Turner, Artemus Ward


September 29, 1866 - June 29, 1935
Artemus Ward Turner, son of James B. and Frances Turner, was born in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, September 29, 1866. He departed this life in Shreveport, June 29, 1935—aged sixty-eight years and nine months. He was married to Miss Mary Azalee Morgan (who preceded him in death by just a few weeks), September 26, 1883. To this happy union seven children were born: Miss Mamie, Marvin, Homer, Mrs. E. C. Durel, Mrs. Chas. N. White and Warren, survive to mourn his loss. Miss Ward Ella (Mrs. S. A. Mayo), died several years ago.
He was received on trial in the Louisiana Annual Conference in Homer, December, 1893, and gave eighteen years to the pastorate, serv-ing, in order named, the following charges: Melville and Big Cane, Evergreen and Big Cane, Lecompte and West Alexandria, Columbia, Boyce, and West Alexandria, Boyce, Lake Arthur, West Lake and Welsh, New Iberia, Grand Cane, Opelousas, and Mansfield. Two years., 1911 and 1912, he was Conference Missionary Evangelist. In December, 1913, he was appointed Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Louisiana, serving eleven years in this capacity, and one year as Legislative Super-intendent of the Anti-Saloon League. Then organizing the Louisiana Legislative Prohibition League of Louisiana, he served as its director for ten years. He thus gave twenty-two years to the cause of Prohibition in Louisiana—spending forty-two years of effective service to the Church and the cause of Righteousness in Louisiana!
Brother Turner was reared in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Like most boys of his time, shortly after the Civil War, his educational ad-vantages were limited. On reaching young manhood he was called to the ministry, and in spite of his lack of an education, by close application, diligent work and a high sense of honor and right, he forged to the front and soon became one of the outstanding evangelistic preachers of the Conference. He was very effective as a revivalist, and many souls were saved by his splendid work. He possessed great natural ability, an unusual quality of good, common sense, fine judgment, and was an eloquent speaker. From the beginning of his ministry, realizing the ravages that the liquor traffic had wrought in the human family, he soon rose to the point of leadership in the fight against this great evil.
Recognizing his talents and effectiveness as a prohibition speaker the leaders of this great fight called him into service. Under his splendid leadership Louisiana became one of the first states to enter the prohibition ranks—an achievement seemingly impossible. Brother Turner quickly saw the fight was not over, and with his masterly skill and quick foresight, gave his time and thought to the legislative side of the battle. By skillful management, tact, honesty and straightforwardness, he won the esteem and respect of the legislators, and secured and kept on the statute books of the State some of the most effective prohibition laws known to the nation. And only when prohibition was defeated by the national government was there any let up in the effectiveness of these laws. Engaged in a terrific fight against the most unscrupulous forces known to modern life, and against the most deeply entrenched evil in the social and political life of our country, he never stooped to unfair methods, or took undue advantage. Always open, fair and just, he fought with the courage and strength of a giant, and at no time compromised his lofty and noble ideals as a Christian minister. The defeat, or annulment, of the Constitutional prohibition law by the national government came as a crushing blow to his noble heart. But it aroused his fighting spirit, and although his splendid body was growing ‘weak, to the last he fought against this great evil. In the last moments of his noble life the “rumblings” of that great fighting spirit were heard.
While a fighter of great courage and power against the liquor traffic, he was a minister of the gospel and preacher of great ability. His wide knowledge of the State and its needs made him a very useful and helpful member of the Board of Missions of the Conference, and here he rendered notable service to the Louisiana Methodist Church. He was interested In every good cause, and gave of his best.
A noble spirit, a courageous fighter for the right, a friend of the needy and helpless, a fine Christian character, a good preacher of the gospel of our Christ, a comrade and a friend in the great struggle for the betterment of man has fallen! We devoutly pray that God may raise up some Elisha on whom his mantle may fall!
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 80-81, 193529, by Robert W. Vaughan

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