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George Turner (1836-1906)
Born in Clinton Co., MI, and long time resident of Bay City.

1905 biography. - Added July, 2009.

History of Bay County, Michigan – Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


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 under his supervision, which are unexcelled in the State of Michigan. Captain Turner was born in Clinton County, Michigan, January 29, 1835, and is a son of Joseph and Emeline (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 early “thirties,” and Joseph Turner operated a gristmill at Clinton for some years and later one at Dearborn, where he remained until 1848. In that year he moved to Detroit, where he was identified at different times with the dry goods and grocery lines, in addition to operating grist-mills at Rochester and Stony Creek, 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 treasurer of the Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., of Michigan. He was united in marriage with Emeline Knox, whom he met in New York State, and they had six children 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 Episcopalians.

George Turner received his educational 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 and a 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 lieutenancy in that company. He became captain, of Company A, of the same regiment, and later captain of engineers, 1st U. S. Veterans Volunteer engineers, which regiment was authorized by a direct act of Congress and was called “General Thomas' Regiment.” He participate in the battles of Farmington, Booneville, Iuka sige 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 wounded, 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 Michigan. They had one daughter, Edith, who is the wife of Richard 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, now grown to maturity, -- G. Edwin, who is county surveyor and resides in Bay City.

Captain Turner is a member of the U. S. Grant Post, No. 67, G. A. R., of which he is past commander. He is also a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Union Veteran Legion. He 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 stanch Republican 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 has held that office ever since. He was joined in marriage with Kathleen Atkinson, a daughter of Robert Atkinson, of Bay City. Fraternally, he is a member of the Portsmouth Lodge, 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 the Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church.

1906 obituary. Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Sep. 2008.

The Bay City Tribune -- Friday, August 31, 1906 (Page 5)

Answers The Long Roll

City Engineer George Turner Expired Suddenly
Early Yesterday Morning From Heart Disease
Was for 21 Years the City's Public Builder
Veteran of City War and a Pioneer in Surveying Northern Part of State

George Turner, city engineer was found dead in his bed yesterday morning at his home 1209 Sixth street. Heart disease was the cause. When yesterday morning he failed to appear , after being usually the first person about at his home, a member of the household called him. Obtaining no response, she notified members of Mr. Turner’s family and the latter found him lying peacefully and in a natural position. Death had evidently been instantaneous and without pain or struggle. Drs. Jones and Stone were called and they gave as their opinion that death had taken place about three hours before the discovery was made.

Mr. Turner had not been well for about a year although Wednesday he was at his office in the city hall as usual and attended to his duties. He retired about 9 o’clock Wednesday night, apparently as well as at any time during the past several months. He had also been ill during the past few years at various times, once seriously. A widow and two children survive. George Turner of this city, county surveyor and Mrs. Richard Richardson, a daughter, of Midland. Mr. Turner’s death is the third in the immediate family circle within a year - Joseph Turner of this city, dying last October in Canada and William Turner, of South Bend, dying at Hot Springs, Mrs. Turner who has been ill is prostrated by the shock.

The deceased was a member of the G.A.R., the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Masons and the National League of Veterans and Sons. The funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the residence and at 2:30 in Trinity Episcopal church. Rev. Amos Watkins, officiating. Interment will be in Elm Lawn cemetery.

The flag on the city hall was placed at half mast yesterday in honor of the dead official.

George Turner was one of the oldest and best civil engineers in the state. He served Bay City in the capacity of city engineer for 21 years, uninterrupted except for a break from 1891 to 1894 when owing to political changes the council turned and appointed Jess Hartwig, who held the position for two years. He was 70 years old and in the harness until the day of his death.

Mr. Turner was born in Clinton, Branch county January 29,1836. His father was a native of England and came to this country in 1833. While his son yet young bought and operated the Dearborn mill 10 miles from Detroit. Mr. Turner received his common school education in Detroit. When 15 years old he was attached to the United States surveying service and went with a party of government surveyors to the upper peninsula, where he assisted in some of the first surveying done in that portion of the state. He also did some work in the lower peninsula. In 1856 he was appointed a United States surveyor and two years later he settled in Midland, remaining there until the outbreak of the civil war. He served there as the register of deeds and was prominent in Midland county politics.

At the outbreak of the war he enlisted at Midland going as second lieutenant of Co. B Tenth Michigan Volunteers. In January 1862 he was promoted to a first lieutenant and in August 1864 was commissioned a captain in the First United States Volunteer Engineering Corps. He was at one time attached to the quartermaster general’s department and was honorably mustered out at Nashville at the close of the war. He was wounded slightly by a spent ball at the battle of Stone River and participated in many important engagements in the central south. While fording a stream on horseback he was injured by flotsam in the swollen stream and the effects of the injury were sometimes apparent in later years.

After the war Mr. Turner remained in the south and in 1866 he won a southern bride at Chattanooga, marrying Miss Sophia Thompson a native of Georgia. In 1871 he went to Arkansas after doing work for various railroads, during the reconstruction period and was engaged in Yell county in both land and railroad work, besides being in the government service. In 1881 he came to Bay City and did some railroad work for his brother in Arenac county. In 1882 he was appointed city engineer of Bay City and served nine years when Jess Hartwig succeeded him. The latter’s term was short, the council reappointing Mr. Turner in 1894. Since that time he has served continuously.

His work in this city will stand for many years in tribute to his ability. Bay City’s brick pavements were practically all laid under his supervision. They are inspected every year by delegations from other cities who come here to view them, attracted by their fame the country over. He was often at odds with officials of the city government but his pertinacity and his good judgment have been demonstrated in the fine system of brick paving the city now possesses .

Related Pages/Notes

George Turner

Related Pages:
Trinity Episcopal Church
People Referenced
Atkinson, Kathleen
Atkinson, Robert
Hartwig, Jess
Jones, Dr.
Knox, Emeline (mother)
Lyons, Gen.
Richardson, Richard
Smith, Julia (1st wife)
Stone, Dr.
Thomas, Gen.
Thompson, Sophia (2d wife)
Turner, Albert (bro.)
Turner, Charles K.(bro.)
Turner, Edith (dau.)
Turner, Edwin (bro.)
Turner, Geo. (subject)
Turner, Geo. Edward (son)
Turner, Geo. (bro.)
Turner, Joseph (father)
Turner, Joseph Jr. (bro.)
Turner, William (bro.)
Watkins, Amos Rev.
Subjects Referenced
1st U.S. Vols Eng.
10th MI Vols, Inf., Co. A
10th MI Vols, Inf., Co. B
23d st. bridge, BayCity
Arenac Co., MI
Bay City, MI
Bay City Belt Line
Bay City, City Hall
Bay Co., MI
Belinda Bridge, Baycity
Branch Co., MI
Chattanooga, TN
Chicago, IL
Civil War
Clinton Co., MI
Dearborn, MI
Detroit, MI
Elm Lawn Cemetery
Hot Springs, IN
Midland, MI
Midland Co., MI
Nashville, TN
New York state
PMRR, railroad
Rochester, MI
Saginaw, MI
South Bend, IN
Stony Creek, MI
Trinity Episcopal Ch.
Young Co., AS
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.