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RG1478.AM:  Charles M. Turner, 1869-1957

Papers:  1903-1906, ca. 1954 and undated

Saline County and Jefferson County, Nebraska:  Farmer, teacher

Size:  Four items


Charles M. Turner was born November 15, 1869 on a farm near Tonica, LaSalle County, Illinois. He was the son of Samuel F. Turner and Mary Grant Perry Turner. In 1876 the Turner family moved from Illinois to a farm in Saline County, Nebraska, four miles southwest of Wilber. Charles began his school days in a log cabin on the banks of Turkey Creek. In 1889 he graduated from the Wilber High School, then attended the Fremont Normal School to train as a teacher. From 1889 to 1903 he taught in country schools in both Gage and Saline Counties, and during this time met Teana C. Krauter, who became his wife on April 18, 1895. The couple settled two miles south of Wilber, where Charles farmed in the summer and taught school in the winter. The Turners had four children: William, Ralph, Samuel, and Mabel. In 1906 the family moved to a farm near Jansen, Jefferson County. Charles served on the School Board for 21 years, wrote articles about new methods and equipment in farming for the Fairbury Journal, and was actively involved in farming organizations in the area. On December 28, 1932, Teana died of burns she received when her apron caught fire on a stove. Charles continued to farm until a heart attack at the age of 80 forced him to retire. He moved in with his son, William, and wrote stories and family history as a hobby. He died on Sunday, January 6, 1957.


This collection consists of four items arranged in two series: 1) Journal/account book, 1903-1906 and undated; and 2) Reminiscences, ca. 1954 and undated.

Series 1 consists of a Journal/account book, 1903-1906, kept by Charles and Teana Turner. A “Daily Doings” diary begins on January 1, 1903 and ends in February 1906. The entries are very brief, mostly a single line each. Other sections of the volume track various farm accounts, yearly inventories of machinery and animals, breeding records, etc. Charles also used the book, probably at a later date, to write reminiscences and family histories. Some of the stories are marked “copied,” others “left out,” so this volume may include material “left out” of the reminiscences in Series 2 [see below]. The volume contains information on the Turner, Perry, Haskins, and Krauter Families.

The reminiscences of Series 2 describe pioneer life in Saline and Gage Counties, Nebraska. Turner discusses early farming techniques and machinery, pioneer homes, schools, grasshoppers, prairie fires, blizzards, and the lives of family and friends. A handwritten volume, created ca. 1954, has been transcribed into a typed copy. As noted above, some of the stories in the reminiscences appear to have been written first in blank spaces in the Journal/accounts book of Series 1, then copied into this volume. Also present in this series is a ten-page reminiscence about moving to Nebraska and early days in Saline County.

Note:  For further information about the Turner Family, see the Samuel F. Turner Collection [RG4205].


Series 1 – Journal/Account Book, 1903-1906 and undated

Box 1


  1. Journal/Account book, 1903-1906, and undated

Series 2 – Reminiscences, ca. 1954 and undated

  1. Reminiscences, ca. 1954 [handwritten]

  2. Reminiscences, ca. 1954 [typescript]

  3. Reminiscences, undated [handwritten, 10 p.]


Subject headings:

Agricultural labor — Nebraska — Saline County

Agricultural machinery — Nebraska — Saline County

Agriculture — Nebraska

Education — Nebraska


Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Gage County (Nebraska) — History

Haskins Family


Krauter Family

Perry Family

Pioneers — Nebraska — Saline County

Saline County (Nebraska) — History

Sod buildings — Nebraska

Storms — Nebraska — Saline County

Turner Family


KFK                       09-17-1996

Kfk/dco                  04-22-2003

Revised TMM        05-11-2007

Accession: 79-60; 85-30