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Stephen F. Austin State University

Turner (James) House

406 S. Washington, Marshall

Current Owner 2013: Catherine F. Ratcliffe

Sanborn Maps:

National Register File

The James Turner House was listed on theNational Register in 1979.

TX Historical Marker

The James Turner House became a TX Historical Landmark in 1979.

Architectural Survey

Architectural Survey

• Description: The James Turner house is a one-story frame Greek Revival structure. The home was updated with a Victorian porch with columns in 1890 by Turner's son. The house is supported by brick pillars, and rests on its original beams. Originally located on Lot 1 of Block 4, facing north on Crockett St., the home was moved to the adjoinging Lot 2, facing west on S. Washington in 1928.

• Significance: Built between 1850 and 1854, the James Turner is one of the oldest structures surviving in Marshall.

Historical Background

George Gammon Gregg built this frame house during the early 1850's after purchasing the property from W.P. Hill in 1846 for his wife Mary Ann Wilson. In 1854, George sold the house to his brother Endymion B. (Dick) Gregg for $3,500, when he and his wife moved into a larger home across town. The house originally stood on the corner of Washington facing north on Crockett, but was moved to the accompanying lot during the twentieth century to face west on Washington. A dry cleaning establishment was built on the old lot which still stands today and now holds multiple businesses. E.B. Gregg sold the house on September 15, 1862 to merchants and business partners W.C. Thompkins and Henry R. Alsobrook until it was acquired by Confederate veteran, James Turner for 1866. According to family tradition, Turner supposedly won the property after a Sunday morning poker game at the Adkins House (later re-named the Capitol Hotel), although there is no substantial evidence to support the claim. Either way, Turner became the owner of the house. At one point, the Turners added a separate frame structure at the rear of their home which served as bedrooms for their nine children. This structure was razed to the ground when the house was moved to the adjacent lot, but the salvaged wood was used for the shed-type addition that is presently connected to the rear of the house.
Turner became a notable lawyer and practiced with Montraville Jefferson Hall for many years in Marshall. After Hall's death, Turner continued to practice with other firms throughout his career. He also served as the Attorney for the Jay Gould lines in Texas.

Turner's granddaughter, Mrs. Eugene (Eleanor Turner) Gillespie, acquired the property on May 31, 1977, and began repair and restoration of the house as her future residence. Mrs. Gillespie removed the shed addition, and added a small bathroom in the rear of the house, which remains the only significant alterations made to the house to this day. In 1982, the house was deeded to Eleanor's daughter, Helen Gillespie Ratcliffe. (Harrison County Deed Records, Vol. 967, Pg. 123, filed April 19, 1982.) The property and house deed were transferred to Helen's sister-in-law, Catherine F. Ratcliffe in 2004, who is the current owner as of 2013. (Harrison County Deed Records, Vol. 2886, Pg.180, filed July 15, 2004.)

James Turner House Photos