Thomas J. Turner

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For other people named Thomas Turner, see Thomas Turner (disambiguation).
Thomas J. Turner

Thomas Johnston Turner (April 5, 1815 - April 4, 1874) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois.


Born in Trumbull County, Ohio, Turner completed preparatory studies. He moved with his parents to Butler County, Pennsylvania, in 1825. He moved to Lake County, Indiana, in 1837 and to Freeport, Illinois, in 1838. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1840 and commenced practice in Freeport. He served as judge of the probate court of Stephenson County in 1842. Postmaster of Freeport in 1844. State district attorney in 1845. He established the first weekly newspaper (Prairie Democrat) in Stephenson County.

Turner was elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849). He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1854, serving as speaker.

Turner was elected first mayor of Freeport, Illinois, in 1855. He served as delegate to the peace convention held in Washington, D.C., in 1861 in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war. Enlisted in the Union Army May 24, 1861, and served as colonel of the Fifteenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He resigned on account of ill health in 1862.

He served as member of the constitutional convention in 1863. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for United States Senator in 1871. He moved to Chicago in 1871 and resumed the practice of law. He died in Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 4, 1874. He was interred in the City Cemetery, Freeport, Illinois.


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph P. Hoge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward D. Baker (W)

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.