Lucius B. Church, a native of New York State, settled in Turner with his wife Clara in 1857. He ran the Junction House, a hotel with restaurant next to the train depot, and would for the next five years.
In 1862, Church enlisted in the 105th Illinois Infantry. At a recruitment gathering he sang “The Sword of Bunker Hill,” a Revolutionary War song, with such fervor that the entire Company B of the 105th was raised that night. Due to his powerful singing voice, Lucius was known as “Toot” Church.
Church enlisted as a first lieutenant, and was placed in charge of Company B. By the time he returned home in June of 1865, he was Captain Church, Turner’s highest ranking Civil War officer.
To commemorate General Sherman’s 1864 march from Atlanta to Savannah, Henry Clay Work wrote the lively “Marching Through Georgia.” Church was the first person to sing it the morning after its composition. He was later to sing it at the 1868 Republican National Convention, when General Grant received the presidential nomination. At veteran reunions Church’s strong voice was in great demand.
Lucius was appointed by Grant to work for the Internal Revenue Department, first in Illinois, and later Montana. When the income tax was repealed in 1872, Church returned to Turner, and soon after was elected the first president of the Village of Turner. He would hold this office again in 1879 and 1881.
In the 1870s, Church worked as an agent for the Parmalee Company, which transported passengers and baggage from Chicago rail stations by horse-drawn coaches. Illness forced Church to retire from this position in 1879. By 1883 Church recovered his health and began a new business, selling lumber and coal.
Lucius Church died in 1893 from the effects of a paralytic stroke. His name and that of his wife Clara are perpetuated on the west side, in Church and Clara Streets.