Monday, July 8, 2013

John Herbert Turner

On May 7, 1883, the future eleventh premier of British Columbia was born in Claydon, Suffolk, England. John Herbert Turner was the son of John and Martha Turner.

John went on to be educated in Whitstable, England before immigrating to British North America in 1856. He lived for two years in Halifax before moving to Charlottetown and becoming a merchant. He was modestly successful in Charlottetown so he returned to England in 1860 to marry Elizabeth Eilback. He brought his wife back to Prince Edward Island.

News of gold discoveries in the Cariboo caught Turner's attention so he came west. His original plan was to travel to the gold fields and start mining but when he arrived in Victoria in 1862, Victoria's booming economy intrigued him and he returned to the position of merchant.

Here's a photo of John Herbert Turner that I got from the Free Masonry website.

Turner had a short-lived partnership with Jacob Hunter Todd, the Victoria Produce Market, but that business closed in 1863. A year later, he established an importing and millinery business - J.H. Turner and Company - in an imposing building on Wharf Street called London House. This venture proved successful.

In 1871, John formed the partnership Turner, Beeton and Tunstall. His partners were two London based men, John Partridge Tunstall and Henry Coppinger Beeton. When Tunstall left the business in 1878, it became Turner, Beeton and Company and under that name, it operated successfully for many years.

John Turner was well known in Victoria for his attractive home and gardens, his genial nature and his participation in numerous local organizations. He was active in the militia for many years and had helped to form the Vancouver Island Volunteers in 1863. He retired in 1882 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In 1869, the governor in council appointed John Turner to the tariff commission, which was established to monitor the duties and excise of the colony. In 1872, he was named as a trustee for the Ogden Point Cemetery, then being planned. Shortly after that, he became justice of the peace.

In 1871, a group of Victoria businessmen publicly tried to get Turner to stand in the upcoming election. However, at that time, he declined. His decision to stay out of politics would soon change though.

Wednesday, I'll look more at the life and career of John Herbert Turner. Thanks goes to Dictionary of Canadian Biography website for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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