Robert and Mary Thornbrough Turner of North Carolina

Robert and Mary Thornbrough Turner Family

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Sources include: "Jefferson County, Tennessee Families and History 1792-1996," Don Mills, Inc. and the Jefferson County Genealogical Society, Inc., 1996; "A Discourse on the Thornburg Family," Charles C. Thornburg III, privately published. We have also included some information from the Ancestral File. This is a cautionary note as none of these are primary sources and may contain incorrect information. We have also included information from census records, but given the many incidents of the Turner Surname they are not necessarily the right people. We have received some information from descendants for which we are very grateful. There is a charming story of Robert Turner's origins in "Jefferson County Families...". It indicates that one John Hand was born about 1735 in Lancashire Co., England. He was sent to the American Colonies as part of the British Army about 1760 and was later either discharged or deserted and changed his name to Robert Turner. We have no idea of the truth or fiction of this story, but it is probably true that Robert Turner came from England. We suspect that the John Hand/Hahn story comes from a bogus genealogy. In the late 1800s many people had their genealogy "done" and there were many unscrupulous persons providing information (think of those who provide "coats of arms" today!) The tipoff is usually that "three brothers came to America" and the linking of the family to a famous (or infamous person). If a famous person of the correct surname could not be found then there were cases of famous people "changing their name."

Mary Thornbrough was a daughter of Walter Thornbrough of Ireland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and his wife Margaret. Hannah Thornbrough Woodward, the subject of this site, was purported to be a daughter of Walter and Margaret and would thus have been Mary's sister.

Robert Turner
born abt 1735, England
died 1796 Jefferson Co, Tn
Mary Thornbrough
born abt 1739-42 Chester Co, Pa
died probably Oh
Married: before 2/23/1765 in Guilford County, North Carolina. Mary Turner was reported on 2/23/1765 as mou (married out of unity - outside the Quaker faith). Then on 3/30/1765 Mary Thornbrough, alias Turner, of Deep River, was dismissed for marrying out of unity.

Walter Turner, born about 1765, North Carolina; married Lydia Ballinger out of unity, before 10/2/1790 Guilford Co, NC
John Turner born 8/8/1768, North Carolina; married possibly (1)Elizabeth Ferguson and (2) Hannah Ballinger
Joseph Turner born 8/17/1770 in North Carolina; married Dinah Small probably in Tennessee
George Turner, born about 1772, North Carolina; married Fanny Oakes 4/13/1808 Jefferson Co,Tennessee.
Sarah Elizabeth Turner, born about 1773, North Carolina: married James Hickman 8/5/1797 Jefferson Co, Tennessee
Jonathan Turner, born about 1774, North Carolina
Abigail Turner, born about 1776, North Carolina
Robert Turner, born about 1778, North Carolina; married Leah M. David
Dorothy Turner, born about 1780, North Carolina; married Moses Ballinger 11/14/1797 in Jefferson County, Tennessee
Margaret Turner born about 1782, North Carolina; married John Percy

The list of children comes from "A Discourse on the Thornburgs" except for Joseph who is not listed but who is given as a son in "Jefferson County, Tennessee Families..." Dates and some of the marriages have been added from the Ancestral File. The three Ballinger marriages were children of Moses and Hannah Allen Ballinger per biographies given in "Jefferson County, Tennessee Families..."

We reiterate again that much of the information on this page is from secondary sources so use caution. We would appreciate hearing from anyone who has information from primary sources. Email to Web Master Nadine on the About Us Page.

Tennessee Information

The family history given in "Jefferson County, Tennessee families..." indicates that Robert and Mary Thornbrough Turner had ten children, six boys and four girls, so our list appears complete. It also tells us they moved to Jefferson County, Tennessee, and on 2 April 1805 Robert purchased one hundred acres of land for $100 on the south side of the Holston River. This was probably son Robert Turner, as Robert, Sr. is reported elsewhere as having died in Jefferson County on 5/13/1796.

Mary Thornbrough Turner is the only one of the family (except son Walter) mentioned in Quaker records in Tennessee or North Carolina and son Walter was dismissed before the move to Tennessee. We are therefore certain that none of the rest of the family ever became Quakers.

