Ruth Jane Giles Turley
1812-1880

Born: 29 June 1812 in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts1
Died: 28 December 18802
Buried: Mountain View Cemetery in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah3
FamilySearch ID: KWV9-C8R
FindaGrave Memorial ID: 51058

Ruth was the daughter of Samuel Giles and Elizabeth Reith.4

It is thought that Ruth may have been a plural wife in Nauvoo, Illinois, resulting in the birth of her son, Joseph Orson, on 12 July 1845. We do not know the identity of Joseph Orson Turley’s biological father. Ruth married Theodore Turley on 18 June 1850 at the Deseret Mint in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. They had two more children together in San Bernardino, California:

  1. Joseph Orson Turley (1845-1916) m. Elizabeth Lightner.
  2. Jacob Omner Turley (1852-1924) m. Louisa Annie Woodhouse.
  3. Alvin Hope Turley (1855-1872)
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Life Sketch

Life sketch coming soon.

…I think, was one of the factors that induced him to marry Ruth Jane Giles, descendent of a long line of ship captains. But she must have been one of the homliest women who ever lived with a large bulbous nose and a mole on her cheek and a very large “generous” mouth, but on close inspection, very kindly eyes. Aunt Sara said she used to want the older children to shut the door without slamming it when they went thru and also to clean the mud off their feet before they came in the house so they considered her a rather prissy old maid, although she had one 5-yr old son, Joseph, which he adopted.

Joseph soll turley, 1971 letter to descendants of theodore turley

Determining the Parentage of Ruth Jane Giles

Written by Mary Ann Clements for the June 2011 Theodore Turley Family Newsletter.

Ruth Jane Giles was born 29 June 1812 in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts. No birth records exist for her, though LDS church membership records identify her parents as Samuel and Elizabeth Giles. Based on recent research, Ruth appears to be the youngest child of Samuel Giles (1763-1838) and Elizabeth Reith (1765-1840) of Marblehead, Massachusetts.

At least two other Samuel Giles of the same time period have been mistakenly attached to Ruth Jane Giles in the New FamilySearch.5 The first is Samuel Giles (1787-1867) of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada, who married Elizabeth Otto (abt 1790-). This Samuel Giles lived and died in Nova Scotia and all of his children were born in Nova Scotia; he does not appear to be the father of our Ruth Jane Giles. The second Samuel Giles (1777-) lived in Essex County, Massachusetts. He married Margaret Davis-Norwood (1790-1854) in 1811 in Gloucester and all of their children were born in the towns of Gloucester and Rockport in Essex County. Again, the location (NOT Marblehead) and the wife’s name (NOT Elizabeth) does not support the case for Ruth’s parentage.

Another incorrect parent is Elizabeth/Betsy Wadleigh who sometimes appears to be the mother of Ruth Jane Giles. Elizabeth/Betsy Wadleigh (1791-1875) of Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, was actually married to Samuel Hoyt (1788-1841) in 1811. All of their children were born in the towns of Salisbury or Amesbury in Essex County, Massachusetts. Many of Samuel Hoyt’s records had been mistakenly combined with Samuel Giles in the New FamilySearch. Given the date of the WadleighHoyt marriage (1811), it is unlikely that Elizabeth/Betsy Wadleigh is the mother of Ruth Jane Giles (b. 1812).

Samuel Giles (1763-1838) married Elizabeth Reith (1765-1840) on 13 June 1784 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts. According to Marblehead birth records they had at least ten children born there between 1785 and 1807. Samuel Giles appears as head of household in the 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses in Marblehead. A female under the age of ten is listed in his household in the 1820 census, and this appears to be Ruth (no other known children in that family match the individual).

