Saturday, September 29, 2012

Remembrances of Robert Newton Turpin from "Families of Rippey"

These remembrances were passed on to the descendants of the Turpin Family living in Greene County, Iowa.  It provides us information about Newt and the family that can not be verified by primary sources.

“Families of Rippey", 1990 reprint of the 1956 "History of Rippey”

From page 106

Newton Turpen -- One of the earliest settlers of Washington Township, Greene county, Iowa, was the Newton Turpen family who settled here in 1855. Newton Turpen was born near Richmond, Virginia, June 10, 1821, and his wife, Elizabeth Lowry Turpen, was born there on January 13, 1823. They spent their youth near Richmond and were married at an early age. Early in her life Elizabeth’s father had become a slave holder, over the protests of his wife. Thus, Elizabeth, agreeing with her mother, was raised with a secret hatred of slavery.

After their marriage her dislike for slavery and her husband’s longing for a new country led them to decide to come west, so they packed their few possessions and came to Indiana by wagon train. Here they lived for some time before moving to Illinois. Not seeming to do as well financially as they wished, they again decided to move -- this time to Iowa. When their youngest child was three weeks old, they loaded their goods into wagons and set out. This was a long, hard journey, marked by the tragedy of Newton Turpen’s mother dying and being buried in a lonely grave by the wayside. They came by way of Des Moines, then a small fort, and on across country to Greene County where they built their first log house on the farm in northwest Washington Township. This farm is now owned by their granddaughter, Mrs. Ocy Dorris. Later Mr. Turpen bought a farm about a half a mile west and lived there. Besides breaking the prairie sod and farming, Newton Turpen served as blacksmith in the pioneer settlement. Mrs. Turpen spent long hours of the day at her loom weaving cloth from the wool they had taken from their own sheep. The children of the family spent many lonely days on the prairie guarding the sheep from he wolves that were always ready to prey upon them. It was not unusual for him to load what produce they might have to sell into the wagon and make the long overland trip to Des Moines to sell the produce and bring back supplies. Newton and Elizabeth Turpen raised a family of eight children, 7 daughters and one son.

The only son, Thomas Benton Turpen enlisted in the army when Lincoln called for volunteers in 1861. He was among 32 volunteers from Greene County. His brief military record on file in the State Adjutant General’s Office showed that he enlisted in Co. H., 10th Inf., Iowa Vol., August 23, 1861, was mustered into service September 7, and died of measles on December 25, 1861, on his 18th birthday. He was buried in the National Cemetery near Mound City, Illinois. Although the exact grave has not been found, officials state that he must have been buried in one of the many marked unknown. Elizabeth Lowery Turpen passed away January 26, 1872, and was buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Newton Turpen moved on west to Nebraska and was buried there.

Of this large family, only [Louise] Annie, who married Wm. Turpen, and Emmazetta, who married John Groves, remained in Washington Township to raise their families and spend their lives. The other daughters were: Margaret who married Wilson Van Horn, Sally [Sarah Jane] married Warfield Paul, [Mary] Amanda married Wm. Porter, [Nancy] Elizabeth married Joe Bell and Hannah [Catherine] married Douglas Bell.

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