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Elijah Turner
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Birth: May 14, 1761
Bristol County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Nov. 27, 1843
Berkshire County
Massachusetts, USA

(Birthdate above calculated from death registration record.)

Elijah Turner was born circa 14 May 1761 in the town of Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. There were a handful of other Turners in Easton at that time (among them the males Bethuel, Lemuel, John, Sihon/Sion, and even another Elijah) who were perhaps his brothers, cousins, or even his father—but as yet no relationships between them and Elijah are certain.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Elijah, at about the age of 17 years, enlisted as a private with a company of local militia to march to Rhode Island to keep the British from invading the country through that route. (We should note that there was another Elijah Turner from Easton who enlisted as a Sergeant early in the war, but he soon disappeared from the town records, perhaps killed in the war. We assume this was the slightly older Elijah Turner listed in Easton records as having married Easter Andrews in 1773—when our Elijah was around the age of 12—and who had one child’s birth recorded in Easton, that being a son, Asaph, born in 1774.)

By his military service pension application filed in Probate Court in Lenox, Massachusetts on 28 August 1832, our Elijah Turner, at the age of 71 years, appeared in person and swore that he served as a private during the entire war, enlisting several times with various companies between the years of 1776 and 1780, and that he served “in the Massachusetts line” in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. Massachusetts state records of militia enrollments seemed to confirm some of these claimed enlistments then and now, and National Archives records seem to confirm his final enlistment on 20 July 1780 in the Second Regiment of the Continental Army, joining “at West Point” New York in the company of Capt. Abner Howard, Col. Bailey’s Regiment, and serving three months, thereafter being transferred to Capt. Robert Bradford’s Company of light infantry for three additional months until his final discharge.

On a "descriptive list" of men serving in 1780 he appears as: "age, 19 yrs.; stature, 5 ft. 4 in.; complexion, dark; engaged for town of Easton." Rev. William L. Chaffin, who in 1886 researched and wrote The History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts, said of the Easton men enrolled in this unit: "These saw difficult service."

When the war was over, Elijah, a survivor not significantly disabled, returned to his hometown and his usual occupation of farming. On 14 July 1782 his intention to marry Hannah Austin, a girl of about his age of 21 years, was published in her adjacent hometown of Norton (Bristol County), Massachusetts. They were married in Norton on 19 September 1782 by Norton Baptist minister Rev. William Nelson (with Stimson Williams in attendance) and thereafter they resided in Easton, where town records recorded the subsequent births (and two infant deaths) of eight of their nine children born there between the years 1783-1799. The ninth and youngest child, Joanna, did not have her birth recorded with the family in Easton (or the record has been lost)—but the 1800 census shows her presence.

[Children of Elijah and Hannah Turner of Easton:
--Polly (Joshua Bealls) 1783-1864;
--Jedson 1785-1786;
--Sally/Sarah (Alexander Tafft) 1787-1876;
--Hannah (Calvin Goldthwait, Joseph Mason) 1789-1860;
--Elijah 1791-1792;
--John (Chloe Webster) 1793-1820;
--Elijah (Polly Raymond) 1795-?;
--Liva/Oliva (Orra Gifford) 1797-1858;
--Joanna (Orren Stone) 1799-1846.]

Soon after the August 1800 census was taken, Elijah and his family migrated from Easton to Windsor in Berkshire County, in western Massachusetts. There their youngest child, son Ebenezer Austen Turner, was born on New Year’s Day, 1803, and the marriages of their oldest daughters, Polly and Sally, took place in 1802 and 1805. By the time of the 1810 census the family was living in Peru (also in Berkshire County), where their daughter Hannah married Calvin Goldthwaite in 1811. By the 1820 census Elijah, Hannah, and their two youngest children remaining at home (Joanna and Ebenezer) were living in Hinsdale (still in Berkshire County). Joanna would marry Orren Stone of Windsor the following month.

Elijah Turner claimed in his pension application that he also lived in Northampton, Massachusetts in Hampshire County for one year during this period 1800 to 1827. Thereafter he and Hannah finally settled permanently in Savoy (Berkshire County). The 1830 census shows Elijah, age 69, living with youngest son Ebenezer, next-door to daughter Joanna and her husband Orren Stone, three boys under 11 years of age, and what seems to be Hannah Turner living with them (probably helping out with the children or being taken care of by Joanna).

In the wake of the Pension Act of 7 June 1832, Elijah Turner quickly moved to apply for a government pension for his Revolutionary War service. He gathered depositions from various people attesting to his true and honest character, his past life in Easton and in western Massachusetts, and his service in various military companies. At the end of August he appeared in open court in Lenox to present his application and describe his past military service under oath. On 4 March 1834 he began receiving payments of his pension for his military service performed during the Revolutionary War.

On the 1840 census Elijah and Hannah are shown living together by themselves, still next-door in Savoy to Joanna and Orren and their large household filled with children.

On 27 November 1843 Elijah Turner died, age 82 years 6 months 13 days, of lung disease, cause: fever (or perhaps of 'lung fever,' i.e. pneumonia). He was the first to be buried in a spot on Turner-owned land that would later become known as Turner Cemetery, in the part of the town known as Savoy Center. Next to be buried there was infant Lorinda A. Thayer, only daughter of Edward and Marcella L. Thayer (died 21 December 1845), probably a descendant of the Thayer clan of Easton, some of whom had fought in the same militia units with Elijah Turner and were most probably friends of the Turners. Joanna Turner Stone was the third to be buried there, near Elijah’s grave, following her death on 18 March 1846 at the age of 46 years 6 months. Hannah Austin Turner would soon follow, as she died 5 September 1846. The three of these Turners are buried in closest proximity, along with a tombstone for Joanna’s son, Newell Stone, a Civil War veteran.

Following Elijah’s death, his widow Hannah applied for and received a Revolutionary War veteran’s widow’s pension until her death ("Inscribed on the Roll at the rate of 76 Dollars 67 Cents per annum, to commence on the 27th day of Novr. 1843.".)

Elijah Turner’s gravemarker carries the following inscription:

In Memory of Elijah Turner
A Revolutionary War Soldier
who died Nov. 27, 1843
Aged 82 yrs.
Sweetly he laid his head
Upon his Saviours breast
His Saviour welcomed his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.

There is a Sons of the American Revolution marker on his gravesite. He was recognized as a Revolutionary War Veteran (one of four who had resided in Savoy) on page 24 of The History of the Town of Savoy by H.E. Miller (1879).
Family links: 
  Hannah Austin Turner (1760 - 1846)
  Hannah Turner Mason (1789 - 1860)*
  Joannah Turner Stone (1799 - 1846)*
  Ebenezer Austen Turner (1803 - 1870)*
*Calculated relationship

In Memory of Elijah Turner
A Revolutionary War Soldier
who died Nov. 27, 1843
Aged 82 yrs.
Sweetly he laid his head
Upon his Saviours breast
His Saviour welcomed his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.
[Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R.) marker]

Note: Corbin Manuscript Collection, Turner Cemetery (Savoy Center), p. 21
Turner Cemetery
Berkshire County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: Memories of You
Record added: Sep 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42001258
Elijah Turner
Added by: Memories of You
Elijah Turner
Added by: Lorry
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Remembered on Memorial Day.
- Memories of You
 Added: May. 27, 2013
Remembered on Memorial Day
 Added: May. 28, 2012

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