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Capt. George Turner

"History of Bay County Michigan and Representative Citizens"
by Capt. Augutus H. Gansser, pub. 1905, pg.706/707

  Capt. George Turner, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, has been city engineer of Bay City for 23 years and in that capacity has rendered invaluable services to the public as is evidenced by the public works erected under his supervision, which are unexcelled in the Sate of Michigan.  Captain Turner was born in Clinton County1, Michigan, January 29, 18352 and is a son of Joseph and Emiline (Knox) Turner, both natives of England, the former of Nottinghamshire and the latter of Birmingham.

    Upon coming to the United States, our subject's parents first located in New York State.  They came to Michigan in the early 'thirties,' and Joseph Turner operated a grist-mill at Clinton for some years and later one at Dearborn, where he remained until 18483.  In that year he moved to Detroit, where he was identified at different times with the dry goods an grocery lines, in addition to operating grist-mills at Rochester and Stony Creek4, Michigan.  After two years he closed out the mercantile business and took up his residence at Stony Creek., where he continued in the milling business until his death at the age of 52 years.  He was a Democrat in politics.  He was a member of the Royal Arch Chapter, the highest Masonic body in the State at that time, was past master of Detroit Lodge, F. & A. M., and at the time of his death was grand treasurer5 of the Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., of Michigan.  He was united in marriage with Emiline Knox, who he met in New York State, and they had six children6 who grew to maturity, namely: George; Charles K., of Saginaw, Michigan; William, of South Bend, Indiana; Edwin, deceased, who resided in Chicago; Albert, a member of Company B. 10th Reg., Michigan Vol. Inf., during the Civil War, who died of wounds received at the siege of Corinth; and Joseph, who is a resident of Bay City.  Religiously, the family are Episcopalians7.

    George Turner received his education training principally in the public schools of Detroit.  While still in school he became a cadet in the surveyor-general's department, United States Survey, under General Lyons, working mostly in Michigan.  He thus gained a thorough knowledge of surveying.  He continued with that department until the outbreak of the Civil War, although during the last three years of that time he was on leave of absence and served as county surveyor of Midland County as as register of deeds.  He was called into the service in 1861 as 2nd lieutenant of Company B. 10th Reg., Michigan Vol. Inf., and subsequently was advanced to a 1st lieutenant in that company.  He became captain of Company A, of the same regiment, and later captain of engineers, 1st U. S. Veteran Volunteer engineers, which regiment was authorized by a direct act of Congress an  was called "General Thomas' Regiment."  He participated in the battles of Farmington, Booneville, Iuka, siege of Corinth, skirmishes about Nashville in 1862, battle of Stone River, advance on Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, advance on Atlanta and the battle of Nashville.  Immediately after the battle of Chickamauga, he joined the engineering corps.  At Stone River, on different days he was twice wounded8, once in the hand and once in the leg.  He was mustered out of service in 1865 and for a period of 16 years remained in the South, engaged in contracting in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas.

    In the fall of 1881, Captain Turner returned to Michigan, locating at Bay City and the following spring became city engineer, a position he has filled creditably up to the present.  Nearly all of the sewerage system was put in and all the present paving laid under his direct supervision.  The City Hall, a magnificent granite structure costing $250,000 and one of the finest municipal buildings in the State, was erected under his supervision, as were the Belinda street bridge and the 23rd street bridge across the West Channel, both built in 1902.  Captain Turner was one of the promoters and since its inception has been a director in the Bay City Belt Line Railroad, a corporation whose lines are leased by the Pere Marquette Railroad Company.

    Captain Turner was united in marriage with Julia Smith, a native of Michigan9.  They had one daughter, Edith, who is the wife of Richard9a Richardson, of Midland, Michigan.  Captain Turner was again married in 1865 at Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Sophia P. Thompson, a native of Georgia, and they have one son, who now grown to maturity, - G. Edwin, is county surveyor and resides in Bay City.

