Biography of Nathaniel Turner

Nathaniel Turner

The Great Migration Begins
Immigrants to New England 1620 - 1633 
by Robert Charles Anderson, Boston 1995


ORIGIN: Unknown
MIGRATION: 1630
FIRST RESIDENCE: Lynn

REMOVES: New Haven 1638
RETURN TRIPS: Sailed for London in 1646 on ship which was lost at sea
OCCUPATION: Soldier.

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Chosen as one fit for the foundation work of the church at New Haven, 4 June 1639 [NHCR 1:16].

FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1630 and admitted 3 July 1632 (as "Mr. Nath: Turner) [MBCR 1:79, 367]. List of Freemen of the Court of New Haven [NHCR 1:9]. An original signer of the New Haven fundamental agreement [NHCR 1:17]. Took the oath of fidelity 1 July 1644 [NHCR 1:137].

EDUCATION: The wide range of high civil and military offices held by Nathaniel Turner indicates that he was well-educated.

OFFICES: Constable of Lynn, 4 September 1632 [MBCR 1:99]; committee to set bounds between Charlestown and Cambridge, 7 November 1632 and 6 March 1632/3 [MBCR 1:94-95, 101, 102]; committee to lay out land for John Humphrey [MBCR 1:102]; captain of military company at Lynn, 4 March 1633/4 [MBCR 1:112]; deputy to Massachusetts Bay General Court for Lynn, 14 May 1634, 4 March 1634/5, 6 May 1635, 2 September 1635, 3 March 1635/6, 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:117, 135, 145, 156, 164, 174]; committee to lay out fortifications, 3 September 1634 [MBCR 1:124]; committee to settle bounds between Boston and Charlestown, 4 March 1634/5 [MBCR 1:139]; appointed customs officer, 4 March 1634/5 [MBCR 1:142]; committee to establish bounds between Ipswich and Newbury, 6 May 1635 [MBCR 1:146]; committee to lay out farm for Mr. Dummer, 6 May 1635 [MBCR 1:146]; committee to establish bounds between Salem and Ipswich, and between Ipswich and Newbury, 3 March 1635/6 [MBCR 1:167]; magistrate for Salem court, 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:175]; committee to levy country rate, 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:175].

Deputy, 29 October 1640, 25 March 1644, 19 August 1644, 31 March 1645, 22 October 1645 [NHCR 1:44, 125, 146, 156, 171]. Deputy to the court of combination, 26 October 1643 [NHCR 1:111]. Deputy to the magistrate in all courts, 25 October 1639 [NHCR 1:21]. Committee (as "Captain Turner") to consider laying out lots for inheritance, 3 November 1639 [NHCR 1:24]. Committee (as "Captain Turner") to treat with the "Hartfordeshire men about their lots," 3 November 1639 [NHCR 1:24]. Arbiter, 3 April 1640, 7 September 1642 [NHCR 1:32, 77]. Viewer of lands, 1 May 1644 [NHCR 1:142]. Committee regarding the mill, 21 October 1644 [NHCR 1:148].

Captain of all martial affairs of the plantation, 1 September 1640 [NHCR 1:40]. Captain Turner to order and appoint the general trainings (with the Governor), 30 March 1645 [NHCR 1:160]. On 23 February 1645/6 it was discussed whether the "military affairs of the town may be comfortably carried on without a captain, or whether it were not convenient to choose a captain instead of Captain Turner, not knowing when he will return. After some debate, Mr. Malbon was chosen captain with liberty to resign his place to Captain Turner at his return [NHCR 1:187].

ESTATE: Gave 10 toward construction of fort, 1634 [MBCR 1:113].

In the New Haven list of estates of about 1643 Captain Turner was credited with seven persons, an estate worth 800, fifty-seven and a half acres in the first division, eleven and a half acres in the neck, forty-three and a half acres of meadow, one hundred seventy-four acres in the second division, and a yearly rate of 3 6s. 6d. [NHCR 1:91]. About 1644/5 Captain Turner was granted the right to choose the location of his second division meadow "that he may the better attend the public service in his military office" [NHCR 1:195].

On 7 December 1647 Mrs. Turner declared to the court that she conceives her husband made a will and left all he had to her dispose, as two of her daughters can testify the same. Rebecka Turner saith, that when her father was to go away, her mother desired him to make a will, but he answered that he would make no will, but he judged her faithful and had found her faithful, therefore left all to her and wished her to be good to the children, and wished the children to bear witness. Abigaile Turner testifyeth the same [NHCR 1:337].

