Genealogy is a lot like assembling a puzzle, we get pieces in no particular order sometimes so slowly that it can take a long time to create any semblance of a picture. Census records are like the edge pieces, giving boundaries to our ancestor’s lives, but there is a lot of information in between that is required to build a whole life. And looking at a single record without the context of additional records can be misleading. Patience and persistence are the guiding behaviors for a researcher. So, I am asking you to have patience as I start this journey in determining how the Turner Family fit in with the Free State of Jones. This might take awhile and we might go down a few unproductive paths, but you will get to see my discovery process.
In the last blog, I told you the story about Newton Knight and his defiance towards the Confederate Army. His wife Serena Turner Knight might be a distant relation to my ancestors Stokley Turner and his son Allen Garrison. However, Victoria Bynum barely mentions the Turner families in her book, so we are going to set that question aside and just see what type of parallels there were between the families of Newt, Serena and Allen G. Where did their paths cross? How were they similar and how were they different?
First, they were definitely neighbors. According to the 1850 census, you find Newt and Allen living with their parents just a page a part in the census. Newt is with Albert Knight on page 122b and Allen is with Stokely Turner on 123a (Allen is at the top of the next page 123b).
Given the proximity of the farms to each other, it seems likely that Newt and Allen must have known each other. Newt is 12 years old and Allen is 11 in 1850. Did they go to the same church? Did these boys all hang out together? Was there a school that they attended? Did they go down to the creek and fish and later court the same neighborhood girls? In a small community, they must have known each other. I have marked the pages with red stars next to the people who were known to have helped or been a part of the Knight Company. They were all neighbors and knew each other as children. The question is how well did Newt and Allen know each other when they grew up?