Video interview of Clarence Franklin Turley, Sr., made November 22, 1992 in his home at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Contributed by Tony Turley. (Tony-Anthon-Ernest-Isaac-Theodore)
In 1992 I ask Bishop Howard Schmidt to video an interview with Clarence Turley who was still living in Colonia Juarez Mexico. I used it for a Family Reunion we were going to hold later that month. He made the recording and I recently made a CD of it and then transfered the CD to a flash drive. Then I had my local Family history Library make Audio copies of his voice and to copy it to two places. I put it in My Family History in my Memories and to to Clarence’s Memories under Audio. His Father is Edward Franklin Turley. The video has history of my Ernest Turley line and a history of Clarence’s line and other very interesting stories of the Colonies.
Transcript by Mary Ann Clements
Hi Tony! I must say right here that my wife, Anna4, and I were happy to meet you, Tony, at Bradley at Jan’s wedding at Marshall and Ellen’s. Your mother Rhoda5 was a very lovely person. We thought a lot of her. We hope Anthon6 and their family have felt the same.
Since today is my brother Harold’s7 81st birthday, and he has just had a hip replacement, I would like to say a few things about him. He has always been my little brother I could look up to. A very dedicated LDS bishop of El Paso Ward, first mission president of the West Mexican Mission, later stake president of the El Paso Stake. His older brother, E. V. Turley8, was the first stake president of the El Paso Stake, and when he was released he became involved in the Boy Scout program. Later, Harold was made a regional representative of the Villahermosa Mission region in southeastern Mexico. Since housing was a problem he purchased a large house trailer in El Paso and trailered all the way to Villahermosa. This gave them, Harold and his wife Ireta9, room to accommodate general authorities who frequently visited the mission. He is presently hospitalized under the operation until it runs its course. His present assignment is patriarch. His wife, Ireta, has always been a faithful, cooperative wife who also is talented, educated, and is an accomplished pianist. Her father, Arwell L. Pierce10, was president of the Mexican Mission and later president of the Arizona temple.
There have been three Turley presidents of the West Mexican mission and one in-law, Milton Alvin Romney11 and wife Lucile12, our oldest daughter. Many returned missionaries refer to that mission as the Turley mission. Harold E. Turley, George Lake Turley13, and Richard Eyring Turley. Richard’s son, Junior, is in charge of the Genealogy and Family History Department of the Church.
If you all remember this day, it’s the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Much is still in the wind regarding who the assassin might have been.
Now about your family ties. Your father, Anthon, was probably the third child in the Ernest and Centenna Turley family. He was some younger than I, but I know a lot about where he worked etc. He had worked for the three C copper company [Cananea Consolidated Copper Company] at Cananea, Sonora. I worked there a few years after he left the mines. He was employed by a large company in South America and was a few years there. I lost track of him afterwards.
I was mining for Phelps Dodge Corporation when I married Anna on March the 10th, 1925. Bishop Pierce married us. He tied the knot.
Uncle Ernest was a farmer, fruit grower, and had dairy cows. Part of their income was the result of the rich milk they had access to. Cheese-making and butter always sold well, and while our fruit market had not been well-developed, fruit sales were lucrative and much of it was bottled or sun-dried. The dried fruit sold well along with the cheese at surrounding mining camps.
Ernest was a large, powerful man, six feet two or three inches in height, weighing over 200 pounds. And his hands were rough and strong, about the largest hands I ever shook. I remember him hanging from a timber on our wagon bridge wielding a large double jack hammer pounding spikes in the timber as they built that most necessary bridge. He and his wife, Centenna, had good voices and sang in the choir for years. She was president of the Relief Society.
About Ernest’s missionary service, I just cannot give you any details. Perhaps Bernice16, your father’s sister, could enlighten you. She lives in Mesa.
I know my father, E. F. Turley17, served in the Central States Mission in Ohio. While he was in the field mother lost her four-year-old daughter, Ida18, of pneumonia. She had this sad experience alone. She had been buried a week before word reached my father.
Ernest and Centenna’s oldest was Ernest Carlyle19. He and six other young men graduated from the Academy JSA [Juarez Stake Academy] in May 1919. Nathan Whetten20, Edwin McClellan21, Valentine Bentley22, Vivian Bentley23, Ernest Carlyle Turley, Edward Vernon Turley, and Clarence F. Turley. Six stags, no young ladies in our class. Joseph Smith Fish24 was the superintendent at that time.
