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James P. Turner Biography


This biography appears on pages 756-757 in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. I (1904) 

JAMES P. TURNER comes of sturdy Scottish ancestry in both the paternal and maternal lines, and inherits in a marked degree the dominating characteristics of the true Scotchman, - integrity of purpose, broad mental perspective and indomitable energy. He was born in Elgin county, near the town of. Aylmer, province of Ontario, Canada, on the 1st of December, 1858, and is a son of James and Mary (Jardine) Turner, both of whom were born in Argyleshire, Scotland, where they were reared to maturity. The paternal grandfather, Donald Turner, emigrated with his family to America about the year 1851 and located in Ontario, Canada, passing the remainder of his life in the province of Ontario and being a carpenter by vocation. His son, James, father of the subject, learned the trade of carpenter under the direction of his honorable sire, and was successfully engaged in contracting and building in the province of Ontario until his death, which occurred in 1864, his noble wife still living. Of their five children James P. was the third, while of the number one is now deceased. 

James P. Turner was reared to maturity in his native province, and after completing the curriculum of the common schools served a thorough apprenticeship at the blacksmith trade, which he there continued to follow as a vocation until 1883, when he came to South Dakota, passing the first year in Watertown, while in the spring of 1884 he removed thence to Faulk county, becoming one of its earliest settlers and taking up his abode in the little village of La Foon, which was the original county seat. He there established himself in the blacksmith business, and there successfully followed his trade until 1887, when he came to Faulkton, which had then been designated as the capital of the county, being on the line of the railroad, which advantage was lacking to La Foon. Here he has ever since been engaged in blacksmithing, being known as a straightforward and reliable business man and having thus gained a supporting patronage which has made him one of the prosperous citizens of the town. Three and one-half miles northeast of the village he owns an entire section of land, upon which he has made good improvements, while the same is devoted to stock-grazing purposes and the raising of hay and grain. In politics Mr. Turner is a staunch advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party, and while he has-never sought official preferment he received a gratifying testimonial of popular esteem in the village election of the spring of 1902, when he was chosen mayor of Faulkton, in which capacity he has given a progressive, economical and business-like administration of the municipal government, gaining unqualified endorsement for the course which he has pursued with marked discrimination and loyalty. He is identified with the Masonic fraternity, in which he has passed the capitular degrees, being at present high priest of Faulkton Chapter, No. 30, Royal Arch Masons, and is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America. He and wife were members of the Baptist church. 

On the 3rd of February, 1887, Mr. Turner was married to Miss Belle K. Puntine, who was born in Ontario, Canada, on the 22d of September, 1860, being a daughter of John and Maggie (McDonald) Puntine. She proved a devoted wife and helpmeet, and the great loss and bereavement of the subject's life was that entailed when she was called to the "land of the leal," her death occurring on the 15th of December, 1899. She is survived by five children, namely: Jesse A., Hugh A., Frank A., Muriel B. and Charles J.