Commerce native and Plainview Pediatrician, Dr. Stephen Turner, spoke to
the Hopkins County Genealogical Society, on Saturday morning, about his
latest two books in the Western Quest Series.
Author and Historian, Dr. Stephen Turner,
Speaks to Genealogical Society, Saturday
by: Bobby McDonald
Local Justice of the Peace, Ronny Glossup, who serves as the President
of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society, introduced Dr. Turner
and welcomed members and guests.
It was a real treat for local Hopkins County Genealogical Society members and their guests to gather on Saturday morning for a "story-telling" session with Dr. Stephen Turner, an author of six books on Texas history, and a native of Commerce, Texas. Dr. Turner, the son of Lynn and Alene Turner of Sulphur Springs and a 1975 Commerce High School graduate, now makes his home in Plainview, Texas, where "in his spare time" he's a noted pediatrician. However, as he admits, he spends a large amount of time reading, researching, and writing books in the "creative non-fiction" genre, about his ancestors in the formation of Texas.
"My books are historically correct, following hours of research and attention to detail," allowed Turner. "But, some of the names and places are changed to 'protect the innocent, and not so innocent,' when I began to write, so they would have to be classified as creative non-fiction!"
Turner, a fifth generation Texan and an 8th generation American, began his Western Quest Series, with Out of the Wilderness, about his ancestor, Thomas Turner, described as a red-haired, blue-eyed, Irishman, who left Belfast for South Carolina, in 1749, at age 17 years. He tells how the young man came to America and "grew-up in a hurry," as he carved a plantation out of the wilderness, overcoming pirates, wild animals, Indians, and European soldiers, as he was called to fight for freedom, in the Revolutionary War.
Turner continues the life of Thomas Turner, in three more books, as he examines the stages of his ancestor's life, in On the Camino Real, Under Troubled Skies, and Ride for the Lone Star, following his family from South Carolina to Texas.
On Saturday, Dr. Turner spoke more on the last two volumes that he has written in the family saga, On the Road to Glory and Up From the Ashes. These two volumes, fifth and sixth in the series, deal with the life of one Aaron Lloyd Turner, his brothers, David and Noah, and their brother-in-law, Pinckney "Pink" Hawkins. However, On the Road to Glory mainly deals with the "growing-up of 12 year old Aaron Lloyd Turner, who joined the Confederacy at age 12, and literally grows to manhood, on the battlefield.
Turner wears a hat like his ancestor, Aaron Lloyd Turner, would have worn and the jacket
that he would have worn at the beginning of the war, as he demonstrates a firearm similar
to what would have been used in the Civil War.
Aaron saw his older brothers enlist from their Navasota River Bottom home, and lied about his age, in order to join the conflict, and the War of Northern Aggression is seen through the eyes of this young boy, who thought he was departing for the adventure of a lifetime with the 15th Texas Regiment. However, he soon found the bitter realities of war, as he was captured at Fort Hindman, Arkansas, and spent time in the notorious Camp Stephen Douglas Prison Camp, where he watched his brother die in a flu epidemic. He fought at Chickamauga, where he killed his first man, and must deal with the range of feelings associated with "kill or be killed!" Then it was on to additional service at Chatanooga, Atlanta, and other battles, under the great Confederate leaders, Braxton Bragg, Joseph Johnston, and John Bell Hood, as courier on the battle front.
In his own words, Aaron Lloyd Turner said, "I killed a man and have been tested in the fire of war....I awoke that morning as a thirteen year old boy...now, there's a hardness in my heart...the boy who rode out of Texas was gone...in his place is a man I do not know!"
A seasoned war veteran, on the loosing side, Aaron Lloyd Turner returns to Texas, after the surrender, in Up From the Ashes, and must learn to deal with carpetbaggers, inflationary taxation, and the Northern influence of Reconstruction Texas. He and his brother, and other family members begin "rounding-up" Texas longhorns for a cattle drive over the Shawnee Trail, to earn enough money to keep their land.
Dr. Stephen Turner, center, was joined at Saturday's program, by his parents Lynn and Alene Turner of Sulphur Springs.
One out of four Texans didn't come home from the war, and of those returning, many were maimed for life, with severe physical and mental injuries.
Aaron "picks up the pieces" and uses his resourcefulness to keep the family "afloat" and to prosper. In this sixth installment, Aaron manages to "outsmart" the Yankee government, and trail 1100 head of wild Longhorns, north, to a starving populace for beef. He matures, marries, and when he is 88 years of age, returns to the Gettysburg Reunion, 75 th Anniversary, and leaves a number of family stories, telling about his service to the Confederacy!
Members at Saturday's presentation were held "spellbound" as Turner, unfolded the events in the lives of his ancestors, and asked a number of questions, following the presentation.
Turner closed his program with the promise of Book #7 in the Western Quest Series, On the Western Trail. "I'm on chapter 19 of the book and it should be ready for a fall release!"
Turner's books can be purchased at the Hopkins County Genealogical Society or on Amazon.com.
Turner autographed copies of his books, for those who purchased them on Saturday, following the
presentation at the Hopkins County Genealogical Society.