John Perry Turner was born on March 11, 1868 in Fayette County, PA, the son of George Washington and Mary Frances (White) Turner.
At the age of 28, on July 6, 1896, John married 18-year-old Lillian Mae Flowers (1878-1953). Born in Allegheny County, PA, Lillian was the daughter of John W. and Josephine Flowers and at the time of marriage dwelled in Stewart Township, Fayette County. Rev. William J. Cocke officiated at the wedding ceremony held in Uniontown. The couple was a decade apart in age.
Lillian's maiden name also has been given as "Yates," but on her marriage license application, on file in the Fayette County Courthouse, her maiden name clearly was listed as "Flowers" and her parents' names as John and Josephine.
At the outset of the marriage, and continuing for decades, John earned his living as a laborer.
The couple produced six children -- Henry W. Turner, Mary G. Williams, Ethel Mae McMillen, Samuel Joseph Turner, Susie Elma Wood Brown and Charles P. Turner.
When the 1910 census was taken, they lived in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, PA, as next-door neighbors to John's brother Charles and family. Both John and Charles were employed in 1910 as farm laborers.
During the decade of the 1910s, the Turners relocated to Butler, Butler County, PA. The federal census of 1920 shows that John earned income providing "labor - anywhere."
They were members of the First Methodist Church.
John and Lillian appear to have separated during the 1920s and later divorced.
When the census again was made in 1930, John worked as a wood chopper for a coal company and lived with his son Samuel.
Tragically, their son Charles drowned in July 1937 when he fell off a sand barge into the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
Lillian married a second time to house painter Guy W. Godwin (1882- ? ). The United States Census of 1930 shows the couple living in Butler, with her divorced daughter Susie Wood and grandchildren William and Lillian residing in their household. Later, circa 1947, Lillian is known to have joined the North Street Christian Church in Butler.
In the early 1950s, John lived with his son Samuel at 325 Wagner Avenue.
Suffering from chronic cardiovascular disease, John contracted bronchial pneumonia and died at the age of 83 on Nov. 26, 1951. His obituary was published in the Butler Eagle newspaper, with burial in the Rose Hill Cemetery. The Eagle said he was survived by 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Lillian outlived her former husband by about two years. Burdened with acute congestive failure, she passed away in January 1953. Her remains were placed into repose in Rose Hill Cemetery.
~ Son Henry W. Turner ~Son Henry W. Turner (1893- ? ) was born in 1903.
He worked for Pittsburgh Coal Co. and labored performing "trapping" in Rostraver coal mines circa 1910.
~ Daughter Mary G. (Turner) Williams ~
Daughter Mary G. Turner (1898-1976) was born in 1898 in Ohiopyle, Fayette County.
She married James N. Williams (1881-1969).
They made their home in Chicora, Butler County, PA and were the parents of Alverta Cozin Benner Sullivan.
When the United States Census was made in 1920, Mary and her daughter lived under the roof of her parents in Butler. The census-taker marked her as "married."
The Grim Reaper cut away James on March 2, 1969. Interment was in West Sunbury Union Cemetery in Butler County.
Mary passed away in Butler County Memorial Hospital on Jan. 14, 1976, at the age of 78.
Daughter Alverta Williams (1917- ? ) was born in about 1917. During her life, she was married three times. Her first spouse was Joseph Cozin ( ? - ? ). They produced a daughter, Joann Catherine Cozin. Her second husband was Joseph Benner. Her third and final marriage was to (?) Sullivan, and they bore a son, James Arthur Sullivan.
~ Daughter Ethel Mae (Turner) McMillen ~
Daughter Ethel Mae Turner (1899-1957) was born on March 23, 1899 in Fayette County.
At the age of 19, in about 1918, she married 21-year-old Robert J. McMillen ( ? - ? ).
They were the parents of Viola Houston and Dorothy M. Geibel Tilkins.
The federal census of 1930 shows Robert laboring as a coal miner and in 1940 as a blacksmith in a local steel mill in Butler.
Their residence in the 1940s and '50s was at 130 Garfield Avenue in Butler, Butler County. Robert is said to have had red hair and played the fiddle.
Stricken with lung cancer, Ethel died on Dec. 13, 1957 in Butler County Memorial Hospital, at the age of 58. Burial was in Greenlawn Burial Estates in Butler.
