J. A. Turner

The following text is from page 361 of "Portrait and Biographical Album of Ingham & Livingston Counties, Michigan", published by Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891. [Notes by Ronald R. Turner; December, 2000; the text has not otherwise been checked for accuracy.]

J. A. Turner

J. A. TURNER [1]. Lansing is now so old a city as to count among her genuine business men boys who were born and brought up within her confines, and she is proud to claim that there are none more truly enterprising and more thoroughly equipped for the battle of life, than those which she has thus nurtured from the time of their nativity. Perhaps there is no one to whom she may point with more just pride than the man of whom we are now writing, who is universally conceded to be an enterprising and public-spirited young man, and the most extensive grocer on Michigan Avenue.

Our subject was born in Lansing, October 22, 1830, his father being Amos Turner [2], a native of Washtenaw County, Mich., and his grandfather, J. A. Sr. [3], having been a farmer and an early settler in Washtenaw County. His father was reared upon the farm and came to Lansing when still a young man with his uncle, James Turner [4], who made North Lansing his home about the year 1847. The young man engaged as a clerk in his uncle's employ in a general store, and later went into a merchandise and produce business in North Lansing, building two brick blocks there. In 1879 he sold out this business and removed to Perry, Shiawassee County.

After three years in Perry, Amos Turner returned to Lansing and engaged in business here, putting in a stock of dry-goods and groceries at Nos. 117 and 119 Michigan Avenue. In 1888 he sold out the grocery department of his business to his son, J. A., and continued himself in the dry-goods business, transferring it to Seattle, Wash., where he remained until he took the position of traveling salesman for the Michigan Condensed Milk Company, which he is still serving. He was Alderman and Supervisor of the First Ward for one term and was prominent in the Masonic order.

The mother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Philena Barker, was born in Orleans County, N Y., and was a daughter of an Englishman, James Barker, who located in that county. She is a devout and earnest member of the Presbyterian Church, and the faithful and judicious mother of four children, of whom our subject is the eldest.

Having received the full advantages of the public schools of Lansing, and also having taken a course in the High School, J. A. Turner entered his fathers store at the age of seventeen, as a clerk. He had been in the store more or less from a boy up, and was thoroughly well prepared to take his place and to prove of value in the establishment. His first independent endeavor was made at Perry, before buying out his father's line of groceries here, which, as we have said, he did in 1888. He has continued to handle groceries exclusively and is building up a fine trade, so that he is now using two delivery wagons.

The charming young lady who became the happy wife of this gentleman, in 1883, was called May Campbell in her maidenhood, and she belongs to a Battle Creek family. To their home have come two little daughters - Hattie and Helen, whose care and culture is the joy of their parents. This young man is a popular member of the order of Odd Fellows and also the Knights of Pythias, and his political views lead him to affiliate with the Democratic party.

[1] John Arthur Turner (1860-1937), whose grocery store appears in the accompanying photograph.

[2] Amos Turner (1835-1896) had a home on North St. in the block just east of the Turner-Dodge House.

[3] John A. Turner (1806-1848), an older brother of James Turner.

[4] James Turner (1820-1869), who built the house now called the Turner-Dodge House.