Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection contains the papers of the Turner and Dawes families, and other related families. The bulk of the collection consists of genealogical correspondence and research. Other material includes family correspondence; personal papers; legal and financial papers; and printed materials.

Biographical Sketch

Alfred Rogers Turner (1822-1907) was the son of Abel Turner (1793-1827) and Alice Rogers Turner (1794-1870). Born in Boston, he was trained as a watchmaker and later studied accounting, serving as a corporate accountant and auditor to the Boston and Maine Railroad. A noted genealogist, he wrote numerous articles for historical and genealogical publications, particularly in regard to the Turner and Rogers families. In 1846, Alfred married Mary Mason Griffin of Boston, and the couple had seven children: Alice Anna Turner; Mary Isabella Sutton Turner; Alfred Rogers Turner; Abel Turner; William George Arthur Turner; Francis James Turner; and Helen Farrington Turner.

Paul Dawes Turner (1887-1951) was the son of William G. A. Turner (1858-1936) and Mary Greenleaf Turner (1861-1934), and the grandson of Alfred Rogers Turner. Born in Malden, Mass., Turner graduated from Harvard in 1908 and Harvard Law School in 1912. He served as a first lieutenant in the infantry during World War I with the army training corps at Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana. A prominent Malden attorney, he was the president of the Malden Public Library and Malden Hospital, and was a director of the Malden Trust Co. He married Ruth Louise Flanders in 1917 and they had four children: Mary Eliza Turner (McDaniel); Clarinda Turner (Marshall); Anna Frances Turner (Waldron); and Paul Dawes Turner, Jr.

Collection Description

The collection contains the papers of the Turner and Dawes families and those of the related Rogers, Greenleaf, Cranch, Quincy, Brown, Howard, and Beall families. The papers are divided into five series: family correspondence; personal papers; legal and financial papers; genealogical papers; and printed material. Family correspondence includes letters of Thomas Dawes (1757-1825), Margaret Greenleaf Dawes, and Hannah Dawes Newcomb; letters between Mary M. G. Turner and her cousin Mary Jane Copeland; and letters between Julia Howard and her brother and sister-in-law, George H. and Caroline Howard. Other correspondence consists of letters between Beall cousins discussing news within the family and genealogical research; and letters from Paul Dawes Turner and his wife Ruth Flanders Turner to his parents, William G. A. Turner and Mary Greenleaf Turner during Paul's army service in World War I.

Personal papers contain correspondence and other documents pertaining to members of the Dawes and Turner families including correspondence and papers related to an eighteenth century silver punch bowl crafted by William Homes; a watercolor sketch by Mehetable May Dawes Goddard; and papers of Paul Dawes Turner including report cards, an essay, correspondence and documents reflecting his service during WWI, and floor plans and specifications of his Malden home. Legal and financial papers includes wills; a pew valuation for the Stone Church on Quincy, Mass.; probate court records; estate appraisals; birth certificates; and insurance policies.

Genealogical papers, the largest series, contains research pertaining to the Dawes, Turner, Rogers, and Beall families as well as the related families of Quincy, Cranch, Greenleaf, and Brown. Of interest are written accounts by Mehetable May Dawes Goddard and Harriet Newcomb Holland, the daughter and granddaughter of William Dawes, about his involvement in the American Revolution. Two letters by Richard Cranch discuss genealogical information about the Quincy family. The bulk of this series was compiled by Alfred Rogers Turner in relation to his research on the history and genealogy of the Rogers and Turner families.

Printed material consists largely of newspaper clippings and articles that include obituaries, engagement and wedding announcements, published poetry by family members, and family history. Other printed material includes business and calling cards; prints of scenes from the American Revolution; and a volume entitled William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere by Henry W. Holland.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mary Eliza McDaniel, April–June 2005.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Family correspondence, 1808-1953

Arranged chronologically.