Daughter Viola McMillen (1921- ? ) was born in about 1921 in Butler County. She was joined in marriage with Royal Houston ( ? - ? ). Their two children were Royal Houston Jr. and Dorothy Houston.
Daughter Dorothy M. McMillen (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924 in Butler County. She was twice wed. Her first spouse was Regis Geibel ( ? - ? ). Her second husband was Robert Tilkins ( ? - ? ).
~ Son Samuel Joseph Turner ~
Son Samuel Joseph Turner (1901-1981) was born on June 13, 1901 in Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County, PA.
He labored in a Butler glass works at the age of 18 in 1920.
Samuel was first married to Lula B. Dawson (Feb. 5, 1899-1971), daughter of Harry and Martha (Thompson) Dawson of Center Township, Butler County.
The couple bore one daughter, Vivian Alice Rodgers, born in 1921. However, the first marriage did not last.
When he was 23, on Oct. 17, 1924, Samuel married his second bride, 19-year-old Margaret Elizabeth Watterson (Jan. 23, 1903-1989), daughter of Harry and Phoebe (Reges) Watterson. Their nuptials were held in nearby New Castle, Lawrence County, PA.
The children born to this marriage included Samuel John Turner, Marjory M. McCune Christie, Peggy Thoma, Iris P. Wood, Twila Susie Cypher and Vivian Sue Kalberer.
Samuel's divorced father lived in their household circa 1930 and remained for several decades. Their address in the 1930s through the 1950s was 325 Wagner Avenue.
Samuel earned a living during World War II as an auxiliary policeman in Butler. When Armco Steel held its annual employee picnics, he helped direct traffic. He was a member of the Knights of Malta, Masons and Shrine.
In 1967, Samuel transferred his membership from North Street Christian Church to the Bethany United Church of Christ.
Former wife Lula passed away in Unionville, Butler County on Jan. 21, 1971.
Samuel died in Pittsburgh three days after Christmas in 1981.
Margaret outlived her husband by seven years. She joined him in death on Jan. 17, 1989 as a patient at Chicora Medical Center. She and Samuel rest for eternity in Rose Hill Cemetery in Butler.
Daughter Vivian Alice Turner (1921- ? ) was born about April 1, 1921 in Butler. She married Glenn Rodgers ( ? - ? ). During World War II, she was employed as a crane operator by Armco Steel. In the late 1970s or early 1980s, Vivian sent a family history letter to her half-sister Iris (Turner) Wood, who in turn passed it on to Iris' sister Vivian (Turner) Kalberer. Vivian typed the material into a chronological document and shared it with the founder of this website in July 2003.
Son Samuel John Turner (1925- ? ) was born on Oct. 20, 1924 in Lick Hill, Butler County, PA. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. On June 11, 1947, in nuptials held in Butler, the 21-year-old Samuel wedded Helen Louise McKissich (Oct. 29, 1926- ? ). The only son born to this marriage was Sammy John Turner. Circa 1950, he was employed by Armco Steel Corporation in Butler. Family records show that on Nov. 30, 1958, when he was 33 years of age, he was baptized in the First English Lutheran Church in Butler.
Daughter Marjorie Marie Turner (1927- ? ) was born on Oct. 13, 1927 in Lick Hill, Butler County. On Aug. 3, 1946, in nuptials held in the parsonage of Butler's St. Paul's Reformed Church, she was joined in wedlock with her first husband, William Henry McCune (Feb. 6, 1928- ? ), son of William and Irene McCune. Reported the Butler Eagle, "With her gown of white satin, the bride chose to carry a bouquet of white lilacs, gladioli and astors. She had the traditional something old, something new, something borrwed and something blue." William was employed at the time of marriage by Keystone Chevrolet Company in New Castle. The couple bore two offspring, Debora Sarver and Dennis William McCune. Evidence suggests that the couple divorced. For two decades, Marjorie was employed by the County of Butler in the Tax Claim Bureau and the Personal Property Division of the Tax Assessment Office. In 1975, she married again t Robert Christie ( ? - ? ). Her final address was 78 Maple Drive in Renfrew, PA. She passed into eternity in her home at the age of 78 on July 31, 2006. An obituary noted that she was survived by four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Her funeral was led by Rev. Robert C. Huber of North Street Christian Church, with burial in Butler County Memorial Park.
