From: A School History of the Negro Race in America: Edward A. Johnson, 1890
Bishop H. M. Turner is well known throughout the United States. He stands as a model for the poor boy to-day with scanty means. His early efforts for an education were accompanied with many disappointments and failures. Though free, he had to submit to the law, "no Negro must be educated." However, he got a start and added to his small stock until he could read the Bible and hymn-book. It is said that he learned fifty psalms in a night, and while plowing repeated them to his co-laborers. He was hired out most of the time by his father; his work was always with hard and often cruel overseers. But he said, and kept his word, when a boy, no white man should whip and scar his back. When about fifteen years of age he was employed as a waiting-boy in a law office, where he attracted special notice by his tenacious memory and accuracy in delivering messages. The lawyers took an interest in him and taught him whatever he wanted to learn. From this he moved on from one level to the next higher -- being a hard student all the way up to the present. He now is known as bishop, philosopher, politician, author, devoted race-man, and ex-United States Chaplain.