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The Turner Family

Part 7

The Children of George Washington Turner and Martha Melissa Forbes

Eben Forbes Turner

Eben Forbes Turner, who was born in Clermont Co., Ohio in 1865, seems to have started working for the railroad at the age of 14. According to a short piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer on April 26, 1886, he was a "telegraph operator at Turnpike Crossing on the Little Miami Road [Railroad]" and "has been connected with the Old Reliable for about seven years." According to the article, he was planning to embark on a career "in the fruit and grocery business." Eben Turner was the uncle who initially outlined the Turner family history to William Ellis Pruiett in 1924 (see Turner, Part 1). A short time after his career change, in September 1887, Eben Turner married Ella Thomas Worsham in Greenbrier Co., W.Va. where he was employed as a railroad agent according to the 1900 census. In 1898 Eben Turner's sister, Jeanette Brown, wife of Elmore Grant Brown, visited the couple at their home in West Virginia as indicated in this announcement in the Cincinnati Enquirer. By the 1910 census, Eben and Ella were living in Hamilton Co., Ohio where he worked as a fire and life insurance agent. He and Ella had two children, ages 20 and 21, but all must not have been well in their marriage because on April 9, 1912, an entry appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer which indicated that Ella T. Turner had filed for divorce. A short time later, Eben Turner was back in West Virginia marrying his second wife, Genevieve Moore, on Feb. 23, 1915. According to the 1920 census, Eben (his first name was incorrectly written as Edwin) and Genevieve Turner were living near his mother on Setchell St. in the Columbia-Tusculum area of Cincinnati and Eben was back working for the railroad. He died on Nov. 12, 1931, at the age of 65, of chronic myocarditis and heart disease.

Jeanette Turner

For more on Jeanette Turner, the daughter of George Washington and Martha Melissa (Forbes) Turner, after her marriage to Elmore Grant Brown of Newtown, Ohio, see Brown, Part 3.

Zetta Blanche Turner

Turner Family Reunion at Blanche Wortman's Home in Oakley - 1925
Turner Family Reunion at Blanche Wortman's Home in Oakley - 1925

Zetta Blanche Turner, the youngest child of George Washington and Martha Melissa (Forbes) Turner, was born when Martha was 38 years old. Here's a picture of Blanche around age 9. She married three times with her first two marriages ending in divorce. Even her third marriage seems to have been rocky at times based on a few civil suits filed between the husband and wife. Blanche's application for her second marriage license in 1915 indicated that her first marriage ended in divorce in 1911 after eight years of marriage. Curtis N. Gilbert, her second husband, was also previously divorced; in the 1920 census he was listed as a divorced lodger in the Los Angeles home of Jasper von Bulow. According to the 1920 census, Blanche indicated her last name was Cowdrey and that she was divorced. She likely went back to using the Cowdrey name because her two sons by David Cowdrey were living with her. So, Blanche's second marriage must have ended before 1920. Although we have not found a marriage document for her third marriage to Carl Wortman, we suspect it took place around 1921. The 1922 Cincinnati Directory shows both Carl Wortman and Martha M. Turner living at Carl Wortman's home at 4326 28th Ave. in Oakley. We have to assume that Blanche was living there as well and that she had likely married Carl Wortman by that time. We also found a Cincinnati Enquirer article dated June 4, 1922 indicating that Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wortman attended a wedding at which Blanche's son, George Cowdrey, was the best man. Blanche seems to have continued using the last name Cowdrey for many years after her third marriage (see this 1929 Cincinnati Directory listing). She was a tailoress and belonged to several organizations and it was likely easier for her to continue using her Cowdrey last name for professional reasons. Blanche's first husband, David W. Cowdrey, died on April 3, 1928 in Georgetown, Brown Co., Ohio (see death certificate). His death certificate indicated he was widowed and that Blanch Turner Cowdrey had been his spouse. The informant was his father, Emanuel Cowdrey. We don't know if the informant misinterpreted that box on the death certificate; however, it is clear that Blanche was very much alive at the time of David Cowdrey's death. Perhaps David's 70 year old father, who passed away two years later, considered Blanche to be deceased; however, it's clear his children had a close relationship with their mother since they lived with her according to the 1920 census. The picture above from the Turner Family Reunion in 1925 clearly shows at least three Cowdreys in attendance in addition to Blanche and her third husband Carl Wortman. The two male Cowdreys were David's and Blanche's children and the third Cowdrey was the wife of her eldest son. Here's another picture taken on the front porch of the Wortman home in Oakley around the same time. In the years that followed, Blanche got involved in several clubs and organizations including the Independent Order of Herdsmen (perhaps related to her tailoress profession), where she served as president for a period of time, and the Daughters of America. Here's a picture of Blanche Wortman in 1940 when she was a Trustee with the Herdsmen (standing, fifth from left). Zetta Blanche (Turner) Wortman died in 1955. Here's a picture of her headstone in Mt. Moriah Cemetery near Withamsville, Clermont Co., Ohio. Carl F. Wortman died in 1965 and is also buried in Mr. Moriah Cemetery.

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