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San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.

 

July 23, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

HIS ACCOUNT IS CLOSED 
John H. Turney, an Esteemed Pioneer, Passes Away at Sausalito. 
His Career Was Chequered and Marked Throughout by Perfect Integrity and Fidelity.

There died in Sausalito yesterday John H. Turney, one of the prominent pioneer residents of San Francisco and a life member and ex-treasurer of the association. He had been in failing health for many months, and his demise is attributed to old age.

From a biographical sketch furnished by Henry B. Livingston, historiographer of the Society of California Pioneers, the subjoined extracts are culled: John Hilton Turney was born in the city of New York in October, 1816, and at the time of his decease had attained the ripe age of nearly 80 years. His father, James Turney, carried on lor many years an extensive publishing establishment on Nassau street, and it may be stated in this connection that he first issued in America the complete works of Charles Dickens. He was also co-inventor with a Mr. Rust of the Washington press, the patent tor which was subsequently sold to the famous "Hoe."

The son. John, in childhood attended the Tapper School, on Orchard street, and completed his scholastic education in the New York High School. At 16 years of age he entered his father's employ, remaining with him for about four years. He then accepted the office of teller in the National Bank, the eminent Albert Gallatin at that time being president of the institution.

In company with A. W. you Schmidt, H. P. Barber, William C. Kibbe, Dr. Behrene, William Ford, Josiah Lecount, William Thompson and Messrs. Young, Fairchild and Harris he chartered the schooner Fanny shortly after the news of the discovery of gold reached the great metropolis. They stocked the craft with canned fruits, vegetables, etc., and sailed February 7, 1849, for Vera Cruz. From the latter port the party crossed Mexico to Mazatlan. where they remained one week, leaving on another vessel bearing the same name as that on which they voyaged from New York to Vera Cruz? a singular coincidence.

The schooner sailed from Mazatlan April 24 and entered the Golden Gate May 24. Mr. Turney went up to Smiths Bar on the north fork of the American River, and with six companions mined there for two months. Returning to San Francisco he made his home for one month with Rodman M. Price, ex-purser of the United States frigate Savannah, and afterward Governor of New Jersey. For a brief period the enterprising argonaut engaged in general merchandizing, having for his partner F. Salmon. He returned to New York in October, 1849, and re-entered the National Bank as teller, and soon afterwnrd occupied the same position in tho Metropolitan Bank.

On coming out again to California he became associated with the banking house of Burgoyne & Co., where he was employed for ten years and a half. For some three months he held a situation in the bank of Page, Bacon & Co., and then returned to the Burgoyne bank, where he stayed until the business was closed out. He took another trip to the mines and purchased gold dust, and again returning to San Francisco became connected with the banking house of Tallant & Wilde as teller. With this firm he labored zealously for seven years.

When the bank of Donohoe, Kelly & Co was founded, Mr. Turney once more resumed his favorite avocation, taking the teller's counter and acting as their financial employe during the ensuing two and a half years. In November, 1867, he made a second journey to the Atlantic States, returning hither in February of the following year. The subject of this brief biographical sketch was one of the passengers shipwrecked seventy miles below Acapulco on the steamer North America, Captain Blethen master, in March, 1870. There were no fewer than 1200 souls aboard, but providentially not a life was lost. The night was light, sea smooth and sandy beach instead of a rock-bound coast.

The deceased took a lively interest in promoting the welfare and advancing the prosperity of the picturesque suburban village of Sausalito, and may justly be regarded as one of the founders of that settlement. He also exhibited his attachment to that locality by building there for the permanent residence of himself and family a beautiful homsstead, which he occupied for many years prior to his demise.

Throughout his more than two score years of life in San Francisco Mr. Turney held almost uninterruptedly positions of grave trust and responsibility. As teller of a number of the wealthiest and most powerful financial institutions on the coast he received and disbursed millions of money, and from first to last neither flaw nor slightest discrepancy ever blurred his unsullied record. His business qualifications were only equaled by his unswerving integrity, and these indispensable requisites were fully indorsed by the banks and recognized on the marts of trade.

IWords West. Words West: Voices of Young Pioneers

Ginger Wadsworthn social life the deceased was a popular and affable gentleman, courteous in demeanor and an entertaining conversationalist. A man of culture, refinement and literary tastes his companionship was greatly enjoyed by all with whom he was intimately associated.

John H. Turney was married in San Francisco November 9, 1869, to Miss Clara Eiize Venard, daughter of G. Venard. She survives him, as does also their son, O. W. Turney, who is a life member of the Society of California Pioneers. In another column of this issue will be found notice ol time of the funeral of the lamented pioneer, which will be attended from Pioneer Hall in this City.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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