The series is comprised of letters between members of the Dawes and Turner families and related families. They include the correspondence of Thomas Dawes (1757-1825), Margaret Greenleaf Dawes, and letters from Hannah Dawes Newcomb to her nephew Henry Ware Holland about her grandfather William Dawes and his activity during the American Revolution. The bulk of early Turner letters are from Mary M. G. Turner to her cousin Mary Jane Copeland discussing their children, education, and illness in the family. Other Turner family letters include those between Henry Turner and his brother Job Turner while the latter was attending the Hartford Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. Also in this series are the letters of Julia Howard, primarily between herself and her brother and sister-in-law, George H. and Caroline Howard, and correspondence between Beall cousins discussing family matters and genealogical research.

Later family correspondence consist of the letters of Paul Dawes Turner and his wife Ruth Flanders Turner to Paul's parents, William G. A. Turner and Mary Greenleaf Turner, during his service in the U.S. Army in World War I. Other correspondence is between Mary Eliza McDaniel and her uncle Richard Turner concerning the estate of her father, Paul Dawes Turner.

Box 1Folders 1-9

II. Personal papers, 1810-1945

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains the personal correspondence and papers of various Dawes, Turner, and related family members. Papers include those pertaining to a silver punch bowl, a Dawes family heirloom, that had been presented to Col. Thomas Dawes (1731-1809) for his service in Boston during the Revolutionary War. Also included are the 1847 military orders of Lt. Peter Wiley, and a letter of recommendation for William Cranch Greenleaf from his uncle, William Cranch.

A watercolor sketch by Mehetable May Dawes Goddard includes verse and a poem written in calligraphy. An historical notebook compiled by Alfred Rogers Turner from about 1892 to 1894 contains newspaper clippings, copies of historical documents, research notes, and printed material related to his studies of Mayflower passengers, the colony at Plymouth, Mass., and the Revolutionary War. The papers of Paul Dawes Turner consist of school report cards, an essay written as a Harvard student, and papers related to his service in the army training corp in Indiana during World War I; and floor plans and specifications for Paul Turner's residence in Malden.

Box 1Folders 10-23

III. Legal and financial papers, 1802-1952

Arranged chronologically.

This series includes the 1822 will of Thomas Dawes, as well as Dawes's probate court records during his tenure as a Suffolk County probate judge. Also included are an 1824 proof of citizenship for George M. Dawes; an 1828 pew valuation for the Old Stone Temple meeting house (United First Parish Church) in Quincy; an 1848 mortgage indenture of William G. Greenleaf; a baptism certificate of Ruth Louise Flanders; probate records pertaining to Mary Isabella Sutton Turner and William G. A. Turner; Paul Dawes Turner's birth certificate; and papers related to the estate of Paul Dawes Turner.

Box 1Folders 24-30

IV. Genealogical records, 1809-1932

This series consists of genealogical research pertaining to the Dawes, Turner, Rogers, and Beall families, their related families, and notes about family history.

A. Turner family research, 1849-1904

Arranged chronologically.

Largely compiled by Alfred Rogers Turner as part of his genealogical research and writing, this sub-series includes a typescript Turner's ca. 1892 membership application to the Sons of the American Revolution; Turner's genealogical correspondence; vital records; and notes on family history. Notes include a list of Turner family descendants with birth and death dates and family pedigrees.

Box 2Folders 1-16

B. Dawes family research, 1875-1932

Arranged chronologically.

This sub-series contains accounts of William Dawes (1745-1799) and his participation in the American Revolution written in 1875 by Mehetable Dawes Goddard and Harriet Newcomb Holland, Dawes's daughter and granddaughter, as well as other correspondence and notes about Dawes and his Revolutionary War service. The series also contains a family tree of the descendants of Harrison Dawes; correspondence and newspaper clippings pertaining to Henry Ware Holland and his research and publication of William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere in 1878; and other genealogical notes.

Box 2Folders 17-20

C. Rogers family research, ca. 1890-1905

Arrangement chronologically.

Included in this sub-series are loose pages from a scrapbook containing newsclippings, notes, and copies of genealogical records related to the history of the Rogers family. Also included are various notes and research on the ancestors of Alice Rogers Turner, the mother of Alfred Rogers Turner.

Box 2Folders 21-27

D. Beal family research, ca. 1895-1914

Arranged chronologically.

