Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
GRANVILLE W. TURNER. To be employed nearly a half century by one firm, continuously, is a record of which few citizens of Springfield and Greene county can boast, Granville W. Turner has been connected with the bridge building department of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company since 1866, and for forty years has been in charge of that department. He would not only have had to proved himself to be an expert in his line, but also a man courage, fidelity, integrity and industry to have been retained during so a period. He is one of the most widely known Frisco employees. He is a man who has always valued his good name and today takes pleasure in feeling that he has won the respect of his fellow workers and acquaintances by his course in life.
Mr. Turner was born in Knox county, Missouri, January 3, 1843. He is a son of Granville D. and Maria (Taylor) Turner. The father was born in the mountains of Kentucky and the mother was a native of Ohio, but she came to Harrison county, Kentucky, when young. These parents were married in Quincy, Illinois. Our subject's father and the first governor of Illinois came to Quincy together. Mr. Turner became a large land owner. He was a cabinet maker by trade. Leaving the Prairie state in an early day, he located in Knox county, Missouri and he and his wife died in this state. He was a minister in the Christian church, an old-time circuit rider, and preached among the pioneers. Politically, he was a Democrat. His family consisted of nine children, named as follows: The eldest child died in infancy; William is deceased; Mary; Emma; Granville W., of this sketch; James, deceased; Reuben, deceased; George and May E.
Mr. Turner of this review received a limited education in the common schools, and he grew up on the farm in Knox county, where he worked when a boy. He has worked hard and is a self-made man in the best sense of the term. In his youth he learned the carpenter's trade. In September, 1861, he enlisted for service in the Civil war, at Rolla, Missouri, under Captain Rich and Colonel Phelps, and although his term of enlistment was but for six months, he served nine months. He saw considerable service during that brief period, including a number of skirmishes and the battle o Pea Ridge, Arkansas. He was honorably discharged in April, 1862, then went to work for the government, building pontoon bridges, corrals, barracks, coffins, etc. He continued in this work until the close of the war, gaining valuable experience which stood him well in hand in his subsequent career. He began work for the Frisco at Rolla in 1866, in the bridge building department, with which he has been connected ever since, being head of the department for the system for some four decades. In 1913 he was retired by the company on a pension. However, he is still doing special work in his department, reporting direct to the general manager. He long ago mastered every phase of the art of bridge building and has kept well abreast of the times in this line of endeavor.
Mr. Turner was first married in June, 1879, to Malissa Trower, in St Louis, her native city. She was a daughter of Samuel Trower, a farmer and stock raiser, a pioneer of the Mound City, where, for a number of years, he was justice of the peace, also holding other minor offices. Mr. Turner's first wife died October 10, 1889, leaving five children, namely: Walter G. married Gertrude Singleton in St. Louis and he is a civil engineer by profession; Mary Agnes married Mr. Greenridge and they live in Douglas, Arizona; George R. married Goldie Holder and they live in Walnut Grove, Missouri; Nellie E. married Thomas Wommock, an employee of the Frisco and they live in Springfield; Lillian F. married G. Marks, who is also connected with the Frisco and lives in Springfield. Mr. Turner's second marriage was consummated in February, 1893, in Carthage, Missouri, when he was united in marriage to Mrs. Agnes L. Brown, a daughter of John and Eliza Deyell, of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. To this second union two children have been born, namely, William E. and James D.
Politically, Mr. Turner is a Democrat. Fraternally, he belongs to the Masonic order, Gate of the Temple blue lodge and St. John's Commandery.
Mr. Turner made his headquarters in Springfield in 1873 and moved here to make his home in 1879. In 1872 he was made assistant superintendent of the bridge and buildings department of the old Atlantic & Pacific railroad, later known as the Frisco. In 1875 he was made general superintendent of this department. He has had something to do with the building of nearly every bridge on the entire Frisco system.
Springfield-Greene County Library