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  The Naming of Turner, Turner Township, Arenac County, Michigan


 J. Schneider at
Turner, Michigan, c.1992

Now Confirmed

     With so many thanks to Marian Maday, on Feb. 23, 2005, I received the following information which finally confirms that the naming of  Turner / Old Turner  / Turnerville /  Turner City, Turner Township, Arenac County, Michigan was named after my ggrand-father, Joseph Turner.

     From an article in the Arenac County Independence of 16 March, 1966:


    In the early 1870, Joseph Turner of Bay City (he was of Saginaw City at this time) brought large timberland tracts in the region.  It was fine standing green pine.  He then organized a company named Turner, Miller and Lewis.  Mr. Turner then got two of his brothers-in-law, John and Bob (Robert) McFarlin (McFarland), to be his camp's general foremen - (Joseph's wife was Eliza McFarland).
    They chose a spot, four miles up the Rifle River from Omer for the banking ground of his company's logs.  They then started cutting out and grading right of way for the company's fist railroad which ran from the baking ground northeasterly over the plains to the site of "Old Turner" one mile north of Twining of today and then on northeasterly until they came to AuGres Swamp, which was impassible.
    There, they built a lumber camp that was just east of where Turner is now.  They put Pat Brady in charge of that camp.  This railroad was nearly 10 miles long.  They then built another railroad north of the banking grounds to the west of Cedar Valley near the Dave Brookins farm.
    They built another railroad further west that ended at the Elmer Scott Farm, on and one half mile east of Maple Ridge.  These branch lines joined the main lines at Big Creek west of Twining of today.  There were lumber camps on each of these lines.
    The location of these camps were as follows:  one was just east of Turner, another was one mile north of Twining and the third was one mile west of Cedar Valley Cemetery of today.  There was no Turner or Twining then.

Further to the forgoing I received another clipping from Marion (source unknown) that tells of Turnerville:

"Turnerville, which had been Joe Turner's headquarters since the 1870s ... At first it consisted of a roundhouse for Joe Turner's locomotives, which handled the log trains over Turner's narrow-gauge railroads which hauled most of the pine in Mason and western Turner Townships to the Rifle river above Omer.  There was also a camp, a blacksmith shop and many other building located there.  Turnerville, one of Turner Township's ghost towns, was located about one mile northeast of Twining, a village that was no-existent until the Detroit & Mackinac Railroad was built years later.......  Turnerville was located on high ground.  Cedar Creek, an ice-cold trout stream, ran through the village.  Joe Turner's roundhouse, where he repaired his locomotives, was odd-shaped more hexagonal than round.  There was a dam, and a pond was formed there part of Cedar Creek.  It is said that the residents of Turnerville could cast a line into the pond at the roundhouse and catch a brook trout almost any day in the year; for Cedar Creek, in those days, was teeming with brook trout. ..... Mr. Turner dismantled the narrow-gauge railroads and hauled them away in 1866 to lumber elsewhere.

From the story above we can pinpoint the original site of Old Turner or Turnerville to be situate at the intersection of Cedar Creek and the rail lines.  This would be slightly south west from present day Turner and north east of present day Twining.  Marian has been told that some of the rail line paths or some markings can still be found today.

With the help of some old maps I hope to be able to plot all the locations and rail lines in the near future.

Original Material and Thinking:
    I has always known about Turner City or Turner but had never found evidence that it was named after our Turner family.  There was  another well known Turner in Michigan.  Edward Schneider's mother, Daisy May Turner, had told Edward that there was a town in Michigan named Turner and it was so named after one of our family.  Edward sent me the web site for Turner, Michigan.  I got curious, as usual, and sent an email to Marlene (Peets) Banks who had donated some pictures concerning lumbering in Arenac County.  She, thankfully, sent on my email to her cousin, Marian (Poole) Maday, and Marian was good enough to send me the book article.  I have not completely satisfied myself, which is hard to do, as to the authority of such; but, being that it is named after Joseph Turner, a lumberman, of Saginaw -during the 1870s Joseph was in Saginaw -the fact that he was, in the 1870s, listed as a lumberman and therefore a businessman and that I have not found another Joseph Turner from Saginaw in the census then it is most likely that the town of Turner, Turner Township, Arenac County, Michigan, formerly Turnerville, was named after our Joseph Turner, late of Bay City.

I am in the process of confirming this item.  All indications are pointing to this naming as being accurate.

A web site about Turner, Michigan (http://www.multimag.com/city/mi/turner/ ) states:
"Turner is located in northern Arenac County just east of M-65.  This town was named after1 Joseph Turner, a businessman from Saginaw.
It was founded in 1885 when the Detroit & Mackinaw Railroad established a station there.  It eventually incorporated as a village in 1915."

A book entry donated by Marian Mayday states:
(From Michigan Ghost Towns, Vol. 1, by Roy L. Dodge, 3rd printing, 1970, pub. by Northeastern Printers, 129E North St., Tawas, MI, 48763)

"TURNERVILLE-was the headquarters for Joe Turner, a lumberman, in the 1870's. Located in Turner Township,
about one mile northeast of Twining, it contained a roundhouse and repair shop for Turner's logging trains.
There were a dozen houses, about and shoe store, a general store, post-office and other buildings.
The tracks were removed in 1886, Ennes said. Cedar Creek ran through the village and a dam and mill pond was formed there.
The village was also on the site of Indian camps of the Ojibwa tribes."

An outstanding question might be was Turner Township named after Joseph Turner.

1.   Notice that it says 'after Joseph Turner' since it was founded in 1885.  Joseph, was either working on his own or for various lumber companies and appears to have been 'in the field' ensuring transportation of lumber to the mills during the 1870s.  According to his obituary he had worked for, was in partnership with and finally in 1900 he had his own mills.  Note: Joseph was on the milling end of the lumber business while his brother, Charles, of Saginaw seemed to be on the cruising or cutting side of lumbering.

2.  I tend to believe accounts in old books or reporting where the author has not been given information by the family.  It has been found that when one 'remembers' things then they tend to be not as accurate as an historical record or account.  Anything given by the family to newspapers or such tend to be somewhat hazy on some parts.

Thanks to ;

Marian has a lot of Canadian Poole family and she is looking for some relatives.  Her great great grandfather was Benjamin Jacob Poole who was from co. Wexford, Ireland.  If you know of any connection, please email Marian.

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