Biography written by Felix's grandson, Joshua C. Turner:
Felix was just younger than his brother Daniel. He was the sixth child of James and Mary Turner, and was born near Greensburg, Kentucky. There is no photograph of him; therefore we have no knowledge of his looks. It is quite possible that his son James resembled him. It is understood that he was quite fleshy. James often spoke praisingly of his father with his ability to man-handle the toughest of slaves.
He was born on a memorable day, 4 July 1802. His intelligence was above average, judging from his scholastic attainments. He became a school master, and his knowledge of the sciences was good for those times. The writer has a school attendance record and a list of rules which his grandfather made in 1859. His handwriting is clear and legible.
He had long reached the age of maturity when he thought of marriage, and under the conditions it is well that he did. He had become interested in work as a teacher in Barren County. There he met the daughter of a very affluent citizen of that section of the county, Jose Philpott. Her name was Elizabeth. She was the fourth daughter of this sizable family of 14 children. Philpott was known for his plurality of wives, one following the other, and we have no record of which of the wives was the mother of Elizabeth.
Felix and Elizabeth were the parents of six children. She died soon after the birth of the infant child, Mary Elizabeth. No known cause of her death is given. No records of Vital Statistics were kept at that time. The children of Felix and Elizabeth were:
Elizabeth died unexpectedly shortly after the birth of Mary Elizabeth (Aunt Mary Crail). This meant a terrible loss to Felix. To play the part of both father and mother to his motherless brood was a staggering load. But Felix in due course of time cast his eye upon a young maiden near Three Springs, a small village so named for the three springs in the locality. The young lady was Lucinda Nunn, the sister of William Nunn, who had fathered his brothers and sisters after the death of the parents back in North Carolina, and had brought them to Kentucky with him.
Lucinda was seemingly ready and waiting to become the wife of Felix and care for his motherless children. Despite the age difference, 21 years, Felix thought to pluck them young, and with the courage of a Daniel Boone proposed to Lucinda and she accepted. This age difference never seemed to present a difficulty, for Lucinda entered into her responsibilities in the home life, making a wonderful wife and mother to the orphaned children. They were married 5 June 1846, she, 23, and he, 44. Within a short time a son was born to them, and then other sons came and one daughter, Emerine. This was the only daughter born to Lucinda, and, of course, she was a treasure to them. The children of Felix and Lucinda are:
As noted David Alexander died at the early age of 7 years, 8 months. The cause of his death was some childhood contagious disease. William Worth entered the army at the time of the Civil War in 1865 to care for his younger brother, Tom, and sickened and died of measles.
Interesting and important things were about to take place in the little village of Three Springs, Kentucky. Some of the friends and relatives of the Felix Turner family had moved to the new country of Missouri and had been writing about this wonderful land of opportunity. Letters had been coming so numerous and frequent that they had begun to make an impact on the Turners at Three Springs.
So the die was cast. The Felix Turners would turn their eyes toward the land of the Westward Ho-- "On to Missouri or bust!"
For weal or woe, the Turners decided to go to that wonderful land where the choicest of land could be had "just for the asking." The die was cast. They must go. It must be true, for Billy Ratliff so described it. (Billy Ratliff's wife was a Sister of Felix's first wife.)
Traveling across the country for hundreds of miles would need proper preparation and wise planning. There must be proper equipment acquired. Covered wagons must be obtained, and thought given to the care of the four oxen needed to pull the wagons. Thought must also be given to food and water. Not only food and water for the family, but the four big oxen would also need lots of water. At times there might be long distances between water holes.
The family was not going alone. The Franklin Finney family was also going. This close association of the families made them life-long friends.
The morning came for the departure. It was a mid-March morning when those heavy wagons started rolling away. Tears fell copiously while many hands waved their last goodbyes. With most of them, it was good-bye forever.
As those heavy wagons started out on their long trek, they were filled not only within, but buckets and tubs, and what-have-you hung on the outside.
The journey was to be made with long and tiresome traveling. From the start the going was slow with the pokey oxen. At first the family regarded the trip with happy anticipation. Camping would be fun, and the country afforded many interesting things to be seen. However, it was not long until the trek became hard and burdensome. The road was by no means an expressway, and the rough ground over which the springless wagons rolled with their bumpity, bumpity, going was enough to upset the "inards" of anybody.