Daughter Iris P. Turner (1929-2018) was born on June 24, 1929 in a home at the corner of Fairview and Morton Avenue in Butler, Butler County, PA. She was baptized at the age of 14 on April 9, 1944 in the North Street Christian Church. At the age of 21, on June 16, 1951, she married James Nelson Wood (Jan. 28, 1926-2018), son of Horatio and Malinda (Lance) Wood. The wedding was held in the family church. They dwelled in Butler and were the parents of Judith Lynn Starr and David N. Wood. Circa 1970, they dwelled in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County, PA. Said the Butler Eagle, "She was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church and their Quilters Group. Iris was an accomplished seamstress. Her past times included needlework, quilting, reading, and spending time with her family." They endured the untimely passing of their son-in-law Stephen Alfred Starr. Sadly, James and Iris died just a month apart. He entered eternity on Feb. 17, 2018, at the age of 92, and Iris succumbed at the VNA Hospice in Butler after a lengthy battle with cancer on March 21, 2018. Rev. Barbara Stoehr, of the family church, conducted the funeral service. Burial followed in Butler County Memorial Park.
Great-granddaughter Amy L. Starr (1977-living) was born on Jan. 8, 1977, a twin with her sister Amber.
Great-granddaughter Amber L. Starr (1977-living) was born on Jan. 8, 1977, a twin with her sister Amy.
Great-granddaughter Tiffany Rae Starr (1979- ? ) was born on Nov. 19, 1979.
Great-grandson David Robert wood (1987-living) was born on June 4, 1987.
Great-granddaughter Anne Leigh Wood (1997-living) was born on Aug. 12, 1997.
Daughter Twila Susie "Tillie" Turner (1931-2020) was born on March 14, 1931 in Lick Hill, Butler County. When she was age 18, on March 8, 1950, she was baptized in the North Street Christian Church in Butler. Then on Sept. 5, 1953, when she was 22 years of age, she was united in holy matrimony with Chester Leo Cypher (Sept. 20, 1931-living). Their wedding mass was celebrated in St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church. The children born to this union were Jeffrey Grey Cypher, Carey Lee Cypher, Scott Bradley Cypher and Elizabeth Susan Cypher. The Cyphers relocated to Medina, OH. A licensed physical therapist, Chester opened a private office in the Medina Medical Art Building in the fall of 1966 and advertised his services in the Medina County Gazette. Twila assisted as manager of his office. Chester helped to found Medina Pee Wee Football, with Twila helping by operating the concession stand. She also liked to bake, cook from scratch, draw and music, and she and Chester attended big band and other musical dances together for 67 years. The couple attended first Christian Church of Medina, with Twila singing in the church choir. They also held a membership in the Black River Comedy Club of Homerville. Sadly, at the age of 89, Twila succumbed to the angel of death on Dec. 22, 2020.
Daughter Vivian Sue Turner (1939-2015) was born on Dec. 29, 1939 in the family's residence at 325 Wagner Avenue in Butler. As a girl, she attended the North Street Christian Church and was baptized on Easter 1951. She received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1962 from the University of Pittsburgh. Over the years, she was employed in the pharmacy of Butler Memorial Hospital. Later, she joined the Veterans Administration health care facility in Butler and retired from the position on Jan. 28, 2000. In 1961, when she was 22, Vivian was joined in wedlock with Kenneth William Kalberer (Feb. 3, 1938-1971), son of Walter Adolph and Ruth Ann Elizabeth (Rodler) Kalberer of Pittsburgh. Dr. N. Quentin Gray performed the nuptials, with a reception held in the North Street Christian Church. News of their wedding was printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They were the parents of Kenneth Jay Kalberer and Kristianne Ovenshine. Kenneth underwent Air Force ROTC training at Stewart Air Force Base in Tennessee in 1959. After his military assignment ended, he received a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1961 from the University of Pittsburgh. The couple's home was at 413 Alice Street in the Knoxville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Grief blanketed the family when Kenneth's body was found in the Monongahela River on Nov. 4, 1971, reported by "crewmen on a passing riverboat," said the Pittsburgh Press. A report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that "Police were investigating the cause of death and they report the body had not been in the water long when found near the Monongahela parking wharf below the Smithfield Street Bridge." He was only 33 at death. Interment was made in Pittsburgh's Birmingham Cemetery. In retirement, Vivian worked as secretary of her longtime church. Said the Butler Eagle, "At the church, she served as a deaconess and was active in various ministries. Vivian enjoyed spending time with her family, cross-stitching, water aerobics, tennis, reading, audio book listening and Bible study." She also traced her family genealogy and attended one of our national Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor Reunions. She died on June 18, 2015. Rev. Bob Huber preached the funeral sermon, held at North Street Christian Church. Burial was in Butler County Memorial Park, with the Eagle printing an obituary.
