Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


James Burton Turner

JAMES BURTON TURNER has covered a wide field, including nearly all the states between the Allegheny and Rocky Mountains, as a worker, operator and producer in the oil fields. He was a pioneer operator in the Mid-Continental fields of Southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Mr. Turner is prominently known among the leading oil men of the country and since January, 1903, has been a resident of Chanute. From that city he has extended his various operations as a producer and contractor, and has drilled hundreds of wells in the fields of Kansas and Oklahoma.

At the present time Mr. Turner has some productive property east of Chanute, including ten active wells, has a lease five miles east of Chanute including eight wells, and a lease at Shaw of two wells. He was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, close to the great Pennsylvania oil fields, on November 28, 1863. His ancestors came from England and were colonial settlers in the State of Maine. His grandfather Enoch Turner was born in Maine, in 1791, and afterwards penetrated the wilderness across the Allegheny Mountains and found a pioneer home in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1890, when nearly a hundred years of age.

A. F. Turner, the father of James B., was born at Syracuse, New York, in 1818, and it seems likely that he will live to a greater age than his father. He is still living, in his ninety-eighth year, and a resident of Rouseville, Pennsylvania. When he was two years of age his parents removed to Crawford County, Pennsylvania, he was reared there, and after his marriage located on a farm and was identified with its cultivation and management until he retired to his home at Rouseville. He still owns the farm of 240 acres. Politically he has been a democrat, and has been voting steadily for over seventy years. In the course of his experience as a citizen he has held all the township offices in his home community. He was formerly a member of the Methodist Church and belonged to the Equitable Aid Union until that organization became defunct. A. F. Turner married Jane Lang, who was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1823, and died at Rouseville, September 11, 1899. They were the parents of six children: J. E., who was an oil operator and was killed in a boiler explosion at Chanute, Kansas, in 1905; E. O. Turner, a farmer in Crawford County, Pennsylvania; D. E. Turner, a merchant at Rouseville, Pennsylvania; May, who lives at Rouseville, widow of E. F. Grosser, who was an oil operator; James B.; and W. L. Turner, an oil operator at Healdton, Oklahoma.

James Burton Turner spent his early life on the old farm in Crawford County. He had the advantages of the public schools. At the age of eighteen he left home and began working in the Pennsylvania oil fields, and from there his experience has gradually extended to cover nearly all the important oil districts of the country. Mr. Turner owns his home at 1321 South Edith Avenue in Chanute.

He is a democratic voter, is affiliated with Hector Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Chanute, and with the Benevolenet[sic] and Protective Order of Elks, at Robinson, Illinois.

In 1883 in Warren County, Pennsylvania, Mr. Turner married Miss Kittie Manderville. She died at Rouseville, Pennsylvania, in 1888, the mother of four children: Charles, who is an oil operator living at Chanute; Leo, who died young; Lulu, who died at the age of two years; and Marie, who died in infancy. In 1897 at Clymer, New York, Mr. Turner married Miss Ida Gibson, daughter of William and Elizabeth (McNutt) Gibson. Her mother is living at Rouseville, Pennsylvania, and her father, who was an oil operator, is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Turner have two children: Rowene and Leona, both of whom are in the junior class of the high school at Chanute.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1914-1915 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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