The road hazards were not so great as in earlier time when the Indians lurked in every secluded place. The timber wolf had thinned down until he seldom made his cowardly attacks. However, the lack of bridges across the streams made traveling difficult, and the early spring thaws often made crossing hazardous. It was either wait for the stream to run down, or else improvise a bridge of some kind. And there was mud, mud everywhere at times. It stuck to the wheels and filled in between the spokes and the older boys would have to dig it out. This was a hardship to encounter, along with the ever tempermental oxen. The sons had to prod them along continually. Be it Bill, Joe, Buck, or George, they were oxen to be goaded. Oxen are stubborn at times. It was the work of the older sons to provide feed and water, for the oxen must be kept strong and healthy, since they were the only means of travel.
There were no road maps, of course, to mark out well-defined courses. The only advantage of their mode of travel was the slow rate, which afforded them time to mark out their course. And also it gave them time for looking and searching for wild game to add to their stock of provisions. Fishing, too, was a thing to be done. James never ceased to enjoy fishing, even in his declining years.
Day after day went by, and they were still short of their destination. However, it wasn't all rough going. Aunt Settie (son James's wife) would often tell of the happy times they spent around the camp fire at the end of a hard day, telling campfire tales, or reciting the happenings of the day.
This fellowship between the two families made the Turners and Finneys fast friends. In later years James often made calls upon the Finney family long after they settled in their respective places. The Finneys settled over in Linn County, while the Turners remained in Macon County.
It is said that there is no road without a turn, and it can be well said that there is no road with out an end. It is not clear the course they took to reach the Mississippi, but at last it was reached and they crossed by ferry below St. Louis. they had reached Missouri at last. After traveling many days through Missouri, they came to a fork in the road, one leading to Macon County and the other toward Jasper County, where lived a sister of Narsetta (Aunt Settie). Narsetta had a yen to go there. But after some parleying they headed toward Macon County. It was here that Billy and Mary (Polly) Ratliff lived, who had written such glowing accounts of Missouri. Mary also had two sisters living near her in Macon County. They were Jemima, wife of Jim Lile, and Hepsibah (Hepsy), wife of John Dennison, father of Uncle Will Dennison.
After a journey of six long weeks, the travelers reached the home of Jim Lile, who lived north and west of the present location of Ethel. (At this time there was no Santa Fe railroad with a town so named.) They had left their home in Kentucky the middle of March and reached Liles' 5 May 1857.
They did not tarry here long, but started out on their last lap toward Old Boston, which was at the extreme northwest corner of White Township in the county. It was almost on the banks of Mussel Fork Creek, and a small grove of trees could be seen there for many years surrounding a brick house. A road ran by it at one time. It was located up the creek north of the present Boston bridge now across the creek. It used to be called Boston, but after the present New Boston was built, it was called Old Boston.
Reaching Boston, the home of Billy and Polly Ratliff, they ended their long journey. They came; they arrived, be the trip pleasant or trying; be it wise or unwise, they had come. The invitation had been urgently extended, and they had accepted, and now for the fulfillment of the long promised findings, to Uncle Billy they had come.
Then came the family greetings, with Uncle Billy pointing out the several members of the family,exclaiming over the growth of each one. Coming to Narsetta, he said, "Well, if here isn't Billy Nunn:" Just why she was called Billy is not known unless it was that she was nicknamed for her father, Will Nunn
Then leaning against the door jamb with one foot pulled up under him, he said in a rather drawling, irresponsible manner and tone, "Well, Felix, you have come just a little bit too late. All the choice land has been taken up."
It would not be hard to understand and appreciate the disgust and resentment that arose in the breast of this travel-worn father, who, after tearing himself away from his old home and former acquaintances and employment, had to hear this former brother-in-law tell him that "all the choice land has been taken up." After all the fair promises and definite commitments, to hear him glibly say "you have come just a little bit too late," was an outrageous disappointment. Aunt Settie used to tell how "pa" used unprintable language in giving Uncle Billy his character sketch. Prevaricator, liar, that he was!
