In 1930, Anson married Naomi (Oma) Johnson of Bald Knob. She moved into the little log house with him and the other four. They worked hard, and by 1932 Anson had paid off the mortgage and built a new home.
The home sat on top of a hill giving a great view of fields, meadows and woodlands in the creek bottoms below. The location also took advantage of any breeze to cool the house during the long hot summers.
By 1936 Anson’s siblings had moved out of the house. The house was soon filled with three daughters and a son.
Hard work was the way of life for most people in that part of Arkansas and that certainly applied to the Turley family. However, it was the good management and introduction of new and innovative methods for farming and marketing that made the difference. Anson was an avid reader and even though money was spent for only the bare essentials, he subscribed to the “Progressive Farmer” magazine soon after the purchase of the farm and maintained his subscription through most of his life on the farm. From this and other sources, he learned the latest methods of farming and tried to apply them. He was one of the first farmers in the county to terrace land and plant cover crops to prevent erosion and build the soil. He was among the first in White County to irrigate vegetables, which he did from local creeks and a deep well he drilled near the fields. He also introduced new crops and new varieties of crops to the area.
Anson was constantly looking for labor-saving devices for the farm and home. Some of these included a gasoline-powered washing machine and a gasoline-powered pump that supplied indoor plumbing and water for the livestock. He also employed butane gas for cooking, heating and for a kitchen refrigerator. Electricity was not available until 1948.
They grew and stored food for the variety of livestock they kept on the farmthroughout the year. Additionally, they grew cotton, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables as money crops. The farm provided both hill and creek-bottom land for the variety of crops they grew.
By the time the strawberry business began to fade, Anson and Oma had developed markets for many other vegetables so the loss of income from strawberries did not seriously affect the family. Consistently looking for new crops and better ways of growing and marketing had really paid off.
Marketing of the new crops started with street peddling from Heber Springs to Walnut Ridge to Brinkley, but evolved to selling to merchants and finally at the curb market in North Little Rock and to grocery chain stores.Jimmy and Anson Turley on the farm that became Camp Powder Fork.
Crops grown for market included tomatoes, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, peas, green beans, green peppers, peaches and sweet corn. As time went by, the Turleys specialized in those crops that had always produced for them and made the most profit. These were purple hull peas, crowder peas and sweet potatoes.
Other than for picking strawberries, hired help (with few exceptions) was limited to one man who lived on the farm. Anson, Oma and the four children did most of the work. It required working long hours as well as working very fast.
They were determined to sell only top-quality produce and at “full measure”. If they sold a bushel of anything it was certain to be a little more than a bushel and was as good on the bottom of the basket as it was on the top. This practice helped them sell produce when others could not. As they added acres to the farm they maintained that same standard of quality and fairness.
Two events stand out that reflect those standards. First, Anson was the first to start paying higher wages in the 1930s even though some neighbor farmers complained. The second involved a contract to sell strawberry plants to a large national retailer. The field made many plants but they didn’t look right; Anson suspected the plants were diseased. He informed the company and cancelled the contract, losing several thousand dollars. In the end he felt good about his decision. Although there was no disease, there were Nematodes (a small worm) in the field, which would not have presented a problem.
Anson was always eager to pass his knowledge of farming and marketing on to neighbors and friends and helped many out of financial problems by doing so. This was in keeping with their principles of being fair and honest with all people.
The original 60 acres and the home they built, along with the barn and outbuildings, were still intact in the late 1960s when the Turleys donated the land and structures to their church for use as a church camp. Today it is known as Camp Powder Fork and is the home of the annual Camp Quality where terminally ill children come to experience some of the wonders of Mother Nature that most would otherwise never see. Anson and Oma both felt they had been blessed far beyond most and owed what they gave and more.
They saw all of their children through high school and college. They were all good students and active in school athletics and other school activities. Anson lived on the farm for 58 years before moving to Searcy in 1983. He died in 1993 after more than 63 years of marriage to Oma. She presently resides in a retirement center in Granbury, TX, near their son.
