My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born 129 years ago on March 12, 1888, in Lowndes County, Alabama. She died on August 13, 1974 in Detroit, Michigan. You can read more about my grandmother in this post Fannie Mae Turner Part 1.
I am the same age as my grandmother was when we posed together on her back steps. Looking at the photograph below of me and my granddaughter made me think about the endless circle and the passage of time.
While looking for a death record on Ancestry for Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Joseph and Luella Turner, instead I found the Will of her father, my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama. I had looked for his Will before without finding it. Below are the Will and a transcription.
Will of Joseph Turner
State of Alabama County of Lowndes
Know all men by these presents that, I, Joseph Turner, of said county of Lowndes, being in good health, and of sound mind, realizing the uncertainty of life, and wishing to provide for my younger children during their minority, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.
I will that ll my just debts be paid by my executrix here – in after named, as soon after my death as she can conveniently pay.
I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Luella Turner all of my estate, both real, personal and mixed in Trust for the use and benefit of herself and my minor children, during their minority, equally, until my youngest child then living shall have reached the age of twenty-one years.
After my youngest child then living, shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years, my will is, that all of my estate of every description be divided equally, share and share alike, between my said wife, Luella Turner and all my children, and in the event any of my said children die, before such division takes place, leaving a child or children, him or her surviving, then such share as my said child should have received if living, shall go to his or her children.
I do nominate and appoint my said wife, Luella Turner to be the executrix of this my last will and testament without band. Expressly exempting her from all liability to any person or court for any misuse of any personal property belonging to my estate, and for any and all rents which may accrue during the said minority of my youngest then living child. Except, my said wife again marry, in that event, and from the date of such marrying again by my said wife Luella, she shall be held strictly accountable for the proper use and distribution of my estate as herein before set out.
In testimony whereof I set my hand and seal, this 11 day of December 1909.
Joseph (his mark X) Turner (Seal)
Signed, sealed and published as his last will and testament by the said Joseph turner in our presence, and we in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, at his request, on this the 11 day of December 1909.
Jos. R. Bell
Filed for Probate in office this the March 10, 1919
Judge of Probate Court
Testimony of Joseph R Bell.
The State of Alabama, Lowndes County } Probate Court
In the matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner Deceased.
Before me, W.H. Lee, Judge of Probate Court in and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared in open Court Jos. R. Bell, who having been by me first duly sworn and examined, did and doest depose and say that he and S.M. Salley subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing now shown to the said affiant and which purports to be the last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner, deceased, lat an inhabitant of this count; that the said Joseph Turner since deceased signed and executed said instrument on the day the same bears date, and declared the same to be his last will and testament, and that affiant set his signature thereto, on the day the same bears date, as a subscribing witness to the same, in the presence of said testator and at his request, and in the presence of each other, and that said testator was of sound mind and disposing memory and understanding, and, in the opinion of affiant, fully capable of making his said will at the time the same was so made as aforesaid. And deposent further states that said testator was, on the day of the date of said will, of the full age of twenty-one years and upward and a resident of this county.
Jos. R. Bell
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28 day of April W. D. 1919.
Judge Probate Court, Lowndes County
Filed in office April 28 – 1919: The State of Alabama, W.H. Lee Judge of Probate
Lowndes County, I, W.H. Lee, Judge of the Probate Court in and for the county and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the within instrument of writing has this day in said court and before me as the Judge thereof been duly proven by the testamony of Jas. R. Bell subscribing witness, to be the genuine last will and testament of Joseph Turner, deceased and that said will, together with the proof thereof, has been recorded in my office in Book No D of Wills at page 248.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Probate Court on this the 28th Day of April A.D. One thousand nine hundred and nineteen.
Joe Turner was my maternal grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s grandfather. This is his timeline as I continue to investigate his life and that of his community in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama.
I found the Index of Deeds, Mortages etc. for Lowndes County online at familysearch.com. Joe Turner is listed both buying and selling and mortgagine propery, as are several others who were formerly enslaved on Wiley Turner’s plantation. When I order the microfilm of the actual records I will be able to see dates and names and other information.
Sources for the information below is in italics at the end of the entries. All took place in Lowndes County, most in Hayneville area.
1841 Born into slavery in Alabama.
1853 Age 12. Appears as “Joe (white)” in list of enslaved with ages and valuation. Wiley Turner estate file page 657.
1855 Age 14. Lists of enslaved and livestock divided for heirs. Wiley Turner estate file page 717.
1857 Dec Age 16 “Valuation of entire slave property of decd- names of…” Joe appears as “Yellow Joe”Wiley Turner estate filepage 796.
There are four lists from different dates for doctors visits to the enslaved on the Turner plantation. Sometimes those treated are named and sometimes they are just referred to as “Negroes”. I have added the ages of those who are named based on other lists from the estate files.
Dr. C.B. Lampley was the doctor listed for this time period. Lampley was born in 1830 in Richmond County, NC. His family relocated to Alabama by 1850. He married Thurza Rudolph of Lowndes County. They had two children. In the 1860 census he enslaved four people, a 35 year old mulatto woman, a 30 year old black man, a fifteen year old mulatto girl and a 14 year old black male. They lived in two dwellings. He joined the Confederate Army where he became a surgeon. He was lamed and later resigned due to diabetes and general debility. During 1854 and 1855 he visited the Turner plantation to treat the enslaved – pulling teeth, lancing abscesses, bleeding and dosing with medication.
Recently I decided to find the plantation where my 2X great grandparents, Joe and Emma Turner were enslaved. I started by looking at white Turners in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama where my family lived in 1870. I found Wiley Turner and his brother Thomas Turner. Both died in 1851. Wiley’s estate file contained several lists of those enslaved on his plantation. I found a Joe. I believe this is my Joe because there was only one Joe Turner in the area, because he is the right age and because he was described as “white”, and my great great grandfather Joe Turner was very light skinned.
Of the four lists, this first one is the most complete in that it includes names, ages and monetary worth. I will be writing more about the Turner plantation and those who were once enslaved on it, as I continue to try and piece together the lives of Joe and Emma Turner and others in their community.
Inventory; and Appraisement of the Est. of Wiley Turner, Deceased. February 1852. Those in maroon were set aside for his widow, Francis Turner.
Sex Name Aged Worth
1. Boy Andrew 20 $850.00
2. Girl Fanny 20 750.00
3. Boy Lewis (Tyus) 24 750.00
4. Girl Amy 29 550.00
5. Boy Mordicai 20 875.00
6. Girl Leah 20 650.00
7. Boy Billy (Tyus) 22 850.00
8. Girl Martha 20 700.00
9. Boy Toney 25 600.00
10. Woman Ellen & child 40 400.00
11. Girl Abby 14 550.00
12. Girl Little Margaret 13 500.00
13. Boy Alfred 22 700.00
14. Woman Maria & child Ranson 30 500.00
15. Girl Little Jane 9 250.00
16. Girl Louisa 4 250.00
17. Girl Adella 2 175.00
18. Man Doctor 55 240.00
19. Woman Mary 50 175.00
20. Girl Eliza 14 600.00
21. Girl Minerva 12 450.00
22. Girl Amanda 10 350.00
23. Man Lewis 18 750.00
24. Woman Lucy 30 400.00
25. Man Adam 22 500.00
26. Girl Mary Ellen & boy Edward 18 800.00
27. Man Jack 30 350.00
28. Woman Big Margaret 25 650.00
29. Boy Jesse (Tyus) 20 900.00
30. Woman Elizabeth 23 650.00
31. Man William 50 400.00
32. Woman Rachell 50 200.00
33. Boy Little Charles 8 450.00
34. Girl Susan 18 700.00
35. Girl Eliza 34 400.00
36. Girl Harriett 5 225.00
37. Man Sam 35 400.00
38. Woman Lyddy 30 400.00
39. Boy Henry (May) 19 900.00
40. Woman Ellen Brown 25 500.00
41. Man Robbin 25 800.00
42. Woman Cherry & child Louisa 36 400.00
43. Boy Prince 5 350.00
44. Woman Rachell (Patten) 28 700.00
45. Boy Robert 11 500.00
46. Boy Frank 6 300.00
47. Woman Maria Ann 16 700.00
48. Man Charles (Rugely) 23 850.00
49. Woman Rose & child Gabril 28 650.00
50. Boy Washington 14 700.00
51. Man John 24 800.00
52. Woman Nelly 49 200.00
53. Boy Abram 16 900.00
54. Man Big Jesse 26 450.00
55. Girl Jane 18 700.00
56. Girl Hager 23 500.00
57. Girl Abegail & child Ema 23 400.00
58. Woman Old Rachell 60 100.00
59. Man Frederick 23 850.00
60. Woman Clara & child Alford 35 500.00
61. Girl Sylvia 12 500.00
62. Girl Lucy 12 450.00
63. Girl Alice 8 350.00
64. Boy Freeman 6 350.00
65. Boy Harrison 6 350.00
66. Girl Julia Ann 3 200.00
67. Boy Henry (Turner) 18 875.00
68. Man Old Jim 45 400.00
69. Woman Menty 45 300.00
70. Boy Daniel 3 200.00
71. Man Ben 33 800.00
72. Woman Mary McQueen 28 500.00
73. Boy Harry 12 550.00
74. Woman Hannah 55 200.00
75. Boy George 13 600.00
76. Woman Betsey & child Caroline 23 800.00
77. Girl Phillis 8 375.00
78. Girl Peggy 3 225.00
79. Man Achilles 43 650.00
80. Woman Mariah Mosely 35 450.00
81. Girl Elvira 14 650.00
82. Boy Jim Swagert 18 800.00
83. Man Wilson 28 850.00
84. Woman Yellow Jinny 45 400.00
85. Man Martin 26 1,100.00
86. Woman Letty 21 300.00
