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Turville's Point

Turville's Point (8/27/1896 ca.)

Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi-51804

Turville Point

Why do they call it Turville Point?

Good question, since the Turvill family spelled their name without an “e”.

Henry Turvill, born in 1816, was a farmer in England. In 1838 he married Mary Kent, three years his senior, described in later years as “a stately old lady, with charming old-world manners… petite in form, with a cap of lace covering her snowy white hair, her eyes often twinkling with merriment, and as lithe in movement as a girl… the embodiment of grace and dignity.” They came to Wisconsin in 1850 to escape poor agricultural conditions in England, purchasing land on the east shore of Lake Monona across from Madison, which they farmed. They built an elegant farmhouse, Lakeside, which gave its name to Lakeside Street.

Shortly after arriving in Madison two of the Turvills’ young children died and were buried somewhere on the farm. Their graves are there to this day.

In June 1859 Henry was involved in what the Weekly Argus & Democrat newspaper called a “road war in the town of Madison:” Quite a belligerent state of feeling has been created across Third Lake by a fight in regard to the Water Cure road. The road was opened last year by the town through the land owned by George B. Smith and Mr. Turvill by Delaplaine and Burdick. They had, it was understood, gave the rights of way across their land, but they now deny having done so. Mr. Turvill has obstructed the road through his place. Some legal proceedings were had and the road again put in order. He has recently dug two or three ditches across the road again. Those living beyond who need this avenue to the city are very indignant, and say that there shall be a road to the Water Cure [a resort on the site of today’s Olin Park]. The road is one really wanted, as it affords several large neighborhoods a direct route to the city. It is besides one of the most beautiful drives about the city. The quarrel is wrong, and the road should be opened.

The Turvills’ daughter, Jessie Inwood, married Reuben Gold Thwaites, one-time managing editor of the Wisconsin State Journal who was corresponding secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society from 1887 to his death in 1913, a man credited by Frederick Jackson Turner with “changing the conception of the western historical society.” Jessie was born at Lakeside. She was president of the Woman’s Club and, after Reuben’s death, dedicated herself to World War I relief work, particularly the American Fund for French wounded.

Mark Gajewski