Clio Logo

Jonathan Baldwin Turner was a Professor that taught at Illinois College, teaching rhetoric and Belle-lettres, a category of writing, originally meaning beautiful or fine writing. He is honored by two colleges with a hall each of them named after him, a tablet located at Illinois College, and Jacksonville Middle School, which was previously named Jonathan Baldwin Turner Junior High.


  • Jonathan Baldwin Turner tablet
  • Jonathan Baldwin Turner

Jonathan Baldwin Turner was born in Templeton, Massachusetts. He went to Yale University and graduated in 1833. In 1833, Jonathan B. Turner became a professor at Illinois College where he taught rhetoric and belles-lettres. While teaching at Illinois College, he came up with using Maclura pomifera, better known as Osage Orange, hedges as prairie fencing.

While in Jacksonville, Illinois, Jonathan Baldwin Turner became editor of a Jacksonville abolitionist paper. During the 1840s, Turner helped hide 3 slaves that escaped from the St. Louis slave market for more than 2 weeks and later became an assistant with the Underground Railroad.

Jonathan Baldwin Turner is honored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign with Jonathan Baldwin Turner Hall, Illinois College with Turner Hall and tablet in his name, and Jonathan Turner Junior High School in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Jonathan Baldwin Turner died at the age of 93, and is buried in Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville, Illinois. 


“Jonathan Baldwin Turner, The Jacksonville Daily Journal, IL, 12 Nov 1961.” Newspapers.com,

The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Brown, Donald Raymond. "The Educational Contributions of Jonathan Baldwin Turner." M.A.

Thesis, University of Illinois, 1954.