Turners Period Ends at Belle Grove

08/11/12 8:09 PM

Well the past three days have been somewhat of an odyssey. As I started to prepare the next chapter of Belle Grove’s history, little did I know that I would run into so many road blocks. You would think that as we got closer to the present time, information would be easier to come by. But that doesn’t seem like the case with Belle Grove’s history. I was able to find more from the 1670 – 1860’s than I have been from the 1860’s to the present. And what is so amazing its that I know that records during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War were destroyed or lost. But at least we are capturing what we can before it is lost to time.

Before our “working vacation”, we had last posted about the letter requesting amnesty to President Johnson from Carolinus Turner for his role in the Civil War. From this letter we found out that Carolinus Turner’s wife, Susan August Rose Turner had an uncle, Captain William Jameson that had served in the U.S. Navy during the war. Since then I have found out that she also had two brothers that served in the Civil War, Alexander Rose, her older brother and Dr. William Rose, her younger brother. Both served in the war and both were killed. I haven’t been able to find out which side they served on yet.

Carolinus and Susan would live at Belle Grove and have five children, Caroline “Carrie” M. Turner, Anna August Turner, George Turner, their only son, Susan Rose Turner, and Alice Pratt Turner.

Carrie Turner would marry Dr. William N. Jett in 1874. Dr. Jett was a widower with six children from his first wife, Virginia Mitchell. Dr. Jett and Carrie would have their own child, George Turner Jett in 1876. Dr. Jett, Carrie and Virginia Mitchell and three of Dr. Jett’s and Virginia’s children are buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church located just as you enter Belle Grove Plantation.

Caroline “Carrie” M. Turner
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Dr. William Jett
Husband of Caroline “Carrie” Turner
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Anna Turner would marry Captain Robert L. Robb in 1869. They would have five children. Here is a note on Robert Robb. His mother, Frances Bernard Lightfoot was the daughter of Sarah “Sallie” Bernard Lightfoot, daughter of Frances Hipkins Bernard for whom the current mansion at Belle Grove was built for. One of their children, Carolinus Turner Robb would pass away just under two years old. Anna Turner Robb is also buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

Sarah “Sallie” Bernard Lightfoot
Daughter of Frances “Fannie” Hipkins Bernard
Grandmother of Robert Robb

George Turner would marry Jane Murphy McGuire in 1876. They would have nine children. George and Jane are also buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church along with their son Edward McGuire Turner and daughter Susan Rose Carter Turner Mitchell.

George Turner and Jane McGuire Turner
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Alice Pratt Turner would marry George B. Matthews in 1875. They would have one daughter, Alice T. Matthews.

Susan Rose Turner would marry Frederick Campbell Stewart Hunter in 1874. Frederick was a lawyer in King George and would go on to become a county judge in 1880s. They would have three children, son Frederick Campbell Stewart Hunter, daughter Caroline C. Hunter and son Thomas Lomax Hunter. Thomas would grow up to do some wonderful things in his life. He would attend William and Mary College in Williamsburg and Georgetown University. In 1908 he would pass the Virginia bar and work as a lawyer in King George, Virginia. In 1929, he started writing a column for the Richmond Times-Dispatch called “As It Appears to the Cavalier”. He would write this column until his death in 1948. He also published a book called “Columns from the Cavalier” in 1935. He would serve as a delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates for King George from 1918 to 1920. During World War I, he would serve as a food administrator for King George. He was given the honor as Poet Laureate of Virginia in 1948.

Thomas Lomax Hunter
Grandson of Carolinus and Susan Turner

All three of Susan and Frederick’s children were born at Belle Grove Plantation. None of the Hunter family is buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. From what I have put together Susan and Frederick lived at Belle Grove with her parent from the time they were married.

In 1876, Carolinus Turner would pass away at the age of 64. He would pass away from consumption. Consumption is just another term for tuberculosis. Thanks to one of our readers, I now have a copy of Carolinus Turner’s obituary that appeared in the Alexandria Gazette on December 19, 1876 that was reprinted from the Fredericksburg Herald:


The many friends of Carolinus Turner, of King George Co., will regret to learn of his death, which occurred on Monday last at his home in that county. Mr. Turner was a large landholder, and previous to the war, owned a great many servants. He was a gentleman of excellent education, and commanded the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends.”

After the death of Carolinus Turner, it seems that Susan, his wife moved from Belle Grove to one of their other properties. From a Federal Census in 1880, I found her living alone as a widow in King George with just one laborer and one servant.

