First baby born in Berthoud – 1884

By Mark French

The Surveyor

Berthoud was moved from its original location on the Little Thompson river bottom to its present-day site in the winter of 1883-84. The first baby born in the relocated town, James Adelphus Turner, came into this world on April 15, 1884. He was the youngest son of Berthoud town founder Peter Turner. Upon the event of the boy’s birth the Longmont newspaper suggested he be named “Berthoud” for the town in which he was born. The newspaper recalled the fact that Peter Turner and his wife Betty had named their daughter Susan Sunshine Turner after the Sunshine mining camp where she had been born in 1874. The Turners did not continue that tradition and gave their son James Adelphus a name rooted in Greek and meaning “brother.”

Photo courtesy of the Ludlow Collection, Berthoud Historical Society – James Turner (third from left) was the first baby born within Berthoud’s town limits. Turner was the son of Berthoud town-founder Peter Turner (standing left). The homestead house where James was born no longer stands. The home site is now covered by the traffic roundabout at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and First Street.
 

James Adelphus “Jim” Turner was born in a small frame “proving-up house” his parents constructed at the extreme southeast corner of their 160-acre homestead in 1877. The site of the house (no longer standing) is now covered by the asphalt and concrete of the traffic roundabout at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and First Street. An older brother, Gustavus Adolphus, had been born in the same house in 1882, but at that time the town of Berthoud was still located on the Little Thompson river bottom. For that reason he was not accorded the honor of being the first baby born in Berthoud.

Jim Turner attended classes in Berthoud’s first school building, a two-story brick structure built on the east side of the 500 block of Sixth Street in 1887. When a new school building was constructed across the street in present-day Fickel Park in 1895, Turner went there to complete his education, graduating in a class of four students that also included Ed McCormick (son of a hardware store operator), Lena Fairbairn (daughter of the lumberyard owner), and Wilbur Allen (son of a prosperous farmer from the Sunnyside district northeast of Berthoud).

After his graduation from Berthoud High School in 1904, Jim and his older brother Gustavus Adolphus “Duck” Turner went to Ames, Iowa, to attend business college. In 1908 Jim was back in Berthoud, preparing to go to the new town of Nunn, north of Greeley, where he opened a hardware store with his older brother.

By 1910 Jim had returned to Berthoud from Nunn where he married Adeline May Connors, the daughter of one of the town’s early carpenters. Once back in Berthoud he worked as a bookkeeper for Lovejoy Bros. and held a position at the Berthoud National Bank. Even though he lived in Berthoud, Jim continued to partner in a dryland farming enterprise with his older brother who had remained in Nunn.

While living in Berthoud, Jim and his wife welcomed sons James and Russell into the family in 1913 and 1917 respectively. He also built a five-room residence on north Seventh Street in 1915. Prior to 1915 the Jim Turner family lived in a house on Welch Avenue.

Jim Turner and his wife Adeline returned to Nunn in the 1920s and lived out their days in that community. There Jim continued his partnership with his older brother in a hardware business and dryland farming.

Jim Turner died at the age of 57 years in Nunn in March 1941. The man who was known as the first baby to be born in Berthoud was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery with Masonic rites requested by the Eaton Lodge to which he belonged.

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