The Turner Family
Ebenezer Forbes and Phoebe Robinson
When George Washington Turner, son of Andrew Jackson Turner and Sarah Scammahorn, was discharged from the Union's 8th Cavalry (Kentucky) in 1863, he was 19 years old. He returned to Clermont County and married Martha Melissa Forbes on Dec. 27, 1864. Martha Melissa Forbes, who was born on Sept. 1, 1847, was the daughter of Ebenezer Forbes and Phoebe Robinson.
According to his death certificate, Ebenezer Forbes was born on November 13, 1820 in Ohio. Despite this evidence and various census records cited below, some researchers indicate that he came to the United States from southern England and migrated to Ohio by way of Pittsburgh, Penn. The 1880 census indicates that Ebenezer Forbes's father and mother were born in Maryland, so we suspect any ties to England go back further than the birth of Ebenezer's parents. His 1909 death certificate indicates his father was William Forbes and his mother's maiden name was Mary Lawyer (Sawyer?). There was a William Forbes living in Hamilton Co., Ohio according to the 1820 census. There were also several Lawyers and Sawyers living in the county. At this time we cannot be sure if this William Forbes was the father of Ebenezer Forbes.
Ebenezer Forbes married Phoebe Robinson on Sept. 29, 1844 in Clermont Co., Ohio. Phoebe Robinson was born on Aug. 3, 1827 according to her death certificate (see below). There were some reports that Phoebe Robinson was the daughter of John Robinson, the circus operator. He was known as "Uncle" John Robinson and he established the headquarters for his circus in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1852 in what is now Terrace Park. "Uncle" John's son, known as "Governor" John, would have been Phoebe Robinson's brother; he later took over the circus and operated it until around 1916. Here's an 1888 New York Times article on the death of "Uncle" John Robinson. In reality, there is no evidence that Phoebe (Robinson) Forbes was related to John Robinson, the circus operator. It appears she was born and raised in Ohio and that her father, according to census records and her death certificate, was also born in Ohio. Even though Phoebe Forbes' death certificate names her father as John Robinson, the fact that her father was born in Ohio probably rules him out as "Uncle" John Robinson, the circus operator, since he was born in New York and moved around the country until he settled in Cincinnati in 1852.
We're not sure where Ebenezer and Phoebe (Robinson) Forbes lived right after they got married; however, according to the 1850 census, they lived in Anderson Twp., Hamilton Co., Ohio. By the 1860 census, they lived in Union Twp., Clermont Co., Ohio where they continued to live for the rest of their lives. We suspect their first two children were born in Hamilton County and all the rest were born in Clermont County, but we're not entirely confident in that determination.
|Name||Age||Sex||Profession||Real||Personal||Place of Birth||Attend School||Read/Write|
|Phoebe Forbes||42||F||Keeps house||Ohio|
|John Forbes||13||M||Attends School||Ohio||Yes|
|Addie Forbes||11||F||Attends School||Ohio||Yes|
|Jennie Forbes||3||F||At home||Ohio|
Children of Ebenezer and Phoebe (Robinson) Forbes were:
- Martha Melissa Forbes, b. Sept. 1, 1847, m. George Washington Turner on Dec. 27, 1864 (see marriage record), d. July 16, 1934 in Hamilton Co., Ohio.
- Mary A. Forbes, b. Jan. 29, 1850, m. James J. Turner on Dec. 31, 1868 in Clermont Co., Ohio (see marriage record); James J. Turner was the grandson of Isaac Turner, a brother of Michael Turner, Jr., d. Feb. 10, 1924 (see death certificate).
- John Forbes, b. ~1857.
- Ada May (Addie) Forbes, b. ~1859, m. Edward R. Van Pelt on Dec. 29, 1878 in Clermont Co., Ohio, d. Feb. 9, 1898 in Mt. Carmel, Clermont Co., Ohio.
