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Turner Burns US Army Veteran

Via FindaGrave

Turner Burns is James Lee Burns' older brother. He's one of the known brothers and sisters noted by a number of family elders especially the late Tribal Griot Lee Alice Travis. In the research of my great-uncle Turner I found a draft card and further found that he was a US Army veteran of the First World War.
Turner Burns WW1 draft card

Turner Burns was born April 30, 1894 in Adams Station, Mississippi possibly near Learned, MISS where his older sister Bessie Lewis was born. He found his way to Hattiesburg, MISS working as a sawyer at Brookhaven Lumber Mill there (from draft card above). As far as who he was supporting and even his relationship status he was actually married at this time.

What has been uncovered was a wife named Julia Ann. From what can be seen of this union there were no children. Julia Ann Burns died in April 1983 in Hattiesburg, MISS. At the time of Julia's death her address was still the home on Florence Street in Hattiesburg that she shared with her late husband Turner who died in November 1951 in Hattiesburg as shown in this obituary from the Hattiesburg American.

Published April 5, 1983

What is known of Turner's service during the conflict which was also known as the "War to End All Wars",  he did find his way to France. There were transport lists which shows him and his unit heading to and from St. Nazaire, France. His unit was known as Company B 340th Service Battalion it was listed as a colored unit. Turner's place on this cropped transport list shows his emergency contact as Mrs. Aggie Burns, his mother.

Oh and for the record the US Military during this conflict was segregated and this would be a matter of policy until the late 1940s during the administration of President Harry S Truman. So in about 30 years time the military would be desegregated.

His last rank before leaving the wartime military was sergeant although he was already a corporal the first time I saw any military records on him.  As you see on the transport list under SGT (sergeant) was QMC which represents the Quartermaster Corps one role amongst many was to help supply the US Army. It's unclear so far if he was anywhere near the fighting on the European Western Front, however, it's highly unlikely he had a combat role during this awful global conflict.

Eventually he came back home to settle in Hattiesburg, MISS and is buried there in Pineview Cemetery with his veteran's headstone which his widow Julia Ann Burns applied for after Turner's death.

I found this interesting article on Turner from the Hattiesburg American regarding a real estate transaction for chancery court. It was a brief article and perhaps evidence of what he might have done for a living once he left the military.

Well it is Black History Month and this is a great month to do some research on your family background in addition to celebrating the history & accomplishments of all Black Americans. And it's a great month to honor our Black US military veterans as well. Turner as it turns out paved the way for others in this bloodline to serve the United States of America.

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