We have placed Mary Thornbrough Turner's death place as probably Ohio as she was granted a certificate on 2/28/1807 from Lost Creek Monthly Meeting to Miami Monthly Meeting in Ohio. The certificate was received 6/6/1807 at Center Monthly Meeting in Ohio rather than Miami Monthly Meeting. She was no doubt following one or another of her children to the north. A World Family Tree file gives her death as in Greene Co, Ohio about 1820. Several of the Turner children are also given there as living in Greene County, Ohio.

North Carolina Information

The above sketch in Jefferson County Families indicates that Robert Turner, Sr. became a Quaker but we find no evidence of this.

Mary Thornbrough was reported married out of unity on 2/23/1765 at New Garden Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina [actually Rowan County until Guilford was set off in 1770]. There is then an entry on 3/30/1765 that Mary Thornbrough, alias Turner, of Deep River, was dismissed for marriage out of unity (marriage to a non-Quaker). Mary Turner made her peace with the Quakers and was reinstated at New Garden Monthly Meeting on 2/27/1767. Son Walter Turner was received by request at Deep River Monthly Meeting in Guilford County on 11/7/1785. Walter and mother Mary Turner were then charter members of Springfield Meeting in Guilford County when it was set off from Deep River in the 5th month of 1790. Walter Turnerwas dismissed for his marriage out of unity on 10/2/1790 at Springfield MM. This indicates the Turners probably lived near Springfield MM. Springfield Meeting is located in Quadrant F2 on the Guilford County Map.

On 12/5/1791 Mary Turner was granted a certificate to Westfield MM in North Carolina from Springfield, with the comment "living on the Western Waters." Westfield was one of the meetings that was receiving certificates for people living in the Holston River area of future Jefferson County, Tennessee, prior to the establishment of Lost Creek Monthly Meeting. Bear in mind that Tennessee was part of North Carolina until 1796 so records can be confusing. At the same meeting Abraham Woodward, subject of this Web Site, was appointed Clerk of the new meeting. So they obviously knew each other. Several certificates were received at Westfield MM on 1/21/1792 from New Garden, including Moses and Hannah Ballinger whose children married into the Robert Turner family (more about them below). The Quaker meeting minutes say that they were all living on the waters of Holston River and it would be more convenient for them to belong to Westfield. Mary Turner's certificate is not specifically mentioned but she is listed as one who was a member of the meeting from the date of origin. (Information in this paragraph is from "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I," by William Wade Hinshaw, and as such is a transcript of original Quaker records.)

When Lost Creek Monthly Meeting in Jefferson County, Tennessee, was established on the 20th day 5th month 1797, Mary Turner and others were appointed to attend the Quarterly Quaker meeting at New Garden in North Carolina.

Some notes on the Ballinger Family

Three of the children of Robert and Mary Turner married children of Moses and Hannah Ballinger. Moses Ballinger was son of Henry and Hannah Wright Ballinger, born 2/6/1742 (new style) probably in Monococy, Maryland. There is a rather lengthy dissertation in the "Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, Vol VI" at Fairfield MM in Virginia about the Ballinger family. It is tough to follow just to read it so we will not try to reconstruct it here, but Henry Ballinger in turn was son of Henry and Mary Harding Ballinger of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Henry, Jr. and children "such as desired to go with them" were granted a certificate to Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in North Carolina on 6/31/1751. When New Garden MM was set off from Cane Creek they were charter members and Henry and Hannah and children are listed in the records of New Garden MM. Henry Jr. was born 6/14/1695 and died 5/4/1774 per New Garden, N. C. Quaker records. The children are: Rachel b. 8/7/1727, d. 6/12/1808; Mary b. 11/10/11728; William b. 7/11/1730; Henry b. 3/5/1733, d. 2/21/1757; Hannah, b. 10/28/1735; Rebeckah b. 12/15/1738; Moses b. 12/22/1741; Martha b. 12/22/1744; John b. 11/22/1748 (dates are old style).

Moses Ballinger was dismissed from New Garden MM on 1/29/1763 for his marriage out of unity. In "Jefferson County, Tennessee Families..." the name of his wife is given as Hannah Allen. There are two articles about the Ballinger family but they are a little suspect. One of them mentions that Henry Ballinger, Sr. was one of three brothers who came to America to settle in the colony of William Penn. It is known from Quaker records that the Ballinger family first settled in New Jersey and then transferred to New Garden MM in Pennsylvania by certificate received there on 4/17/1726. Henry, Jr. then married Hannah Wright, daughter of James and Mary Wright of Monococy Valley, Md on 6/18/1726 at Nottingham Meeting House in Maryland (then under the auspices of New Garden MM in Pennsylvania). Henry and Hannah remained members of Monococy, which was assigned to Fairfax MM in Virginia and thus it is supposed that their children, including Moses, were all born in Monococy, Maryland.

A record is not found in New Garden MM, Guilford County, NC of Moses making his peace with the Quakers for his marriage, but apparently both he and his wife did so. On 1/29/1785 there is a record that Martha, Lydia, Thomas, Mary, William, Moses, and Charity Ballinger were received at New Garden MM at the request of their father Moses. On 12/25/1790 daughter Lydia Turner (formerly Ballinger) was dismissed for her marriage out of unity. Then on 10/29/1791 it is recorded at New Garden that Moses and wife Hannah Ballinger and children Martha, Thomas, William, Moses, Charity, and Henry had removed to the Waters of the Holson [Holston] River Tennessee and they were granted a certificate to Westfield MM, North Carolina. This is the certificate reported received at Westfield MM in the paragraph above about Lost Creek Monthly Meeting in Tennessee. Again, this information is from the "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I" by William Wade Hinshaw and is a transcription of original Quaker records.

More on the children of Robert and Mary Thornbrough Turner

Walter and Lydia Ballinger Turner

As mentioned above, Walter Turner was dismissed on 10/2/1790 at Springfield MM in Guilford County, North Carolina, for marriage out of unity. Also Lydia Turner (formerly Ballinger) was dismissed on 12/25/1790 at New Garden MM for the marriage out of unity. "Marriage out of unity" is a little surprising as they apparently were both Quakers. Usually the phrase "married contrary to discipline" is used when two Quakers are married outside the Quaker religion. Apparently Walter and Lydia never rejoined the Quaker church so it is quite likely they had already stopped attending and were not members in good standing at the time of their marriage. The marriage date is carried erroneously in several places as 12/25/1790 when it is clear that they were married well before 10/1790 when Walter was dismissed. Such dismissals took time. Typically two Quakers were appointed to meet with miscreants and attempt to get them to admit the error of their ways. If this was not done in a reasonable time they would then be dismissed at a regular meeting. The process could take from two to five months so we do know they were probably married sometime in 1790.

Walter Turner was born about 1764/65 in Guilford County, North Carolina (Rowan County at that date). He died 8/17/1834 at Mt. Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois. Lydia Ballenger (sic), daughter of Moses and Hannah Ballinger, was born 8/29/1770 in Guilford County, North Carolina. She died 9/15/1845 at Mt. Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois.

Walter Turner purchased 140 acres of land for $250 in Jefferson County, Tennesee on 7 April 1804 ("Jefferson Co, Tn Families...).

Because of a lack of Quaker records we turn to "Discourse on the Thornburgs" where information was submitted by a descendant on Walter and Lydia Ballinger Turner. The marriage of Walter and Lydia is given as 12/25/1790 which is erroneous, as we know they married sometime before 10/2/1790, but at any rate we know it was in 1790. In 1798 Walter received a 3000 acre grant from the State of North Carolina [later Tennessee]. However, by 1801 the family had moved to Ohio (Note the Jefferson Co, Tn History indicates they bought land in Tennessee in 1804!). The children born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, are listed as Hannah, Mary, Keziah, John, Margaret and William. Children born in Ohio are listed as Harmon, Lydia, Elizabeth, Walter, and Sarah. The line of Keziah Turner who married Thomas Beason is then carried further in the book. The sketch tells us that Walter died in 1834 in Logan County, Illinois and that Lydia died about 1842.

There is no census information available to verify their presence in Ohio in 1810 but in 1820 in Hocking Township, Fairfield County, Ohio (page 80), we find: Walter Turner, 3 males under 10; 1 male 26-45; 1 male over 45; 2 females under 10; 2 females 10-16; 1 female 16-26; 1 female under 45 (marked in wrong column?). It is possible this is not the correct Walter Turner.

There is some evidence that Walter Turner was alive and well in Fairfield County, Ohio in 1840 but it could be the wrong Walter Turner. Some of the children of Walter and Lydia are found in 1840 in Logan County, Illinois, but we do not find Lydia. Marriages of the children are found in Sangamon County, Illinois (Logan County was set off from Sangamon in 1839). John Turner married Esther McMurry 4/21/1825 (if this is the right John) and they are in Logan County in 1840: 3 males 5-10; 2 males 15-20, 1 male 30-40 (probably a brother or hired hand); 1 male 40-50; 2 females 5-10; 2 females 10-15; 1 female 15-20; 1 female 40-50. William Turner married Pheby Smith 12/30/1824 and they are found in the 1840 census: 2 males 5-20; 1 male 10-15; 1 male 30-40; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 15-20, 1 female 30-40. Walter Turner married Mary Lucas 4/7/1834 and they are found in the 1840 census: 2 males under 5; 1 male 20-30; 2 females under 5; 2 female 20-30. There were other Turner families in Logan and Sangamon Counties so again, these might not be the correct families. In particular the children of John and Hannah Ballinger Turner were probably also married in Sangamon County. Both Logan and Menard Counties were set off from Sangamon in 1839 and both Walter and John Turner apparently were in Sangamon County awhile before Logan and Menard were formed so sorting out just the children of these two families is very, very difficult (see John below).

We will continue here with information on daughter Kesiah/Keziah as we have heard from a descendant of Kesiah. "A Discourse on the Thornburgs" gives Keziah Turner, daughter of Walter and Lydia, as born June 28, 1793 in Jefferson County, Tennessee and died 4/27/1883 in Greene County, Ohio. She married Thomas Beeson (Beason) on 8/11/1814. Thomas was born 3/21/1790 and died 12/26/1856. Both Thomas and Kesiah are buried in Caesars Creek Baptist Cemetery in New Jasper. They had children Silas, Betsey Ann, Margaret, Keziah, Lavica, Susanna, Lavina, Amasa, Lydia, Tabitha, Jane, Ruth, William and Eliza.

Keziah Turner Beason married next to her cousin, Robert Turner, son of Joseph Turner, in 1867 in Greene County, Ohio, according to the Ancestral File. This is born out by the 1880 census in New Jasper, Greene County, Ohio, where we find Robert Turner, age 84, and Keziah Turner, wife, age 86, both born Tn, and parents born North Carolina. There is a William Beason family listed in Caesers Creek Township in 1880 who appears to be son William because the names of his children match some of his brothers and sisters: William L. Beason, farmer, 44, born Oh, parents born Oh; Rebecca J. Beason, wife 40, born Ohio, parents born Va; Laurie E. Beason, daughter, 20, born Oh; Amacy L. Beason, son, 19, born Oh; Liddia A. Beason, daughter, 16, born Oh; John L. Beason, son, 6, born Oh.

Our Turner contact is a double Turner descendant. Thomas and Keziah Beason's daughter Jane Beason married Samuel Bone who was a descendant of Joseph Turner (more below on Joseph).

John and Hannah Ballinger Turner

Again we have some conflicting information. The Jefferson County Family History gives John Turner, son of Robert and Mary, as marrying Elizabeth Ferguson and tells us they had six children. The Ancestral File says he married Hannah Ballinger and John is found with wife Hannah in the 1850 census in Menard County, Illinois. John was born 8/8/1768 according to the Ancestral File and died 11/22/1856 in Menard, Illinois. Hannah Ballinger was born 11/8/1767 in North Carolina, died 6/12/1857 and is buried in the Lebanon Cemetery. In the 1850 census in Menard County John is age 82, born NC and Hannah is also 82 born North Carolina, thus supporting the ancestral file birthdates. It is entirely possible that Elizabeth Ferguson was a first wife and Hannah was second wife.

According to the Jefferson County History John Turner purchased 150 acres of land on the Holston River for $100 on 16 March 1795. By 1796 he was operating a ferry on the Holston River.

Two Turners are found near John and Hannah in the 1850 census in Menard County, Illinois and are likely their sons. One is Walter Turner, born about 1802, Tennessee with wife J. born about 1808 in Ky. They had children Alfred, born abt 1824, Il; Robert, abt 1834; Drake, abt 1837; S., abt 1839 and H. born abt 1845. The other is William Turner, born about 1805 in Tn; wife E., born about 1801 in Ky; T. Turner, born abt 1833, Il; John Turner, b. about 1842; Allen, b. abt 1845; Andrew (?), b. about 1848; and Fred Turner, b. 1850 (age 2 mo). Other of their children may have been in Sangamon and/or Logan County, Illinois, as apparently John and Walter Turner and their Ballinger wives came about the same time to Sangamon Co, Ill (Logan and Menard were set off as counties from Sangamon in 1839).

World Family Tree indicates that John Turner had a son Robert. We do find a Robert Turner in 1850 but in Caesar's Creek, Greene County where other Turner children lived so are not sure he belongs to John. #1303 Robert Turner, 55, farmer, born Tn; Christena, 61, born Va. Next door to them:#1304 Leonard Turner, 21, farmer, Ohio; Hannah, 18, Ohio; Allen Turner, 17, farmer, Ohio. Leonard and Allen are probably sons of Robert Turner and indicate a descendancy from Moses and Hannah Allen Ballinger, so this Robert is probably a son of John since he is not listed among the children of Walter.

Joseph and Dinah Small Turner

As noted above Joseph is skipped as a child of Robert and Mary in both biographies given in "A Discourse..." He is given in the Jefferson County Family History "Another son of Robert Turner, Joseph, married Dinah Small. Joseph purchased thirty acres of land along Bent Creek in what is now Hamblen County. Joseph and his wife, Dinah, had three children, one boy and two girls, born in Jefferson County. In 1803, they moved to Greene County, Ohio, where they had seven more children, four boys and three girls. Joseph and Dinah are both buried in the Turner Cemetery in Greene County."

According to the Ancestral File Joseph Turner was born 8/17/1770 in North Carolina and died 5/17/1847 in Greene County, Ohio. Dinah Small was born 10/12/1774 in North Carolina, and died 10/02/1864 in Greene County, Ohio. Joseph is buried in the Turner Cemetery in Greene County.

Joseph and Dinah had a daughter Rhoda Turner, born in Jefferson County, Tn, who married a Thomas Bone. According to a descendant Joseph and Dinah also had a daughter Mary born 8 January 1801 in Jefferson County and died 22 Feb 1855 Poweshiek Co, Iowa, who married Valentine Bone on 4 Oct 1827 in Greene Co, Ohio. A descendant of Joseph and Dinah gives a Samuel Bone as marrying their daughter Tabitha.

Valentine Bone and wife Mary Turner Bone, daughter of Joseph and Dinah, are found in Greene County, Ohio, Xenia Township in 1850: #588 Valentine Bone, 40, farmer, born Oh; Mary, 49, born Tn; Thomas, 18, born Oh; Sarah, 15, Oh; Adison, 13, Oh; Moses, 10, Oh. They also had a son Samuel Bone found in Greene County: #675 Samuel Bone, 21, farmer, born O; Jane, 18, born O. Samuel Bone married Jane Beason, daughter of Thomas and Keziah Turner Beason. Keziah was daughter of Walter and Lydia Ballinger Turner, above. Samuel Bone is living next to his grandparents: #670 Samuel Bone, 71, blacksmith, born Pa; Martha, 70, born NC; Margaret, 22, Ohio; Cynthia, 6, Ohio.

