Tag Archives: radio

Details in City Directories: Howard’s Radio Career Uncovered

I was asked a couple of days ago, “Why are city directories interesting?”  It is a fair question.  You find them, you attach them to your online tree or software program, and then you have a list of them.  A list of them?  Dreadfully boring .

Listing of records for Howard Turner, 1919 – 1992

This is not interesting.  It doesn’t tell me anything about the man and his life.

It is all about pulling the story out of them.

In my previous post, Just Because It’s In Print, Doesn’t Make it True, I discussed the obituary I found of my grandfather and whether he was a radio announcer. City directories hold important clues to Howard Turner’s radio career.

In 1938 and 1939, Howard, 18, was living with his parents, James Austin TURNER and Sudie Sarah HAMRICK TURNER, at 316 E Morehead, Charlotte, NC.  Howard’s brother James Austin Jr., was living around the corner with his wife Annie Lineriux BOONE TURNER; both James Sr. and Jr. were salesman.  Ira and Pearl TURNER, Howard’s aunt and uncle lived not far from them at 1826 E 4th; Ira owns Turner Trading Company.

In 1938, Howard is a student and in 1939 we see that Howard begins his career as a Radio Announcer.1

On May 25, 1940 Howard marries Jennie Elizabeth PAYNE in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.2

He disappears from the City Directories in until 1943, where he is living with Jennie in Asheville, North Carolina.  Howard is a Radio Announcer for WISE Broadcasting as well as the manager of a Welding Engineering School where both his father, James, and his wife, Jennie, are working. 3 Their first child, a daughter is born in 1943.4

From 1944 to 1950, Howard and Jennie are back in Charlotte, and Howard is working for WBT, a major radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They are living at 522 Hawthorne Lane in an apartment.  Their second child, a son is born in 1944.5

In 1951, it appears the couple has separated.  Howard is living with Lois Turner at 323 E Blvd in Charlotte and is now working for Turner’s.  Jennie is living at 523 Hawthorne Lane and is working as a nurse at the Presbyterian Hospital.6

Except for the marriage and births, all the detail comes from the City Directories.  It’s all about the details and making stories a little less forgotten.

Footnotes
1. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory(Richmond, VA, Hill Directory CO., Inc., 1938), 661 ; also subsequent year by the same title: 1939 (666); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), Howard Turner.
2. “North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F884-NJG : accessed 22 June 2012), Howard Arthur Turner, 1940.
3.Hill’s Asheville (Buncombe County, N. C. ) City Directory (1943), 495.
4. Buncombe County, North Carolina, General Index to Births, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 31, Raleigh, North Carolina State Archives, microfilm NCVR_B_C013_66003, page 253, Katharine Ann Turner; digital images, “North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 22 Jun 2012).
5. Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 102, , microfilm NCVR_B_C065_66004, page 164, Thomas Richard Turner.
6. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory (1944) 754, (1945) 603,(1947) 723, (1948) 732, .

Just Because It’s In Print Doesn’t Make It True

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Howard Arthur Turner, as I lost contact with my mother and her side of the family when I was very young.  One day I discovered his obituary on GenealogyBank.com and became intrigued with knowing more about him.

From his obituary I learned he died on June 26, 1992 and that he was survived by his wife Carol; son Tom Turner; daughter, Mrs. Kathy Currier; brothers, James Turner Jr., Michael Turner; two stepdaughters; two grandchildren; nephews and nieces. 1

That would be the first piece of information that is wrong.  He was survived by at least 4 grandchildren.  My sister and I are the daughters of Kathy Currier by a previous marriage.

When reading obituaries, family histories, newspapers, wills and other documents we use to understand genealogy it is important to remember details are often presented to fit current realities.  Given that my sister and I had not had contact with the man since we were very young and that we haven’t had any contact with the family for well over 30 years, it is understandable.  And a different story for a different day.

The paragraphs that I find the most intriguing from the obituary are:

A radio newscaster at WBT (1110 AM) in the early 1940s, Mr. Turner also taught David Brinkley, now host of the Sunday news Program “This Week With David Brinkley,” who was a UPI news reporter at the Charlotte Station, how to announce on the radio – or so the story goes, says Mr. Turner’s son, Tom.

“My dad would like to tell us about how he taught David Brinkley how to announce on the radio. I don’t know if it’s absolutely true, but he sure liked to tell the story,” said Tom Turner, now president of his father’s supply company. From 1941 to 1946, Mr. Turner paired with Grady Cole, for whom the Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive is named, to produce morning news reports on WBT.” 2

There is a story there.  How much of it is true? I know there are already missing pieces in this brief summary of his life. One thing I do know, the story is probably interesting. Tomorrow I’ll start trying to unravel it.

1. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, June 28, 1992; digital images, Genealogybank.com, (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 5 April 2009), Newspaper Obituaries Collection.
2. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte Observer, June 28, 1992.