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Guide to the Turner family papers, 1778-1929 and undated

Summary

The Turner family was based in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas. Correspondence, papers, diaries, and scrapbooks of Jesse Turner, Sr. (1805-1894), lawyer, jurist, and Whig politician of Van Buren, Ark.; his wife, Rebecca (Allen) Turner (1823-1917); their son, Jesse Turner, Jr. (1856-1919); and other members of the Turner and Allen families, relating to law practice, family history and personal matters, political activities in Arkansas and the U.S. (1840-1900), secession in Arkansas, the Arkansas Constitution of 1836, social life and customs in Arkansas, life during Reconstruction, and U.S. presidential elections of 1848 and 1860. Correspondents include prominent Arkansas attorneys Albert Pike and Absalom Fowler. There are also a number of letters between Rebecca Allen and Jesse Turner before their marriage, and letters from Rebecca to her son Jesse Jr., as well as diaries written by his mother (1857-1859) chronicling his early childhood.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.01314
Title
Turner family papers
Date
1778-1929 and undated
Extent
3.5 Linear Feet, Approx. 1316 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

Correspondence and papers of Jesse Turner, Sr., lawyer, jurist, and Whig politician of Van Buren, Arkansas; his wife, Rebecca (Allen) Turner; their son, Jesse Turner, Jr.; and other members of the Turner family, relating to law practice, family affairs, political activities in Arkansas and the U.S. (1840-1900), the Arkansas Constitution of 1836, secession in Arkansas, social life and customs in Arkansas, and life during Reconstruction. Jesse Turner Sr.'s letters on secession are especially invaluable, as are his letters and those from prominent lawyers and jurists commenting on state and national politics. Correspondents include prominent Arkansas lawyers Albert Pike and Absalom Fowler. There are also a number of letters between Rebecca Allen and Jesse Turner before their marriage, and letters from Rebecca to her son Jesse Jr.

The collection also includes legal records; school records, college letters from the University of Virginia, and other papers of Jesse Jr.; a diary belonging to Rebecca Allen Turner (1857-1859) that comments on her young son's activities; a journal of work on steamboats in the West (1840-1850); and scrapbooks relating to the presidential elections of 1848 and 1860.

For a more detailed description of the context and contents of this collection, please consult with a reference archivist for access to the Rubenstein's digitized cardfile.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Turner family papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Papers, 1778-1855
(3 folders)
Box 1
Papers, 1856-1874
(3 folders)
Box 2
Papers, 1875-1895
(2 folders)
Box 3
Papers, 1896-1914
(3 folders)
Box 4
Papers, 1915-1929 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 5
Pamphlets, and scrapbook from the presidential campaign, 1846-1848

Box contains one scrapbook and several dozen pamphlets.

Box 6
Clippings and miscellaneous papers
(2 folders)
Box 7
Scrapbook of presidential campaign, 1860
Volume L:5890
Little Jesse's Diary, 1857-1858, Van Buren, Ark., 400 pp.
Volume M:6888
Little Jesse's Diary, 1858-1859, Van Buren, Ark., 224 pp.
Volume M:6889
 

Historical Note

Jesse Turner, Sr., was born in Orange County, North Carolina in 1805 to a family of Irish immigrants. He received his legal training in Chapel Hill from William McCauley, then left Carolina in 1830. He settles in Van Buren, Arkansas, in 1838, and was elected to the state legislature in the same year as a Whig party member. He rose to prominence in state and national politics, and in 1861 he served as a delegate to the secession convention. He married Rebecca Allen Turner in 1855; in 1856 they had a son, Jesse, who died at an early age in 1919, a few years after his mother. Jesse Turner, Sr. died in 1894.

Separated Material

Separated Material

The following three volumes were transferred to the Duke University Law Library: Jesse Turner, Sr., Briefs of Suits In the Supreme Court of Arkansas, 1891-1901, 1901-1908, 1908-1911.


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Provenance

The Turner family papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as gifts and additions from 1938 to 1954.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Willeke Sandler, June 2014