According to a World Family Tree file Joseph and Dinah also had a son Elijah Turner born about 1815 in Greene County, Ohio. In 1850 in Caesar's Creek, Greene County, Ohio, we find:#1384 Elijah Turner, 35, farmer, born Ohio; Francis, 33, Oh; Hannah, 7, Oh; Elizabeth, 3, Oh; John, 1, Oh; Dianna Turner, 75, born Tn. Elijah's birthdate is recorded at Center Monthly Meeting in Ohio as 11/17/1815 but he is the only one of Joseph's children recorded there so perhaps some records have been lost.

George and Fannie Oaks Turner

There is a short biography of George Turner, son of Robert and Mary Turner in "A Discourse...". It says that George Turner married Fannie Oaks on 4/13/1808 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. They evidently went immediately to Ohio as their first child was born in Ohio. Children were: Joshua, Joseph, Jonas, George, William Riley, Robert and John. Both George and Fannie evidently were deceased before 1850 if Ohio was indeed their place of residence.

Sarah Elizabeth Turner Hickman

We attempted to locate James Hickman in census records through 1850 but the name is far too common to identify him. We did find a World Family Tree file that gives James's death as 1841 in Greene County, Ohio and Sarah's death as 1835 in Greene County. They have a long list of children including a Robert Turner Hickman. We did not find Robert Turner Hickman in the 1850 census but did find another purported son of Elizabeth and James: #1341 Caesar's Creek, Greene Co, Oh, Laban Hickman, 44, born Tn; Catharine, 42, born Oh; Minerva, 16, Oh; Calvin, 15, Oh; Sarah, 13, Oh; Lydia, 11, Oh; Elizabeth, 10, Oh; William, 7, Oh; Joseph, 5, Oh. Since Laban was born about 1806 Tenn the Hickman family may be the one that Mary Thornbrough Turner accompanied to Ohio in 1807.

Dorothy Turner Ballinger

Dorothy Turner was born about 1780 in North Carolina. She married Moses Ballinger, son of Moses and Hannah Allen Ballinger, on 11/14/1797 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. There is a brief biography in the Jefferson County Family Histories. It states that the Moses Ballinger family moved to Jefferson County, Tennessee about 1796. We know from Quaker records (above) that they were already living on the waters of the Holston River by 1791. A line is given originating with Aaron Ballinger, son of Moses and Dorothy Ballinger. Aaron was born 14 October 1811 in Tennessee and married 18 August 1830 in Grainger County to Sarah Dobbins, born 29 April 1813. They had 11 children: Henry, Francis Marion, Orlena, William H., Mary Ann, Elkana, Winfield, Sarah Jane, Cordelia, Livinia, and Amanda. Aaron and his son Francis both served in the Civil War.

This one is a little troublesome. We do indeed find in 1850 in Jefferson County: #864 Aaron Ballinger, 39, farmer, born Tn; Sally, 37, Va; Henry, 18, Tn; Marion, 17, Tn; Orlena, 14, Tn; William, 12, Tn; Mary Ann, 10, Tn; Elkana, 3, Tn; Winfield, 1, Tn. Next door is a Jackson Ballinger, age 35, and family. The troublesome part of this is that in that time period it was very usual to honor family members in the naming of the children. We find another Aaron Balinger in Decatur County, Tennessee, due west: #27 Aaron Balinger, 38, farmer, born Tn; Martha, 35, Tn; John, 15, laborer, Tn; William, 13, Tn; Silas, 11, Tn; Henry C., 9, Tn; Moses, 6, Tn; Nancy, 4, Tn; Mary, 2, Tn; Robert F, 11/12, Tn. We strongly suspect this is the correct Aaron and children were named after father Moses Ballinger, and grandfather, Robert Turner. Near this Aaron we also find Moses Ballinger: #22 Moses Balenger, 69, farmer, born North Carolina; Sabitha, 40, born Tn; Anna J., 2, born Tn. This appears to be father Moses Ballinger with a second wife and new child. This matches the approximate birthdate and place of Moses Ballinger who married Dorothy Turner. There is of course no real proof but we have found many errors in the Jefferson County Family Histories.