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Turner family papers, ca. 1860-1991.
Turner family.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  Doc 520  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Personal Author : Turner family.
Title : Turner family papers, ca. 1860-1991.
Physical Description : 8 linear feet.
General Note : Continued in: Doc 521-524, 534-535, MSB 54, and MS Size B.
Summary :

The Turner Family Papers consist of several generations of family letters, diaries, scrapbooks, miscellaneous printed material, school and college memorabilia, genealogy, and photographs from the Weston, Vermont, home of Mabel Ramsey Turner (1881-1987) and her husband, Milo A. Turner (1878-1947). The collection includes the sermons and notebooks of the latter, a Methodist minister, who served in a number of Vermont churches between 1902 and

Although there are a few nineteenth century Ramsey family letters in the papers, the focus of the collection is the correspondence of Mabel Ramsey Turner with her family between 1901 and 1987. Her correspondence with her parents began when she was a student at Montpelier Seminary between 1901 and 1902. In almost weekly letters to her parents after her marriage in 1905 that she titled "Tales from the Parsonage," she described her married life in a succession of small Vermont towns. Although she worried about family finances, and she had obligations as a minister's wife as well as increasing family responsibilities, Mabel's letters are cheerful as she describes a myriad of domestic details.

Mabel Turner's letters to her daughter Miriam were written for the most part when Miriam was a student at Middlebury College between 1926 and 1931. In her frequent affectionate letters, she wrote of local news and supports her daughter's academic and social accomplishments. Money, or lack thereof, is spoken of frankly. As a minister's wife, Mabel Turner was called on to organize church programs for both adults and children. She accumulated a voluminous collection of games and stunts, poetry, recitations, one-act plays, monologues, songs, stories, and readings. She was an adept seamstress who regularly sewed or remade dresses for her daughter, and the many patterns she used for other handcrafts are included in the collection as well.

Miriam Turner Larson's letters to her parents began when she was a freshman at Middlebury College in 1926 and continue until 1980. Miriam's letters and her Middlebury memorabilia provide a glimpse of social and academic life for the period 1926 to 1931. Miriam Turner Larson saved two series of letters she received from non-family members. She lived with the W.S. Hibbards in Barton while she finished high school after her parents moved to Swanton. The Hibbards not only helped Miriam financially to attend Middlebury College but also supported her academic achievements in letters written during her college years. Miriam had a short-lived youthful romance with Milton E. Lewis in the summer of 1926 during which he wrote to her with astonishing frequency.

In contrast to his sister Miriam, Wesley Turner did not enjoy early academic or professional success. He was plagued by financial difficulties and in his early letters to his parents he asks for money and describes bad luck finding a job. He later found stability in his marriage, steady employment and his association with Jehovah's Witnesses.

The earliest photographs in the collection include nineteenth century portraits of the Ramsey, Bixby, Fifield and Turner families; Gageville, Vermont primary school classes (ca. 1890); Montpelier Seminary classes 1901-1903; and Gage Basket Factory workers where Ernest and Albert Ramsey were employed in 1887-1888. There are a number of photographs of Milo Turner at different stages of his life as well as many of his children and grandchildren. As an amateur photographer, Milo took pictures not only of his family but also of the parsonages and the churches in which he served. The subjects of his collection of film and glass plate negatives are largely unidentified.

Biographical or historical data :

Etta M. Fifield (Oct. 10, 1858-Nov. 30, 1918) married Ernest Ellery Ramsey (Mar. 13, 1858-1935) of Bellows Falls, Vermont, on June 15, 1880. Ernest was the son of David Milan Ramsey and Martha Ann Bixby Ramsey. He spent a short time at Montpelier Seminary and worked at the Gage Basket Factory in North Westminster, Vermont. After his wife's death, he moved to New Britain, Connecticut, to live with his son, Ralph and his wife Ella Walker Ramsey.