    Captain Turner is a member of U. S. Grant Post, No. 67, G. A. R.,10 of which he is past commander.  He is also a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States11and the Union Veteran Legion. H is a member of Bay City Lodge, No. 23, Knights of Pythias; is colonel of the Third Regiment, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias; and a member of Lodge No. 88, B. P. O. E.  In politics he has always been a staunch Republican12 since the organization of the party.

    G. Edwin Turner, son of Capt. George Turner, attended the schools of Bay City and immediately after graduation entered his father's office, in which he gained a practical and technical knowledge of surveying.  In 1898 he was elected county surveyor and ahs held that office ever since.  He was joined in marriage with Kathleen Atkinson of Bay City.  Fraternally, he is a member of Portsmouth Lodge, No. 190, F. & A. M.; Blanchard Chapter, No. 59, R. A. M.; and Bay city Council, No. 53, R. & S. M.  He is a Republican in politics, and both he and his wife are members of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church.


1. This is not Clinton County From an obit it says that George was born 29 Jan, 1835 and he was born at Clinton, Branch County which is now Clinton, Lanwawee  County.  Here I believe his father first settled and operated a grist-mill.    
2. George's grave shows 1836.  Most references are pointing to 29 Jan, 1835
3. Records reveal that in 1835 they apparently settled at Clinton in Lenawee county and operated a grist-mill.   In 1837 Joseph and Emily were occupying and running a gristmill on the north branch of River Rouge at Dearbornville, Wayne county.  1846-47 they operated a dry goods store at the west half of Lot 28, Section 9 on Madison Avenue. in Detroitland (Detroit).  In June of 1848 Joseph bought a store and grist mill at Stoney Creek, Oakland County, Michigan.  On 21 Nov, 1848 Joseph died leaving his wife, Emily Knox, with 6 children and one child unborn.
4. I have seen no records that reflect Rochester but Stony Creek is very close.  The graveyard and some writings say the spelling is Stoney Creek
5. This is not true.  He may have been the treasurer of the local chapter at Stoney Creek or Rochester wherever the local chapter was located.  Upon Joseph's death one of the items was some of the chapter's money which he as treasurer was holding.
6. There were in fact 7 children who grew to maturity. George may have not thought of the fact that his sister Emily had married and, I assume, died very early in marriage possibly at child birth.  Emily Jr. married Sylvester Vibber.
7. The descendants of the Joseph & Emily were also Presbyterians
8. One of the reports in his file tells that he was wounded by Russian officer.  The report did not indicate on whose side the Russian officer was associated.  Wounded once in right hand and once in left leg
9. of the town Midland.
9a Israel H. (Dick) RICHARDSON [1846-1920]  
10. Grand Army of the Republic http://pages.prodigy.net/mistergar/garhp
11. Loyal Legion of the United States http://suvcw.org/mollus/mi/orgmit.htm 

ID# 10752

Turner, George

Capt. 1st US Vet Vol Eng.


Insignia# 07741    

12. The Republican Party was born in the early 1850's by anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. The first informal meeting of the party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, a small town northwest of Milwaukee.  The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The name "Republican" was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. At the Jackson convention, the new party adopted a platform and nominated candidates for office in Michigan.

1892 Bay City Fire (25 Jul, 1982)
  On 25 Jul, 1892 a spark caused the Miller-Turner lumber piles to become a blaze and with the winds caused over 40 blocks of housing to be razed.  One of the homes was that of George at 401 30th St.  The following is an exept from the story that is well-covered at the Bay  Journal Web Site:  www.bay-journal.com

"........Up to a late hour last evening a number of persons were missing It is first thought, however, that any of them have met with accident. Among them was Mrs. Geo. Turner. Mr. Turner was out of the city. When he returned his home was consumed, and although he made vigilant search, up to 6 o’clock Mrs. Turner had not been located. “I am satisfied my wife is all-right,” said Mr. Turner, “but I am anxious to find out where she is. Oh, no, I am not worrying myself about the fire, I have met with misfortunes before.”

  The lumber company was located on the east bank of the Saginaw River between 33rd 29th streets

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