Category Archives: Lowndes County

Joe Turner & Wife Emma Turner Convey Land – 1872

Deed Record Book H. Click each image to enlarge.

Recently I went to the nearby Family Search Center to look at some Lowndes County Alabama property records from the 1870s on microfilm. I hoped to find more details about  Joe and Emma Turner, my 2X great grandparents. I also planned to look at records for other formerly enslaved Turners mentioned in Wiley Turner’s probate record.

There were five rolls of microfilm waiting for me. It was by no means a large research center.  It is actually a few rooms in the educational part of the Church of Latter Day Saints. In a small room there were three computers. Next to it was another small room with a microfilm machine. A local Family Search volunteer opened the building for me and got me started. She loaded the roll into the reader, showed me how it worked and advised me to put a phone book under a piece of paper if the document was hard to read. Then she went to the next room to work on her family history.

After scrolling through to page 238, which I thought was the page I was looking for in Book H, I discovered that there was nothing about the Turners on that page, nor on the pages before or after. I scrolled back to the index. At this point the scrolling was making me feel slightly motion sick but I chewed some gum and kept going. Looking at the index, I found the Turners listed with the “Ts” under a letter “O” on page 97. Very confusing. However, that was actually the page I was looking for and it was full of information about the land deal. There was even a drawing of the property that changed hands. I took photos of the various pages, not very good ones it turned out.

Index with page number for the record I wanted.

As the next roll of film was being loaded, a thin belt separated from wherever it was supposed to be.  The microfilm machine was broken. It was the only machine there and it was ancient. The volunteer said she will try to get it repaired and call me when it is. She also said I can keep the rolls of film there as long as I need them. That is only good if I have a machine to view it through.

Family Search plans to digitize all of their records during the next two years.  They also plan to discontinue sharing microfilm in August of this year. I do not hold out much hope for the repair of the machine, unless a local volunteer can do it.   Below is what I found.

Know all men by these presents that we, Joe Turner and Emma Turner his wife of said state and county for and in consideration fo the sum of one hundred dolars to us paid this day by Edward H. Herbert and Louisa Herbert his wife do hereby bargain, sell and convey to the said Herbert and his wife Louisa the following described lots or parcels of land lying and being within corporate limits of the town of Hayneville in said county to wit a lot of about one acre lying west and broadside of the lot now owned and occupied by the said Herbert extending west to a street running north and south by the residence of John P Streety, a lot a strip of land about twenty yards wide south of the above described lot and the said lot owned and occupied by the said Herbert containing one half acre more or less; also a lot known as the Stewart lot commencing at the south west corner of the lot on which H a Rinadi’s house stands, running east thirty five yards, thence south to a street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety by the County jail and up by the Methodist Church, thence west thirty five yards thence north to the beginning containing one acre more or less, also a lot of three fourths of an acre mor or less bounded east by the said Stewart lot south of the street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety up by the jail and Methodist Church, west by a vacant lot owned by the said Streety and north of the east half of the strip of land above described; all of said lots containing three and a half acres more or less to have and to hold to them and their heirs and assigns forever.

Witness our hands and seals this 9th day of January AD 1872.

Signed and delineated in presence of W.H. Taigler  R.McQueen

Plat map with easy to read additions by me.

Joe X (his mark) Turner. Emma Turner

Joe Turner Constable -1871, Lowndes County Alabama

In 2003 I purchased a copy of the book “Lowndes Court House – A Chronicle of Hayneville, an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820 – 1900”, a book of reminiscences by  Mildred Brewer Russell. In the chapter “Reconstruction And After, 1865 – 1900 I found my great great grandfather, Joe Turner, mentioned as one of the Negro (sic) politicians.  After that I tried to find what sort of politician he was, what office he held.  I could not find anything.

From “LowndesCourt House – A chronicle of Hayneville – an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820- 1900” Page 127 By Mildred Brewer Russell

Last week on, I found the following information. Joe Turner was elected as constable on November 7, 1871.

Google defined a constable as “…a peace officer with limited policing authority, typically in a small town.”

In 1874 Reconstruction ended in Alabama, resulting in loss of voting rights and the ability to hold elected office for black people.

