genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893, p255.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

JOHN LEWIS TURNER, a carpenter and manufacturer, ranks high in the business circles of this community and well deserves mention in the history of Christian County for the prominent part he has taken in all the public affairs that tend to benefit and upbuild the community. The record of his life is as follows: A native of Indiana, he was born in Greene County on the 2d of September, 1844.

He is of English and Scotch descent, the paternal grandfather having been a native of England, who died in Tennessee. He is also descended from one of the Revolutionary heroes, his maternal grandfather, Benjamin Phillips, a native of Scotland, having served as a soldier in the War of Independence. He lived to quite an advanced age, and died in Greene County, Ind.

 The parents of our subject, Archelaus and Susan (Phillips) Turner, were both natives of Tennessee. The father was a farmer and mechanic. His death occurred in 1846, of brain fever, in Greene County, Ind., but his wife lived until the 3d of April, 1883, surviving her husband about thirty-seven years, and died at the home of the subject of this sketch.

 They were both members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and were highly respected people. Their family numbered ten children, five sons and five daughters, of whom seven grew to mature years. Nancy is now the widow of William Anderson; Delphia, who is the second in order of birth, lives with her brother Thomas; William is a minister of the Gospel, residing at Lincoln and is the father of President Turner of Lincoln University; Jane is the wife of Rev. R. J. P. Lemmon, of Benton County, Ark.; James Riley died at Owaneco, this county, June 21, 1893; Thomas J. makes his home in Taylorville; and John L. is our subject. Those who died in early childhood were Elizabeth, Benjamin and an infant.

John L. Turner, whose name heads this record, was only two years old when his father died, and when he was a lad of ten summers his mother removed with the family from Indiana to Shelby County, Ill. This was in 1854. There he was reared to manhood upon a farm, remaining with his mother until he had attained his majority. His education was acquired in the district schools of the neighborhood, and no event of special importance occurred during his boyhood and youth.

After arriving at man's estate he was united in marriage, on the llth of April, 1867, with Miss Lizzie, a daughter of William and Mary Haskins, of Dubois County, Ind. Four children have been born of their union: Benjamin Archelaus, John Ellis, William Ezra and Docia Mae. The eldest son married Miss Lydia B. Sweigert, and resides in Edinburgh, Ill., and is cashier of the banking house of George P. Harrington. One child graces their union, Homer A.

In the winter of 1865-66, Mr. Turner removed to Christian County and located in Taylorville, where he has since made his home. For the first ten years after his arrival he engaged in carpentering, which he then abandoned to enter upon the manufacture of brick and tile. This business he followed for a number of years. He made the first drain tile in this section of the country, and that branch of his business was his specialty.

Although he began on a small scale, the demand for his product constantly increased, and in consequence his facilities were enlarged. This is one of the leading industries of the community, and adds greatly to the prosperity of Taylorville and surrounding community, as it furnishes employment to a number of men and insures good crops on lands that are well tiled.

Mr. and Mrs. Turner and their children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which he serves as Deacon. In politics, he is a supporter of the Republican party. Mr. Turner has had a successful career, which is due entirely to his own business ability and sagacity, combined with well-directed energies and persistent effort. His prosperity, therefore, is well merited, and he may truly be called a self-made man.

He owns a good home and other city property, and, having disposed of his manufacturing business, he and his good wife are at this lime living rather retired, devoting themselves to the education of their children, trying to prepare them for useful lives.



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