(Written 1975 by Thelma WALLACE, deceased)

“The town of Newburg is located in the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 11, township No. 12, north of range 7 West in Clay County. Newburg is a station on the Terre Haute and Indianapolis railroad in Posey Township, two miles southwest of Brazil, founded by Joshua MODESITT and recorded at the Clay County Court House on February 27, 1854. As to say it was given this name in preference to any other does not appear on record at that time.

Newburg lies on the border line between the block and the bituminous coal areas and was for many years the home of the veteran coal operator Peter EHRLICH and his brother Christian EHRLICH, who was associated with him.

The name of the first Post Office here, which was in existence at the time of the Civil War, was Sherman, named perhaps in honor of General William T. SHERMAN. After a few years it was discontinued. Later sometime in the 1870’s it was reestablished and named Turner, in honor of Rev. TURNER of the Friends’ Church of Indianapolis, President of the Indianapolis Mining Coal and Coke Company, who had large interests in the way of investments here in mineral lands and their development.


Some of the early Postmasters were: Ben TRIBBLE, Joseph SPRY, Allen PAYNE, Henry M. PIERCE, Fred MACKLE, Jacob F. HOUSER, and Charley MACKLE. Fred MACKLE, deceased, had the Post Office for nearly a quarter of a century.
Some of the early merchants of the town were: Mary Ann “Granny” PAYNE, Allen PAYNE, John MINNIS, David CARMICHAEL, Thomas FLEMING, Frank SHEPPERD, Joseph SPRY, William HAYWARD, Perry JOHNSON, Henry M. PIERCE, The EHRLICH Company, Fred MACKLE, Jacob HOUSER, Dolph CLARKE, Sam COBLEY, and William MEAKIN. William and Merle MEAKIN operated a grocery store in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Sam COBLEY operated a grocery store from about 1919 to 1945 when his health failed him, and he had to quit the grocery business.”

“Sam COBLEY was born in Bedmas, Wales, in 1871. As a young man he went to work in the coal mines of Wales. Later he worked in the gold mines of Africa, New Zealand, etc. He came to this country working in the mines as he traveled to different parts of the country. Finally, he settled at Turner, Indiana, in the early 1900’s. He married Josie BRUSHER, who passed away a short time later. Later he married Myrtle MILLER of Turner, daughter of Charles and Hulda MILLER. There was one child born to this union: Stanley COBLEY, born on April 1, 1913. Mr. COBLEY followed coal mining until about 1918-1919, ending about 34 years working in the mines. Mr. COBLEY died in November, 1950. Mrs. COBLEY continued to live in the home place until her health failed, and she went to live with a son by a previous marriage, Roy WALLACE, of Brazil. Mrs. COBLEY died in 1969.

Charles and Hulda MILLER spent most of their lifetime in Turner. Mr. MILLER died in October of 1913, and Mrs. MILLER died several years later.

COBLEY‘s Store building was torn down about 1950 or 1951. The lots north of the store were bought by Edith HOWALD, who operated a beauty shop from 1938 to 1942, when the HOWALDS’s sold out and moved to South Bend, Indiana. Paul DICKISON’s family now reside on these lots.

The United Brethren Church was built and dedicated in 1886. The Church was finally torn down in the early 1930’s. Clyde and Dorothy (RUDDELL) REFFETT bought the property later and built them a home. In late years it was sold to James HAYWARD (former resident of Turner).

A potter shop was operated by Dolph CLARKE on the site where the United Brethren Church was built, for sometime according to the early history of Turner.

Turner had two schools in their early history. Both schools were abandoned when Staunton High School was consolidated. They were known as the “Big School” and “Little School”. The Big School was sold to Harry and Ella RUDDELL at tax sale in the early 1930’s, and it is now the home of Bob ANDERSON. The Little School was sold to William MCCULLOUGH (date unknown) and then in 1923 was sold to Albert NEWTON. Today it is the home of Frankie HOFFMAN.

Some of the school teachers of Turner were: Eva VEACH, Charley MURRAY, Albert VEACH, Clarice ARNETT, Solon GILLFILLAN, Ida PIERCE, John FULK, John TROUT, Marjorie GILLESPIE, Cynthia HAYWARD, Elizabeth RENTSCHLER, Charles LEE, Rose LEHNER, Blanche CORBIN, Iva BOWLES, Herbert KILLION, John DEFORE, and many others.

Turner was also known for their coal mines and some of them were: Heck Mine, Operator Brazil District Collieries Co., abandoned in 1923; Klondike No. 3, Operator C. EHRLICH Coal Co. (abandoned unknown); West Side No. 2, Operator West Side Coal Co., abandoned 1917; and others. The miner’s road the train, which stopped at the depot in Turner morning and evening, as that was their way of transportation to and from work in other mines located away from Turner.

George HARDY, a resident of Turner, was killed in PIERCE’s Mine caused by bad air on February 20, 1918.

Joe HARDY and son Georgie, who was 12 years old, were killed in the HUNT’s Mine, located about 1 ½ miles southeast of Staunton on October 27, 1923, caused by a gas explosion. Both were residents of Turner. Joe HARDY was a brother to George HARDY.

Nellie RUDDELL HAYWARD lived in Turner most of her entire life and is in a nursing home in Brazil at the present time and is past 90 years of age.
In the early history of Turner, they had two physicians, namely: Dr. PAYNE and Dr. GERSTMEYER. Dr. Patrick H. VEACH of Staunton made many house calls during his practice to Turner.”

“Many years ago Turner had a population of 400. Today Turner has a population of 92. Many of the homes have been torn down and have never been replaced. However, in later years there have been some new homes built, several remodeled, and some mobile homes, too.

Rachel MURRAY BELL is the only person living in Turner, who was born and lived her entire life in Turner. She has recently retired and is still living in the Murray home place.

William BRUSHER, who passed away on February 24, 1974, lived over 70 years in his home place in Turner. He married Mayme MILLER of Staunton, and they had two children, Delores BRUSHER LOVE and Billy Ray BRUSHER. Mayme BRUSHER passed away in October of 1945. Billy Ray BRUSHER passed away a few years ago. Delores is living in Brazil.

Harvey RIGGS of Staunton was the first band director for the Turner Band. Some of the band members were: Harry RUDDELL, Jake EHRLICH, Ray EHRLICH (who later was their band director), Lester EHRLICH, Chester EHRLICH, Elmo EHRLICH, Pearl WALLACE, Harvey WALLACE, Chancey LORD, George HOUSER, Clarence HOUSER, Albert TRIBBLE, Wilson TRIBBLE, Leonard TRIBBLE, William BRUSHER, and others. In later years the band was abandoned and several of the members joined the Jackson Township Community Band under the director of the band, Carl F. KUMPF. During the existence of the Turner Band, the band played for many community affairs in Turner and surrounding towns. Jake EHRLICH always furnished the team of horses and wagon as transportation for the Band.

Turner was also known for their baseball team. Many games were played with surrounding ball teams. Some of the players were: James WALTZER, Harry RUDDELL, George HARDY, James BURK, James EHRLICH, Willard LORD, Ira HOUSER, Taylor HICE, Elliott SUMMERS, and others.

According to the early history of Turner, there were three boarding houses, namely: Mrs. POLAND’s. Mrs. HOFFMAN’s, and Rella MURRAY’s.

Also, Turner had several saloons during its early history. Some of the earlier settlers were from Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Holland and other countries.

Since Turner was located by the Vandalia Railroad, many of the residents would enjoy going to the depot, which was located in the northeast part of town near the MEAKIN home place, and watch the passengers arrive and leave town.

Turner has always had a problem of water supply due to the coal mines located in and surrounding the town. However, in later years several attempts have been made to get a water system, but to-date they have never been successful.

In the Spring of 1940 Albert TRIBBLE, James EHRLICH and Pearl WALLACE met at the home of William BRUSHER to plan a homecoming. They set the date as the third Sunday in July of 1940, and to be held in EHRLICH’s Woods. A large crowd attended this event. This event was named “Turner Community Reunion”, and has continued to be held on the 3rd Sunday of July at Forest Park, Brazil, Indiana, down through the years.


At present, Turner has no merchants of any kind, and there is no Post Office. William “Bill” BOUCHER delivered the mail through Turner by car from the Brazil Post Office for many years.

As we close the history of Turner it is impossible to include everything and everybody whoever lived or was a part of Turner.”

Clay County Indiana