Mabel Adeline Ramsey (Dec. 9, 1881-July 2, 1987) was born in Bellow Falls, the daughter of Etta and Ernest Ramsey. She graduated from Bellows Falls High School in 1900 and studied at Montpelier Seminary where she received a teaching certificate in 1902. She taught in the public schools of Westminster, Vermont, during 1902-1903. On April 26, 1905, she married Milo Addison Turner.

Milo A. Turner (August 21, 1878-May 19, 1947), the son of Susanna (March 1838-Dec. 10, 1922) and Albert Turner (d. May 27, 1898) and the youngest of seven children, spent his boyhood on his father's farm in Weston, Vermont. He was educated locally and entered Montpelier Seminary in 1898 where he graduated in June 1902, the president of his class. He was called to the ministry in the Methodist Church and his first pastorate was Coventry, Vermont, in 1903. After Milo's marriage in 1905 to Mabel Ramsey, the Turners served churches in Coventry, Newbury and West Newbury, East Burke and East Haven, Franklin, Barton, Swanton and West Swanton, Randolph and Bethel, Windsor, Hartland, and, after his retirement, Weston, Vermont.

Milo Turner was a Trustee of Montpelier Seminary during the 1940s when the name was changed to Vermont College. He died May 19, 1947, shortly after his retirement. After the death of her husband in 1947, Mabel Turner spent part of each year with her daughter, Miriam, in Detroit, Michigan. She died in Detroit in 1987 although she made her home in Weston, Vermont.

Miriam Adeline Turner (b. May 14, 1909) daughter of Mabel and Milo Turner was born in East Burke, Vermont. She graduated from Barton Academy in 1926 and Middlebury College in 1930 where she was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and the debate team. After receiving a Masters Degree in 1931 from Middlebury, she taught high school in Deposit, New York, in 1931-1932, and in 1932 moved to Detroit, Michigan, to work in a hospital laboratory. On August 24, 1937, she married Bernard "Bud" Larson in Windsor, Vermont. The Larsons made their home in Detroit. Miriam Larson died November 20, 1988.

Wesley Addison Turner (b. Feb. 1 1912), son of Mabel and Milo Turner, graduated from Barton Academy in 1930. He attended Montpelier Seminary in 1930-31 and Middlebury College in 1931-32. He became a draftsman for American Bosch Corporation in Springfield, Massachusetts, and he and his wife, Helen Westerberg, whom he married in 1935, lived in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Wesley Turner died October 3, 2001.

Personal Subject : Turner, Mabel Ramsey, 1881-1987.
Turner, Milo A., 1878-1947.
Larson, Miriam Turner, 1909-1988.
Turner, Wesley A., 1912-2001.
Ramsey, Ernest E., 1858-1935.
Ramsey, Ralph E., 1890-1966.
Hibbard, William S., b. 1870.
Lewis, Milton E., b. 1908.
Ramsey family.
Turner family.
Corporate Subject : Montpelier Seminary Vt. Students.
Barton Academy Vt. Students.
Middlebury College Students.
Sidney Gage & Co. Westminster, Vt. Photographs.
Subject Term : Spouses of clergy Vermont.
Methodist Church Vermont Clergy.
Women Vermont Diaries.
Sermons, American Vermont.
Love-letters Vermont.
Geographic Term : Vermont Social life and customs.
Barton (Vt.) Archival resources.
Brownington (Vt. : Town) Archival resources.
Weston (Vt.) Archival resources.
Westminster (Vt.) Photographs.
Genre/Form : Diaries.
Letters Correspondence
Negatives Photographic
Added Author : Turner, Mabel Ramsey, 1881-1987.
Turner, Milo A., 1878-1947.
Larson, Miriam Turner, 1909-1988.
Turner, Wesley A., 1912-2001.
Ramsey, David M., 1833-1909.
Ramsey, Martha Bixby, 1833-1913.
Ramsey, Ernest E., 1858-1935.
Ramsey, Ralph E., 1890-1966.
Hibbard, William S., b. 1870.
Lewis, Milton E., b. 1908.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.