This sub-series consists of numerous copies of wills of Beall family members, including a circa 1895 copy of Beall wills from Montgomery County, Md.; typescripts of the wills of William Beall (1756), Edward Beall (1759), Alexander Beall (1759), Samuel Beale (1820), and Eden Beall (1862); a manuscript report, "The Lineage of Owen B. Knight through his Beall, Edmonston, and Magruder Lines," (1909); and miscellaneous genealogical correspondence, notes, and copies of deeds related to the Beall family.

Box 3Folders 1-13

D. Research of related families, 1809-1915

Arranged chronologically.

This sub-series consists of genealogical information pertaining to families related to the Dawes and Turner families including the Quincy, Cranch, Smith, Greenleaf, and Brown families. Of interest is an 1809 letter from Richard Cranch relating the history of the Quincy family from the time of the Norman Conquest. A handwritten copy of another letter by Cranch provides further genealogical information about the Quincys.

Box 3Folders 14-15

V. Printed material, 1844-1980

Printed material consists of newspaper clippings of obituaries and family history; several bound volumes and pamphlets; and ephemera.

A. Newspaper clippings, 1844-1980

Arranged chronologically.

This sub-series contains obituaries of family members, including Dr. Ebenezer Dawes, Henry L. Dawes, Ruth Flanders Turner, Paul Dawes Turner, and Henry Greenleaf; engagement and wedding announcements of Paul Dawes Turner and Ruth Flanders Turner; and the wedding announcement of Mary Eliza Turner to Dr. L. Tillman McDaniel. Other newspaper clippings pertain to the historic rides of William Dawes and Paul Revere, the involvement of Dawes family members in current and historical events, and poems composed by family members.

Box 3Folders 16-23

B. Bound material, 1878-1913

Arranged chronologically.

Box 3Folder 24
Henry W. Holland, William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere, 1878
Box 3Folder 25
Caleb Clark Magruder, Jr., Colonel Ninian Beall, 1911
Box 3Folder 26
Agricultural Education, 1913

C. Loose material, 1917-1919

Arranged chronologically.

This sub-series consists of a base pass and calling card for William G. A. Turner; the business and calling cards of Paul Dawes Turner; and announcements related to the law practice of Paul Dawes Turner. Other material includes book plates with Revolutionary War scenes and a postcard of Malden, Mass.

Box 3Folders 27-28

Preferred Citation

Turner-Dawes family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Beall family--Genealogy.
Cranch family--Genealogy.
Cranch, Richard, 1726-1811.
Dawes family--Genealogy.
Dawes, Margaret Greenleaf, 1761-1836.
Dawes, Thomas, 1757-1825.
Dawes, William, 1745-1799.
Goddard, Mehetable May Dawes, 1796-1882.
Greenleaf family--Genealogy.
Holland, Henry W (Henry Ware), 1844-1909.
Newcomb, Hannah Dawes, 1769-1851.
Quincy family--Genealogy.
Rogers family--Genealogy.
Turner, Alfred Rogers, 1822-1907.
Turner family--Genealogy.
Turner, Mary Greenleaf, 1861-1934.
Turner, Paul Dawes, 1887-1951.
Turner, Ruth Flanders, 1889-1931.
Turner, William G. A. (William George Arthur), 1858-1936.


Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Family history--1900-1949.
Massachusetts--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
World War, 1914-1918--Indiana.

Materials Removed from the Collection

The following items have been removed from the Turner-Dawes family papers:

Photographs, now in the MHS Photograph Collection, including those of Alfred Rogers Turner; William G. A. Turner; Paul Dawes Turner (1891-ca. 1919); the William G. A. Turner family at Sibley Farm, Center Harbor, N.H. (ca. 1898); Rockport, Mass. scenes (ca. 1909); and Middlesex Fells, Mass. scenes. A photo portrait of Alice Ana Turner is located in Photo. Coll. Portraits - Oversize.

Cranch, Christopher Pearse. Satan: A Libretto (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1874), now in MHS Printed Material.

A pencil sketch of Christopher Pearse Cranch by William Wetmore Story, 1843, now in MHS Special Colls. - Artwork.

A beaded needle case made by Sophronia Burns Turner, 1836, now in MHS Artifact Colls.

Seven bills of colonial currency signed by Thomas Dawes and Richard Cranch, 1780, now in MHS Numismatics Colls.