Thomas Battle Turley, U.S. Senator

Is your surname Turley?

Research the Turley family

Thomas Battle Turley, U.S. Senator's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Thomas Battle Turley

Birthplace: Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Jefferson Turley and Flora Crudup Turley
Husband of Irene Turley
Father of Eli Rayner Turley; Flora Battle Maury; Thomas J Turley; Mary Louise Turley and Margaret Turley

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Battle Turley, U.S. Senator

Thomas Battle Turley (April 5, 1845 – July 1, 1910) was a Tennessee attorney who served as a Democratic U.S. senator from 1897 to 1901.

Turley was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Thomas Jefferson and Flora Crudup Battle Turley. His uncle was Judge William B. Turley of the Tennessee Supreme Court. After attending public schools, Turley in 1861 enlisted and served in the Maynard Rifles of Memphis, a Confederate company that joined the 154th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Turley sustained wounds at the battles of Shiloh (1862) and Atlanta (1864) before being captured in the Battle of Nashville in 1864. He was imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio, from December 1864 until March 1865.

Upon the war's conclusion, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, completing his studies in 1867. In 1870 he was admitted to the Tennessee bar and began practicing in Memphis with L. D. McKissick, a former Confederate colonel. When former Governor Isham G. Harris teamed with them in 1876, the firm became Harris, McKissick & Turley. After McKissick moved to California, Harris and Turley remained partners until 1886, when Turley formed a partnership with Luke Edward Wright, who later served as governor-general of the Philippines and secretary of war. A prominent attorney, upon the death in office of Senator Isham Harris, Turley was appointed by the governor of Tennessee Robert Love Taylor to the vacancy. He was subsequently elected to the balance of the term by the Tennessee General Assembly.

Turley declined to stand for any further service in the Senate once the balance of the term to which Harris had initially been elected had expired, serving in the Senate from July 20, 1897 to March 4, 1901. He returned to his Memphis law practice until shortly before his death in 1910. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, the final resting place of many West Tennessee political figures.

TURLEY, Thomas Battle, senator, was born in Memphis, Tenn., Apr. 5, 1845, onlv child of Thomas J. and Ora (Battle) Turley. His father, whose parents went from Virginia to western Kentucky, thence to the neighborhood of Nashville, was a brother of Judge William B. Turley, of the supreme bench of Tennessee, and at the time of his death was a law partner of Judge Archibald Wright. In the latter part of 1861 the son entered the Confederate army and became a member of the Maynard rifles of Memphis, commanded by Capt. E. A. Cole. This company joined the 154th senior Tennessee regiment, and served with it in the Army of Tennessee until the termination of the war. He was wounded at Shiloh. When the three years time of enlistment expired his company was about tne first to enlist for the rest of the war, young Turley taking active part in the movement. He was again wounded at Peach Tree creek, near Atlanta, Ga.. July 20, 1804; was captured in the battle of Nashville, in December, 1864, and carried to Camp Chase, Ohio, where he remained until exchanged in March, 1865. He then returned South.

After the war he attended the University of Virginia, and was graduated B.L. in 1867. He began the practice of his profession with Col. L. D. McKissick, in Memphis, and by the association of Sen. Isham G. Harris in 1876, the firm became Harris, McKissick & Turlev, and when Col. McKissick removed to California in 1879, it became Harris & Turley, and remained unchanged for many years. In 18s0 Mr. Turley and Gen. Luke E. Wright formed a partnership, which still continues, their two sons being now members of the firm. He was appointed U. S. senator July 20, 1897, to succeed his former partner. I. G. Harris, deceased, and served by subsequent election until Mar. 3, 1901. Sen. Turley is a quiet, unostentatious man of very youthful appearance and genial manners. He is noted for firmness and integrity of character, and great ability and learning as a lawyer. He has always been a Democrat and in the presidential campaign of 1896 he ably supported Mr. Bryan, the nominee of the Chicago convention, making one most notable speech in reply to Mr. Bourke Cochran, of New 'i ork. He was married in 1870 to Irene, daughter of Eli Rayner, of North Carolina, and has five children.

Source: The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, by J.T. White, (1904). page 391

view all

Thomas Battle Turley, U.S. Senator's Timeline

April 5, 1845
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Age 64
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States