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.