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MAJOR SQUIRE TURNER From a Portrait " - The Filson Historical ...

MAJOR SQUIRE TURNER From a Portrait " - The Filson Historical ...

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MAJOR SQUIRE TURNERLAWYER, STATESMAN, AND ECONOMISTBY JONATHAN TRUMAN DORRISEastern Kentucky State CollegePaver read before The Fi/son Club on December 5. 1949For the third time I have the honor and privilege of bringingto you a contribution to history from Madison County, Kentucky.On my first appearance I related some events of the War Betweenthe States in that county. Five years ago my subject was "WilliamChenault: Citizen, Teacher, and Historian.''1 Now for thesecond time in this hall I acclaiin the fortunes and achievements ofanother native Madisonian, perhaps more worthy than the other.I heartily approve the policy of The Filson Club in keepingalive the knowledge of little known Kentuckians of the past andtheir part in the history of the State and Nation. The writersof school books keep fresh in our memories men like Daniel Boone,Henry Clay, John Cabell Breckinridge, Henry Watterson, andmany other noted Kentuckians; but heroes like David Rice, BasilDuke, Robert J. Breckinridge, Squire Turner, and a host of otherearly prominent Kentuckians are seldom mentioned. Any historianknows that great events and movements are largely shapedby the lesser leaders of society. If we use our imaginations fullythis evening, therefore, we shall see passing in an interestingpageant of Kentucky history, a hero of no mean stature, whoplayed his role vigorously and ably, and who should not beforgotten.The earliest American Turners were of good English stock.John Turner and a son came over in the Mayflower in 1620.Neither father nor son survived the rigors of the first Pilgrimwinter on Cape Cod Bay. In 1621 another son of John cameto Plymouth, and from him Major Squire Turner---lawyer,statesman, and economist, was descended. •By the time of the American Revolution descendants of theseNew England Turners were in North Carolina. There Squire'sfather, Thomas, and his grandfather, John, enlisted in the Continentalarmy, serving, apparently, in the First North CarolinaRegiment. A story has come down to the present generationof Turners that a small company of Tories captured the youthfulThomas the night after his enlistment. Some hours later, whilehis captors slept, Thomas took the Tories' weapons and at dawnmarched his enemies off as prisoners of war.At the close of the Revolution, veteran Thomas Turner and33

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