Daughter Margaret Mary "Peggy" Turner (1941-1990) was born on April 27, 1941 in the family dwelling at 325 Wagner Avenue in Butler. At the age of 13, she was baptized in the North Street Christian Church in Butler. At the age of about 19, Peggy was united in marriage with Wayne R. Thoma (Aug. 24, 1938-2019), son of Paul and Dorothy (Geibel) Thoma Sr. Their nuptials were held in St. John's Catholic Church of Cabot, PA. The couple bore four children -- Timothy Robert Thoma, Tammy Thoma, William Samuel Thoma and Matthew Thoma. For years, Wayne owned and co-operated Thoma Meat Market in Saxonburg, Butler County. In his free time he liked to square dance and hunt, especially in Africa, Alaska, British Columbia and Colorado. Sadly, at the age of 49, on Aug. 7, 1990, she passed into eternity at her home on Grohman Road in Butler. Interment was in St. Marys' Cemetery in Herman, PA. Wayne survived his bride by 29 years and maintained a home in Butler. He wedded a second time to Ruth Dorenkamp ( ? - ? ). She brought two stepchildren to the second union, Steve Dorenkamp and Danny Dorenkamp. He surrendered to the spectre of death at the age of 80 on June 12, 2019, as a patient in Butler Memorial Hospital. Rev. Bob Huber, pastor of North Street Christian Church, officiated the funeral service. Interment of the remains was in St. Mary's Cemetery in Herman, PA.
Great-grandson John Wayne Thoma (1988-2021) is believed to have passed away in 2021.
Great-granddaughter Alyssa Marie Garcia has resided in Sarver, PA.
Great-granddaughter Lydia Margaret Garcia has lived in Butler, PA.
Great-grandson William "Billy" Thoma has made a home in Butler, PA.
~ Daughter Susan Elma "Susie" (Turner) Wood Brown ~
Daughter Susan Elma "Susie" Turner (1903-1991) was born in 1903 in Ohiopyle, Fayette County, PA and grew up in Butler, Butler County, PA.
She was twice married. At the age of 17, in about 1920, she wedded her first spouse, Frank L. Wood (1900?-1934).
The couple produced three known children -- William Albert Wood, Betty Jane Wood and Lillian Sarah Bowser McCulloch.
The Woods' home in the mid-1920s was at 638 Virginia Street in Butler. Grief wracked the family in the winter of 1925 when 20-month-old daughter Betty Jane contracted lobar pneumonia and suffered for a week before dying on Feb. 21, 1925. The child's remains were lowered into eternal rest in the local Rose Hill Cemetery.
During the later 1920s, the Woods divorced. Federal census records for 1930 show that 25-year-old Susie and her children William and Sarah had moved back into the home of her mother and step-father in Butler. The household also included boarders Stewart Brown, Carl Cooper and Harry E. Godwin. To support herself and the children, Susie worked as a server in a local shirt factory.
The divorced Frank made his way to Michigan. Circa 1934, at the age of 34, he was in Lansing and bunked at the local Salvation Army shelter. He carried with him his Army discharge documents. On the fateful day of Aug. 3, 1934, two boys found his body floating in the Grand River near Moores Park Dam. A story in the Lansing State Journal said that police arrived at the scene and found an empty suitcase, clothing, a cap and a collar scattered on the ground along the water's edge. Upon examination, the State Journal said, a ruling was made that there were "no marks of any sort on the body to indicate the possibility of foul play, the coroner said. This fact, together with the absence of any witnesses, makes it also impossible to determine whether the drowning was the result of suicide or an accident." He was identified via the Army papers on his person, and word was telegraphed to Frank's parents in Butler.
Susie eventually married one of the boarders in her father's home, Stewart R. Brown (Aug. 19, 1907-1959), son of John and Elizabeth (Frost) Brown of Richfield/Syracuse, NY. His first name also has been spelled "Steward." She was four years older than her groom. His occupation in 1930 was as a "hook on" in a steel mill.
