James B. Turner, lawyer, proprietor of the woolen and grist mills, and farmer, of Ewing, was born November 27, 1835, near Oswego, N. Y., the youngest of eight children (six deceased) of Charles W. and Sallie (Spencer) Turner, the former of Irish English stock, born in 1787 in New York, and the latter of English origin, born in 1790, also in New York. The maternal grandfather was a general in the Revolution and aid-de-camp to
Gen. Washington. The parents were married in New Haven, and for several years engaged in merchandising in New York. He then became land commissioner, and settled near Oswego, N. Y., where he owned large tracts of land, and became proprietor of a hotel. About 1834 he became agent for the Western Emigrating Association, and moved near the site of Kenosha, Wis., where he died in 1851, and the mother in 1845. Our subject attended school in Wisconsin, at St. Louis, and at Waverly, Ill., graduating from the law department of Bloomington (Ind.) State University. When twelve years old he lived a year with his brother at Waverly. They moved to St. Louis in 1847, and here engaged in driving hack, working in livery stables, clerking in commission houses, and attending night schools until 1852, when he left St. Louis and went to Springfield, and a few months later to Terre Haute, then New Orleans on a flatboat. He soon began a tour of the South, and in 1853 settled in Elizabethtown, Ill., where he studied and practiced law until his Bloomington law school life began in 1857. In the fall of 1859 he began practicing at Shawneetown, where he married in the following spring. He originated the charter of the city which exempted it from State taxation for twenty years, to enable them to build a levee. In 1862 he was elected to represent Gallatin, Hardin and Saline Counties in the Legislature, and served one term. From 1873, for a year, he lived in Mount Vernon, IlL, and from 1874 to 1885 he was at Ewing engaged in merchandising, woolen-milling and farming; he then sold his merchandise to W. A. Dunbar. He was also engaged in his law practice, and is now a member of the Illinois bar. His wife, Eleanor, daughter of John D. and Judith M. (Williamson) Richeson was born April 9, 1840, at Shawneetown. Their children are John D. R., James B., Charles W., Jesse M., Minnie and Eugene R. He has been successful as an attorney, and was associated with Gen. Logan, Judges Marshall, Allen, Duff, Tomleasey, Baker, Wall and N. L. Freeman,
reporter of the supreme court, et al.; while at Mount Vernon he drafted the bill which became the charter of Ewing College. He is a Democrat with Greenback and Prohibition sympathies, and first voted for Buchanan. He is an Odd Fellow and a member of the encampment at Equality. The entire family are Methodists. His wife's mother was a widow of James Carroll, of the Carroll family, of Carrollton, Md.