From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Turner, Samuel

(born: 1861  -  died: June 28, 1901) 

Dr. Samuel Turner's death in 1901 was reported to be the first suicide on record for an African American in Kentucky. It was said he hanged himself because of the shame of being indited for vending lottery tickets. His half nude body was found in the early morning, in the highest tree in Flora Park in Louisville, KY, 50 feet above ground, The park was located at South Street and Ormsby Avenue. Turner's death was also reported as a lynching.

Dr. Turner is listed in the Directory of Deceased American Physicians. His practice is listed as  allopath[y] (see Wikipedia definition) and his death date as June 28, 1901. The cause of death is given as sucide; hanging.

Dr. Turner had lived at 2002 7th Street, according to the Louisville city directories (1893-1900) in Ancestry. It was not until around 1895 that he was listed in the directories as a doctor. Prior to that, his occupation was listed as a laborer. It is not known where Dr. Turner received his medical training.

In the Louisville Death Record Book (Ancestry, Film 7007129: Jefferson County, Books 9-11, pp. 106-107), Dr. Turner's age is estimated to have been 40; it noted that he was born in Kentucky.

Primary and secondary cause of death is given as "Strangulation by hanging suicide." His address at the time of death was 78 Ormsby Avenue in Louisville. The G. W. Frierson Funeral Home handled the arrangements, and Dr. Turner was buried in Russellville, KY, which is thought to be his hometown.

For more see "Suicide: of Dr. Samuel Turner this morning," Newark Daily Advocate, 6/29/1901, p.  1; "He hanged himself high," The Atlanta Constitution, 6/30/1901, p. 2.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Logan County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Russellville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Turner, Samuel,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-28 23:04:48