87. Man Hardy 56 250.00
88. Boy Nelson 15 750.00
89. Boy Cary 13 700.00
90. Boy Lloyd 17 700.00
91. Boy Austin 16 800.00
92. Boy Long George 19 350.00
93. Boy Isaac 10 350.00
94. Boy Joe (white) 15 650.00
95. Boy Jim Patton 14 700.00
96. Woman Milly 55 150.00
97. Man Edmond 38 600.00
98. Man Tom 40 600.00
99. Boy Ned 11 475.00
100. Girl Emeline 9 350.00
101. Man Yellow John 24 875.00
102. Woman Yellow Milly 30 800.00
103. Boy Anthony infant (included with Milly)
104. Boy Little William 10 450.00
105. Boy Carter 6 350.00
106. Boy Braxton 4 250.00
107. Woman Alcey 40 200.00
108. Old Man Turner 65 1.00
109. Boy Frank (blind) 18 1.00
Joe and Emma Turner were the parents of Howard Turner who was my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s father. You can see other posts about my Turner’s below.
My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner was enumerated in the 1866 Alabama State census with his family of five living in Lowndes County, Alabama. In the 1870 census they were enumerated In Hayneville, Lowndes County. Joe was a farmer with $300 worth of personal goods. Neither he nor his wife Emma could read or write. The children were Lydia 8, Howard 7 (my great grandfather), Fannie 6, Joe 3 and Annie born in August of that year.
Another photograph that I am seeing for the first time, of my maternal grandmother Fannie Mae Turner soon to be Graham. Written on the back of the postcard type photograph, it says “Fannie M. Turner before marriage”
After watching Episode 3 of Many Rivers to Cross in which the Civil War; black soldiers, contraband; freedom; 40 acres and a mule; suffrage and loss of it; the all black town of Mount Bayou, MS; lynching and finally Plessey vs. Ferguson were discussed, it took me a minute to come up with a tie in to my own family history to write about.
I began to think about my 2X Great Grandfather Joe Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama and how important land was to him and how it caused a riff between him and his son, my Great Grandfather Howard Turner. Something we always wondered about was how Joe Turner ended up with land at the end of the Civil War. Someone suggested it must have been Homestead Land. There is no indication that it was. I am going to write about Joe and Emma (Jones) Turner and their land.
As I started organizing materials, I looked to see if I could find any new information. In Mildred Brewer Russell’s book, “Lowndes Court House” on page 127 she says “Prominent Negro politicians during the carpetbag regime were Joe Turner, Oliver Marast, Jasper Cottrell, James Jackson, Tom Cook, Hamp Shuford, Frank Streety, Adam Lundy, Sam Robinson, Jule Cottress, Jerry Cook, Billy Spann, Cyrus Miles, Johnson Rambo, Robert McCord, Hope Harris, John W. Jones, and the three Carson brothers, Hugh, Will and Warren.” I wanted to find a record, another book, something that validates that the Joe Turner mentioned in the book, was my 2X Great Grandfather, Joe Turner.
I had no luck with the politics, aside from his name on a list of registered voters, but within 24 hours I found 2 new documents on Ancestry.com – the 1866 Colored Population Census and an Agricultural Census form for Joe Turner for 1880. Online I found a copy of a court case involving a land case between my 2X great grandfather and his son, my great grandfather.
When shots were fired on Fort Sumter and the Civil War began in 1861, Joe and Emma (Jones) Turner were slaves in Lowndes County, Alabama on an unknown plantation. When the war ended and they were enumerated in the 1866 colored population census, they had 3 children under 10 – my great grandfather Howard who was 3 years old, his sisters, 2 year old Fannie and 4 year old Lydia. Joe and Emma were 25.
In 1870 they were farming. There were 2 more children, 3 year old Joe and 10 month old Anna. Neither of the adults could read or write. None of the children were old enough for school. Their personal estate was worth $300.
In the 1880 State Agricultural Census they farmed 76 acres, which they rented for cash. Farm implements and equipment were worth $100. Their livestock was worth $460 and included 2 milch cows; 12 other cattle (7 purchased in 1879 and 1 that died.); 20 swine; 36 barnyard fowl, who produced 100 eggs in 1879; 1 horse and 4 mules. They grew 25 acres of Indian corn, yielding 300 bushels; 50 acres of cotton, yielding 12 bales and 1 acre of sugar cane, yielding 48 gallons.
