Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JOSEPH HENRY TURK. It is oftentimes considered by those in the habit of superficial thinking that the history of so-called great men only is worthy of preservation and that little merit exists among the masses to call forth the praises of the historian or the cheers and appreciation of mankind. A greater mistake was never made. No man is great in all things and very few are great, even especially competent, in many things. Some by a lucky stroke achieve lasting fame, who before that had no reputation beyond the limits of their neighborhoods. It is not a history of the lucky stroke that benefits humanity most, but the long study and effort which made the lucky stroke possible. It is the preliminary work, the method, that serves as a guide for the success of others. Among those enterprising men of Greene county who have forged ahead along well-established lines, gradually mounting to the ladder's summit by earnest, honest endeavor is Joseph Henry Turk, the present efficient and popular postmaster of Ash Grove and for many years a well-known hardware dealer of that city.

Mr. Turk was born in Lawrence county, Missouri, October 18, 1871. He is a son of Thomas B. and Sarah Jane (Stotts) Turk. The father was born in Cumberland county, Kentucky, in 1834, and there grew to manhood, received his education and resided until about 1865 when he emigrated to Missouri and located in Lawrence county, where he engaged in general farming until about eighteen years ago when he returned to Kentucky, and engaged in the real estate and insurance business in Bowling Green, that state, until his death on August 14, 1914. Politically, he was a Democrat. He belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was a member of the Presbyterian church. He and Sarah Jane Stotts were married in 1865. She was born in Cumberland county, Kentucky, about 1840, and there she was reared and educated and they were married in their native locality. Thomas B. Turk and wife were the parents of five boys and one girl, namely: James; Joseph H.; Lee; Luther; Loren and Hiram.

Joseph H. Turk, of this sketch, grew up on the home farm where he worked when a boy, and he received his education in the common schools. Having a natural inclination to machinery he secured a position in an implement house, and later was a traveling salesman for a champion implement firm for three years, giving it entire satisfaction and doing much to increase its prestige in the territory to which he was assigned. In 1892 he launched out in the hardware business in Ash Grove where he has remained ever since and has built up a large and growing trade which extends all over this section of the country. He has always carried a large and well-selected stock of general hardware and farming implements.

Mr. Turk has manifested an interest in public affairs for some time, and on July 13, 1913, he was appointed postmaster at Ash Grove, and is discharging the duties of the same in a manner that reflects much credit upon himself and to the satisfaction of the people and the department. Politically, he is a Democrat, and he has been a committeeman for eight years and is active and influential in the affairs of his party. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, and is now worshipful master of the local Blue Lodge; he is also a member of the Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Zabud Council, Royal and Select Masters, and the Order of the Eastern Star. He is one of the active and prominent Masons in this part of the state. Religiously he belongs to the Presbyterian church.

Mr. Turk was married on April 22, 1896, to Laura Barham, who was born in Ash Grove, in September, 1873, and here grew to womanhood and was educated. She is a daughter of Mr. W. F. and Mrs. T. E. Barham, natives of Missouri. Mr. Barham devoted his active life to farming. His family consists of six children.

To Mr. and Mrs. Turk the following children have been born: Seth, is attending the Springfield high school; Harold is attending the high school in Ash Grove; Richard is in the public school; Geraldine is also a school pupil; and Helen, who is the youngest.

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