The Official Curtis Turner Museum

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A biography of Curtis Turner

Curtis Morton Turner was born in Floyd, Virginia, a small town on the top of Bent Mountain in Southwest Virginia, April l2, 1924. His proud parents were Morton & Minnie Turner. Later on, Curtis would have a brother, Darnell, to go along with his two sisters, Dove & Ruby.

No one really knows for sure the first time Curtis started driving, though judging by most accounts, he was definitely too young for a driver’s license. He was just helping  his Dad anyway, so that didn’t really matter.  We know he was brought up to respect his elders, as he learned a great deal from them, especially his Dad, Morton Turner. One thing he learned just by living like a Turner, which is summed up in this quote: “You can always tell a Turner, but not much!” Yes, Morton was his own man & he taught Curtis to be his own man. That’s why it’s not surprising that in the old Days of Prohibition, Revenuers were looked at as more of a nuisance and an intrusion than anything else. Basically, a lot of people thought the government had no business acting silly about controlling something someone else had made to sell, in this “free enterprise” society!   

Morton Turner was a true mountain entrepreneur so having a productive still was part of taking care of the family and since Curtis was part of that family, his job was delivering it to the customers. From a very early age Curtis developed his talent as a “delivery boy” who could not be caught, by anyone.  His talent at driving was so incredible that even the revenuers had great respect for him.  One of the secret weapons of the moonshine runner was, of all things, corn cobs.  The corn cobs were used to plug the bullet holes in the gas tank. There were many times that the corn cobs saved a valued load of “mountain milk”.  To this day the stories are told of how Curtis would still get away free and clear from 4 to 5 revenuers and the local law in hot pursuit, without a dent.  His ability to turn a car 180 degrees in a very small space is legendary.  Curtis was a flat out and wide open “fearless” driver throughout his life.

© Copyright 2011 by The Curtis Turner Museum, All rights reserved worldwide.
P. O. Box 20588
Roanoke, Virginia 24018
Margaret Sue Turner Wright, President/CEO

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