Turpin, William Henderson "Ben"(born: 1897 - died: 1962) William H. Turpin, also known as Mr. Ben, was a police officer and baseball fanatic who lived in Detroit, MI. According to author Richard Bak, in 1925 Turpin came from Kentucky, where he had been a shoeshine boy, to Detroit. He had lived in Burgin, KY, working as a tanner for J. T. Huguley in Danville, KY, according to his World War I draft registration card. He was a porter at Union Station before being appointed a Detroit policeman in 1927. A large man, he kept the peace in the Black Bottom area with physical force and his two revolvers.
Turpin was also a serious baseball fan, in the 1930s organizing a team called Black Bottom under Turpin's Athletic Club. He sometimes served as the team's catcher with a revolver strapped to each side of his body.
Turpin was the husband of Bessie Turpin [they are mistakenly listed as white in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census].
For more see Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars, by R. Bak; In Black and White, Supplement, 3rd ed., by M. M. Spradling; and "Tough Mr. Ben won respect based on fear," in Blacks in Detroit: a reprint of articles from the Detroit Free Press, by S. McGehee and S. Watson, pp. 72-73.