By Mary Ann Clements
We ran out of time at our fall TTFO meeting, so I wasn’t able to present new research findings. Below are the items I was planning to I discuss. Enjoy!
Mormon History Association presentation
I gave a presentation at Mormon History Association in June on the indictments and arrests for counterfeiting in Nauvoo in the months leading up to the 1846 exodus. Theodore Turley was arrested in Alton, Illinois, in November 1845 on counterfeiting charges and released from jail in December after federal indictments were found against him and eleven other men (including church leaders). The presentation provided the background context for these indictments, showing how they were outgrowths of events that occurred in Nauvoo in the summer of 1845. (Unfortunately, an audio recording of the twenty-minute presentation is only available for MHA members. I covered a lot of the same topics in a recent Gospel Tangents podcast interview: Part One and Part Two.)
While I was prepping for my presentation, I was able to look up some of the Turley family records at the Church History Library, which included Theodore’s four-page autobiography. Turns out there were some significant changes made for the typescript of that personal history at the Family History Library. Two notable items in the original autobiography is that Theodore noted his birth year as 1801 (NOT 1800), and he gave his wife’s name as Francis Turley (NOT Frances Amelia). I added the original images to our website on Theodore’s Autobiography page.
Theodore Turley’s Nauvoo brick house
After my presentation on the archaeological investigation at Theodore Turley’s Nauvoo property last March, I was able to confirm the couple in the photograph with the two-story brick building indeed lived on the Turley property. As stated in the photo caption, the couple was Christian Walter and his wife, Margaret Moesser.1 The person who submitted the photograph to the newspaper was the oldest grandchild of that couple. Also, that brick building was likely located directly south of the brewery/gunsmith shop facing Hyde/Carlin street, with the cellar shown on the archaeological report drawing. The back of the building seems to appear on the 1845 painting in that location. An 1859 map indicates that all the buildings on the Turley property were located along Hyde/Carlin street (along the east side of Theodore’s property).
Dating the photograph of Theodore Turley’s brick house
The photograph was likely taken in the early 1890s between October 1892 (when Christian Walter retired) and February 1895 (when Christian Walter died). After his retirement, Christian and his wife went back to living in that home. The family had moved their butcher business and residence to a new three-story building on Mulholland Street in the 1870s, though their ice house remained down on the flats near the Turley property.
Research developments related to Theodore Turley’s children
- The parents of Mary Ann Turley’s husband, John Cook, have long been a mystery. I thought I’d figured out the identification of those parents, but after ordering some probate records, I found out my theory was incorrect. It does appear that it was the right family, but I was off a generation. The best theory currently is that John Cook was likely the youngest child of Conrad Cook and Eva Summers of St. Joseph County, Michigan, both of whom were from German-speaking families who lived in the Mohawk Valley region of New York. Conrad Cook’s probate record has “John Cook” listed as one of his heirs. John would’ve been about fifteen when his parents died, which would explain why he was described as an orphan in later family histories. It appears John left Michigan sometime before 1850, probably looking for gold in California. He was already in California by the time the Turley family arrived there in the spring/summer of 1851.
- I found mention of the death of Theodoreus Turley, infant son of Theodore Turley and Mary Clift, who died in December 1848 when the family was at Kanesville/Council Bluffs. In an April 1849 letter to church leaders in Utah, it was mentioned that Theodore’s “youngest child” was among the deaths the previous winter. This is the only known mention of this child outside of Theodore Turley’s handwritten family group record.
- It’s a struggle to locate documentation for marriage records in both San Bernardino and Utah. I was able to find letters that helped solidify the marriage dates of two of Theodore Turley’s children. In each case, we had conflicting dates in family records. Frederick Turley’s marriage to Amelia Louisa Counsell is mentioned in a January 1856 letter from Louisa Maria Tanner Lyman to her husband, Amasa M. Lyman.2 She talked about her children going with “Aunt Priscilla” to celebrate at Frederick Turley’s wedding party. Sarah Elizabeth Turley’s marriage to Stephen Franklin is mentioned in a February 1853 letter printed in a March 1853 edition of the Deseret News.3 The writer of the letter, Daniel M. Thomas, was one of two home teachers called for San Bernardino, and he was reporting on conditions of everyone in that location. He wrote: “We had a marriage amongst us on Sunday evening, Elizabeth Cox and William Bryant, and also one goes off to night, Sarah Turly and a man who is a stranger to me.”
- “The Theodore Turley House,” The Daily Gate City (Keokuk, Iowa), Monday, 17 Jul. 1961, p. 7, col. 2, NewspaperArchive.com.
- Amasa M. Lyman collection, 1832–1877, Correspondence, 1841–1877, Louisa M. Lyman letter to Amasa Lyman, 1 Jan. 1856, MS 829, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/4cb6dcf2-0785-45db-b77e-829c32057ff0/0/1.
- “Foreign Correspondence,” Deseret News, Saturday, 19 Mar. 1853, p. 2, cols. 2-3, Newspapers.com.