George Turner was born in the
City of London within the sound of Bow Bells, the 17th of September,
1836. His parents were George and Helena (nee Wright) Turner, both being
also natives of London. His father died in India while
serving with the Colours. Turner was brought up at home by his widowed
mother, receiving his education at private schools in London. His
mother died in London.
In 1855, Tuner being 19,
enlisted in the Royal Engineers. He was soon attached to the Ordnance
Survey of Great Britain.
In 1859, Turner came to
British Columbia as part of the Columbia Detachment.
|As a Lance
Corporal Turner's Regimental
Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.
It should be noted: He was listed as Sapper in June 1861 Pay
List. Rank of Lance Corporal does not exist in 1861.
As a Sapper Turner's
Regimental Pay per Diem
would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s.
Turner worked in the Survey
Office and his name can be seen on a great deal of the maps and surveys
made from 1859 to 1863 at the Camp.
Turner remained in the Colony
when the Detachment disbanded in November 1863.
Turner worked on the Big Bend
of the Columbia and the location of the Dewdney Trail, as well as the CPR
survey, dominion and provincial government surveys of roads, and townsites.
"William McColl lived only 2 years after discharge. A competent surveyor, he had explored for the route for the wagon road
between Yale and Boston Bar and for the Dewdney Trail, and, with his
friend Sapper George Turner, advertised for work as a Land
Surveyor in 1863. Perhaps there were too many surveyors in 1863, for McColl was working as a toll collector at the Alexandra Bridge at the
time of his death. He left his wife Ann (Baseley) and 6 children."
--Pg. 128, Sappers: The RE in BC, Beth Hill
On 7 July 1869, at the New Westminster
Presbyterian Church, George Turner married Mrs. Ann McColl, the widow of
his friend Serjeant William McColl. Ann McColl was a native of
England and her maiden name was Rasely; in the Colonial Marriage
Registration she's listed as Ann Mccole. This union produced three
more children: Frederick George, who predeceased his father; Madelline
Hester, later the wife of Herbert Appleby; and Annie Helena, who married
Joseph R Grant, Barrister of New Westminster.
From 1869-1871, he operated London Arms, in New
In 1873, the Turner family moved to Hazelbrae
and there The Turner-McColl children played with the MacLure children. Later Susan MacLure married William McColl.
In 1874, Turner located the
Yale Road from New Westminster to Hope. At the time he also located a road
on Vancouver Island from Cowichan to Nanaimo River.
In the early 1880's he formed
a partnership with C. E. Woods under the firm name of Woods and Turner. This
firm did much of the early subdivision work at Port Moody, Vancouver, New
Westminster and throughout the New Westminster district generally.
In 1889, Turner entered
Dominion Government service, his work being mostly the charting and
improving of the Fraser River.
In 1890, he was the founder
of Public Land Surveyors Association.
On the 2nd December, 1890,
Turner was one of the first members of the British Columbia Land
Surveyors. In 1892 he was nominated Vice President of the Association.
He was also a member of
the Seymour Artillery Co., the New
Westminster city council, a charter member IOOF, and member of the Ancient Order of United
Turner received Crown Grants on:
March 5, 1861:
for Section 1, Block 5 North, Range 2 West
He also purchased land.
April 29, 1870:
for Lot 48, Group 2, 150-acre military
Feb 10, 1871:
Lot 96, Group 1, 160 acres
Oct 30, 1878:
Lot 202, Group 2, 162 acres
|All of the above were
in the New Westminster District.
In 1909, a gathering of
living members of the Columbia Detachment was held. Turner was one of
Courtesy of BC Archives Call
The luncheon party in
Back row (l to r):
Premier Richard McBride; F.W. Howay; W.H. Keary, Mayor of New
Westminster and son of James Keary, RE; Henry Bruce, RE;
John Cox, RE.
Middle row (l to r): George Turner, RE; Allan Cummins, RE;
William Haynes, RE; Robert Butler, RE; Samuel Archers., RE.
Front row, (l to r) Philip Jackman, RE;
Lewis Bonson, RE;
Richard Wolfenden, RE; Thomas Argyle, RE.
Sitting (l to r): William Hall, RE;
Mrs. James Keary.
On the 13th February, 1912,
Mrs. Turner died.
On the 26th April, 1919,
Turner died in New Westminster at the age of 82.
[Much of the above
information comes from: "The report of proceedings, 23rd Annual Meeting,
British Columbia Land Surveyors, 10-11th January, 1928"]