Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - Willis Turner family papers, MS.000573
Willis James Turner was born September 8, 1913, to Emmett Dewitt and Arned Williams Turner, Sr., in Grady, Lincoln County, Arkansas. In 1934, he married his second wife, Mary Bluford, the daughter of James and Chester Lee Johnson Bluford. She was born August 26, 1916, in Tamo, Arkansas. The couple had one daughter, Gladys Tressia Turner; and a daughter from Willis James Turner's previous marriage, Jettie Mae Turner. They were tenant farmers in Lincoln County until moving to Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, in the early 1940s when both took jobs at the Pine Bluff Arsenal during World War II. Willis Turner’s time at the arsenal was brief; he soon gained employment with the Cotton Belt of the Southern Pacific Railroad, where he worked thirty years before retiring in 1972.
Turner was a member of Most Worshipful King Solomon Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas, Sunshine Lodge #5, and served as treasurer for several years (a separate affliation from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas, Free and Accepted Masons). He was also a member of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks. Turner was an avid hunter and sportsman until his death on March 31, 1989. Mary Bluford Turner died on January 10, 2002, in Pine Bluff.
Gladys T. Turner Finney graduated from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, 1957; and the Atlanta University School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work, 1959. She is the widow of Frederick M. Finney, whose writings appeared in many major numismatic publications.
This collection contains family history information, correspondence, school material, photographs, and tax receipts.
Turner family (Box 1)
1. Akers, Alice Turner Burr, Kansas City, Missouri
2. Briggs, Frank
3. Crawford, Evangeline, funeral program, 1977 August 18, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
4. Drumgoole [Drumgould], George Turner, “Benefit Association of Railway Employees,” life insurance policy, 1956
5. Eiland, Jettie Mae Turner, includes copy of St. Peter High School report card, 1949, and copies of photographs
6. Finney, Gladys Tressia Turner, includes published articles, correspondence, documents, copies of photographs, school material
7. Glanton, Emma Lee Turner
8. Ringo, Arned Shelton
9. Shelton, Aaron
10. Turner, Abel
11. Turner, Emmett Dewitt, Jr., Kansas City, Missouri
12. Turner, Emmett Dewitt, Sr.
13. Turner, Henry
14. Turner, M.J. "Jerry"
15. Turner, Mary Bluford
16. Turner, Mary Bluford, “The Story of an Adult Family Member,” Gladys Turner Finney, 2002
17. Turner, Willis, Sr.
18. Turner, Willis James, documents, receipts, et cetera
19. Turner, Willis James, railroad employment
20. Turner, Willis James, masonic membership
21. Turner, Willis James, Pine Bluff Arsenal employment
22. Turner, Willis James, sports and hunting
23. Turner, Willis and Mary Turner, fiftieth wedding anniversary (Box 2)
24. West, Drucilla Turner Jones
25. Correspondence: Gladys Turner Finney to Mary Turner, 1969-2001
26. Correspondence: Eiland, Jettie Turner to Willis and Mary Turner, 1987 October 16 and undated
27. Correspondence: Family, friends, and politicians, to Willis and Mary Turner, 1943-2000
28. Life and burial insurance policies: Bluford and Turner families
29. Confrontation/Change Review, “Agrarian Socialism in Arkansas,” Gladys T. Turner, Spring 1977
30. Photographs: Turner family and friends (photocopies)
31. Receipts: Personal, 1900s-1920s
32. Receipts: Personal, 1940s
33. Receipts: Personal, 1950s
34. Receipts: Personal, 1960s-1970s
35. Receipts: Personal, undated
36. Receipts: Taxes, 1940-1963
37. Schools: Robert Moten High School, Marianna, Arkansas, Gladys T. Turner’s class examinations, 1956
38. Schools: St. Peter’s Catholic School, Pine Bluff, “St. Peter’s Echoes,” 1950
39. Schools: St. Peter’s Catholic School, Pine Bluff, 1986 and 1989 reunions
40. Schools: St. Peter’s Catholic School, Pine Bluff, brochure, 1988, and book list
Bluford family (Box 3)
41. Bluford, Chester Lee
42. Bluford, George
43. Bluford, James, Jr., Chicago, Illinois
44. Bluford, Jerry
45. Bluford, Savannah
46. Bluford, Willie, Chicago, Illinois
47. Johnson, Essix
48. “In Memoriam,” Bluford and Turner families
49. “The James Bluford Family And Descendants,” Gladys Turner Finney, 2004