ROBERT GORDON TURNER, an attorney of Oakland, was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, March 21, 1842, a son of John L. and Sarah (Bayler) Turner. The mother, a native of that State, died in Hardin county, Kentucky, at the age of seventy-seven. The father, born in Accomack county, Virginia, about 1802, a son of William and Elizabeth (Hopson) Turner, moved with his parents to Loudoun county, in 1815. Became a civil engineer, and among other jobs in that line was engaged in locating the routes of the Alexandria & Manassas Gap railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, West Virginia. He served in the Mexican war, reaching the grade of Captain, was a prominent Mason, being a member of the R.A.M., was also Worthy Chief Templar, I.O.G.T. and of good standing generally in the community. He died in Loudoun county, Virginia, in 1867. His father, William Turner, a native of Londonderry, Ireland, emigrated to America in 1783, settling in Accomack county, Virginia, where he was married. In 1815 he moved with his family to Loudoun county and built a fine mansion of stone on his plantation in the county. There his son, James L., grew to manhood, and to it upon his marriage he brought his wife, and there also did he raise his family: R. G., the subject of this sketch; William, killed in early manhood in the battle of Stone River; Hannah J., by marriage Mrs. Thomas Moore, of Knoxville, Iowa.

R. G. Turner received his early education in his native county and in due time entered the University of Virginia; but the outbreak of the civil war temporarily suspended his educational course. He enlisted in the Southern army, was raised to the rank of Lieutenant, and was acting Captain of his company in the battle of Franklin, where General Hood encountered General Thomas; and was of the army of General James E. Johnston, when he surrendered to General Sherman at Goldsborough, North Carolina, in April, 1865. After his return to his home in June, 1865, he remained without special occupation for a few months until he re-entered the University of Virginia in the fall of that year, and was graduated at that institition in 1867, having given his chief attention, in the two years after the war, to the study of law and the higher mathematics.

Mr. Turner was married near Clarkesville, Tennessee, in 1867, to Miss Mary Jane Cocke, born September 4, 1843, a daughter of Hester (Carlew) Cocke, both natives of Tennessee, and both now deceased. The father* was a member of the county court, a man of wealth and otherwise prominent in the community. He died about 1875; his widow survived until 1885, dying at the age of eighty-one years.

In 1867, Mr. Turner took charge of a young ladies’ seminary at Elizabethtown, Kentucky, which he conducted two years as principal. He then went before the Supreme Court of Kentucky and on examination was licensed to practice law in that State. He then formed a law partnership with Yancey B. Shepherd, under the style of Shepherd & Turner, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, continuing until 1872. Mr. Shepherd was Judge of the District Court for three terms. In 1872 Mr. Turner moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he practiced law until 1876, when he returned to Elizabethtown. He served as Probate Judge from 1878 to 1881, and was there engaged in law practice until 1889, when he came to Point Arena, California, and in 1890 settled in this county in the practice of his profession. Mr. Turner is a member of the Presbyterian Church and of the I.O.G.T. The children of Mr. And Mrs. Turner are: Leone, the wife of William Mills, a farmer of Montgomery, Tennessee; Sue Lizzie, the wife of Charles Lower, M. D., of Columbus, Kentucky; Jennie, aged fourteen; and Sallie Bayle, aged eleven. Their only son, R. G., Jr., died at the age of five years.

*Cocke, John married to Hester Corlew, both of Montgomery County, TN on Dec 20 1820. Clarksville Gazette. ( 23 Dec 1820 p. 3) Located at Montgomery County TNGenWeb Project. [npm]

Transcribed by Elaine Sturdevant


Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 1, page 502-503, Lewis Publishing Co., 1892.

© 2004 Elaine Sturdevant.


California Biography Project


San Francisco County


California Statewide


Golden Nugget Library