The principles by which they lived were honesty, hard work and fairness. It made them happy to know their children all had successful careers of their own, but most of all, they were happy to know they were all good, productive citizens. After all, that’s what life is really all about to most people of this nation and especially to those in White County.
P.S.: The writing of this article and other events in recent years have reminded me of the great heritage we have and how much of it is tied directly to White County. All of our ancestors (on both sides of our family) have lived in White County since the early to mid 1800s. I’m probably related to a large percentage of the current population. Thank you for allowing me to share just a small portion of history in the foothills of the Ozarks.
nson Turley’s father was James William Turley, who was born December 26, 1869, to Sampson Turley and Mary Jane Howell Turley in Clay Township of White County. Sampson was the son of Benjamin F. Turley and Louisa Holman Turley, who moved to White County near Clay in the 1850s. Benjamin died as a prisoner of war in Illinois in 1865. James William Turley married Carrie Wood, the daughter of Andy Wood and Mary Eliza Lewis Wood, July 11, 1892. Their children were:
Ara Turley, born in 1896, who married Fon Wallace and lived and died on a small farm adjoining Anson’s first 60 acres. They had five sons and one daughter. Ara died in the mid 1970s.
Neva Turley, born in 1898, who married Tom Emde and lived and died on a small farm about a mile from Anson’s first 670 acres. They had one son, Gillen, who lives in Bald Knob.
Hubert Turley, born between 1899 and 1905, and died in 1907.
Vernon Turley, born between 1899 and 1905, and died in 1907.
Mary Turley, born between 1899 and 1905, and died in 1907.
Anson Turley, born September 11, 1906, and died July 14, 1993 in Granbury, Texas.
Wilmer Turley, born in 1908 and died in 1956.
Anson was born at Hugo, Oklahoma, where the Turleys lived for a year before moving to Colorado City, Texas. Hubert, Vernon and Mary all died at Hugo in the winter of 1907. Three years later, their father died at Colorado City, and Carrie moved her children back to White County, where they lived with her parents near Bald Knob.
When Anson was 9 years old Carrie married a man named Herrick and had two more children, Delbert and Avalene but was widowed again in 1919. Carrie lived with Anson and Oma until 1940, then moved to California where she died in 1962. Anson has become the breadwinner of the family by age 14. Although he had a little help from Ara and Neva, he worked as a day hand and sharecropper, saving his money. All or most of Bald Knob did not have a sewer system at that time. Anson took a borrowed team of mules and a wagon and emptied outhouses at night for money to make the farm down payment and buy himself a team of mules and farm equipment.
Jim Collison of Bald Knob had sold the farm to a Mr. Allgood and carried the note. Anson took over the note of just over $1,200 and paid Mr. Allgood $300 for three acres of strawberries on the farm. Anson’s payments were $200 per year plus 10^ interest. Anson and Oma’s children were:
Irell Turley Rohl. She was valedictorian of her high school class, selected outstanding girls basketball player in White County her senior year, chosen football queen and undefeated as a sprinter in track. She attended Graceland College and became a successful real estate broker. She married Dave Rohl, reared four sons and is now retired in Hobe Sound, Florida.
Doris Turley Judd. Valedictorian, football queen, outstanding track and basketball star, attended Graceland College, became a registered nurse. Married Bill Judd, reared five children and now lives in Pamona, NY.
Jimmy Turley. President of his senior class and captain of the football team. Attended Arkansas State on football scholarship and also ran track, chosen as most outstanding athlete during his senior year at ASU. Served 20 years in the U.S. Army and retired at a Lt. Col. He has six children and lives in Granbury, Texas, with his wife Kay.
Lavonne Turley Thomas. Another excellent student and basketball and track star, she attended Graceland College and served more than 40 years as a secretary in the U.S. military. She has two children and lives with her husband Rod in Colorado Springs, CO.
