Monday, February 20, 2012

My Grandfather Will Turpin was the 16th Child

William Watson Turpin
William Watson Turpin was born 31 March 1886.  He was born and raised on the pioneer homestead of his parents near Mariaville.  His father died when he was eight years old, so as a child a bigger burden fell on him to help with the farm.  He herded the sheep and spent many nights alone out in the hills of northern Rock County.  This lead to life-long health problems. 

On 16 March 1910 at the age of 24, Will married Jennie Elizabeth Beck in Newport, Nebraska with the Reverend Beebe performing the service.  Jennie was the daughter of James and Estella (Martin) Beck and lived near Newport with her family.  She was born 17 February 1887 in Lancaster County, Nebraska, near the town of Hickman.  The Becks had moved to the Rock County area when Jennie was about 11 years old.

Jennie Elizabeth Beck Turpin
Newport is where Will and Jennie made their first home together.  Will owned a dray for hauling freight and worked for the Wintermute family in the hardware store.  During their years in Newport, he suffered from consumption, otherwise known as tuberculosis, and for this reason had to live in a tent for a year.  He never fully recovered from this illness.

Their first child, Clifford, was born in 1912.  Soon after Clifford’s birth they moved to the country, to a farm near Mariaville.

In 1915, their daughter and my mother, Letha was born on the farm.  A few years later in 1917, their orphaned niece and nephew, Beulah and Harold Brown, came to live with them and became a part of the family.

Will and Jennie's home near Mariaville
Will and Jennie eventually moved to Arapahoe and went into business there.  But due to Will’s failing health, the venture was not satisfactory and after two years they returned home to Rock County.  Later they moved to Ogallala, where daughter Letha and her husband Walter Stewart lived.  They stayed there for 2½ years, afterwards moving to Newport to take over Todd Ritts’ farm east of Newport.

Will died before I was born – he died November 26, 1941 at the Bassett home of his son Clifford.  After that, Jennie lived alternately with her children and their families in Ogallala and Bassett.  Grandma Turpin was a favorite of all the grandkids!  She died at the Ogallala Community Hospital on 17 February 1976, her 89th birthday, after several months of failing health.  Will and Jennie are both buried in the Bassett Cemetery.

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