Joseph Soll Turley (Ruth’s grandson) told in his 1971 letter to the descendants of Theodore Turley that Ruth descended from “a long line of ship captains.” Ruth’s father, Samuel Giles (1763-1838), was described as “one of the many heroic privateers-men for whom the town of Marblehead was noted in the second great contest between the United States and Great Britain.”6 Another history book tells of Samuel’s exploits during the Revolutionary War:7

SAMUEL GILES sailed in 1778, with Captain Stiles, in the schooner Swan. They went to Baltimore in the State service and carried a load of flour. On their return they were captured by a British vessel on George’s, and carried to Halifax. After his release, he sailed on four cruises in the brig Tiger, during which eighteen prizes were taken. His next cruise was in the ship Jack, of eighteen guns, Captain Brown. After being out a short time they took five prizes. During another cruise with Capt. T. Collyer, in a ship of eighteen guns, a large ship loaded with provisions was captured. Giles subsequently sailed one cruise in the ship-of-war Thorn, during which four prizes were captured. He was afterwards on board the ship Jason. A short time after sailing, this ship fell in with and captured a British privateer brig of tweny guns, after an action of two hours. The captain, one of the lieutenants, and several sailors of the British brig, were killed. The Jason had seven men killed. The prize was dismantled and sent ashore. They soon after took another prize, which was sent in.

After this, Mr. Giles sailed in the ship Henry, which, after taking several prizes, was captured by a British ship. The crew were sent to New York and put on board the frigate Balfour, in which they were carried to Jamaica and imprisoned. Giles finally succeeded in escaping, and shipped on board a vessel bound for New York, where he arrived after peace had been declared. He returned to Marblehead about 1783.

Samuel Roads, Jr., The History and Traditions of Marblehead (Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company, 1880), 197-198, digitized at Archive.org.

Related Links

Timeline

1812
June 29: Ruth Jane Giles was born in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts,8 to Samuel Giles and Elizabeth Reith.9

1841-1843
Ruth and her sister, Mary Meek Giles, were introduced to the gospel by missionaries preaching in Essex County, Massachusetts. Ruth’s sister was baptized by Elder Erastus Snow on 4 September 1842.10

1845
July 12: A son, Joseph Orson, was born to Ruth Jane Giles in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.11

1846
Ruth Jane Giles resided in the Nathaniel Ashby home in Nauvoo with several other women who were plural wives of church leaders.12
February 6: Ruth Jane Giles received her endowment in the Nauvoo Temple.13

1848
July 29: Ruth Jane Giles was likely the “Miss Giles” mentioned in the journal of Catherine E. Mehring Woolley while her group was traveling along the Mormon Trail near Scott’s Bluff, Wyoming. “29th.—Laid by on account of our oxen’s feet being sore. This evening B. Young’s company came here. Mr. Young not very well. Aunt Minnie was to see me this evening, and two [too?] Miss Giles, Miss Pratt and Miss Taylor.”14

1850
June 18: Ruth Jane Giles was married to Theodore Turley at the Deseret Mint in Salt Lake City by President Brigham Young. Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock witnessed the ceremony.15

1851
March/April: Ruth was enumerated in Theodore Turley’s household in Utah County for the 1850 United States Federal Census.16

1852
January 20: A son, Jacob Omner Turley, was born to Ruth Jane Giles and Theodore Turley in San Bernardino, California.17

1855
November 13: Another son, Alvin Hope Turley, was born to Ruth Jane Giles and Theodore Turley in San Bernardino, California.18

1856
September 28: Brigham Young, in a speech to Latter-day Saints at the Salt Lake Bowery, argued for the use of handcarts. He used Ruth Jane Giles Turley as an example of a woman who had the endurance to walk many miles in a day. “Our American women think it strange to advance such an idea as women’s walking, but I will refer you to one individual that many of you know, and that is [S]ister Turley who now lives in San Bernardino; after working hard all the week she and her husband frequently used to walk twenty or thirty miles on the Sabbath, and attend three meetings.”19