Anson’s father was James William Turley b. Dec. 26, 1869 in Clay Township, AR. He married Carrie Wood July 11, 1892. Carrie was the daughter of Andy Wood and Mary Eliza (Lewis) Wood. Their children were:
Ara Turley b. 1896, married Fon Wallace, lived and died on a small farm joining Anson Turley’s first 60 acres. They had five sons and one daughter. Ara died in the mid 1970’s.
Neva Turley b. 1898, married Tom Emde, lived and died on a small farm about one mile from Anson Turley’s first 60 acres. They had one son (Gillen Emde who resides in Bald Knob).
Hubert Turley b. between 1899 and 1905, d. 1907
Vernon Turley b. between 1899 and 1905, d. 1907
Mary Turley b. between 1899 and 1905, d. 1907
Anson Turley b. Sept. 11, 1906, d. July 14, 1993 (died in Granbury, TX)
Wilmer Turley b. 1908, d. 1956, never married, was mentally deranged and died in a state hospital in Benton, AR but was buried in Shady Grove Cemetery, Bald Knob, AR.
James William Turley (Anson’s father) died in Feb. 1909 in Colorado City, TX.
He was taking his family from Arkansas to Colorado City, TX in a covered wagon in 1906 when he stopped in Hugo, OK and farmed a year (Anson was born in Hugo). Hubert, Vernon and Mary died the following winter in Hugo. When spring came they moved on to Colorado City, TX. After James death, Carrie and children moved back to White County (near Bald Knob) and lived with her parents. When Anson was nine years old Carrie remarried (_______Herrick) and had two more children (Delbert Herrick and Avalene Herrick) but was Carrie was widowed again when Anson was 13. Ara and Neva continued to live with their grandparents for a few years after Carrie’s remarriage, and married before Anson bought the farm.
Children by Mr. ______Herrick and Carrie were:
Avalene Herrick b. 1916 and married John Hirst about 1936. They had four sons and she still resides near Banning, CA where they’ve lived most of their married lives.
Delbert Herrick b. 1918, d. late 1980’s, married Freda Asbel. They had three children and lived in Little Rock, AR. He was employed at Little Rock AFB.
Anson’s three siblings that lived with him and Oma after their marriage were Wilmer, Delbert and Avalene. Wilmer was placed in a state mental hospital in the early 1930’s. Avalene married in about 1936 and moved out of the house at that time.
When Delbert was about 16, Anson offered to buy him a small farm and a team of mules and have Delbert care for their mother. Delbert declined the offer and went to CA to find work.
Carrie lived with Anson and Oma until 1940. She then lived with Neva for a short time before moving to CA where she lived with Avalene until her death in 1962.
Anson had become the breadwinner of the family by age 14. Although he had a little help from Ara and Neva, most of the income came from him. Carrie never worked outside the household. Anson made his money working as a day hand and share cropping.
All or most of Bald Knob did not have a sewer system at that time. Anson took a (borrowed) team of mules and a wagon and emptied out-houses at night for money to make the farm down payment and buy himself a team of mules and farm equipment.
Mr. Jim Collison of Bald Knob had sold the farm to Mr. Allgood and carried the note. Anson took over the note of just over $1,200.00 from Mr. Allgood and paid him $300.00 for three acres of strawberries on the farm. Anson’s payments were $200.00 per year plus 10% interest. It might be noted that when this note was paid off in 1930
Anson and Oma never owed another dime to anyone.
Here is a quick rundown of the four children, some of our accomplishments and what we are now doing. Please feel free to print all or nothing.
Irell (Turley) Rohl – Valedictorian of her high school class. Selected outstanding girl’s basketball player in White County her senior year. She never lost a race in track and was high school football queen her senior year. Irell attended Graceland College in Lamoni, IA. After raising four sons, she became a successful real estate broker and currently enjoys retirement with her husband, Dave, in Hobe Sound, FL.
