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Subject: TURNER 1415 Payne Lewis Sargent Bryan Watson Slavens Dudley Soaper Allin, Henderson Co.
Author: Sandi Gorin
Date: Thursday, July 30, 1998
Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp 631-634 [Henderson]
HENRY FIELDING TURNER, who has been a most important factor in the development of Henderson, is numbered among the valued citizens of that place and ranks among the able representatives of the legal fraternity in Kentucky. He was born in Fayette county, Kentucky, April 29, 1829, and is
connected with some of the oldest and best known families in
Virginia, Kentucky and the south generally. His grandfather, Lewis Elzey Turner, married Theodosiz Payne, daughter of Colonel Edward Payne, in Virginia, and in 1782 removed with the Lewis and Payne families (between whom there was a relationship) to Kentucky, locating in Fayette county in its pioneer days. His son, Fielding Lewis Turner, the father of Henry Fielding Turner, was born in
Loudoun county, Virginia, but was reared in Fayette county on his father's farm. He studied law and at an early age removed to Natchez, Mississippi, where he acquired a large practice, which he turned over to his youngest brother, Edward Turner, who afterward became chief justice of Mississippi. From Natchez Fielding Lewis Turner removed to New Orleans, where he practiced law and became judge of the criminal court of Louisiana. There his fearless and just enforcement of the law brought order out of chaos and
established a sense of safety where one of fear and distrust had existed. On the 21st of September, 1817, he married Caroline Augusta Sargent, daughter of Governor Winthrop Sargent of Louisiana. Later he returned to the old Kentucky homestead in Fayette county, where he practically lived a retired life, devoting his time to agriculture and literary pursuits. He died in October, 1843, survived by four children. The eldest son, Oscar Turner, was born February 5, 1825, in New Orleans, but was reared and educated in Kentucky, graduating in the law department of Transylvania University in 1846. He lived upon his farm in Ballard county, Kentucky, and was a successful lawyer in
the first judicial district, representing the commonwealth as its attorney under the constitution of 1850. He also represented his district in congress for three successive terms, being each time elected as an independent Democrat. He died in Louisville, Kentucky, in January, 1896. Henry Fielding Turner, like his brother, was graduated in the
law department of Transylvania University, at Lexington, in 1849. He was by special act of the legislature permitted to practice before his majority, and entered upon the prosecution of his profession in the year of his graduation. He was for three years a member of the bar of Lexington, and in 1852 removed to Henderson, where he has since made his home. He is thoroughly informed in the
science of legal jurisprudence, has a keen, analytical mind that has gained him marked prestige in his profession, has been very successful in his chosen work, and retained as counsel in the most important litigation in the courts of his county and state. The records of the court of appeals show his name in connection with many important cases, settling "new points" of law. His stern sense of justice is such that when he believes a client is in error he
will have nothing to do with his case. Mr. Turner has never coveted office, yet he has been the retained counsel in many of the most important enterprises of his city and county by their officials. He was the counselor of the
city of Henderson for many years, and in 1867 drafted its "new city charter," incorporating new provisions which have since proved of great benefit. The city school charter was drafted by him and arried into successful operation in the face of great opposition. The school system is now one of the best in the state and the pride of Henderson. His life has been devoted to his profession and farming; he has
never sought political preferment, yet in 1894, without his
solicitation, he was unanimously called by the People's party to become their candidate for congress. He made a vigorous canvass in the interests of the reform principles, especially on national finance, but with no hope of election. At the state convention of the People's party in 1896 he was appointed a delegate for the state at large to the national convention afterward held at St. Louis,
Missouri, which nominated Bryan and Watson for president andvice-president. After this he was selected by the Democratic and People's party committee as one of the two candidates for presidential elector for the state of Kentucky at the November election, 1896, representing
the People's party. He was not an aspirant at either honor, the positions being unsolicited. He has always been a consistent and firm supporter of the political principles advocated by Jefferson. In May, 1850, Mr. Turner was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda, the only daughter of Dr. John Slavens, of Harrodsburg, a successful physician and graduate of the medical department of Transylvania University in 1825, under Dr. Benjamin Dudley. Mr. and
Mrs. Turner have had five children: Sophy, wife of William Soaper, of Henderson, now deceased; Josephine, wife of Benjamin C. Allin, of Chicago; Mary, wife of William W. Shelby, of Henderson; Fielding Lewis Turner, who was graduated in the law department of Union University, of New York, in 1876, and engaged in the practice in Henderson for a few years, but is now engaged in extensive farming
in Ballard county, Kentucky; and Lucy, wife of Chapman T. Blackwell, of Henderson. There are now a number of grandchildren who add happiness to the old family homestead.
Mr. Turner joined the Christian church at an early age; his
wife and children are members of the Protestant Episcopal church. In 1849 he became a member of the Masonic fraternity, was made a Knight Templar in Webb Encampment, in Lexington, in May, 1850, and was master of Good Samaritan Lodge, in 1852. Mr. Turner is a man of domestic tastes who finds his greatest enjoyment in his home, where he is surrounded by his family and friends, to whom he delights to extend the warm-hearted [sic] hospitality so characteristic of the southern mansion. He is himself a true type of the chivalrous, aristocratic old southern
gentleman whom all delight to honor. He resides upon his farm adjoining the city limits of Henderson, and is devoted to agricultural and horticultural pursuits, which he makes his source of recreation. The old place has been his home for over forty years, and each tree and flower there is to him a familiar and loved friend.