Biography of John Willis Turner
Posey County, Indiana Biographies

John Willis Turner. ó The growth and development of any community depends largely upon the management of its financial institutions. The manufacturing and commercial enterprises of the city of Mt. Vernon, as well as the farmers of Posey county, owe much to the progressive policy of the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon, of which Mr. Turner has been the controlling executive since 1907. He occupies today a prominent place in the banking circles of southwestern Indiana, has contributed in large measure to the advancement of Mt. Vernon, in whose still greater commercial and civic prestige he is a firm believer, and holds a secure position in the confidence and esteem of the citizens of the county. John Willis Turner was born on his fatherís farm in Owen county, Kentucky, near Georgetown, Scott county, on August 7, 1872, the son of Thomas W. and Amanda J. (Lee) Turner. The family was founded in America by Joshua Turner, a native of Ireland, who settled in Kentucky in 1847. He was a farmer and a successful one. He served with the Confederate forces in the Civil War and was killed at the battle of Cumberland Gap. His son, Thomas W. Turner, the father of our subject, was also a native of Ireland, where he was born on February 19, 1843. He came to Kentucky with his parents in 1846 and was reared on his fatherís farm. He also served with the Confederate forces in the Civil war and was wounded in the battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn. He married when a young man Miss Amanda J. Lee, the daughter of Nathaniel W. Lee, founder and owner of the town of Leeís Mills, and well known distiller and land owner of Owen county, Kentucky. Mr. Turner was reared and has always followed farming as an occupation. He has been successful as an agriculturist, is a man of influence and enjoys the conficlence and esteem of the residents of his neighborhood. His political allegiance has been given the Democratic party and he has taken an active part in the work of that organization. Mrs. Turner died in 1880. They were the parents of four children, two of whom are living: Fannie Lee, born August 26, 1870, is the wife of Frank M. Davis, a carriage and implement dealer of Corinth, Ky., and John Willis, our subject. Flora, born October 5. 1875, died of pneumonia in 1892, and Stella, born April 5, 1879, died in 1887. Mrs. Turnerís maternal ancestors were among the early settlers of America and numbered among them are men who achieved distinction in the frontier life of those early days, in the commercial era which followed, in the War of the Revolution, and later in the Civil war. The founding of the Lee family in Kentucky dates from the settlement there of Dr. LeGrand Lee, a physician of Virginia, and descendant of General Lee of Revolutionary fame. He was joined later by Doctor Joseph Lee, a physician, John Lee, a Baptist preacher, and Nathaniel W. Lee, brothers, the latter of whom was the grandfather of the subject of this review. He became the most extensive land owner of his section of the State, one of its most successful distillers, and was one of the most influential citizens of his district. His death occurred on August 27, 1893. John Willis Turner received his early educational discipline in the public schools of Owen county, graduated from Owenton High School and in 1889 entered the literary department of the Kentucky State College at Lexington and was graduated in the class of 1893. The succeeding two years he was engaged in raising hogs on an extensive scale, purchasing the refuse from his grandfather's distillery for feed. The markets of 1894 and 1895 were high and he sold at a large profit. The success he had attained in his initial business venture attracted the attention of the officers of the First National Bank of Owenton and he was offered and accepted a position with that institution. He resigned from this position in 1897 and entered the People's Bank of the same town, where he remained until 1899, when he accepted the position of corporation clerk in the State Capitol at Frankfort. While in charge of this office he gained a comprehensive grasp of banking as conducted in Kentucky, which has been of great advantage to him in his later career. He became a resident of Posey county in 1903, when he came to Poseyville and organized the First National Bank of that town. His connection with this institution, of which he was cashier, continued until 1907, when he was offered and accepted the position of cashier of the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon, the oldest financial institution in the county and which, at this writing, 1913, has the largest deposits. In the administration of the business of this bank, of which he has been the dominant executive since 1907, his progressiveness, energy and resourcefulness have been largely responsible for the healthy growth enjoyed by the institution, as well as the high reputation of the organization. He is known to the banking fraternity as an able and discriminating financier and one who has brought the administrative policy of his bank up to the point of highest efficiency. Essentially a business man, he has neither the time nor inclination for public office, though he never neglects in the least his civic duties and obligations and has taken an active part in the councils of his party. He has been a lifelong Democrat. Mr. Turner has attained the Thirty-second degree in Scottish Rite Masonry, is a member of Indianapolis Consistory, and Hadi Temple Shrine, Evansville. He is a member of Mt. Vernon Lodge, No. 277, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Turner married on October 14, 1896, Miss Anna Lee True, the daughter of William R. and Sue Katherine True, of Louisville, Ky. They are the parents of one child, a daughter, Mary Louise, born March 12, 1907. Mrs. Turner is a woman of broad culture and refinement and popular in the social circles of Mt. Vernon, in which she is a leader. The Turner residence, one of the most attractive in Posey county, is known for its gracious hospitality. Mr. Turner is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and business affairs and conscientious in all things.

History of Posey County, Indiana
John C. Leffel, Editor
Standard Publishing Company
Chicago 1913.


Posey County

Online -



New York

Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906 ] NEW

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012

Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies