Biography of Thomas D. Turner
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

THOMAS DAVISON TURNER, deceased, for a quarter of a éenjury the leading funeral director of Wilkinsburg, was born in that borough June 22, 1851, on the corner of Penn avenue and Center street, and lived in that house until his death, which occurred January 25, 1905: His grandfather, Adam Turner, who died in 1815, was one of the pioneers in the vicinity of Wilkinsburg. He married May Quigley, and they had three children: Hugh; Rebecca, wife of Thomas Davison, of East End; and another son, William, unmarried.

Hugh Turner, born in 1809, eldest of the family of Adam Turner, was a resident all his life of Wilkinsburg, He married Catherine Duff, and they had the following children: 1. Rev. James, who married Rebecca Murdock, and the issue by that union was: Genevieve, a practicing physician; Minnie, Howard, Laura, George and Harry. 2. Mary, unmarried. 3. William, married Mary Swank, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, by whom the issue was: George Quigley, Genevieve, William, Howard and Catherine. 4. Isabel, unmarried. 5. Hugh, a soldier in the Civil war, who died shortly after that conflict. 6. John, who married Martha Duff, and had children: Charles, Kate, Liberty (deceased), Hugh, Martha (deceased), Alice and Alma (deceased). 7. George, died in infancy. 8. Thomas D. (subject), who married Eliza Beatty, daughter of Richard and Eliza (Wilson) Beatty. Their children are as follows: Mary E., Laura B. and Thomas D., Jr. Mary and Isabel still live in the old homestead.

Thomas Davison Turner, born, reared and died on the same lot in the borough of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, was educated in the public schools of his native place and early in life engaged in the grocery business, continuing until 1880, when he embarked in the undertaking business. He was one of the best known funeral directors in Western Pennsylvania, his place of busi­ness being at Nos. 720 and 722 Penn avenue, Wilkinsburg. His whole life was identified with Wilkinsburg, where, in 1877, he erected for himself and family the fine mansion at 1015 Center avenue in which his widow now resides. From its organization he was connected with the First United Presbyterian church, of which Dr. M. M. Patterson was pastor. From the beginning he was a mem­ber of the session. He was the first and with the single exception of one year was the only superintendent of the Sabbath school of that church. Although that congregation has been exceptionally favored in the interest, taken in its work by men of affairs in its early history, Mr. Turner was helpful and con­stant in his devotion and was accorded preeminence. He was in the early eighties a justice of the peace, which was the only public office he ever held. In his political views, though reared under Democratic influences, he became an ardent Prohibitionist. He was the first vice president of the First National Bank of Wilkinsburg, and served as vice president and director up to the time of his death. At the time of his death the board of directors of the bank and the Wilkinsburg Real Estate and Trust Company adopted the following reso­lutions:

"In His wisdom God has removed from the directorate of the First Na­tional Bank of Wilkinsburg and of the Wilkinsburg Real Estate and Trust Company our beloved vice president, Thomas Davison Turner.

Death for the first time has entered our boards and broken the social and business ties formed and cemented by years of intercourse around the directors' table.

"As a trusted friend, a wise counsellor and honored citizen and Christian gentleman our departed fellow director brought strength and stability to our institutions, helping to form and rear them on the confidence and good will of our community.

"His chair at our council board will be vacant, but his mature wisdom and character have been built into the structure, in the erection of which he has taken such an honorable part. As a board we desire to enter this minute testifying of our appreciation of his unswerving integrity, his fidelity to the best interests of our institutions and the profound personal esteem in which he was held by each one of us."

The high esteem in which he was held in the borough was shown by the closing of places of business during the hours of his funeral. He was an unassuming, retiring gentleman, but of exceptionally attractive and confidence imposing face and manner. He was a man holding strong convictions and consistent behavior as a true Christian. By his goodness and integrity he had won a place in the esteem of the entire community that is given to few men to enjoy. His sterling uprightness and warm heartedness endeared him to an unusually wide circle of friends who deeply mourned his demise.


From:
A Century and a half of
Pittsburg and her people.
By: John Newton Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company
1908.


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