THE TURNERS OF GREASY CREEK
THE TURNERS OF GREASY CREEK ©
by Holly Timm
[originally published April 11, 1990
Harlan Daily Enterprise Penny Pincher]
Several columns have discussed the Turner families that lived on Clover Fork, but there was another group of Turner families in Harlan County in the 19th century. This group of Turners lived on Greasy Creek along what was then the Perry County line. Much of this area became Leslie County in 1878 and many descendants of these Turners still live on both sides of the Harlan/Leslie line.

David Turner and his brother, William, along with their sister, Mary, and her husband, Israel Miniard, moved around somewhat early in the century, appearing in records in Harlan, Perry and Clay County. They may have also spent several years in Tennessee although they were natives of Virginia.

The connection is neither certain nor known, but it is believed that this group of Turners is related to the William and Susannah Bailey Turner who settled on Clover Fork in the 1790's. David and William Turner of Greasy Creek and Mary Miniard may be children of a brother of William of Clover Fork.

Mary, born about 1793, was the oldest of the three. Her husband, Israel Miniard, was considerably older than she as he was born about 1776. It is probably that she was his second wife and tradition has it that his first wife was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. Israel and Mary settled just over the Clay County line from her brothers. This area also became a part of Leslie County when it was formed in 1878.

According to the 1850 census, David and William were both born about 1850 but later census records indicate that William was the older of the two and was born about 1796 or 1797 and that David was born about 1802 or 1803.

In 1824, in Harlan County, William married Henry and Elizabeth Ledford Smith's daughter, Stacy, who was born in 1804 in North Carolina. Stacy was related to the Ledfords who settled on Martins Fork. William and Stacy had at least five children.

Their oldest known son, Robert, was born about 1825. According to census records, he was born in Tennessee. In 1847, Robert married Sarah, daughter of Nathan and Judith Shumate Harris. Their two oldest daughters, Stacy and Judith, married their father's first cousins, David and Ransom, sons of William's brother, David.

Elizabeth, William and Stacy's only known daughter, was born about 1827. About 1848, she married Jefferson, son of Clem Nantz. This marriage apparently lasted only a few years as in 1853, Jefferson married again, in Perry County, to Sarah Hoskins. In 1860, Elizabeth is listed in her parents' household, along with her son, Felix Nance.

Elizabeth's brother, John L. Turner, was born about 1831. In 1858, he married Louisa, daughter of Andrew and Happy Howard Hensley. His brother, Henry Clay Turner, was born about two years later. Henry and his wife, Jane, were living near the rest of the family in 1860.

The youngest of William and Stacey's known children was William, born about 1837. In 1857, he married Henry and Malinda Coots Shepherd's daughter, Sarah.

David Turner and his wife, Tabitha Lewis, settled near William and Stacy and raised a large family along Greasy Creek. Their children will be discussed in a future column, as well those of Israel and Mary Turner Miniard.

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