Friday, February 17, 2012

An Embarrassment of Edwards ~ Reviewing Edward Turner

I've had enormous fun this week connecting with a distant, distant Turner cousin. My 5th great-grandfather Edward Turner has been a stumbling block, brick wall, mystery ancestor for decades. My new cousin connection was the motivation I needed to review my research and the Fauquier County records I copied at the Library of Virginia last summer. While there I was able to pull copies of the estate records, but not the relevant deeds. Alas, I shall have to return to Richmond.

Edward Turner (d. 1805, Fauquier County, VA) was one of at least three Edward Turners appearing in Fauquier County records in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This has made sorting out records and family members a challenge. He died leaving no will, but a considerable estate. His probate records provide most of the support for the family framework. He was married twice – first to Mary/Molley (who died after 1782 and before 1790) and second to Elizabeth, who survived him.

Another Edward Turner died in 1786 as an elderly man (above 60 years of age since he no longer paid taxes) and was buried by the county[i]. I believe this is the Edward Turner who was married to Jane Gibson, daughter of Jacob Gibson[ii]. This Edward is believed to have been part of a Turner family that signed three leases in Prince William County in 1747. This Edward is NOT a DNA match to my Edward.

A third Edward Turner is the son of our Edward. He appears with Edward on the 1799 Tax list, and marries Lucinda Rust in 1800.

Based on the marriage of his eldest son John in 1782, my Edward was born before 1742 - somewhere. The first record that is clearly this Edward is a lease signed in Loudoun County, VA on 23 Oct 1764 for 100 acres of land for the lives of Edward Turner, Mary his wife and John Turner his son.[iii] It is witnessed by George Turner, William Rust, and Stanley Singleton. In 1769 Edward purchase 180 acres of land in Fauquier County from Henry Lee and Lucy, his wife.[iv] After this Edward appears regularly in Fauquier County records until his death in January, 1805.

Edward & Molley Turner had children John (who married Jane Bailey), James (who married Anna DeBell), William, Sarah (who married Joseph Conway and Charles T. Porter), Lewis (who married Sarah Martin), Mary (who married Richard Mather), and Edward (who married Lucinda Rust). A Conway family record handed down to me gives Sarah’s birthdate as 10 June 1774. I have no other documented proof of birthdates. The birth order is taken from their father's estate settlement dated 22 July 1816. 

From Fauquier County Will Book 6, p. 252

Edward and his second wife, Elizabeth, had one daughter, Ann. She is clearly referred to as the half-sister of Lewis Turner in an 1825 court case.[v] 

There is strong evidence that Edward & Molley had another daughter, Elizabeth Turner Shipp Kay. Edward Turner was bondsman for the 8 Mar 1778 marriage bond of Elizabeth & Richard Wiatt Shipp. He, his wife and Elizabeth all sign a deed in November that year as witnesses.[vi] Most convincingly, Elizabeth and her second husband James Kay were named in an 1810 Fauquier County Chancery Court summons and also in the probate records as disputing the property settlement.

From Fauquier County Chancery Records

From Fauquier County Will Book 5, p. 201

I especially enjoyed reading the Administrators Account. "James Kay and Elizabeth his wife by their agent Joseph Carr refused to make a hotch pot with Estate advanced them  by the Intestate were excluded from a division of the personal Estate." I almost fired off an email begging for help from The Legal Genealogist but Wikipedia gave me enough of a definition to understand the document. In order to achieve equal distribution, the heirs were required to add monies already received from the estate into a common "pot" which was then divided. Since the Kays refused, they received no further inheritance. 

As far as his own ancestry, there is circumstantial evidence linking Edward Turner to a George Turner, believed to have been born in Northumberland County, VA abt 1731 and who died 1804 in Spartanburg, SC. The men witnessed each other’s deeds in Loudoun County, both had ties to the Shipp family in Northumberland County and DNA tests have linked descendents of both men. They may be the sons of  John Turner and his wife Febie. John Turner wrote a will dated 6 Dec 1741 (St. Stephens Parish, Northumberland, VA) and proved 12 Apr 1742 that named sons John, Henry, George, Edward and daughters Bridget, Monica, Priscilla and Ann. [vii]

Or he may, as I've theorized, have fallen from another planet. 

[i] John Alcock, Fauquier Families, 1759-1799, p. 353.
[ii] Will dated 2 Oct 1734, Prince William County WB:C
[iii] Loudon County, VA Deed Book D, pp. 388-392.
[iv] Gott, John K, Fauquier County, Virginia Deeds 1759-1778 (Heritage Books, Bowie, MD 1999. Electronic Edition.) Citing deed dated 1-2 July 1769 and recorded 28 Aug 1769.
[v] Barry L. McGhee, “Court Records,” database, Historic Court Records ( 2002-2012), Record 39-9; citing Byrne vs. Handy, 1825.
[vi] Gott, John K, Fauquier County, Virginia Deeds 1759-1778. Citing deed of Opie and Pinksone dated 18 Nov 1778 and recorded 24 May 1779.
[vii] Northumberland  Co. Wills and Administrations 1713-1749.  Compiled and published by James F. Lewis and J. Motley Boooker, M.D., 1967, p 120-130.

Image Sources
Fauquier, Virginia, Will Books: 6, 252, Edward Turner Estate Account and Settlement, 22 Jul 1816; Library of Virginia, Fauquier Reel 33.
Fauquier, Virginia, Chancery Court Records: Fauquier Index 1810-010, Mather vs. Adms of Edw. Turner, dec'd; Summons dated 1 Nov 1810; digital image, Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index ( accessed 23 Oct 2008).
Fauquier, Virginia, Will Books: 5, 201, Edward Turner Estate Division, 23 Apr 1811; Library of Virginia, Fauquier Reel 33.


  1. Very interesting, Susan. A name like Edward Turner can be a real challenge. I love how you've managed to add DNA to the mix; this is quite an undertaking. Congratulations on all your progress.

  2. I am so impressed with this post. Somehow I missed it and clicked on a link back to read it. You have such wonderful documentation, as usual,and I love the copies of the court records. And to think that you've added DNA to the mix. I never heard of the term "hotch pot" either.


Comments related to the information shared here are most appreciated. All comments are moderated, and since I am not actively researching right now it many take a day or two for your comment to post. Please know that it will post, and that I much appreciate the feedback.