Theodore Turley: Stamper, Piercer and Toolmaker

In 1971 Joseph Soll Turley wrote of a visit to Colton, CA in 1911 where he saw the Indenture of Theodore Turley.  He recorded this:

“I saw with my own eyes when I visited Colton in 1911 his Indenture made out and sworn to by his father William Turley when he was fourteen, in 1814, to serve his master, “Samuel Parks, Stamper, Piercer, and Toolmaker” for seven years to learn his trade; the first five years for bed and board, the last two years if he wished to move elsewhere, he was to receive the munificent sum of five shillings (a dollar and twenty cents) a week for board and lodging which proves again that he was born in 1800, fourteen being the universal age boys were apprenticed to learn a trade.

Also from Joseph Soll Turley:

Theodore Turley’s Skills and Inventions
As Lawrence can tell you, a man that can make his own tool, can make anything made of metal. One of the things I gave to Lawrence was a ¼ inch thick piece of leather stamped with the dyes he had made of the numerals from 1 to 9 plus 0 in 1937. I obtained this when I was in Beaver, in the possession of a maternal cousin, Charles Woodhouse, Jr., historian of Beaver. He refused to sell me the die but I have written to his sons to see if we can buy them now. He made everything made of metal from cooking utensils to plows and wagons and even pistols and guns. In fact he was working on an invention for a repeating gun when Samuel Colt brought out his revolver. Theodore Turley’s idea was the same as has been adopted by the armed services of all the countries on earth since. A clip that would hold a number of bullets and would slide past the barrels and be fired, is the principle of the modern machine gun and rapid-fire-rifles. The revolver was a superior invention for a hand gun and the pioneers were such good shots with a rifle that they didn’t feel the need for a repeater at the time, so he dropped his experiment. But he made two pistols for the profit [Prophet?]. And I was told in Beaver, in 1937, by others and relatives, that he was “very close to the Prophet Joseph.” He also at least one winter kept Brigham Young and his family from starvation by giving them flour to live on.

This Birmingham Journal from 3 December 1825 reports that the partnership of Theodore Turley and Wm. Lindon, of Birmingham, stampers, piercers, and tool-makers has been dissolved.BIrmingham Journal 3 Dec 1825Birmingham Journal 3 Dec 1825 Partnership Dissolved

Here is a fascinating resource that lists trades in England beginning in 1814:Pigots Directory of Trades

Here is a Pigot’s Directory published in 1837, which includes listings of all the tradesmen in each of the geographic areas, including Birmingham, where Theodore Turley lived until around 1825 or 1826.

Pigot Directory TradesPigot Directory Trades Birmingham cover page

This Directory has 32 pages of trades listed for this time period in Birmingham.  It’s a fascinating look at what life was like in that day.  You can access it here:’s_national_commercial_directory_for_the_whole_of_Scotland_and_of_the_Isle_of_Man_…_t

Here is a listing for Stampers and Piercers in 1837.  Interestingly, there is a listing for a Parkes and for a man named Joseph Yates.  Theodore’s mother was Elizabeth Yates.  Her father, who died in 1778 was Joseph Yates.Pigot Directory Trades Stampers and Piercers

Here is a bit from British History Online that mentions the trade of Stampers and Piercers:

Stampers and Piercers in British History Online


About annlaemmlenlewis

I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am currently serving as a Missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. Welcome to my personal blog, Ann's Words, and my Mission blog, Our Yakima Mission. If you are interested in family history stories and histories, you can find those posted in Ann's Stories. Thanks for looking in!
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