- Jeanette (Jennie) Forbes, b. Feb. 5, 1869, m. Edward Marsh on May 6, 1906 in Clermont Co., Ohio, d. Oct. 24, 1942 in Clermont Co., Ohio.
The following appeared in the Virginia Military Survey, page 194 Survey No. 14426:
Surveyed for Nathaniel Massie (Assignee) 3 acres of land on part of Military Warrant #8719 on the waters of the Little Miami-Patent from James K. Polk, Pres. To Ebenezer Forbes on June 8, 1848.
Ebenezer and Phoebe Forbes bought a small farm on a lane in Mt. Carmel at the top of Rose Hill. In 1900 their household looked like this:
|Name||Relation||Sex||Date of Birth||Place of Birth||Profession||Read||Write|
|Ebner Forbes||Head||M||November 1820||Ohio||Farmer||Yes||Yes|
|Pheobe Forbes||Wife||F||August 1827||Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Jennie Forbes||Daughter||F||January 1869||Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Mellie Vanpelt||Granddaughter||F||June 1891||Ohio||At School||Yes||Yes|
Mellie Vanpelt, described in the census record as Ebenezer Forbes' granddaughter, was the daughter of Edward and Addie Van Pelt. Addie had died in 1898. Also, Maud Van Pelt, another daughter of Edward and Addie Van Pelt, had died on Dec. 9, 1893, at the age of 10.
Ebenezer Forbes died in 1909. Phoebe Forbes died on March 14, 1910. Jennie and Edward Marsh lived on the Mt. Carmel property until they both died in the 1940s (see Jennie Marsh's death certificate). Ebenezer and Phoebe Forbes and Jennie and Edward Marsh are buried at Mt. Moriah Cemetary in Clermont Co., Ohio.
George Washington Turner and Martha Melissa Forbes
George Washington Turner and Martha Melissa Forbes were married on Dec. 27, 1864 in Clermont Co., Ohio. Their union resulted in the following children:
- Eben Forbes Turner, b. Nov. 23, 1865 in Clermont Co., Ohio, m1. Ella Thomas Worsham on Sept. 8, 1887 in Greenbrier Co., W.Va. (see marriage record), m2. Genevieve Moore on Feb. 23, 1915 in Moundsville, Marshall Co., W.Va. (see marriage record), d. Nov. 12, 1931 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see death certificate).
- Jeanette Turner, b. Aug. 24, 1867 in Clermont Co., Ohio, m. Elmore Grant Brown on Aug. 27, 1890 in Hamilton Co., Ohio, d. May 7, 1954 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see death notice).
- Andrew Jackson Turner, b. Oct. 29, 1869 in Clermont Co., Ohio, d. before 1924.
- Ayers Bramble Turner, b. Oct. 21, 1871 in Highland Co., Ohio (see birth record), m. Mary E. Hartigan on June 26, 1895 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see marriage record), d. April 29, 1946 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see death certificate).
- Phoebe May Turner, died at age 4.
- Emma Maude Turner, b. Aug. 2, 1877, m. Herbert E. Oldrieve on Nov. 11, 1896 in Montgomery, Ohio, d. July 18, 1929 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see death certificate).
- Clare Estelle Turner died at age 4.
- Zetta Blanche Turner, b. April 13, 1886 in Hamilton Co., Ohio, m1. David William Cowdrey on March 1, 1903 in Hamilton Co., Ohio (see marriage record), m2. Curtis N. Gilbert on Sept. 9, 1915 in Dearborn, Ind. (see marriage record), m3. Carl Wortman around 1921, d. 1955 in Hamilton Co., Ohio.
