Date Original



This collection contains family history information, correspondence, school material, photographs, tax receipts, and a wedding album related to the Turner, Bluford, Finney, and Shelton families.

Biographical/Historical Note

Willis James Turner was born September 8, 1913, to Emmett Dewitt and Arned Williams Turner, Sr., in Grady, Lincoln County, Arkansas. In 1934, he married his second wife, Mary Bluford, the daughter of James and Chester Lee Johnson Bluford. She was born August 26, 1916, in Tamo, Arkansas. The couple had one daughter, Gladys Tressia Turner; and a daughter from Willis James Turner's previous marriage, Jettie Mae Turner. They were tenant farmers in Lincoln County, until moving to Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, in the early 1940s when both took jobs at the Pine Bluff Arsenal during World War II. Willis Turner’s time at the arsenal was brief. He soon gained employment with the Cotton Belt of the Southern Pacific Railroad, where he worked thirty years before retiring in 1972. Turner was a member of Most Worshipful King Solomon Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas, Sunshine Lodge #5, and served as treasurer for several years (a separate affiliation from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas, Free and Accepted Masons). He was also a member of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks. Turner was an avid hunter and sportsman until his death on March 31, 1989. Mary Bluford Turner died on January 10, 2002, in Pine Bluff. Gladys T. Turner Finney graduated from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, 1957; and the Atlanta University School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work, 1959. She is the widow of Frederick M. Finney, whose writings appeared in many major numismatic publications.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Willis Turner/Finney family papers, MS.000573


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Willis Turner/Finney family papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History