1857
December 25: The Turley family spent Christmas Day in the Cajon Pass on their journey back to Utah.20

1858
January/February: The Turley family arrived in Utah and initially settled in Cedar City, Iron County, Utah.21
August 6: Erastus Snow and John D. Lee dined at the home of Theodore and Ruth Turley in Cedar City. 22 Erastus Snow was one of the missionaries that had introduced Ruth and her sister, Mary, to the gospel in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the early 1840s.23
November/December: The Turley family moved to Washington, Washington County, Utah.24

1860
February: The Turley family moved from Washington to Minersville, Beaver County, Utah.25
July 21: Ruth was enumerated in the household of Theodore Turley in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah, for the 1860 U.S. census. They were living in Minersville at the time. (It appears that the census taker recorded all inhabitants of Beaver County as residing in Beaver City.)26

1865
November 12: Theodore and Ruth Turley moved to Beaver, Utah.27

1870
July 17: Ruth was enumerated in the household of Theodore Turley in Beaver City, Beaver County, Utah, for the 1870 U.S. census.28

1871
August 18: Ruth’s husband, Theodore Turley, died in Beaver from mouth cancer.29

1872
May 29: Ruth’s youngest son, Alvin Hope Turley, died at Amasa M. Lyman’s home in Salt Lake City from Typhoid Fever. He was sixteen years old.30
May 30: Alvin Hope Turley was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery next to Mary Clift Turley, Theodore Turley’s previous wife.31

1873
September: Ruth’s son, Jacob Omner Turley, purchased a home for her in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah.32

1880
June 7: Ruth was enumerated in the household of her son, Jacob Omner Turley, in Beaver for the 1880 U.S. census. The census taker noted that Ruth was suffering from neuralgia.33
December 28: Ruth Jane Giles Turley died on 28 December 1880, possibly at her son’s home in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah.34

1881
(March?) Ruth Jane Giles Turley was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Beaver, Beaver County, Utah.35

Important Places

Essex County, Massachusetts: Ruth Jane Giles was born 29 June 1812 in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts. It was in Essex County that Ruth was likely introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by missionaries in the early 1840s. (Ruth’s sister, Mary Meek Giles, was baptized in 1842 by Elder Erastus Snow.)
Nauvoo, Illinois: Ruth likely traveled to Nauvoo with other Massachusetts converts in the early 1840s. Her first child, Joseph Orson, was born in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois in July 1845. Ruth resided for a time with the Nathaniel Ashby family in Nauvoo.
Mormon Trail: Ruth would’ve followed the main body of the Latter-day Saints across Iowa to Winter Quarters in 1846. Ruth likely traveled from Winter Quarters to Utah in 1848.
Salt Lake City, Utah: Ruth Jane Giles was married to Theodore Turley in June 1850 at the Deseret Mint in Salt Lake City, Utah. Years later, in 1872, Ruth’s sixteen-year-old son, Alvin, died in Salt Lake City and was buried there.
San Bernardino, California: The Turley family joined a group of Latter-day Saints to colonize San Bernardino in Southern California. Ruth lived there for about six years. She had two sons there: Jacob Omner Turley and Alvin Hope Turley.
Central and Southern Utah: The Turley family lived for a short time in Cedar City (1858) and Washington (1858-1860) before moving to Minersville in Beaver County in 1860. A few years later, in 1865, Theodore and Ruth moved to Beaver. Ruth remained there for a couple years after Theodore’s death in 1871. In 1873, Ruth’s son, Jacob Omner, purchased a home for her in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah. By 1880, Ruth had returned to live in her son’s household in Beaver. She died in December 1880 and was buried next to her husband, Theodore, at the Mountain View Cemetery in Beaver.