On 7 December 1647 "Mrs. Turner delivered into the court an inventory of the estate left by her deceased husband, Mr. Nathaniel Turner, which was read and delivered to the secretary to be recorded" [NHCR 1:336]. The estate totalled 457 7s. 3d., including 154 in real estate: "the house & lot & land at the town," 44; and "the housing, land & fences at farm," 110 [NHPR 1:15-16].

On 4 September 1649 Mr. Samuel Goodanhousen was called to give security for the portions of his wife's children. He said he had paid Mr. Yale 35, which he accepted in full satisfaction for his wife's portion, and that he had offered Thomas Meekes nineteen acres of land "for the portion of Rebecca Turner, now his wife" [NHCR 1:480]. The matter of the portions of the other children was to be taken up later.
On 13 January 1661/2 a special court was held "for the issuing and settling the business concerning the portions remaining due to some of the children of Captain Nathaniel Turner deceased," which recounted the actions of the court of 5 March 1649/50, when portions were given to Nathaniel, Isaac, Abigail and Hannah Turner. "Nathaniell the eldest son ... being deceased, the court did now judge that it should be divided betwixt his brother & 4 sisters, in equal proportions.... Mr. Yale, Mr. Hudson, & Hannah Turner, resigned their parts to their brother Isaac ..., but Tho[mas] Meekes declared that he expected to receive what was his due out of the estate of his deceased brother-in-law, for the discharge of what was due to Isaac Turner" [NHTR 1:508-09; see also NHTR 1:15].

BIRTH: By about 1601 based on estimated date of marriage.

DEATH: Died at sea in January 1645/6, having sailed in the ill-fated New Haven ship [WJ 2:336-37].

MARRIAGE: By 1626 _____ _____; she married (2) by 1649 Samuel Vangoodenhausen, who showed himself a merciful man in the matter of Rebecca Turner's 1649 fornication case [NHCR 1:471, 480]. She had died by 1662, for on 11 November 1662 Samuel Vangoodenhausen m. (2) at New Haven Elizabeth Parris [NHVR 1:17].

CHILDREN:
i MARY, b. say 1626; m. by about 1646 Thomas Yale. 

ii REBECCA, b. say 1629; with "Thomas Meekes," called before the court 3 July 1649 "to answer to their sinful miscarriage in matter of fornication, with sundry lies added thereto by them both in a gross and heinous manner" [NHCR 1:469-71]; m. by 4 September 1649 Thomas Mix [NHCR 1:480]. 

iii ABIGAIL, b. say 1631; m. New Haven 2 September 1651 John Hudson [NHVR 1:3]. 

iv NATHANIEL, b. say 1633; d. without issue by 13 January 1661/2 [NHTR 1:508-09]. 

v HANNAH, bp. New Haven 17 November 1639; m. New Haven 5 December 1667 Samuel Hopkins [NHVR 1:26]. 

vi ISAAC, bp. New Haven 7 June 1640; m. New Haven 19 August 1668 Mary Todd [NHVR 1:26]. 

COMMENTS: The gap between the request for freemanship in October 1630 and admission in July 1632 may indicate that Turner made a brief trip back to England in 1631. (The record in MBCR 1:94-95 which is apparently dated 6 March 1631/2 is a duplicate of the record correctly dated 6 March 1632/3.)

On 2 September 1640 a difference between Mr. Craine and Captaine Turner was referred to arbiters [NHCR 1:41].

On 4 August 1641 "so far as Captaine Turner hath reference to the civil state and employed therein, provided that his place be supplied in his absence, the Court hath given free liberty to him to go to Delaware Bay for his own advantage and the public good in settling the affairs there" [NHCR 1:57]. Mr. Malbon was chosen to order the watches and all martial affairs in Turner's absence [NHCR 1:70].

On 2 August 1643 the court decided that since Margaret Poore, alias Bedford, now wife to Nicholas Gennings, had run away and gotten married before her time of service to Captain Turner was up, her husband Gennings was to make two-fold restitution to Turner [NHCR 1:105].

On 3 June 1645 John Meggs admitted his error in charging Capt. Turner, Thomas Pell and Thomas Robinson with extortion or sinful unrighteousness [NHCR 1:163]. On 3 December 1645 Turner had a formal disagreement with Mrs. Stolion about cloth [NHCR 1:175].

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