Information from the Orange
Turrentine book related
to these families. Turrentine numbers have been added.
Will book D, page 4, Orange
County, North Carolina, May 1800, Deborah Turrentine (widow of Alexander
Turrentine #2 (1725-1784)…to my son Alexander #21 (1772-), one Negro
wench named Jemima and also one mulatto child named Grace….
Will of Samuel Turrentine #10
(13 Sept 1774-19 Nov 1845) witnessed 2 July 1844 to wife, Negroes known by the
following names: Celah, Mary, Nathan, William and Ester. Sampson, Ben and
Cynthia. To my niece, Mary Jane
Turrentine #46 (daughter of his brother Absalom) one Negro girl,
Mariah. Mary Jane married Dr.
Charles T. McMannen.
From the memoirs of Edward
Archelaus Turrentine #593 (Smithville, Oklahoma, 8 April 1942…Grandfather (James
Turrentine #55, 24 Sept 1794, Orange County, North Carolina-16 Dec 1873,
Center Point, Arkansas) owned about 25 slaves…also owned a cotton gin which
accidently burned when one of the negroes who was carrying fire to the cotton
field stopped at the gin to get a basket.
The family never told grandfather the cause because they were certain it
was an accident and did not want the boy to be punished….
“My father, William L. T.
Turrentine #211 (31 March 1836, Bedford County, Tennessee-27 Nov 1913) told
me this story. He and Uncle Gib, a
family Negro, son of old Gib. Were at work in the near bottom of the farm when
the hounds bayed at a large buck deer in the millpond. Uncle Gib wanted to go
into the pond and drown the deer, but father refused to let him and killed the
deer himself by throwing a rock and striking its forehead….
Negroes, Old Gilbert and his son Young Gib, or Uncle Gib, played an integral
part in our family’s early history. I
can still remember hearing an old family horn blown by Old Gib. This good Blackman
was trustworthy and never
required punishment. He had no
education, yet he could and tell to a day when the moon would change. He was
a Methodist minister to the other
Negroes and could take out his Bible and quote chapter and verse. He had his
own house, corncrib, and smoke
house about a quarter of a mile from the main buildings.
Gib grew up with (my) father (William #211), (who) was just enough older
to take care of him. When father (#211)
married, Grandfather gave Gib to him and mother. I remember one time when father,
and I went to market at Fulton,
Arkansas. On the return trip it
became very cold and
father and Gib put their bedding together and I slept between them. The last
time I was at Uncle Gib’s house I
ate at the table with him. At our last
meeting, I carried Uncle Gib to the hotel and fed him. When we said goodbye,
he stood with his hat
under his arm and tears on his face.
of the slaves owned by this Turrentine family refugeed during the Civil War at Daingerfield,
Texas. Others stayed behind on
the farm in Arkansas.”
From the notes of Durwood
Turrentine Stokes #1635: When the
estate of Absalom Turrentine #14 was divided, a slave named Calvin
was given to Salina T. #49. This Calvin
went with the family to Florida. (In Florida in 1868, Salina married William
A. Carter.) Calvin became a
freeman in Florida, but was homesick for North
Carolina, which he
remembered as his boyhood home. He saved
ten dollars, bought a mule, and alternately rode and led the mule back to North
Carolina. He married Emaline Harris, a former slave
Williamson Harris. Mr. Harris was a
neighbor of Absalom Turrentine and one of the executors of his
will. Calvin and Emaline had a
large family of children and were hard working and industrious farmers. They
loved the old home place…and eventually
purchased it. (Other sources say the
land was given to Emaline by the Harris family.
Land transfers and wills need to be check to determine the facts.) This
is how some of the old Turrentine farm
and cemetery in North Carolina passed back into the hands of Turrentines.
from the Blue Book which were not
included in the Orange Book.
Nelse was (a) huge Negro slave
who belonged to George Smith, brother-in-law of Archelaus Turrentine (#56)
(brother of Archelaus’ wife Margaret Smith).
George Smith, James Turrentine (#55) and Archelaus Turrentine sold their
land in Bedford County, Tennessee,
and started for Texas.
This was in the fall of 1837. The families with their possessions made
quite a caravan. It required an entire
day to ferry the Mississippi River at Memphis. The lowlands across the river from Memphis
impossible. Nelse was driver of one (of)
George Smith’s wagons. He never got
stuck a single time; but his powerful physique was a great help to others of
the party who did become mired. It was
November when the party reached Arkadelphia (Arkansas).
One night they camped between Arkadelphia and Antoine. A severe storm
occurred and a big tree was
blown across the camp. Two boys were
killed and Uncle Jim’s hip was broken.
They were pinned beneath the tree.
In the excitement of the storm, Old Nelse ran to the tree, lifted it and
held it until the dead and injured could be removed. The next morning, two men
could not lift the
tree. …All thought of going on was abandoned.
The dead were buried and the injured were nursed. George Smith and Old
Nelse went in search of
a vacant cabin. The found one which
could be rented and there George’ wife, Polly (#75), gave birth to a
daughter. Neighbors were kind to the distressed emigrants. Returning emigrants
related the difficulties of securing title to land in Texas.
(Texas belonged to Spain and the
emigrants from the United States
entering without special authorization were illegal aliens.) The physical
prowess of Old Nelse was soon
recognized throughout the settlement. He
did his part at all log rollings and house raisings in the new land.
Old Gilbert was a Negro slave who
belonged to a neighbor of the Turrentines in Tennessee.
He married a slave girl who belonged to James Turrentine (#55). When
the Turrentines decided to immigrate to Arkansas, Gilbert
a domestic tragedy. He went to James
Turrentine and begged to be bought, so he would not be separated from his
family. James Turrentine offered to buy
Gilbert from his neighbor; but the neighbor refused to sell. James Turrentine
then offered to sell the
wife and children to his neighbor; but the man claimed he was not able to buy
them. Uncle Jim returned and told
Gilbert that he had done his best and failed.
Gilbert then went to his master and told him that he would be worthless
if he was separated from his family. The
neighbor was convinced and sold him to Uncle Jim. He was brought to Arkansas with his family. He
was the plantation blacksmith and was also
a preacher to his fellow slaves. He was
a great and good man and was called “Old Gib”, to distinguish him from his son
One day, little Phoebe
Turrentine (#216) was playing around Gib’s forge with a piece of iron in
her mouth. She stumbled and swallowed
the bit of iron. Gib grabbed her by the
ankles and turned her upside down and shook her until the piece of iron was
disgorged. She seemed none the worse for
the experience – thanks to the quick reaction of the old smith. She later
grew to womanhood and married
Thomas George Tucker Steel and became the mother and grandmother to a great
line of jurists and preachers. The
Methodist ministry and the Arkansas
bar owe much to this woman and to Old Gib.