  1. Nauvoo and sealing record “A”, 1846-1857, p. 773-774, sealing and marriage entry for Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles, FHL 183374.
  2. Ruth’s death date of 28 December 1880 is found in her church membership record. Confirmed via 22 January 2018 communication with Marie Erickson, Reference Librarian at the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reference #CH82334, response in full: “Mary Ann, Our patriarchal blessings department has access to all membership records. I asked them to check and they said that the death date on Ruth’s official membership record is 28 December 1880. I hope that helps.”
  3. See section on determining the parentage of Ruth Jane Giles below.
  4. New FamilySearch was the forerunner to today’s FamilySearch Family Tree.
  5. This description of Samuel Giles is found in the biographical sketch of his grandson, Francis Boardman. Duane Hamilton Hurd, History of Essex County, Massachusetts, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, Vol. 2 (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1888), 1127, digitized at Archive.org.
  6. Samuel Roads, Jr., The History and Traditions of Marblehead (Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company, 1880), 197-198, digitized at Archive.org.
  7. Nauvoo and sealing record “A”, 1846-1857, p. 773-774, sealing and marriage entry for Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles, FHL 183374.
  8. See above section on determining the parentage of Ruth Jane Giles.
  9. “Erastus Snow, with companions Benjamin Winchester then Freeman Nickerson, preached in Boston, Salem, Marblehead and surrounding towns from 1841 to 1843.  At this point in time Mary probably lived in Salem.” Jennifer Mackley, “Fifth in a Series on Wilford Woodruff’s Wives: Mary Meek Giles (September 6, 1802-October 3, 1852),” WilfordWoodruff.info, http://www.wilfordwoodruff.info/2013/02/third-in-series-on-wilford-woodruffs.html, accessed March 2021.
  10. Benjamin Ashby, son of Nathaniel Ashby, wrote that in early 1846 Ruth Jane Giles was living in his family’s Nauvoo home with several other women who were plural wives. “The river was soon frozen over and they crossed on the ice. At this time we had living with us some of the wives of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Bishop Hunter, viz. Mrs. Powers, Harriett Cook, Susanna Wasm, Ruth Jane Giles.” Robert L. Ashby, Ashby ancestry; something of the origin of the name and family; family pedigree; story of Nathaniel and Susan Hammond Ashby; autobiography of Benjamin Ashby (Salt Lake City, Utah: Stringam Ashby Stevens, 1941), 14, digitized at Archive.org. It does not appear that Ruth was a plural wife of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Edward Hunter.
  11. Ruth’s name was misspelled “Ruth Jane Childes” in a later summary compiled by the Temple Index Bureau. Devery S. Anderson and Gary James Bergara, The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846: A Documentary History (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2005), 593 and 604. Note: on page 608 of The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, it is stated that Theodore Turley was sealed to Ruth Jane Giles on 6 Feb. 1846 in Nauvoo. This appears to be an error. I could not find any record of that sealing in the Nauvoo and sealing record “A”, 1846-1857, FHL microfilm 183374.
  12. J. Cecil Alter, “In the Beginning: Near Scott’s Bluff,” Salt Lake Telegram, Wednesday, 9 Jan. 1935, p. 4, col. 4, Newspapers.com.
  13. Nauvoo and sealing record “A”, 1846-1857, p. 773-774, sealing and marriage entry for Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles, FHL 183374. Related blog post: “In the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.”
  14. 1850 U.S. census, Utah Territory, Utah Co., family 65, Ruth Turley in household of Theodore Turley, image on Ancestry.com; “The Seventh Census of the United States: Utah and Slavery,” Utah Historical Quarterly Web Extra (Spring 2017), https://history.utah.gov/repository-item/the-seventh-census-of-the-united-states-utah-and-slavery-spring-2017/, accessed April 2020, . Related blog posts: “In the Valley of the Great Salt Lake” and “Celebrating the U.S. Census with Theodore Turley’s Census Records.”