Carl, as he was called, and I decided to enroll at the ACU [Agricultural College of Utah] in Logan, so we set out for Utah. We were fortunate to hire out to the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company at Fielding, Box Elder County, in northern Utah. Carl landed a job interpreting for the company. They had many Mexican braceros on the job. I got in the irrigation crew. When fall arrived, we traveled to Logan and enrolled at ACU, now called Utah State University. Peterson was president at that time. If I’m not mistaken, Ezra Taft Benson attended the college that year, but we never met.
I want to say that Centenna Wilson of Colonia Díaz was voted the most beautiful young lady of her day. The Colonies had some beautiful young ladies. Even as a child I enjoyed their beauty.
My earliest recollection of the Colonies was in 1905. I was five years old. A very heavy snowstorm hit our part of the state. We had 18 inches on the level. I remember grasping the windowsill and pulling myself up on tiptoes. I saw the snow piled up on the lawn. My father had been hunting in the mountains and what a sight to see as he led his horse through the gate with a large buck deer tied behind the saddle. Our lot was filled with fruit trees and English walnut trees. This early snow and severe freeze killed all our nut trees. The weather warmed and it rained on the snow in the mountains, melting it. And did we have a flood? The largest flood in 100 years.
Dublán’s west street was the east shoreline of the Casas Grandes river. This river is formed by our river, the Piedras Verdes, and the San Miguel which joins [Espero?] San Diego Ranch, Luis Terrazas’ hacienda. This man, Terrazas, own one-third of the state of Chihuahua with haciendas scattered over the state. He was reputed to be the cattle and horse king of the world. It was said when he sold a trainload of steers, he asked what color they preferred. Believe it or not, he was a very, very rich man. He had come to this country from Spain with money and when rancheros, or ranchers, who had been driven out of their ranches by the Indians repeatedly, became discouraged and sold for a fraction of what the ranches and the livestock were really worth. It is said this is one way Terrazas obtained part of his land. However, he had been a governor of the state and politicians often obtain advantages that one of less prestige might not enjoy.
I’ll just say our son Frederick E. Turley was born in the Ronquillo Hospital in Cananea, Sonora, when I was employed by the three C copper company. Born March the 21st, 1946, on Benito Juárez’s birthday. He grew up, finished school at the Academy JSA and entered and enrolled at the “Y” [Brigham Young University] where he met his future wife, Gayle Pullins. They have five living children. Their oldest son, Darren, is serving a mission in Spain. Rick and Gayle and family were in Maracaibo, Venezuela presiding over the Maracaibo, Venezuela Mission. Angela, their oldest, is employed by a real estate firm in Provo, Utah.
I, C. F. Turley, attended school at the ACU one year. Worked for Charles Redd on the Cross-H ranch punching cows and driving cows from La Sal to Thompson, Utah, on the D & RG [Denver and Rio Grande] Railroad. I later worked at the Bridger Jack Mine on the slopes of the La Sal Mountains for a master products company out of Denver, Colorado. We were mining carnotite ore, uranium, and vanadium.
I married Anna Tenney, a beautiful young lady, 21 years of age in El Paso, Texas, at the home of Thomas D. Roche25. Bishop Arwell Pierce tied the knot. The marriage and reception all happened the same day. One gift was a rolling pin. [Ladonna?] wrote, “When hubby comes home a proggin’, take this little token of my regard and beat him on the noggin.” We received very wonderful gifts that evening. My father and mother traveled from the colony to be present. My older brother saw to everything. He and his friend, Bill Roche26, were responsible of getting us away from the party and took us to our hotel, fooling a gang who had planned on shivareeing us.
In July 1912 because of danger from marauding revolutionists, the five colonies took refuge in the United States, taken by train to El Paso, Texas. The government supplied refuge at a large lumberyard in east El Paso. Many colony people were given free train travel to points west and north. Some looking for new homes, some to find employment. Many never returned to the colonies. Bishop Joseph C. Bentley27 finally received the Church’s consent to return and he with other families began anew. Our family returned in 1914 having been gone two years and two months. People have been here ever since, although they experienced many terrifying experiences.
My grandfather, Isaac Turley28, was an agriculturalist, a farmer, a fruit grower, and a good blacksmith. His father, my great-grandfather Theodore Turley29, was a gunsmith. He made two guns for the prophet Joseph Smith and at one time served as bodyguard to the prophet.