After his Civil War service and marriage to Martha Melissa Forbes, George W. Turner initially tried his hand at farming, a profession that was deeply rooted in the Turner family. According to the 1870 census, he lived in the Mt. Carmel area of Clermont Co., Ohio. He lived just a few households away from his father-in-law, Ebenezer Forbes, and next door to Isaac Forbes who was likely the brother of Ebenezer Forbes.
|Name||Age||Sex||Profession||Real||Personal||Place of Birth||Attend School||Read/Write|
|Mattie Turner||22||F||Keeps house||Ohio|
|Eben Turner||4||M||At home||Ohio|
|Jennette Turner||2||F||At home||Ohio|
|Andrew Turner||8/12||F||At home||Ohio|
The Turners must have moved to Highland Co., Ohio soon after the 1870 census since their son, Ayers Bramble Turner, was born on Oct. 21, 1871 in that county. By the 1880 census, George Turner was working as a Shipper/merchant in the east end of Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio. According to Cincinnati Directories, George W. Turner continued working at various jobs including merchant, watchman, sales and even as a porter in 1899. Starting in 1900, however, George Turner began working as a clerk in the Post Office and continued in that profession for the last twelve years of his life.
|House No./Street||Rent/Own||Name||Relation||Sex||Age||Place of Birth||Profession||Read/Write|
|246 Setchell St.||Own||George W. Turner||Head||M||55||Ohio||Post Office Clerk||Yes|
|Martha M. Turner||Wife||F||49||Ohio||Yes|
|Zetta B. Turner||Daughter||F||13||Ohio||Yes|
From 1892 through 1910, George and Martha Turner lived at 246 Setchell St. in the Columbia-Tusculum area of Cincinnati. However, the 1910 Cincinnati Directory indicated they were living at the home of their daughter, Jeanette (Turner) Brown and Elmore Grant Brown at 4738 Harris St. in Linwood, Ohio. Harris Street was renamed Garland St. around that time and, according to the 1911 and 1912 Cincinnati Directories, George and Martha continued living with Elmore and Jeanette Brown at 4738 Garland St. These homes in Columbia-Tusculum and Linwood were less than three miles from each other and it appears the Turners maintained their ownership of the Setchell St. home while they were living with the Browns.
|House No./Street||Name||Relation||Sex||Age||Place of Birth||Profession||Business|
|4738 Harris St.||Elmore G. Brown||Head||M||42||Ohio||Janitor||School house|
|Herbert E.||Son||M||17||Ohio||Telegraph Operator||Western Union|
|George W. Burner [Turner]||Father-in-law||M||66||Ohio||Mail Clerk||Government Service|
|Martha M. Burner [Turner]||Mother-in-law||F||62||Ohio||None|
George W. Turner died in Dayton, Campbell Co., Ky. on Monday, July 1, 1912 (see death certificate). Martha M. Turner, the informant, indicated the two of them were living at 217 8th Ave. in Dayton, Ky. when her husband died and that he was employed in the Mailing Division of the Cincinnati Post Office. We're not sure of the circumstances that led to their move from Linwood, Ohio to Dayton, Ky. in 1912. According to the 1910 census, the owner of the house at 217 8th Ave. was Clara Murphy, a 64-year-old widow, and two of the occupants were Charles H. and Clara Charleton. Clara Charleton was the daughter of Clara Murphy and Charles was her husband. There was also a servant, Imogene Conger, living in the home. We are not aware of any relationships between the home's occupants and the Turner family. It's possible that George was working at the Dayton Post Office at the time, even though Martha indicated he was working for the Cincinnati Post Office. The Dayton Post Office at that time appears to have been a 7-10 minute walk from the Charleton home.
Martha M. Turner moved back into the Turner home at 246 Setchell St. around 1914 or earlier and her daughter Blanche moved in with her. Soon, Blanche's second husband, Curtis Gilbert, moved in with them until he and Blanche divorced a couple of years later. Martha and Blanche were still living at 246 Setchell St. when the 1920 census was taken. Blanche's two sons by David Cowdrey were living with her. Martha's son, Eben F. Turner (his first name was incorrectly written as Edwin), and his wife Genevieve were renting the home next door. Later, Martha moved to Oakley, another Cincinnati suburb, where she lived with Blanche after her marriage to Carl Wortman. Martha Melissa Turner was blind the last few years of her life. She died on July 16, 1934 (see Martha Melissa Turner's death certificate).