William D. Turner. Recognition of the special fitness for the duties and honors of public office came with the election of William D. Turner as commissioner of finance in the municipal government of Lawton. Mr. Turner was elected to that office April, 1913, and was re-elected April 6, 1915. As commissioner of finance he has one of the most important departments in the commission government, having charge of the auditing and accounting for this large and prosperous city, handles all city money, and devotes himself actively to this branch of municipal government. His chief clerk in the office is Frank L. Meadows.
William D. Turner has had a long and active business career, and one that shows a steady progress from the average circumstances of youth to success and high standing in one of the best cities of Oklahoma. He was born in Clark County, Illinois, September 15, 1866. The Turner family is of Scotch ancestry originally resident of Edinburg, Scotland, and in colonial times one branch came to America, settling in Massachusetts, moving next to Pennsylvania, thence to Ohio, from that state to Indiana, and finally to Illinois. Mr. Turner has Revolutionary ancestors on both sides. His father was William B. Turner, who was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1843. The grandfather, William A. Turner, removed from Ohio to Clark County, Illinois, in 1846, and after following farming for many years died in that county. William B. Turner became likewise a farmer and stock man, was married in Clark County, reared his family there, and after an honorable career passed away March, 1908. He was a staunch democrat. He married Melinda Robinson, who was born in Clark County, Illinois, in 1848, and died there in 1896. Their children were: Elizabeth Ann, who married Frank Sharp, and they reside on their farm in Clark County, Illinois; Abrilla, wife of Lafayette Perisho, living on their farm in Clark County; William D.; Ellen, the wife of John J. Grant, a rancher at Gillette, Wyoming; Serena, whose husband, William H. Baldwin, is a lumberman at Mulberry Grove, Illinois; Patsy, wife of H. M. Grant, a hotel proprietor and merchant at Casey, Illinois; Eva, wife of Mr. Emrich, a farmer and stockman at Casey, Illinois; George R., a farmer and stockman in Clark County; and John A., in the insurance business at Martinville, Illinois.
William D. Turner grew up on his father’s homestead in Clark County, and attended the public schools there. At the age of twenty-one his father, gave him a horse and saddle. He sold this for $125 and used the proceeds to pay his way partly through the Central Normal College at Danville, Indiana, where he graduated in 1891. For a number of years after this he followed the profession of teaching with no little success. He taught first in the country schools, and was principal of several village schools in Illinois until 1901.
On April 5, 1901, just before the opening of the Kiowa and Comanche Reservation, Mr. Turner arrived at Lawton. As a pioneer settler there, he was first engaged in the lumber business, and followed that until the spring of 1902. Selling out his interests, he spent one year as bookkeeper with the Lawton Ice and Fuel Company, and for the next five years was associated with M. A. West & Company in the real estate, loan and insurance business. He continued in the same business as a partner with L. S. Eckles until 1913, since which year he has devoted more time to his official tasks than to his private business. His office as one of the city commissioners is in the City Hall.
Mr. Turner is a democrat, and a deacon in the Christian Church. He is especially prominent in Masonry, and in that order is well known over the state. He is a member and past master of Lawton Lodge No. 183, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; is king of Chapter No. 44, Royal Arch Masons; is junior warden in Lawton Commandery No. 18 of the Knights Templar; is a member of Lawton Council No. 21, Royal and Select Masters, and did his cryptic work in the Grand Council of Oklahoma. He is a member of the board of control of the Grand Lodge for the Masonic Home at Arlington, and in that capacity has supervision over about one-third of the state. Other affiliations are with Lawton Camp No. 10256 of the Modern Woodmen of America, with the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, and with the Lawton Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Turner was married at Hagerstown, Illinois, to Miss Nora A. Sharp, daughter of the late Jacob Sharp, a well known farmer in Clark County, Illinois. To this union have been born the following children: Leland E., a senior in the Lawton High School: Richmond D., also a senior in the high school; Ruth Naomi, who died at the age of thirteen months in Lawton; and Lenora Ann, who was born July 13, 1914.