Grandfather Isaac Turley drove four animals, this is in 189530— Grandfather Isaac Turley drove four animals, two span of horses, pulling a large freight wagon to San Bernardino, California. Loaded his wagon with nursery stock, apple, peach, pear, almond, English walnut, and [name it?]. He was gone three months. As he reached the top of the hill where the dugway began winding down to the town, he looked across the valley and saw wagons and people coming from the cemetery. Upon arrival home he heard the sad news. They had just buried his wife, Sarah31. Can you imagine the shock he went through? A year ago I had improved headstones made and installed at the head of Isaac Turley, Sarah Greenwood Turley, Clara Tolton Turley32, Edward F. Turley, Ida Eyring Turley33, Henry Eyring34, and Henry Eyring, Jr.35
HOWARD SCHMIDT (off-camera): Turn it over.
CLARENCE F. TURLEY: One offshoot of the rebel army knocked at the Romney home, this is in 1913— One offshoot of the rebel army knocked at the Romney home and demanded breakfast. The ladies prepared him, prepared [as he eats?] and then left and went upstairs and bolted the door. Burnetta36, the daughter of Emily Romney37, jumped to the ground to go for help. The fall broke her arm. When this act was made known to the general, he ordered Sister Romney to identify the culprit. This was against her wish. She didn’t want that man’s blood on her hands, but they demanded it. They had two men very much alike put before her, and she identified the culprit. Sad but true, they stood him, blindfolded him, and he was shot down. Poor Sister Romney. It was devastating for her and she disliked talking about it. This is one of the revolutionary happening, there are many, many more that could be told.
HOWARD SCHMIDT (off-camera): Do you want to tell them anything of the reunion?
CLARENCE F. TURLEY: What’s the reunion?
HOWARD SCHMIDT (off-camera): They’re going to have a reunion I believe on the 28th of December.
CLARENCE F. TURLEY: Tony, I can see by your questions that you’re having a reunion in Mesa. My wife and I would love to be there because our granddaughter is being married on the 29th, but it’s impossible for us to go. We’re just not able to make it. So you’ll excuse us if we don’t show up.
I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific about Uncle Ernest and Aunt Centenna. I knew them very well. Of course they left years ago and went to Mesa, Arizona, and from there I think they spread out. Some of the kids went to California and some of them went north to Oregon and so on and so forth. We completely lost track of them. But I know Bernice is in Mesa now, and as I have already stated you probably could get some information from her about Uncle Ernest’s missionary experiences. I just don’t remember them.
HOWARD SCHMIDT (off-camera): Thank-you, Brother Turley. Brother and Sister Turley are sitting here side-by-side. Sister Turley pulled a smile for us, too. It’s so nice that they would accommodate and answer these questions for you at this reunion. They’re very special people. They’re dear to our hearts here in Colonia Juárez and I’m sure you feel that it’s really special to have them in your family relations also. So you folks have a happy and a special reunion. Thank-you.
- Clarence Franklin Turley (1900-1999), son of Edward Franklin Turley and Ida Elizabeth Eyring. (FamilySearch ID KWCC-14F)
- Ernest Tolton Turley (1875-1957), son of Isaac Turley and Clara Ann Tolton. (FamilySearch ID KWDS-2N4)
- Sarah Centenna Wilson (1876-1971), daughter of David Johnson Wilson and Julia Didamia Johnson. (FamilySearch ID KWZG-VYV)
- Anna Tenney (1904-1995), daughter of Nathan Cram Tenney and Isabel Pearl Walters. (FamilySearch ID KWCC-14F)
- Rhoda Riggs (1911-2002), daughter of Brannick Benjamin Riggs and Martha Alfretta Smith. (FamilySearch ID KWZF-CH9)