The couple were the parents of John Stewart Brown, James Samuel Brown, Joan Margaret Brown and Robert Earl Brown.
The Browns were plunged into mourning again and again in the 1930s and early 1940s. In early autumn 1936, son John contracted tubercular meningitis. He was admitted to Butler County Memorial Hospital and succumbed on Oct. 1, 1936, a month shy of his fourth birthday. Then in the summer of 1937, eight-month-old daughter Joan suffered with inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and intestines (gastro-enteritis). The Angel of Death gathered her in on Aug. 5, 1937.
Death continued to cut away at the family in the spring of 1941. Adding to the heartache, 15-month-old son Robert was afflicted with acute bronchitis in the spring of 1941. His young body gave out from exhaustion and he entered eternity on April 9, 1941.
In all, Susie lost four of her children and endured the tragic death of an ex-husband by the time she was 38. Each of her angels rests for all time in Butler's Rose Hill Cemetery.
Their address in the mid-1930s was 331 Mercer Street. By 1941, they had moved to 323 Wagner Avenue in Butler, next door to the house where she had grown up. The couple remained at this address into the 1950s. Over the years, Stewart made a living as a shearman.
At the age of 51, having suffered for a decade from pulmonary tuberculosis, Stewart died at home on Jan. 10, 1959. Burial was in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Susie died in Butler on April 17, 1991, at the age of 88.
Son William Albert Wood (1921-1991) was born in 1921. He married Marie ( ? - ? ). He died in 1991.
Daughter Lillian Sarah Wood (1926-2010) was born on Feb. 9, 1926 in Butler. She was only age eight when her father drowned, and grew up with Stewart Brown as her stepfather. She was married twice. Her first husband was John Banford "Wimpy" Bowser Jr. (1921-1971). They bore three children -- John Gordon "Jack" Bowser, Sandra Sue Krogen and Karen Marie McCurdy. Sadly, John died on Jan. 22, 1971. Lillian later wedded Gordon McCulloch (1932-2004). For a quarter of a century, from 1960 to 1985, she was employed in food service by the Butler Area School District. She earned additional income demonstrating Stanley Home Products. She was a longtime member of Butler's North Street Christian Church. Lillian was widowed for a second time at Gordon's death on Nov. 11, 2004. Her final years were spent with or near her married daughter Karen McCurdy in Erie, Erie County, PA. She died in Erie at the age of 84 on Dec. 4, 2010. An obituary in the Erie Times News said that she was the last surviving member of her immediate family and that she was survived by nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Her remains were returned to Butler to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations please be made to the Erie Presbyterian Lodge Caring for Life Fund.
She excelled at sewing and crocheting and often made clothes for herself, her children, and her grandchildren. She also made many afghans and christening outfits for family and friends. She worked as a long-distance telephone operator with ConQuest for several years and advanced to be Operator In Charge of her shift. Her hard work for the Butler Family Support Group led to the McCurdy family being selected as the Pennsylvania National Guard Family Support Group “Family of the Year” (a statewide honor) in 1988. She loved to play board and card games but she had the most fun going to bingo with her best friend Debbie, or at the casino playing slots. She could spend hours searching the Lake Erie shore for beach glass. She was fascinated with owls and had a large collection of the birds made of various materials. She enjoyed reading and always looked forward to going to the library. When traveling to the library became too difficult, she downloaded books from her favorite authors to her Kindles.
For Gary's employment, they relocated in 1998 to Erie, Erie County, PA. Sadly, Karen contracted lung cancer and endured the illness for many years before passing away on Dec. 15, 2018. The family said that "The disease took her life but it never took her spirit or changed her positive outlook." Their son Scott graciously has provided valuable details for this biography.
Son James Samuel Brown (1938-2007) was born in 1938. He married Myrtle ( ? - ? ). Their three offspring are James Brown, Patricia Perez and Susan Brown.
~ Son Charles P. Turner ~
Son Charles P. Turner (1907-1937) was born in 1907.
In about 1936, he left Butler and moved to Maryland.
On the fateful day of July 2, 1937, the 30-year-old Charles drowned in the Chesapeake Bay at Still Pond, MD, allegedly when he fell off a sand barge. His remains were returned to Butler for interment in Rose Hill Cemetery, with Rev. Louis D. Riddell presiding. News of his tragic death was printed statewide in the Bradford Evening Star and Pottstown Mercury.