Image Loading...



Thomas was born in Jedburgh, Roxburgh, Scotland, 17 March 1797 and was baptized 23 April 1797. He became a U.S. citizen on 29 January 1828. Prior to 1834 Thomas married Elizabeth Barrett Howard, daughter of James and Elinor CHURCH Howard. (Eleanor Church is a sister to Daniel Whipple Church.) They settled in Wegatchie (previously known as Howard's Mills and Church's Mills), Town of Rossie, where Thomas was a farmer and also owned a saw mill that could produce about a million and a half feet of lumber per year, and a shingle mill that could produce 20,000 shingles a day. Thomas served as a trustee of School District #3, Town of Rossie, and in the 1873-1874 business directory of Rossie is listed as Justice of the Peace. While serving as justice of the Peace, Thomas witnessed his son Corydon's enlistment into the Civil War. Thomas enjoyed writing poetry; a collection of his writings has been compiled and published by a great grandson, J. Ramsey Michaels and can be viewed on the Internet at

Thomas died in 1882 at age 85; Elizabeth died in 1886 at age 70. After their deaths, Sarah E. continued to live in the family home until her death in 1914. In 1915 Corydon (now age 71 and a widower) returned from South Dakota and spent the summer with his widowed sister Anna Ramsey from Syracuse in the old Turnbull home which had been closed since the death of their sister Sarah.

Thomas and Elizabeth were buried in the Wegatchie cemetery . There is a marker also placed in the new Oxbow Cemetery for Thomas. The marker in the new cemetery was erected by Kathryne Ramsey, his grand daughter, with the inscription, "Anchored Safe Beyond The Skies," a line from one of Thomas' poems. Supposedly, Thomas' remains, as much as could be found, were transferred to the new marker in Oxbow. It is not for sure, that Elizabeth's grave was found and her remains transferred along with Thomas'. If anyone has information, records or stories about these interments and re burials please forward to me at the link below..

Thomas and Elizabeth had nine children:

  1. Eleanor Church Turnbull
  2. James H. Turnbull
  3. Thomas Peronious Turnbull
  4. Sarah Elizabeth Turnbull
  5. Corydon Maxwell Turnbull
  6. Mary E. Turnbull
  7. Margaret S. Turnbull
  8. Dean Samuel Turnbull
  9. Anna Amelia Lyon.

1) Eleanor Church married Walter Flack in 1869 but had no children. She died in 1899 and was buried in Lisbon, NY.

2) James H. was a millwright at Wegatchie and did not marry. He died in 1898 and was buried in Oxbow, NY

3) Thomas Peronious married Julia Countryman (A sister to his cousin Thomas Turnbull's wife, Almeda Countryman) and had eight children. He was listed as a painter in the 1873-1874 County Business Gazeteer. He died in 1900 at Benson Mines, NY.

4) Sarah Elizabeth painted and wrote poetry and did not marry. She died in 1914 and was buried in Oxbow, NY.

5) Corydon Maxwell fought for the Union in the Civil War, lived in Wisconsin where he met and married Elizabeth Coonen. They had four children, and later moved to the Dakota Territory. He died in 1929 and was buried in Sioux Falls, SD

6) Mary E. was a school teacher, a music teacher and a budding singer who died at age 26 in a drowning accident when a buggy driven by her brother Dean S. and another sister overturned into the Oswegatchie River in Wegatchie, NY.

7) Margaret S married Renea Jaynes and had four children. She died in 1898 and was buried in Ryegate, VT.

8) Dean Samuel worked with his father as a sawyer and farmer in Wegatchie; Thomas and Elizabeth apparently lived with Dean in their retirement around 1880. Dean Samuel married his first wife, Lois Kinney, in 1879. Shortly after, he moved to Deadwood, South Dakota where his first child was born in 1882. He returned to Rossie where another child was born in 1885. Dean Samuel and Lois moved to Nova Scotia, Canada. Lois died in 1889. Dean married Anna Mac Donnell in 1890 and they had four children. Dean was a partner in the Parker-Douglas Gold Mine when he became ill. He returned to his daughter Edith's home in Ryegate, Vermont, where he died and was buried 1 December 1896. In all he had six children.

9) Anna Amelia Lyon married Allen Ramsey in 1882 and had three children. She died in 1932 and was buried in Lorraine, NY


Poem Written by Thomas Turnbull

Thomas Turnbull

Wegatchie Aug 1st, 75


Jesus my saviour ever dear
O! bind me by loves sacred tye
That casteth out all doubt and fear
And hold me steadfast till I die
O! grant to me that living faith
That works by love and purifies
That triumphs in the hour of death
And anchors safe beyond the skyes
here Jesus my dear Saviour's gone
A mantion to prepare for me
That I may stand before his throne
Aquited in Eternity.

This prayer, written on the reverse side of an
illustration (probably the frontispiece) from a book,
bears the heading "Thomas Turnbull, Wegatchie Aug 1, '75"



Return to Index

Click here to send comments to Lee Turnbull about this site!