- Anthon Homer Turley (1910-1972), son of Ernest Tolton Turley and Sarah Centenna Wilson. (FamilySearch ID KWZF-CHM)
- Harold Emerson Turley (1911-1997), son of Edward Franklin Turley and Ida Elizabeth Eyring. (FamilySearch ID KWCH-YW4)
- Edward Vernon Turley (1897-1987), son of Edward Franklin Turley and Ida Elizabeth Eyring. (FamilySearch ID KWCB-ZC9)
- Ireta May Pierce (1914-2000), daughter of Arwell Lee Pierce and Mary Brentnall Done. (FamilySearch ID KWCH-YWH)
- Arwell Lee Pierce (1882-1967), son of Patriarch Isaac Washington Pierce II and Caroline Done. (FamilySearch ID KWCG-Y8W)
- Milton Alvin Romney (1919-1997), son of Miles Archibald Romney and Emily Burrell. (FamilySearch ID KW8W-7R4)
- Anna Lucile Turley (1926-2014), daughter of Clarence Franklin Turley, Sr., and Anna Tenney. (FamilySearch ID KWZL-873)
- George Lake Turley (1916-2006), son of Isaac Turley, Jr., and Ida May Lake. (FamilySearch ID KWCD-GQY)
- James Franklin Turley (1912-1968), son of Ernest Tolton Turley and Sarah Centenna Wilson. (FamilySearch ID KWZ6-RQW)
- Tenna Augusta Turley (1914-1981), daughter of Ernest Tolton Turley and Sarah Centenna Wilson. (FamilySearch ID KWZM-L4B)
- Anna Bernice Turley (1906-2002), daughter of Ernest Tolton Turley and Sarah Centenna Wilson. (FamilySearch ID LBCQ-TBF)
- Edward Franklin Turley (1869-1940), son of Isaac Turley and Clara Ann Tolton. (FamilySearch ID KWZM-91N)
- Ida Irene Turley (1895-1899), daughter of Edward Franklin Turley and Ida Elizabeth Eyring. (FamilySearch ID KWJ5-9Q8)
- Ernest Carlyle Turley (1896-1946), son of Ernest Tolton Turley and Sarah Centenna Wilson. (FamilySearch ID KWJL-31V)
- Nathan LaSelle Whetten, son of John Thomas Whetten and Agnes Belzora Savage. (FamilySearch ID KWZ5-6Q5)
- Edwin Lewis McClellan (1900-1967), son of Samuel Edwin McClellan and Bertha Maria Lewis. (FamilySearch ID KWJV-GD3)
- Valentine Ivins Bentley (1899-1960), son of Joseph Charles Bentley and Margaret McKean Ivins. (FamilySearch ID KWJK-QQD)
- Vivian Woodmansee Bentley (1901-1967), son of Joseph Charles Bentley and Gladys Elizabeth Hill Woodmansee. (FamilySearch ID KWZF-2WY)
- Joseph Smith Fish (1882-1940), son of Joseph Fish and Adelaide Margaret Smith. (FamilySearch ID KWC2-7GK)
- Thomas Davies Roche (1874-1928), son of James Patrick Roche and Winifred Davies. (FamilySearch ID KWZB-SPP)
- Probably Thomas William Corry Roche (1897-1950), son of Thomas Davies Roche and Margaret Elizabeth Corry. (FamilySearch ID KWJN-32C)
- Joseph Charles Bentley (1859-1942), son of Richard Bentley and Elizabeth Price. (FamilySearch ID KWCZ-GL8)
- Isaac Turley (1837-1908), son of Theodore Turley and Frances Amelia Kimberley. (FamilySearch ID KWZD-SHV)
- Theodore Turley (1801-1871), son of William Turley and Elizabeth Yates. (FamilySearch ID KWJV-HKX)
- Here Clarence mentions the death of Sarah Greenwood Turley, which actually occurred in 1887.
- Sarah Greenwood (1844-1887), daughter of William Greenwood and Ann Hartley. (FamilySearch ID KWN5-6LW)
- Clara Ann Tolton (1852-1932), daughter of Edward Tolton and Mary Ann Tomlinson. (FamilySearch ID KWZD-SHJ)
- Ida Elizabeth Eyring (1874-1952), daughter of Heinrich Carlos Ferdinand Eyring and Maria Bommeli. (FamilySearch ID KWZD-TC2)
- Name in FamilySearch appears as Heinrich Carlos Ferdinand Eyring (1835-1902), son of Edward Christian Eyring and Ferdinandine Charlotte Caroline Von Blomberg. (FamilySearch ID KWNV-Q77)
- Henry Elias Eyring (1862-1904), son of Heinrich Carlos Ferdinand Eyring and Maria Bommeli. (FamilySearch ID KWJ1-ML6)
- Burnetta Gibbons (1900-1977), daughter of Andrew Mathew Gibbons and Emily Burrell. Emily later married Miles Archibald Romney. (FamilySearch ID KWC1-QQY)
- Emily Burrell (1878-1970), daughter of John Burrell and Elizabeth Stephenson. (FamilySearch ID KWCG-Q9R)