Cos. Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry & Fermanagh Ireland Genealogy Research

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Samuel Turkington born 1840, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland: A Biography

History of Washington County, Iowa
Submitted by
Annie Crenshaw
Formatted by
Jim McKane, Ontario, Canada


History of Washington County, Iowa from the first white settlements to 1908.

Also biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume 2)

By Howard A. Burrell


Samuel Turkington, well known as a representative farmer of this county, was at one time the owner of four hundred and sixty acres of land and still has a valuable and productive property although he has given some of his land to his children. He was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, January 2, 1840, a son of James and Margaret (Courtney) Turkington. His father was born in Ireland where he spent his entire life, giving his attention to general agricultural pursuits. In the year 1859 his widow sailed for the United States, making her way into the interior of the country, settling in Louisa county. Iowa, near Letts, where she made her home until her death on the 15th of August, 1889. In the family of this worthy couple were six children : Eliza, the wife of Joseph Rainey, residing in Louisa county, Iowa ; Sarah, deceased; Samuel, of this review; Christopher, who is living in New London, Iowa; James, who makes his home near Letts; and one who died in infancy.  Samuel Turkington acquired his education in the common schools of Ireland, where he remained until 1854, when he came to the United States.  For two years he resided in Kentucky and then removed to Louisa County, Iowa, where he remained until 1869, when he came to his present place of residence in Washington county. Here he has resided continuously since and has been closely associated with the agricultural interests of the community. He now owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in Washington county and eighty acres in Louisa County. At one time he had four hundred and sixty acres of fine land from which he derived a very substantial income but he has since given some of this to his children, retaining the ownership of two hundred and forty acres. He has improved his fields until they annually bring forth rich harvests, and though he started out in life empty-handed, he is now in possession of a handsome competence that wins him classification with the substantial residents of this part of the state.

The only interruption that has come to Mr. Turkington’s active business career was when he joined the army, enlisting in 1862 as a member of Company G, Nineteenth Iowa Infantry. He was in Tyler, Texas, for eleven months as a prisoner of war, having been captured by the Confederate army.  When he entered the prison he weighed two hundred pounds but was of much lighter weight when he left there and has never weighed that much since. He served for almost three years in defense of the Union and was in the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, and in various skirmishes. He was taken prisoner near the mouth of the Red river. When the war was over he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home, having made a most creditable military record by the prompt manner in which he executed ever)’ order of command that was given him and by the fearlessness which he displayed in defense of the old flag. He now maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in the Grand Army Post at Crawfordsville, taking much delight in its camp fires. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he was steward.

Mr. Turkington has been pleasantly situated in his home life. In 1865 he was united in marriage to Miss Lucretia See, who was born in Des Moines county, Iowa, and was a daughter of Michael and Elizabeth (Miller) See. Her maternal grandmother was a Hanks and an own cousin of Abraham Lincoln who had many a meal at her table. The mother of Mrs. Turkington bought her first “store dress” of Lincoln while he was peddling goods across the state of Indiana. Michael See, the father of Mrs. Turkington, was born in Virginia and became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, devoting fifty years of his life to the work of preaching the gospel in connection with the Iowa conference. He died in 1900 and at that time was among the oldest preachers of the state. His influence was a most potent force for good and the seeds of truth which he planted have borne rich fruit in the lives of many who came under his ministration. Unto him and his wife were born one son and five daughters, the eldest being Mrs. Turkington, while the others were: Lois, the wife of Richard Williams; Rebecca, the wife of John LattaMary, the wife of J. W. Thompson; Anna, the wife of Taylor Wilkins; and John W., who is living in Winfield, Iowa. There were also two half sisters, Mrs. Allie Thomas and Mrs. Ada Simons. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Turkington has been blessed with seven children: Robert James, a farmer residing in Crawford county, Iowa; Michael C., deceased; Christopher, living near Letts, Iowa; Anna, the wife of Clyde Mathews, of Wynian; Samuel, at home; Nora, the wife of Charles Zickefoose, of Crawford township; and Margaret May, at home.