Who was Theodore Turley?
Theodore Turley (1801-1871) was an early member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon pioneer. Theodore helped oversee the evacuation of the Saints from Far West, Missouri, during the Mormon-Missouri War of 1838, and he later built the first Latter-day Saint home in Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1839, he accompanied the Twelve Apostles on their mission to his native England. Theodore crossed the plains with the Silas Richards Company in 1849. He was one of the original settlers of San Bernardino, California, in 1851. After the Saints were called back to Utah in 1857, he resided in Cedar City, Washington, and Minersville before finally settling permanently in Beaver, Utah. Theodore died in 1871.
Theodore Turley had five wives, twenty-two children, and two stepsons.
Additional biographical resources:
- Life Sketch: Overview of Theodore’s life.
- Theodore’s Personal History: Theodore’s life sketch written in his own words at the end of his mission in 1840.
- Theodore’s Biography by Ella Mae Judd: Originally written by Ella Mae Judd in 1951, updated in 1997. Although some of the stories are likely family folklore, it’s still a valuable resource.
- Other resources:
–Theodore’s biography at the Joseph Smith Papers website.
–Theodore’s biography at BYU’s Mormon Missionary Diaries database. (Don’t forget to check out images of Theodore’s missionary diary while you’re at it!)
–Theodore’s profile in the Church History Department’s Early Mormon Missionaries database.
–Photos, documents, and stories about Theodore uploaded to FamilySearch’s Family Tree database (login required). Theodore’s personal ID is KWJV-HKX.
–Stories about Theodore at Ann Lewis’ family history blog.
Theodore Turley: A Biography by Richard E. Turley, Jr.
Begun in 1995, this continuing series of articles by Richard E. Turley, Jr., will form the basis for an official biography of Theodore Turley. These installments will be revised, incorporating newer data from the Theodore Turley Papers project, prior to publication.
Fact vs. Fiction
Was Theodore really friends with the King of England? What about his involvement in the White Horse Prophecy? We might need to reexamine much of the family folklore we grew up with. Learn about some of the more common myths and misconceptions about Theodore.
For decades, family members were passing around photocopies of Theodore’s photo, unable to locate an original. Read about how, in 2014, one descendant stumbled across the earliest known copy of Theodore’s portrait.
Theodore Turley Papers
A complete collection of all known documents relating to Theodore’s life is set to be published in the next few years. The work is modeled after the Joseph Smith Papers project, showing detailed facsimiles, transcriptions, and descriptions of each document. Even better, the editors of this incredible project are all descendants of Theodore Turley.