In 1880 US Census 16 year old Howard was clerking in a store. Joe Jr. was 13 and in school. Their sister Fannie no longer appears in the census and perhaps she was married. Although I haven’t found a death record for her, I know that she died young. Several of her brothers named their daughters for her. My grandmother Fannie Mae Turner, was named for her Aunt Fannie. But that is getting ahead of myself. Another son, 7 year old Alonza Turner, had joined the family since 1870.
Howard Turner and Jennie Virginia Allen were married in June of 1887. My mother told me this story: Howard’s father, Joe Turner, gave them land to farm in Lowndes County, Alabama. Joe wanted the land to stay in the family forever. By 1890 Joe and Howard were arguing constantly about Howard and Jennie’s desire to sell the land and move to Montgomery. The day of the fateful barbque the arguments had been particularly violent. Jennie was in Montgomery visiting her parents with their two young daughters, when word came that Howard had been shot dead at the bar-b-que.
According to the court record, Joe and Howard had agreed to purchase some land together. They both promised to pay an equal share. When it came time to pay, Howard refused and Joe paid all of it. In 1896, my 2X great grandfather, Joe took Howard to court to recover his money. During the trial, Howard died. His youngest child, Daisy, was not yet 1 year old. The Court case against Howard was revived against his heirs and the Court ordered Howard’s interest in the land sold to pay the lien Joe had gotten in the Chancery decree in 1897.
In 1915 Daisy Turner brought a case before the Alabama Supreme Court to ask that she receive her inheritance from the sale of the land the original case concerned. By that time, 15 year had passed, Joe and Howard Turner were both dead. His second wife had moved to Montgomery with their children. Daisy did not win her case. I think because her father hadn’t paid for his share of the land and so there was nothing to inherit. It seems that the land was sold after the first case. I will have to see if I can find the records of that case.
By 1900 Joe owned his own farm, although it was mortgaged. Emma could read and write, although Joe could not. She had given birth to 10 children. Only 3 were still living, Joe Jr., Alonzo and Lydia. Lydia’s two children, Anna Lisa and Joseph Davis, were enumerated with their grandparents.
Emma (Jones) Turner died around 1901. In 1902 Joe Turner, who was then 60 years old, married Luella Freeman who was 29 years old. He continued to farm and they had 9 children before he died at about 80 in 1919. By 1930 Luella and most of her children were living in Montgomery. I hope the land went to one of the older boys but I don’t think so.
Dock Allen was my great great grandfather. He was born a slave in Georgia about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1909. He was a cabinet maker. You can read more about Dock Allen here Dock Allen’s Story.
I have no photographs of my great grandparents William Graham who was born about 1851 or his wife Mary Jackson Graham born about 1856. Both were born in Alabama and died dates unknown. William Graham was a farmer. They were my grandfather Mershell C. Graham’s parents. I know very little about them but I have been gathering information which I will post soon.
I do not have photographs of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s paternal grandparents. Her grandfather Joseph Turner was born in Alabama about 1839. He died in Lowndes County, AL in 1919. He was a farmer and owned his own land. His wife Emma Jones Turner was born about 1840 in South Carolina and died about 1901 in Lowndes County Alabama. You can read more about them here, Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County, Alabama.
Frank Cleage was born around 1816 in North Carolina. He was enslaved on the plantation of first Samuel Cleage and then his son Alexander Cleage. I do not have a picture of Frank Cleage and have no stories about him. His name appears on my great grandfather, Louis Cleage’s death certificate.
In the 1870 Census he was living with his wife, Judy and six children, including my great grandfather, in Athens, Tennessee. I also have a marriage record for Frank and Judy dated 20 August, 1866. I don’t know if they were married before and the children are theirs or if they came together after slavery. Judy was born about 1814.
They were both born in slavery and lived most of their lives as slaves but they lived to see freedom and to see their children free.
No photograph of Louis Cleage B. 1852 in Tennessee and died 1919 in Indianapolis, IN. Louis and Celia were my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s parents. Louis was a laborer. You can read more about Louis Cleage here – Lewis Cleage – Work Day Wednesday.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was born into slavery about 1855 in Virginia. She died about 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. She was a cook. You can read more about Celia Rice Cleage here Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.
I do not have photographs of my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed who was born about 1849 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1911 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was my grandmother Pearl’s mother.
Anna’s mother Clara, my great great grandmother, was born 1829 in Kentucky and died after 1880 in Kentucky. I need to write them up. You can see some of their descendents here My Father’s Mother’s People.