on 14 April that James Turpin was married to Alida Scott by the Reverend A. J. Beebe.  “Lidy” was the daughter of Harvey and Harriet Scott.  She was born in 1882 in Faribault County, Minnesota.  Leaving Minnesota, the Scotts migrated to Nebraska sometime before 1885 and settled in Kirkwood Precinct, Brown County which later became Rock County.  James and Lida would have known each other growing up and probably attended school together.

James was 32 when he got married.  He and Lida made their home on the Scott place east of Mariaville.  Before marriage, he had stayed at home to help his family.  And likewise, after marriage he moved into Lida’s home to help her family.  I think he was that type of family member who needed family and the family needed him.

James and Lida had two sons, both born on the farm.  Cloyd H. was born 26 Oct 1911.  Delbert was born 10 May 1914.  Cloyd and Delbert continued to live on the farm all their lives and never married.  The brothers owned three quarters of land on which they raised pigs, cattle, chickens, and hay.

When World War I rolled around, Jim would have been 41.  He registered for the draft 12 September 1918 but never served.  Like the other Turpins, he had blue eyes and black hair according to his registration.

World War I Draft Registration
Jim died 31 May 1943 in Bassett.  I never knew him.  He was always Cloyd and Delbert’s dad who I had never met.  But I did get to know Lida.  My grandmother Jenny and I went to stay on the farm with Lida, Cloyd, and Delbert for a while one summer.  That was the closest I have gotten to experiencing life on an old farm.  We went out and gathered eggs in the morning for breakfast and sat around visiting in the evening.  It was very much like an old homestead might have been.  I remember the bedroom walls were papered in newsprint.  We did laundry by hand.  I don’t remember if they had electricity or running water.  It would not have stood out if either of those was missing – but the wallpaper and gathering eggs stood out for me. 

Lida lived until 1973.  Since neither Cloyd or Delbert married, there are no descendants from this line of the family.  Cloyd died 5 Feb 1989 and Delbert died 5 April 1989.  Their farm was sold at an auction where I was able to pick up an old kerosene lantern as a keepsake of my visit with Jim's family at the old Scott homestead.  

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