Biography of William J. Turner
The first resident of Mountain Home was William J. Turner, and since the time of his arrival here his history has been inseparably interwoven with that of the town. He is now its postmaster and proprietor of its leading hotel, and from the beginning he has been most active and earnest in promoting and aiding its upbuilding and improvement. A native of the Buckeye state, Mr. Turner was born March 17, 1854, and is of English and Irish descent, his ancestors having been early settlers of Maryland and Virginia, where they located in colonial days. They were prominently associated with many events which go to form the history of that epoch and members of the family also aided in the glorious and effectual struggle for independence. The grandfather, Thomas Turner, served his country in the war of 1812. Thomas P. Turner, the father of our subject, was a native of Maryland, married Miss Rachel Linton, and with his family removed to Noble County, Ohio, in 1831. There he secured a homestead, erected buildings and otherwise im-proved the property, making it his place of abode until called to his final rest, in the sixty-third year of his age. His wife passed away in her fifty-fourth year. They were the parents of eight children, but only three are now living. Mr. Turner and two sisters.
The subject of this review was reared on the old home farm in Ohio, and pursued his education in a little log schoolhouse, wherein he studied his lessons through the winter seasons, while in the summer months he assisted in the labors of the field. He was married in Ohio, in 1876, to Miss Maria Waller, a native of Ohio, and their union has been blessed with four children: Fred A., who is now serving as deputy postmaster at Mountain Home; Bertha B.; Nellie and Everett.
William J. Turner dates his residence in Mountain Home from August 22, 1881. At the time of his arrival on the present site of the now flourishing town there were no houses within six miles of the place. Plans had been made for the building of the railroad, however, and with excellent foresight he believed that the possibilities of establishing a thriving commercial center were very good. The town was platted by Robert E. Strahorn and from him Mr. Turner purchased five lots, which he still owns and which are now situated in the business section of the place. He is also the owner of other realty interests here, and has been a most important factor in promoting commerce and various industries. Mr. Turner erected the first building in Mountain Home, the structure that is now being used as the post-office. He also erected the first hotel and is recently completing a fine hotel property, sixty by one hundred feet, three stories in height with basement, and containing sixty-eight rooms. It will be a credit to the town and to the owner. No enterprise calculated to advance the general good has ever failed to receive his support and co-operation, and educational, moral, social and material interests have found in him a friend.
In the early development of the town the residents of Mountain Home were J. M. Hager. R. H. Tragiskis, James Justin, William Gibson, Gus Rikewyne and J. A. Tutwiler; but of this number Mr. Hager and Mr. Turner are the only ones still living in the town. The latter is now serving as postmaster. July 1, 1899, the post-office was made a presidential office. He has been a life-long Republican, and was appointed to his present position by President McKinley since which time he has acceptably discharged his duties, his administration being most efficient. The growth and prosperity of Mountain Home bears the impress of his individuality, and the beautiful and progressive little village largely stands as a monument to his enterprise and ability in the active affairs of life.