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John Henry Turner was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, May 9, 1861, and died in Washington, D.C., June 12, 1893. He was educated at the Virginia Military Institute and after his graduation entered the service of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as Aide. His talent and energy soon advanced him to the permanent corps as sub-assistant, and finally as Assistant, the youngest in the Corps. In 1888 a responsible work in the Alaskan Boundary Survey was entrusted to J. H. Turner and James McGrath, assistants. Mr. Turner’s camp was on the Porcupine River, and in the winter of 1889-90 he crossed the unexplored region of Alaska, over lofty mountains, miles to the frozen ocean, a feat never before accomplished by a white man. His two years sojourn on the Porcupine River enabled him to accumulate a great mass of illustrated information which he intended to embody in a volume. His rapidly failing health, and what seemed untimely death, arrested his hand and set a seal upon his lips. His character was marked by an almost impenetrable reserve but at the same time he was generous to a fault, pureminded, manly, and dearly beloved.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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