  15. Utah, Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, 1847-1896, Record of the Dead Book B, p. 89, interment no. 2900, Alvin Turley, 29 May 1872, image 204 of digital film 7420258 at FamilySearch.org, digitized from FHL 1299167, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9CR-TTG6?i=203&cc=2094273&cat=23661, accessed March 2021.
  16. “Remarks,” Deseret News, Wednesday, 8 Oct. 1856, p. 2, col. 3, Utah Digital Newspapers.
  17. “Brigham Young ordered their return to Utah in mid-winter and Aunt Sara told me they spent Xmas day camped on summit in El Cajon Pass in the snow.” Letter from Joseph Soll Turley, 6653 Olcott St., Tujunga, CA 91042, grandson of Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles, to the Theodore Turley Family Organization on 4 Aug. 1971, see 1971 Letter from Joseph Soll Turley to Descendants of Theodore Turley.
  18. Theodore and his son, Isaac, appear in the account books for the Deseret Iron Company, based in Cedar City. Theodore’s daughter-in-law, Amelia Louisa Counsell Turley (Frederick’s wife), also appears in the Cedar City Relief Society minutes.
  19. “Sat, 6th. The investigation continued till near Night. Bro. E. Snow & I Dined with Bro. Theodore Turleys.” Robert Glass Cleland and Juanita Brooks, eds., A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848-1876 Vol. 1 (San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1955), 179, digitized at HathiTrust.org.
  20. Ruth’s sister, Mary Meek Giles, was baptized by Erastus Snow on 4 Sep. 1842 in Essex County, Massachusetts. Jennifer Mackley, “Fifth in a Series on Wilford Woodruff’s Wives: Mary Meek Giles (September 6, 1802-October 3, 1852),” WilfordWoodruff.info, http://www.wilfordwoodruff.info/2013/02/third-in-series-on-wilford-woodruffs.html, accessed March 2021.
  21. 1860 U.S. census, Utah Territory, Beaver Co., Beaver, p. 135, dwelling 1141, family 1018, Ruth J. Turley in household of Theodore Turley, image on Ancestry.com.
  22. David Roche Turley II, Minersville and Beaver Field Trip timeline, no citation.
  23. 1870 U.S. census, Utah Teritory, Beaver Co., Beaver, p. 15, dwelling 122, family 109, Ruth Turley in household of Theodore Turley, image on Ancestry.com.
  24. Family records, based on a handwritten note on the Family Memorial for Sarah Ellen Clift, state Theodore died on August 12, 1871. Amasa M. Lyman’s journal (entry of 22 August 1871) and Theodore’s 1872 probate record both give his date of death as August 18th. Probate Records and Registers, 1856-June 1883,” Probate record of Theodore Turley, dated 30 July 1872, FHL 485230; Scott H. Partridge, ed., Thirteenth Apostle: The Diaries of Amasa M. Lyman, 1832-1877 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2016), 666. Related blog post: “Do We have Theodore’s Death Date Wrong?”
  25. Utah, Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, 1847-1896, Record of the Dead Book B, p. 89, interment no. 2900, Alvin Turley, 29 May 1872, image 204 of digital film 7420258 at FamilySearch.org, digitized from FHL 1299167, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9CR-TTG6?i=203&cc=2094273&cat=23661, accessed March 2021.
  26. Amasa M. Lyman purchased Alvin’s burial plot on behalf of the Theodore Turley estate.
  27. 1880 U.S. Census, Utah Territory, Beaver Co., Beaver City & Precinct, p. 8-C (stamped), Ruth Turley in household of Jacob O. Turley, image at Ancestry.com.
  28. Ruth’s death date of 28 December 1880 is found in her church membership record. Confirmed via 22 January 2018 communication with Marie Erickson, Reference Librarian at the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reference #CH82334, response in full: “Mary Ann, Our patriarchal blessings department has access to all membership records. I asked them to check and they said that the death date on Ruth’s official membership record is 28 December 1880. I hope that helps.”
  29. FindaGrave.com, memorial page for Ruth Jane Giles Turley (29 Jun 1812–1 Mar 1881), Memorial no. 51058, citing Mountain View Cemetery, Beaver, Beaver County, Utah, USA.