Josiah Turner


1821 – 1901


Who was Josiah Turner?

Josiah Turner, Jr. was an American lawyer, politician and newspaper editor from North Carolina.

Turner, one-time president of the North Carolina Railroad Company, was elected to represent Orange County in the North Carolina House of Representatives and in the North Carolina Senate.

Turner was a Whig before the collapse of that party in the late 1850s and was opposed to secession in the run-up to the American Civil War. After the war began, however, he served in the Confederate States Army, ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Confederate House of Representatives in 1861, and was elected to that body in 1863, serving in the Second Confederate Congress. There, he opposed the policies of President Jefferson Davis.

Turner was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1865 as a "Conservative" but was not seated. Elected again to the state legislature after the war, he opposed Republican Gov. William W. Holden, who had Turner arrested in Hillsborough for allegedly assisting the Ku Klux Klan. Turner also used his newspaper, the Raleigh Sentinel, to attack Holden and his party. "Turner's crusade is considered to have been largely responsible for the recapture of the state legislature by the Democrats and for the overthrow of Governor William W. Holden in 1870 and his impeachment in 1871," wrote William S. Powell. But, said Powell, Turner was "no financial wizard" and the paper ended up in the hands of the publishers of the Raleigh Observer. Eventually, they folded the paper into The News & Observer.

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  • United States of America

on July 23, 2013


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