Week 42: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: William Pinkney Turner and Laura A. Gooch

Turner crest

Turner Crest

Week 42: October 18, 2014

William Pinkney Turner and Laura A. Gooch

One of my many questions on William Pinkney Turner is – for whom or where did the name of Pinkney come from? My grandfather, Paul Pinkney Bryan, was also given that same middle name of his grandfather; that is what led me to believe that his mother knew something and was possibly passing on a family name – or did the name intrigue her? But where did it originally come from? Many men were given their mother’s maiden names, and that was my first thought as I didn’t have names of William’s parents – and in as much as I have searched – I’ve come up empty handed – but there is always hope…

Back to basic 101… of what I do know!

William Pinkney Turner (1846 -1899) was born in Georgia – all the census I’ve viewed agree on that one point, but finding his parents now is my main priority – and then maybe I’ll discover where the unusual middle name of Pinkney is from.

Let’s discuss Turner speculations:
1850 Lumpkin County census: I find a John (b. abt. 1824) and Hannah Turner (b. abt. 1820) with sons Oliver Perry, born S.C., age 9 and William, born Ga., age 4 – making him born 1846. I have been in touch with a Roz West McLelland on this Turner family – Oliver Perry is her direct line. (By using the 1880 census and believing that this info was given correctly – this can’t be my William’s family as they all list born in S.C. except for William – he being the only one listed in this family as born in Georgia. William so stated, he along with his parents, were born in Ga. – but can I believe all I’ve found on the census. Shouldn’t he know where he was born and possibly his parents?) But we all know about census!

Clip 1850 John Hannah Turner

1850 Lumpkin Co., Ga. John and Hannah Turner. Could this William here be mine?

1850: Living next to John and Hannah Turner (both born in S.C.) are John and Malinda (Turner) Gamblin with a Francis Turner (40) in their household. She is listed as mother-in-law. I found the marriage certificate for John and Malinda – her surname is Turner so that proves their family is correct. From a recent contact on Ancestry, I’m told John and Malinda (b. S.C.) Gamblin lived in the Nimblewill area and Malinda Turner’s mother, Francis Turner, lived with them. She did not have a maiden name for Francis but her husband was Andrew P. Turner. Hmmm… now what does that “P” initial stand for? This researcher also told me that she has seen the “P” written as possibly Pickens but she thought it might be Pinkney? Another Hmmm….They are all buried in Nimblewill Church cemetery in Lumpkin Co., Ga., except for Andrew P. Turner – I’m thinking he is buried in S.C. (Francis Turner’s gravestone reads 1810 – 1911)

1850: Berryman Turner b. 1830 S.C., wife Rebecca, with two children, Eliza (1) and William, age 3. (I found Berry Turner in Lumpkin County as early as 1834.) Could this be my William? Another Hmmm – maybe they gave the wrong age?

1860: In the Frogtown District of Lumpkin Co., I find a Jesse Turner, age 52, with wife Elizabeth Turner, age 47. Children: John Turner (24), Jesse L. Turner (22), Sarah J. J. Turner (29), James C Turner (18), Hiram Turner (16), William F. Turner (14), Nancy E Turner (12), Selia M. Turner (9), Hariet L Turner (4), Patsey Turner (70), and Emily Turner (5). Quite a large family here – Patsey Turner must be Jesse’s mother. The William F. Turner – could this be my William P. Turner? I can’t quite definitely say that its an F or a P on the census – looks like it could be a “P” to me! Is this wishful thinking – YES!!! The age of 14 means born 1844/45 – that’s pretty close to his later 1846. We all know that their birth years were not given or recorded correctly on census. Even individuals gave their own birthdays incorrectly back then.

1860: Also in Frogtown District was a Nancy Turner, age 31, widower (seamstress), born in Ga. with children of: Andrew J., (12), Sarah C. (11), George H. (16), Micagoh (8), and Martha E. (6). Another Lumpkin County Turner family.

1869: Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869 – In 1869 William P. Turner is listed as a voter.

1870: First census year I found William P. Turner with wife Laura (Gooch) in Dahlonega – he is listed as Pinkney Turner. They have one son, Barney, age three months; I find it odd that they list a baby as having real estate of 1000 and personal estate of 650. What’s with that? Pinkney Turner only lists 150 for real estate and 150 for personal estate. Pinkney states that he can not read or write.