Here is an interesting timeline that traces how the right to vote and hold public office was taken away from black men in Lowndes and neighboring counties. “The More You Know: A History …”  It wasn’t until 1970, 99 years from 1871, that African American John Hulett was elected  sheriff in Lowndes County.

You can read more about Joe Turner in these posts:

Timeline for Joe Turner
Joe Turner in the 1853 Probate Record for Wiley Turner
Joe Turner, Land, Mules and Courts
Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County
Joseph Turner’s Will
There were at one time 4 flourishing schools…

Enslaved & Freed Turners from the Wiley Turner Plantation

For the past week I have been immersed in the Turners who came off of Wiley Turner’s plantation in Lowndes County Alabama.  My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner, came off of that plantation.  Wiley Turner died in 1851 without a Will and so his estate was probated. The case dragged on for twenty years. There are multiple lists of the enslaved, the first in 1852.  I wrote about the one from 1853 here. The others were from 1856, 1857 and 1865.  There were also the 1850 and 1860 slave censuses, which give no names but age, sex and color (“mulatto” or “black”)

There are also records of doctors visits, some patients named and some not. There are records of how much and what was sold from the plantation during this time. There were several changes of administrators due to deaths and some disputes among members of the family about what was due them.

After the Civil War was over and Freedom came, there were new records for the formerly enslaved and now free, the 1866 census for the first time named the formerly unnamed heads of households. In the 1870 census, the whole household was named. In 1880, relationships to the head of the household were given. There were also marriage and land records.

By investigating the community and households, I want to see what happened to the people and families, both before and after slavery. Right now I am going through the material and figuring out how to present it. At first, when going through the probate record, I just looked for the names of the enslaved.  Going over it again, I realized that I could not give a picture without knowing more about what was going on around them, what crops were grown, what was sold,  what was bought and the rest of the turmoil swirling around them during that time period.  Maybe I need to start by printing out the whole file.

I have never done a project like this outside of a time crushing challenge, so we shall see how it goes.

Joseph Turner’s Will

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.

The Will of Joseph Turner appears in Will Book D,page 248,  Lowndes County, Alabama.


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 all 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 bond. 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

S.M. Salley

Filed for Probate in office this the March 10, 1919

W.H. Lee,

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.

W.H. Lee

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.

W.H. Lee Judge Probate Court Lowndes County


1854 Doctors Visits to the Turner Plantation

Turner Plantation house – Picking cotton – Slave dwelling – Lowndes County Courthouse, Hayneville AL

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 “negroe”.  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.

Click on images to enlarge for easier reading.

1854 doctor visitsDocument3

Joe Turner in the 1852 Estate File of Wiley Turner – Lowndes County, Alabama

The rebuilt plantation house of Wiley Turner. You can see more photos and information here.  No photos of the slave quarters survive.  In 1860 there were 15 slave dwellings for 75 enslaved people.  Five members of the Wiley Turner family lived in the big house.

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.

Click to enlarge.

     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

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge.

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

Click to enlarge

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.

Joe Turner – Land, Mules and Courts

Emma and Joe Turner of Lowndes County Alabama

There were at one time 4 flourishing schools in this county

“There were at one time 4 flourishing schools in this county.” 1868 Hayneville, AL

page 1 letter
“Aug 16, 1868 I have the honor to state that I have just assumed charge of the Bureau at this point and find that the spirit of abuse and austersism is uncontrollable. There were at one time 4 flourishing schools for the freed people in this county but the teachers were so much abused and threatened that they were compelled to close. Union men are openly assailed in the streets and there is no protection for person or property…”

page 2 letter
“… (ex)cept by shooting some of them (do)wn. A squad of them usually (are) together and if one is hurt (the) balance interferes in his behalf. I have the honor to ask that (a) squad of U.S. troop be (se)nt here. Their presence is one (tha)t is necessary to keep these (mi)sserable out-laws down. I think it is a duty this (gov(ernment owes her ex soldiers to (pr)otect them. waiting a favorable answer. (I) am ______ very truly your ob(edien)t Servant, W.H.Hunter A.S.A.C. fr(om Lowndes Co Ala

You can see all 13 sheets in the file on Family Search at this link, Alabama, Freedmen’s Bureau in Hayneville, Alabama.  You can enlarge both of the images above by clicking on them.

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.