Doris (Turley) Judd – Valedictorian of her high school class and outstanding athlete in basketball and track. Was selected as the high school football queen her senior year. Doris attended Graceland College in Lamoni, IA. After rearing five children she worked for 29 years as a Registered Nurse. She and her husband, Bill reside in Pamona, NY.
Jimmy Turley – President of his senior class and captain of the football team. He attended AR. State Univ. at Jonesboro where he played football (on scholarship) and ran track. He was a distinguished military graduate in the college ROTC program. Was selected as Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He was also chosen as the Outstanding Athlete at the Univ. his senior year. Jim served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a Lt. Col. Jim has six children and presently resides in Granbury, TX with his wife, Kay.
Lavonne (Turley) Thomas - Excellent student and outstanding in both basketball and track. Lavonne attended Graceland College in Lamoni, IA. She retired in 1999 after more than 40 years as a secretary for the U.S. Military. Her last 13 years were as the secretary to the Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO. She has two grown children and raises prize-winning bulldogs. Lavonne resides with her husband, Rod, in Colorado Springs, CO.
Benjamin F. Turley and his wife Louisa (Holman) Turley moved from Ozark County, MO and settled in White County near Clay in the 1850’s. Benjamin died as a prisoner of war in Illinois in 1965. Their children were:
Sampson (Anson’s grandfather)
Mary Jane (Turley) Mathis
Elizabeth (Turley) Vanbiber
Eliza Ann Turley
William B. Turley
John N. Turley
Daniel Boone Turley
Lewis B. Turley
Solomon S. Turley
Winnie (Turley) McGuire
Sampson Turley was also a prisoner of war in Illinois. He was then taken to Elmira, NY where he was released at the end of the war. He walked from NY back to White County, stopping in Warren County, KY long enough to marry Miss Mary Jane Howell and bring her back to Arkansas. Their eleven children were born and reared in White County and many remained there. They are as follows:
Louisa J. (Turley) King
Sarah A. (Turley) Miller
Mary Winnie (Turley) Dickens
James William Turley (Anson’s father)
Mary Artella (Turley) Sayer
John Franklin Turley
Andrew J. Turley
Zella Mae (Turley) Poole
Walter Monroe Turley
Edna Princella (Turley) Lamb
I could go back several more generations but those generations were not in White County.
Oma’s parents were Ezekiel Pleasant Johnson and Beulah Samantha (Gay) Johnson. Pleasant and Beulah were reared as orphans and knew little about their family history. Pleasant and Beulah each had several much older half-siblings on each side of their families.
Pleasant’s mother was first married to James Meadows before she married Oma’s grandfather, Robert Gay. All of these families were in and around White County from 1850’s and 1860’s.
One of Beulah’s half sisters was Ida Miller, the mother of Hugh Miller, long time mayor of Bald Knob. Another of Beulah’s half sisters married Foster White, a county judge in the 1920’s and early 1030’s. Foster is the grandfather of former Governor Jim Guy Tucker.
Oma’s siblings were:
Sarah (Johnson) Metcalf b. 1908, d. mid 1970’s in Bald Knob. She had one daughter.
Fred Johnson b. 1909, d. 1934. Married Bergie Black and two children who died as infants.
Vida (Johnson) Etheridge b. 1911, d. 1966. Married Clarence Etheridge and lived and died in Bald Knob (no children).
Hilton (Beans) Johnson b. 1913, d. 1996. Married Elouise Bennett and had two daughters. He lived and died in Bald Knob.
Naomi (Johnson) Turley b. 1914. Lived in Bald Knob until 1991 when she and Anson moved to Granbury, TX to be near their son. She still resides in a retirement center in Granbury, TX.
Pleasant Johnson b. 1917, d. 1994. Never married and lived, farmed and died in Montrose, CO.
I have a copy of an advertisement carried in the local newspaper (Bald Knob Eagle) in 1921. It is a real estate advertisement for Ezekiel Pleasant Johnson who was a local real estate broker. He died the following year when Oma was seven.