Turner photos spark historical account

Series: Harrington News | Story 41

August 8, 2019

Courtesy photo

A beautiful photograph of the Platter family stand in front of their home, Rose Hill Farm, in the Spring of 1923.

Turner Photo Collection

This writer has had the privilege of viewing several collections of photos taken by H C Turner (1880-1943) which are owned by Heather Talkington Slack. Hal Turner was born in Iowa and came with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George P. Turner, and six siblings to Washington Territory in 1884, locating near Cheney. The Turners moved to a homestead four miles east of Davenport, where Hal was raised. He received his common school education at Waterville, then entered Blair Business College of Spokane, graduating with "a thorough understanding of shorthand, stenography and bookkeeping." He worked several years in various towns around Spokane. In 1900, he was hired as stenographer for the Harrington Milling Company. For eight years he climbed the ranks as bookkeeper, lumber manager, to become the manager and grain buyer at the mill. In 1905, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Glascock. In 1908 he began The Insurance Office and in 1913 became city clerk for a term.

In 1914, to supplement his income as The Insurance Man, Hal became the local agent of Overland automobiles, and it was not uncommon for him to buy and sell real estate. Hal also ran ads for "Farm Loans." He returned to the duties of city clerk in 1929 and continued there until declining health caused him to turn those duties over to his son, Harold A. Turner, who had returned to Harrington about 1938.

Hal died in 1943. His obituary cites many of his activities: "He served the school district, the city and the Masonic Lodge as clerk and secretary for years and at one time was secretary of the Lincoln County Pioneer and Historical Association. He was an ardent fisherman, hunter and cameraman and had a wealth of Kodak books filled with the scenes of his hunting and vacationing trips. In later years he began taking pictures with a movie camera and many are films, some in technicolor, which he has accumulated and with which he often entertained his friends. He kept the rain gauge after Luther P. Turner moved to Spokane and that record is still kept at The Insurance Office. He sold automobiles of different makes at various times and had driven several hundred thousand miles without a mishap."

His photographic skills have preserved an era through candid views of his many friends, associates and relatives. He apparently had a great appreciation of nature and scenic views. It was indeed a privilege to handle these cherished photos, some of which from time to time will be shared in The Record, in an attempt to bring to life some of his traveling companions.

In this issue, the focus will be on the Platter family. As some readers will recall, south of the junction of Mohler Road East and Highway 23 there is a graveled road going southwest from the highway which is named Platter Road.

The Charles Platter homestead was filed for on June 27, 1901, with patent granted in 1909, in Section 26 Twp 22 Range 37. This is near where Joseph Platter filed on April 22, 1889 in Section 32 Twp 22 Range 37. A few sketchy details of the family are known locally. David and Martha Platter, parents of Charles, resided in Newton, Shoarck Co., Missouri in 1880, both aged 51. Their children residing with them included John, 26, Charles, 21, Joseph, 14, Carrie, 8 and Perry, 5. On the 1890 census "Special Schedule," Martha, widow of David P. Platter, filed for benefits with her residence as Crab Creek, Lincoln County. It is uncanny how this family could miss the 1887 and 1892 census for Lincoln County and yet appear in the May 27, 1891 news from the Sprague Herald: "For the month ending May 22, 1891, the Lord's Valley school statistics show the number of children enrolled as 13; the average number belonging as 12; the average attendance as 11. Roll of honor shows: Carrie Platter, Nellie Hazelton and Bert Crisp. The teacher was Estella R. Allen."

Charles Platter was born in 1859 in Kansas. He was married in Missouri to Miss Fannie Brown in 1885; however, a son was born who died in infancy, and his wife also died within several years. In 1889, Charles and his sister, Miss Carrie Platter, came west via the Northern Pacific to Sprague and located a homestead toward Harrington. They were in partnership with another brother, Perry, who upon his marriage in 1904 quit farming. Another brother, Joseph, also resided in Washington and was married.

Carrie Platter was a teacher in the rural one-room schools of Lincoln County. She was born in 1871 in Missouri. It is assumed that most of the family traveled together in 1889 to come to Washington. They arrived in time for the 1889 Centennial Census living next door to the Chapel family. Their mother was shown as head of the household, Mary, age 59, born in Penn. and listed as a "farmer." In her household were Joseph, age 24, Charles, age 30, C.M. (Carrie), 17, and Perry, 15.

There was mention in the obit in 1936 of Joe Chappell that Carrie Platter was his aunt and that Joseph Platter was his uncle. With some scrutinizing of other obituaries, it was learned that Joe and Chester Chappel were the sons of Perry Chappel and his wife, the former Elizabeth Platter. They were married in Newton, Mo. in Dec. 1879. To date, it appears that Elizabeth was the first of the Platter family to arrive in Washington Territory. Perry Chappel filed for a homestead on Oct 22, 1895 in Section 20 Twp 22 Range 37, and obtained a patent in 1899 on the E ½ E ½. By 1911, the Lincoln County Atlas showed that the property was owned by the Lakin family.

Perry Platter returned to Harrington prior to the 1920 census at which time, he and his wife Maria, daughter Nellie, and sons John and Joseph were neighbors to the John Fosberg family and Sarah Braden's family. Perry then worked at Harrington's flour mill. It is known that in 1906 he invested in real estate in the Harrington district.

Not to be confused with the Platter home, Elizabeth Platter Chappel lost her home to fire in the summer of 1929. "Fire Destroys Farm House. Fire Wednesday morning at 8 o'clock totally destroyed the farm residence and two outbuildings of Mrs Elizabeth Chappell on their farm 11 miles southeast of Harrington-Sprague highway in lower Lords Valley, which property was occupied by her son Joe Chappell who farms the place. The loss is approximately $2,000 on contents and $1,000 on building, each covered by $500 insurance in H.C. Turner's companies. When first discovered, smoke was issuing from the shingles and despite every effort of themselves and neighbors, everything burned. A stiff wind was blowing at the time, which made fire fighting almost useless. Their neighbors, the Reiths, Manns and Gateleys all responded to do what they could. The fire is thought to have caught from a flue." (Citizen: 7-12-1929)

The 1911 Atlas shows that the Perry Chappel family residence was in the S ½ of Section 16 in Twp 22 R37.

Courtesy photo

The Platter home was located about 12 miles SE of Harrington off of Hwy 23.


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