After this the cleavage between the two families was such that it was never healed. They went their several ways. The Ratliffs went to the southern part of the county and the Turners remained in the northern part.
Now it was up to Felix to find a place in which to live. Down the creek a short way was an empty house, which came to be called the Aunt Polly Carter house. (The old house stood there until after the turn of the century.) It was to this house the family moved.
Disappointed man that he was, Felix straightway planned to return to his old home in Kentucky. The effort in coming was too great to return immediately. It would require time and money to make needed preparations.
He was fortunate in finding employment in a store in Boston owned by a Mr. James Morris, grandfather to Ben and Thorton Davis. Here he worked for a time.
The family did not live long in the house by Mussel Fork. Martha Jane had gone to assist her Aunt Hepsy Dennison across Chariton River. It was quite fortunate for her, for there lived in the home at that time Will Dennison, John Dennison's son by his first wife, who was a Parker. Will became interested in this sweet, slender, young maid, and she was soon engaged to the tall, straight, gallant, young lover. They were married 22 December 1859. He was 20 and she 23. This meant that the Turners had already begun to become a part of the new country.
Felix with his family moved to the house once owned by Calvin Ratliff just west of the Frank Lile home 1 1/2 miles west of Goldsberry. Here the family lived until son James made a deal for the Murry place of 160 acres with a house and other small buildings. Todd Creek ran through the farm, with the house on the hill to the east. It was 2 1/2 miles due south of the one-time village of Tullvania. Here in this home moved James and Narsetta with infant daughter, Nancy Jane.
Just over the division line to the east was situated a not-so-nice house, where Felix and Lucinda moved their family. By this time the family had become acquainted and adjusted to their new home in Missouri.
The home of James and Aunt Settie was an interesting one. There was the open fireplace, from which many a glowing fire was seen. It was here that they reared their seven daughters and one son, Will Turner. Relatives and friends would gather here and enjoy watching the big logs burn in the cheerful fireplace. In front of the fire on the open hearth, large pots on cranes were swung where some of the meals were cooked. It was a jolly time when we neighboring youngsters came and watched the glowing coals while we popped corn and toasted apples.
In the 1850 Federal Census there is found the record of the Felix Turner family of Barren County, Kentucky. Many fathers were listed as Tobacconists, but not so with Felix Turner. He was listed as teacher. Just where he taught is not given, but that was his vocation, and soon after settling in Missouri, he thought of beginning teaching again. There was a school building located north of the Bradley place one half mile west of Goldsberry, and it was here Felix began his school in Missouri. The school must have operated altogether on the tuition basis, for there were no public schools at that time. The school was well attended, and in the following are listed the names of the pupils, some of them quite mature.
(Listing of student names and quiz questions omitted)
School was making progress and winter was coming on. Christmas had come and gone. Fall work on 1 farm was almost done, but there were a few chores to do yet, and James needed the horse that his fath( used in riding to school. So Tom was delegated to go along and bring the horse back to James for use that day. As Felix and his young son Tom were making their way to school, Tom walked while his father rode. While along the way Felix fell from the horse with a coronary attack.
This was a trying time for young Tom. He ran for help. Help was found, but due to the lack of g( medical aid, Felix quietly passed away within a day or two. This was a terrible shock to Lucinda and the children. It was all so unexpected. Plans were math for the funeral with a plot chosen in the Helton Cemetery. Today may be seen his resting place market with a marble shaft with the inscription:
Thus was brought to end a life that passed away before his time. He had set out to find a goodly country, where "the very choicest of land" could be had "just for the asking." Fruitless, you say! the face of it, it may take such an appearance. But "God leads in mysterious ways His wonders to per While neither Felix nor his children came into possession of glorious earthly possessions--land "just for the asking"--yet some have accepted a Faith that gives promises of a "land that is fairer than day; Had the move not been made, a realization of these heavenly promises might not have been realized.
More than a century has passed since this man with many descendants fell under the cruel stroke of death, and during the intervening years his children, his grandchildren, and children of many times n moved, have come to this marble shaft and read the brief history of their progenitor, who "sought a ___ afar."
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