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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Turner, John

by Joseph L. Price, 1996

ca. 1802–1844

John Turner, Texas pioneer, politician, soldier, and jurist, was born in North Carolina but, like others of the time, was taken by his parents to Tennessee as a youth. From there he emigrated to Texas in 1834. On 20 June 1835 he received title to one league and one labor (a Spanish land unit measuring 177 acres) of land in what became Live Oak County, seventy miles south of San Antonio.

On 1 Feb. 1836 Turner was elected to represent the San Patricio community in the constitutional convention. After the convention adjourned, he joined the Army of Texas. His land was overrun by the army of the Mexican dictator, Santa Anna. Turner served under General Thomas Jefferson Green, a native of Warren County, N.C., and was apparently engaged in procuring horses and supplies for the army.

Following the success of the Texas Revolution, Turner was elected to the house of representatives of the new Republic of Texas. After his service in the government, he returned to the San Patricio municipality and was appointed county judge by Sam Houston. Turner left San Patricio in 1839 and settled near Houston, where he resided until his death.


Louis Waltz Kemp, Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (1944).

Walter P. Webb, ed., Handbook of Texas, vol. 2 (1952).

Additional Resources:

Keith Guthrie, "TURNER, JOHN," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 04, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Sam Houston Dixon, Men Who Made Texas Free (Houston: Texas Historical Publishing, 1924).

Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986).

Rachel Bluntzer Hébert, The Forgotten Colony: San Patricio de Hibernia (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1981).

John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973).

Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Dixon, Sam Houston. Men who made Texas free : the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence--sketches of their lives and patriotic services to the republic and state, with a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence. Houston, Tex. : Texas historical publishing company, c1924. 1924. (accessed March 7, 2013).