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Turley Family Papers

Identifier: MS-2554

  • Staff Only

The Turley Family Papers contains 19th-20th century papers of the Turley family of Tennessee. Included are letters, contracts, receipts, account books, genealogies, and family history research. The papers generally cover the time between 1860 and 1920 and the 1970s and 1980s.

The collection consists of two series: Series I: Papers of Family Members and Series II: Genealogical Research Material. The first series, consisting mainly of documents dated from 1860-1920, contains the collected papers of members of the Turley family. The second series pertains to the donor Mary (Wilson) Franklin's research on her family's history.


  • 1819-1992 (bulk 1865-1940)

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


1 Linear Feet


The Turley Family Papers contain 19th-20th century papers of the Turley family of Tennessee. Included are letters, contracts, receipts, account books, genealogies, and family history research. The papers generally cover the time between 1860 and 1920 and the 1970s and 1980s.

Biographical/Historical Note

Col. William Holliday Turley, lawyer and Tenn. State Senator, was born on Aug. 23, 1826, to Thomas and Desdemona (Taylor) Turley. He was first married on Oct. 7, 1857 to Elizabeth Cocke (b. Oct. 31, 1835, daughter of Col. William N. Cocke, nephew of Robert Massengill). She died February 21, 1859, leaving no children. During the Civil War, Union soldiers captured him while selling cotton to the Confederates and imprisoned Turley in Johnson's Island, Ohio, for three years. On May 21, 1866, Turley married Mary Ann McFarland (1839-1876), daughter of Robert McFarland III and Hannah Barton. The couple had seven children: Mary McFarland, Margaret, Jessie, Annie, William H. Jr., Emma, and Ellen Nellie. Col. Turley died Sept. 20, 1899.

Mary McFarland Turley (1868-1943) married Charles McRee Wilson (1870-1919) on Dec. 17, 1896. Charles died at the Mayo Clinic after surgery for intestinal cancer. They had a daughter named Mary McFarland Mary Mac Wilson in 1908. She married Robert Dumont Franklin on August 9, 1934.

Margaret Maggie Turley (1869-1945) married Edward Mark Grant, mayor of Morristown (1903-06, 1911-14), on Nov. 13, 1888. They had two daughters, Jesse Frances (Mrs. George) in 1890 and Gladys Turley (Mrs. George Temple Harris) in 1894.

Jesse Lee Turley (1870-1888) married A. Syd Nelson on Dec. 16, 1884. The couple had a daughter named Margaret J. on Dec. 28, 1886.

Annie Turley (1872-1946) never married.

William H. Willie Turley, Jr. was born about March 4, 1873, and died around July 4, 1874.

Emma Turley (1874-1956) married on Nov. 3, 1898 to Jerome E. Harrison, who died in Jan. 1942 after being hit by a truck in Dec. 1941. They had one daughter, Dorothy Turley, on Oct. 12, 1899. She married Carl Robert Williams on Jan. 20, 1919, and divorced him Oct. 7, 1922. The family moved to Florida, where Dorothy married John C. Stanley on Jan. 31, 1939. Dorothy died shortly after her mother on July 18, 1956.

Ellen Folsom Nell/Nellie Turley (b. 1876) married L. Bascom Williams on Oct. 15, 1900. They had a daughter named Sara Ellen on July 12, 1901. She married Charles Couch.


Collection consists of one box divided into two series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Papers of Family Members, 1819-1977
    • Sub-Series A: William H. Turley Papers, 1857-1899
      • Section 1: Correspondence, 1865-1899
      • Section 2: Books, 1865-1899
      • Section 3: Financial Documents, 1861-1899
    • Sub-Series B: Mary A. McFarland (Mrs. William H. Turley), 1862-circa 1870
    • Sub-Series C: Mary M. Turley (Mrs. Charles M. Wilson), 1881-1950
      • Section 1: Correspondence, 1881-1921
      • Section 2: Miscellaneous, 1881-1950
    • Sub-Series D: Mary M. Wilson (Mrs. Robert D. Franklin) Correspondence, 1945-1993
    • Sub-Series E: Harrison Family, 1898-1955
    • Sub-Series F: Massengill Family Correspondence, 1819-1849
    • Series G: Articles, 1876-1990
    • Sub-Series I: Other Turley Family Documents, 1820-1977
  2. Series II: Genealogical Research Material, 1849-1992
    • Sub-Series A: Turley Family History, 1849-1985
    • Sub-Series B: McFarland Family History, 1875-1947
    • Sub-Series C: Wilson Family History, 1896-1982
    • Sub-Series D: Other Genealogical Research Materials, 1884-1990

Acquisition Note

Collection donated in April 2005 by Mary McFarland Wilson (Mrs. Robert D. Franklin), daughter of Charles M. and Mary M. (Turley) Wilson and granddaughter of William H. and Mary A. (McFarland) Turley.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA