|12th Governor of North Carolina|
December 6, 1802 – December 10, 1805
|Preceded by||Benjamin Williams|
|Succeeded by||Nathaniel Alexander|
|United States Senator
from North Carolina
March 4, 1805 – November 21, 1816
|Succeeded by||Alexander Martin|
December 20, 1766|
Southampton County, Virginia
|Died||January 15, 1824
Warren County, North Carolina
Turner was born in Southampton County, Virginia; his family moved to Warren County, North Carolina in 1770. Raised in a family of farmers, Turner served in the North Carolina volunteer militia during the American Revolutionary War in 1780. He served under Nathanael Greene alongside Nathaniel Macon, with whom he formed a lasting friendship and political alliance.
In 1798, Turner was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons; he served there from 1799 to 1800, and served in the North Carolina Senate from 1801 to 1802. In 1802, the General Assembly elected John Baptista Ashe governor, but he died before he could assume office; Turner was chosen in his place and sworn in on 5 December 1802. He served the constitutional limit of three one-year terms and, at the end of this time as governor, was elected to the United States Senate when Montfort Stokes resigned before serving the term to which he had been elected.
Turner served as a senator for eleven years, re-elected to a second term in 1810, resigning due to ill health in 1816. During his time in office, he supported the administration of James Madison during the War of 1812.
Turner was married three times; first to Marian Anderson in 1793 (they had four children), then to Ann Cochran in 1802, with no children, and finally to Elizabeth Johnston in 1810 (resulting in two children). Turner died in 1824 and is buried on his "Bloomsbury" plantation in Warren County. In addition to Bloomsbury, he owned a second home, "Oakland," in present-day Vance County.
- Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Robert Sobel and John Raimo, eds. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. (ISBN 0-930466-00-4)
- North Carolina Historical Marker James Moody Turner
|Governor of North Carolina
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from North Carolina
Served alongside: David Stone, Jesse Franklin, David Stone, Francis Locke, Nathaniel Macon