Carolinus Turner
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

At his death, Carolinus was buried at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The land for this church was donated in 1860 by Carolinus. Just in front of his grave is also the grave of Susan Turner’s mother, Anna August Rose who passed away in 1853. Susan Turner, wife of Carolinus Turner would pass away in 1891. However, she is not buried with Carolinus or her mother. I have not been able to find where she is buried at yet.

Anna August Rose
Mother of Susan Turner
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

One note on the Church: From the deed record I recently found from the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center, when Port Conway was established there was a previous church area listed on the deed. It makes me wonder if Emmanuel was raised over a previous church site that already had a cemetery attached to it. This would explain why Anna Rose was buried there in 1853 before Emmanuel Episcopal was built in 1860.

I have not been able to find a will for Carolinus Turner. As prominent as he was, I don’t think he would have died without one. But at this time, we don’t have a copy of one. I do know that Belle Grove was passed to Susan and her husband Frederick.  They would live at Belle Grove until 1893.

There is also a court case in which a property called “Smith Mount” in Westmoreland County was said to have been given to George Turner Jett by Carolinus Turner. In this case dated 1895 between William N. Jett, Guardian  verse George Turner Jett it states that Susan Turner give to William Jett in 1878 a lot in Port Conway that had a house on it. It was for the use and benefit of Caroline M. Jett, his wife during her life and then for the benefit of Dr. Jett. It was to be given to  whoever Caroline designated by deed or will of Caroline. However Caroline died without a will in 1883, leaving one child, George Turner Jett who was now 20 years old. His only property was “Smith Mount” given to him by his grandfather Carolinus Turner. It states that the Port Conway lot is small and more suitable for a businessman. Dr. Jett at that time lived 18 miles from “Smith Mount” and wants to sell it. (I am not sure if that means Dr. Jett wants to sell “Smith Mount” or the lot at Port Conway) But George Jett is a minor. It then lists George Jett as a defendant. My guess would be that Dr. Jett wants to sell “Smith Mount” and wants George to move to Port Conway. But it looks like George doesn’t want to do so. I don’t know the outcome of this case yet.

One more note on George Turner Jett. I have found his name listed on a college catalog for William and Mary College for the session between 1991 and 1992. At the time, George would have been 15 or 16 years old. It doesn’t say if he graduated or not.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 50 Comments »

50 Comments on “Turners Period Ends at Belle Grove”

  1. Clanmother Says:

    What a journey you are on!

  2. Thank you. It has been so cool. Wait until you see what I have coming next post. I’ve been working on it for four days!

  3. John Says:

    This history is incredibly interesting. I have always been drawn to this era, for reasons unknown. I am at the moment in Mechanicsville, VA, and was in Williams burg earlier today. Such a small world!

  4. Oh wow! You were just down the road from us here in Chesapeake. We love Williamsburg. Boy you are getting around Virginia today!

  5. John Says:

    Yep! At my sister-in-law’s place in Mechanicsville now. Have a fine eve. 🙂

  6. You too! 🙂

  7. chandrashekhara Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog

  8. You are so welcome! Thank you for stopping by ours!

  9. That it so interesting that it is harder to find information the closer you get to the present time! In any case, good for you for compiling all of this for posterity!

  10. It is getting crazy! I’m having to look at other resources to find the information now.

  11. ManicDdaily Says:

    So great that you have the pictures and tombstones. k.

  12. Thank you! We love our history and enjoy sharing with everyone. Thank you for stopping by!

  13. windhound Says:

    This is fascinating research. You really develop your lateral thinking with this sort of work and make sense out of stories that were perhaps not so clear at the time. Thank you too for all the visits and likes.

  14. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in the future! You really do have to think differently when information is missing and have to find other ways to fill it in. Thank you for stopping by!

  15. gooseyanne Says:

    I am just lost in admiration for your `nose for news` historically speaking! You seem to have boundless energy. Makes fascinating reading.

  16. Thank you! It’s so exciting finding that lost piece of information. I think its the challenge that gets me digging. That and the love of the plantation. I want to uncover its hidden stories for all to see.

  17. What interesting history. There’s always something fascinating to read here 🙂

  18. Thank you! Wait until you see the next post!

  19. Thanks for the several likes at Pairodox Farm – very much appreciated. Your historical recount reminds me of research and writings my father-in-law is has been involved with (for more than 25 years) concerning the Bullard Farm Family from Holliston, Massachusetts. Seems like once the history/genealogy bug bites that there’s no going back! Nice work – carefully researched, and well written. D

  20. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in the future! Thank you! I have to agree. I have been bitten and can’t stop until I know it all! I have a really cool posting coming next!

  21. Ellyn Baker Says:

    This is so much better than reality TV. I envy the time you get to spend with those musty books and old frustrating court cases. The information is fantastic, and I am sure you will find the answers. I hate it when families don’t follow the “rules” and bury with the rest of the family 🙁 I have found they bury with their spouse or strangely their first spouse. Good luck! I can’t wait to read the next post. 🙂

  22. Thank you! It has been a great joy spending time looking through all the history. But believe it or not, I have spent more time on the computer than in a book! I am putting the finishing touches on the next post. It is going to be fun!

  23. What a fascinating historical journey! I’m going to follow your blog just to see what you discover next about your beautiful plantation.
    Also appreciate you visiting my blog

  24. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in the future! Wow! I am so sorry to hear about all the troubles everyone is having with this storm and its aftermath. We understand that living here along the coast (near Virginia Beach) I hope it gets better soon for all of you! You are all in our prayers daily.

    Thank you for following along with us this journey of ours. We have really enjoyed discovering all the history it has to offer and sharing it with others that loves history too.

  25. JulesPaige Says:

    Some families will only ever have partial histories, like my family that is only ‘here’ for two or three generations. You are doing a wonderful service to obtain and restore the History of those who lived at Belle Grove. Thank you.

  26. Thank you! It has been a challenge to uncover a lot of it. But we are working all the different resources. It will come, slowly but surely. It is just so much fun finding new pieces. Thank you so much for following along!

  27. This is so fun to read…I love history and love doing genealogy! I hope you keep finding information in your search!

  28. Thank you! We are just about half way through the history of this plantation. The last half has be a little harder to find. But we are working in it!

  29. Marianne J Says:

    Thomas Lomax Hunter wrote several books. http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/lp-2001/hunter.html
    I have some original poems by him that were typed on an old typewriter and signed, some with notations of being published. One that will NEVER be seen by anyone… interesting history.

  30. Oh wow! I love that you have some of his works! I would love to do a post on just him soon. Now you have me wondering why one will never be seen. Care to share why?

  31. Marianne J Says:

    I don’t really know. I got these at a garage sale and it has a notation on it (to whomever he sent it to) that says something like: No one will ever see this except you! It will never be published. ?

  32. If you would like to send me a copy by email, I promise it will never be published. I would like to read it, but I promise to keep it from the public at your request. my email is virginiaplantation@gmail.com

  33. mmadonna1 Says:

    I visited a plantation in Virginia for my nephew’s wedding but don’t recall the name. It was magnificent. Love the tombstones (I’m an avid fan of Halloween!) Beautiful photos.

  34. You know we are going to be doing weddings at our plantation too! In fact I have two appointments this month to show the plantation to future brides! I love tombstones and cemeteries too. I love the artwork that some of them have. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  35. createengwp Says:

    Interesting, can’t wait to view subsequent posts!

  36. Thank you! We have some really great posts to come!

  37. createengwp Says:

    Keep me posted!

  38. Will do!

  39. I think what you are doing it is so neat! I’ve always been a history buff.
    Years ago I was thinking about doing some in-depth research about our property here in Hagerstown, MD (not that far from you!), but I never found the time and it just slipped from my mind…Now I’m starting to feel motivated again!

  40. Thank you! Yes you aren’t too far from us! Maybe you can stop by one day and you will find the inspiration to research your own property! We would love to meet you!

  41. Candace Says:

    I’ve been looking around your blog and find all this history so interesting.

  42. Thank you! We love history and this plantation is filled with it.

  43. pixilated2 Says:

    Wonderful research and so fun that it involves your place! Thank you for visiting me today. ~Lynda

  44. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in future. Thank you so much for stopping by and seeing us!

  45. Janet Rörschåch Says:

    I have to say, outstanding research. You know, if this gig doesn’t work I think The Smithsonian could use you. Keep up the excellent research. Hope to visit. Wll you let me cook in your kitchen?

  46. Thank you! That was really sweet to say. I could see working at the Smithsonian. The only problem is I wouldn’t want to leave for the day. 😉 Sure, you can cook in the kitchen! Just let me know what to have on hand for you!

  47. Thank you for visiting my blog. Being a “Turner” I wonder if there is a connection with the past.

  48. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in the future! You know you could be connected! Do you have family in Virginia? Thank you for stopping by!

  49. kellisamson Says:

    Sallie looked like quite a joyful spirit :). Don’t you love the rabbit holes history takes us down? What a fun place to live!

  50. Sallie from her nieces diary said that she was in fact a very funny person! I do love the twists and turns this history takes us one!