Uncovering Family History

Uncovering Family History

A note of warm greetings from Mark Turner III.

Mark Turner III at Great Falls Historical Society meeting.

Mark Turner III at Great Falls Historical Society meeting. Photo contributed


Mark Turner with John Stitzer others.

The Historic Preservation of the Mark Turner House

If you are driving past the Turner Farmhouse on Georgetown Pike the last few days you will have noticed that it is looking better and better by the day. The grass has been cut, the falling porch has been removed and exterior repair of the siding has begin. The Fairfax County Park Authority reports that the interior mold remediation work is now complete. The work to stabilize the outside of the house started last week. The work will include sealing and painting the outside of the house and stabilizing the front porch. The Fairfax County Park Authority Cultural Resources staff has reviewed the methods being used to repair the property to ensure that the work complies with national historic preservation standards. The public hearing to consider the adoption of Chaper 125 – the Resident Curator Program Ordinance – to the Code of Fairfax County is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. If it is approved, the next step will be to prepare a request for proposal so that a Resident Curator may be pursued to preserve the property over the longer term.

I would like to thank everyone who attended last Wednesday’s Great Falls Historical Society program. It was great to see new & old faces and be able to share the history of my family who resided at the Turner Farm property on Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road from 1840 until the time the last five acres with the farmhouse was sold to the Fairfax County Park Authority in 2011. In September, I was asked to put the program together and I immediately joined Ancestry.com to make the family tree. I also dug through old photos and scanned them on the computer. The research took me back to my childhood on the farm and old memories of my parents and grandparents and the community. My grandfather, Mark Turner, Sr. was involved with the Grange, the Masons, the state Dairymen’s Commission, and was a former District Supervisor and Bank President. Grandmother was a former schoolteacher and was involved with the Grange, the Eastern Star, the Garden Club and Bridge Club besides raising her chickens, having a large garden, canning vegetables, curing fresh hams in the fall and completing both the Post and the Star crossword puzzles everyday. My father, Mark Turner, Jr., and my uncle, Edwin Lewis Turner, were both Veterans of WWII. Dad was also on the Board of Directors of the Herndon Bank along with Buck Werner. They would ride together to the bank’s monthly meetings. Mother was active with Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon as the church Secretary, a Deacon and an Elder. She also was active with the PTA at Great Falls Elementary School and was a Den Mother for Pack 673. I also remember the community back then was very involved with the 4 –H. My sister was in the Pony Club across the street at Grace Dawson’s. Grace’s daughter Phyllis went on to be an Olympic Champion. Going over one’s past can be surprisingly rewarding and it is great to be able to share it with others. The family tree has turned out to be an ongoing project with no defined end. At the meeting last Wednesday, I even found a cousin I never knew I had! - We share the same early-American ancestor. Thanks again, Mark.