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Biography of Clarence W. Turner

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Born June 18, 1857, in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest son of J. E. Turner, of Muskogee, and Julia Ayers. Clarence moved to Fort Smith with his parents, September 1867, where he attended a neighborhood school until 1870. In 1874 he went to Jones’ College, St. Louis, where he remained three months. In 1870 he moved with his father to Okmulgee and assisted him in the mercantile business. In the fall of 1875 he and William Harveston bought out J. E. Turner, and they remained in partnership until 1880, when Clarence purchased Harveston’s interest in the business and conducted it until 1881, when he sold out to James Parkinson. In 1882 he came to Muskogee and there purchased Mr. J. S. Atkinson’s hardware store. The following March Mr. Byrne bought an interest in the establishment, the firm being known under the title of Turner & Byrne. In 1887 the entire business portion of Muskogee was burned down, including the house of Messrs. Turner & Byrne. After this they erected a fine two-story and basement brick building, 52×100, at present the largest business house in Muskogee. In November 1889, Mr. Turner purchased his partner’s interest and is now sole proprietor of the establishment. He carries a stock of about $45,000 of hardware, machinery, wagons, furniture and farming implements, and does the most extensive wholesale business in the Indian Territory, while his retail trade covers a large section of the country. He is the owner of 3,000 head of cattle and a good improved farm of 500 acres, besides a nice residence in Muskogee. In 1877 Mr. Turner married Miss Murray, a Cherokee, by whom he had one child, William D. born April 1878. In 1884 he married Miss Tookah Butler, daughter of Ed. Butler, of old North Fork Town and a merchant in that place. Mrs. Turner is part Cherokee and a lady of superior education and many accomplishments. By this marriage he has two children, Tooka, born August 3, 1886, and Clarence W., born October 7, 1889. The subject of our sketch is five feet eight and a half inches in height, and weighs 165 pounds. He is a man of gentlemanly address, and is, undoubtedly, one of the best businessmen in the Indian Territory. His great success is to some extent due to his popularity, as he is very highly esteemed by all who know him.


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