Clip 1870 William and Laura Turner

William P. & Laura A. Turner – 1870 Lumpkin Co. Census

1878 – 1883: William P. Turner in Nimblewill – Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892: In taking a complete look at this page, I have to note the columns on this page as I found their descriptions very interesting. They listed specific columns just for Lawyers, Doctors and Dentist! Even back then, they classified people on record as to hierarchy of importance. Total acres of land was 160 – Value of land was $125.00. Land Lot No.’s were 310, 311, 371 and 303. Other columns I took note of were listed as “Plantation and Mechanical tools, Law or other Library books, Pictures, etc.” William had $5.00 in column. “Horses, Mules, Hogs, Sheep, Cattle and all other Livestock” William had $40.00 in column. “Watches, Silver Plate and Jewelry of all kinds, worn by owner or not.” William had zero amount. “Value of Household and Kitchen Furniture, Piano, Organs, Etc.” William had $10.00 in column. “Aggregate of whole property” William had $155.00 in final column. I found it very interesting how they listed certain items in this property tax book – who decided what should be taxed and why?

Clip Personal Estate P Turner

William P. Turner in Nimblewill – Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892:

1880: William is listed as William Turner with wife Laura, son Barney (10), daughters Missouria (8), Mary (5) Sarah E. (2). Two farms over, I find a William and Missouria Gooch (Laura Gooch Turner’s brother), and living in their household is a William Turner, age 9. He’s listed as a servant and working on farm. Who does he belong to? Why is this child, at age 9, a servant on a farm and not in school? (This census lists my Sarah at age 2, born in 1878, but her gravestone says 1881 – she had to be there if they were listing her on the census – but all my other records show her born September 15, 1881. (I have since solved the question on the Sarah Turner, age 2 here… see my post Family Stories: Sarah E. (Turner) Bryan.)

1880 Clip William and Laura Turner

1880 Lumpkin County, Ga. Census – William P. and Laura Turner. William Gooch and George Turner living nearby.

1880: George Turner (b.1853) age 27, wife Caroline, age 25, with sons Milliard (4) and Mattie (1); transcribed at Wattie on Ancestry. They lived one farm over from my William P. Turner in this census – are they brothers? Both George and William are born in Ga. and list their parents as also born in Georgia. William’s father-in-law, Samuel Gooch, lives two families away. (This George Turner lives between William P. Turner and Laura’s brother William Gooch – George must be a relative!

1884 – 1887: William P. Turner in Nimblewill: Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 uses post office of Jay in Lumpkin Co., Ga. – Listed property of 160 acres, $100.00 value of land.

Franklin Co., Ga: William S. Turner in the years 1800 – 1850 Ga. Property Tax Digests of 1793-1892. Also found a marriage listing of William S. Turner to Susan Stow in 1847. From a little more digging I discovered that this William Samuel “Bill” Turner is the son of John “Berry” and Rebecca (Etris) Turner that I  found in Lumpkin Co. They were married in 1820 in Habersham Co., Ga. Their family listed on Ancestry did not have a William listed – their first child was born in 1848. This John “Berry” Turner was b. 1798 S.C. and died 1886 in White Co., Ga. (Doesn’t seem to be my direct line but in some way they might be connected)

Having no other early family information on my William other than speculations pushed me to search for war records in hopes of….

I immediately went against a brick wall on this until I discovered pension records for both William and wife Laura; then I found a Civil War record on William. In as much as I searched for his complete Civil War records – I came up empty handed until I posted a query on the “Your Genealogy Brick Walls” Facebook group. Many members there searched their sources for me and concluded that the war record card I had posted was actually a “Union” Civil War card, not a “Confederate” Civil War card! Who Knew my 4th great grandfather fought for the North! How could that be???

I proceeded over to Fold3.com and quickly found him in the Co. F, 5 Tenn. Mtd. Inf.; he served in the Mounted Infantry unit. William enlisted and was mustered in Cleveland, Tennessee – for whatever reasons – on October 20, 1864; which was almost at the end of the war. He is the only ancestor I have found in my lines that fought for the North!

I probably would have never given a thought to check Civil War “Union” records if someone hadn’t mentioned it to me. I’ve read that at least half of Lumpkin County wascivil union pic pulled in different directions on their allegiance to the South – pitting father against son and brother against brother; many even moved away because of those reasons and never returned. But my William did return to Lumpkin County. How did it affect his loved ones when he left – maybe no one knew – maybe that’s why he went to Tenn. to join so no one would know. Indeed I do have many maybe’s – but it seems like all I can say is – “maybe.”

After discovering he did indeed fight for the “Union” I turned to the National Archives and ordered his Civil War records and wife Laura’s pension records. Often you find gems in those records and those gems do come at a price – but I took a chance. I ordered them before I went on vacation and found them waiting for me upon my return home.

I quickly sat down with those documents, but it was soon apparent that I wasn’t going to discover the answers I was searching for – who were his parents?

What I did learn was…

William P Turner Clip Tenn Infpension recordThe “Union” Civil War records stated he signed up as a volunteer on Oct. 20, 1864 in Cleveland, Tenn. and was discharged on July 17, 1865 in Nashville, Tenn. By that recruit record, he listed he was born in Franklin County, Georgia and at age eighteen he was already a farmer; was he on his own at an early age? His description of himself was written as having blue eyes, sandy hair with a light complexion and average height of 5 ft. 6″. His time of enlistment was noted as one year of service. William could not write but made an “x” on his declaration of recruit as a volunteer. He was eighteen years and three months of age – old enough to sign on his own as he was born in July of 1846. (His gravestone states born April 6, 1846)

Turner pension

William Pinkney Turner

The first pension request records of 1890 listed him as living in Jay, Lumpkin Co., Georgia – later the pension records listed the town of Randa, in the Nimberwill area; maybe they never even moved but the early communities dissolved. From my search online, they were very small communities and I think they have been non-existent for a long time. (I possibly believe that Jay and Randa were only post office names – not quite sure if there ever was a community, but they are non-existent today)

The more I searched for his parents – the more disillusioned I became. Have I overlooked something – is he hiding right in front of me? I searched in Franklin Co., as he so stated on his declaration papers – but I found nothing – yet. There were many Turner families in Franklin from a search on Ancestry. I have not searched for wills to see if I might find a William Pinkney Turner inheriting;  that will be something I will look into at another time.

William P. Turner’s father-in-law, Samuel Gooch, stated he was present at their wedding and knew William from a youth. He also stated that neither William or Laura had been previously married and they both remained in marriage until William’s death. That, at least, tells me that their families stayed close together from around the 1850’s. William continued to live near his father-in-law in Lumpkin County after marrying Laura. (Samuel Gooch gave land to the Nimberwill Church to build the church)

Clip Marriage of William P and Laura Gooch Turner

Marriage record of William P. Turner & Laura A. Gooch

William P. Turner and Laura A. Gooch were married on November 14, 1867 in Lumpkin County, Georgia; their marriage was performed by Rev. M. M. Roberts.

There were five children in this marriage; Barney (1870-1923), Missouria (1873-1954), Mary (1875-?), Sarah (1878 – died bef 1881), Sara E. (1881-1939), and Dolly A. (1882-?). My line continues with the marriage of Sara E. Turner to William Clark Bryan on January 6, 1898 in Lumpkin County, Georgia. William and Laura Turner made home across from the Nimberwill Baptist Church in the Nimberwill area of Lumpkin County and are both buried in the cemetery; also buried there is daughter Missouri Turner. (I don’t have death dates on daughters, Mary or Dolly Turner – they possibly married, but I did not pursue their lines. I have death dates on son Barney but I don’t know what happened to him or where he was buried. – I have added now added a second Sarah to this family – see link to blog on Sarah E. (Turner) Bryan.

Pink Turner obit

William Pink Turner 1846-1889

William farmed during his lifetime until he became in poor health and applied for a soldier’s pension beginning in 1890. His pension applications state he was now not in good health and disabled with a weak back and kidney disease. He collected a pension up until his death on March 6, 1899. His obituary listed him as Pink Turner – it seems he went by a nickname from that unusual middle name of Pinkney.

After William’s death, Laura was accessed $75.00 dollars in taxes on Land Lots 303, 310, 311 and 371 in Dist. 5, Sect. 11 for the year 1899. There were also debts of $40.00, taxes on household and kitchen furniture of $20.00, livestock taxes of $24.00 and tools and ……. taxes for $27.00 – for a total tax due of $186.00. I find it so odd that they taxed them on household and kitchen furniture – even then they taxed you to death!

On Laura’s widow application for a pension after his death on May 27,1889, she stated that she owned the house and land left to her by her husband William. A general affidavit stated that she had no income but the real estate of $160 from the household and other property located in a mountain area and awarded to her by a verdict of the court ordinary for a few months support at the death of William. (I didn’t quite understand the wording on the last part of that verdict as it was written, and I never found out what property was located in a mountain area) She stated that she had no one to support her. Property consisted of 160 acres and value was listed at $1.00 per acre – other property was valued at about $35.00. Laura’s pension was listed as $8.00 a month, while William’s was for $12.00 – even in those times, it seems hardly enough to live on.

Turner bill receipts_0002

Itemized burial bill for Laura A. Turner Coffin 15.00, shoes 1.50, gloves .25, 2 yards ribbon .50.

After Laura died on July 29, 1914, her son Barney applied to keep the last pension to help with final expenses, but it was rejected. Their reason was that the real estate of $200.00 was sufficient to take care of her final sickness and burial expenses. He even submitted the undertaker and doctor bill to them in trying to keep the pension. I found the undertaker itemized bill quite interesting.

Obit in Dahlonega Nugget – July 31, 1914: Mrs. Laura Turner, the widow of Pink Turner, died suddenly in this county on Tuesday night. (Even in her obit, her husband was referred to as Pink Turner) Obit: “She was fixing to retire for the night in good health when the summons of death came and in a short while she lay a corpse.” (Talk about getting to the point!)

Nimberwill Church_0002

Nimblewill Church

William Pinkney and Laura A. (Gooch) Turner are both buried in the Nimblewill Church Cemetery in Nimblewill, Lumpkin County, Ga.

Nimberwill Church_0003

Nimblewill Baptist Church

Directions to Nimblewill Church and Cemetery: Take GA Highway 52-West from the Dahlonega courthouse square for about 8 miles. You will see a road sign directing you to the community of Nimblewill on the right. Take that paved road about two miles to the cross roads where the church is; the cemetery is located beside it.

Laura A Turner gravestone

Laura A. (Gooch) Turner Died July 23, 1914

I had high expectations of finding more interesting information to add from the Civil War pension records I sent for on William Pinkney Turner, but every little piece breaks down the brick wall – although his brick wall seems very solid – but maybe one day…

Nimberwill Church_0001

William P. Turner: Born April 6, 1846 – Died Mar 6, 1899

Nimberwill Church cem

Nimblewill Church and cemetery


© 2014, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
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4 Responses to Week 42: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: William Pinkney Turner and Laura A. Gooch

  1. Enjoyed reading about Pink, what you’ve found and are still searching for. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for reading – I enjoyed learning about his life snd maybe one day I’ll find his parents!

  3. Elizabeth L Nichols says:

    Hi–have you ever looked at the book “Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence” vol 7, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia by the Rev Frederick Wallace Pyne?
    It has the Pinckney name and the Turner name and the Williams name among descendants… all of interest to us.
    I am the aunt to Shanna Nichols Millis; Shanna is grandmother of Kaleb Platts and his first cousin Hunter Millis…. both grandsons of Shanna (and great-grandnephews to me).
    My cousin Lee Harvie and I have also found much of what you have in this article; and I have been seeking to find a connection to the descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence–which makes sense to me that it will exist.
    These names are found under the Signers Edward Rutledge and under Arthur Middleton.

    More another time. I just wondered since you refer to that name.

    I am also interested in the Williams and Pinckney names… as Shanna’s sister Karen is married to James (Jimmy) Picnkney Williams Jr.
    If you discover anything, please share… and we will as we continue to investigate -if you are interested.
    Elizabeth L Nichols

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