History of Idaho, Volume 3, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 967-968
John E. Turner. Since 1907 superintendent of the Payette city schools Mr. Turner's experience, ability and leadership as a practical educator have been instrumental with the co-operation of the city and citizens in placing the Payette schools in the front rank in Idaho public education. Mr. Turner is an educator of broad and progressive ideals and perhaps his most important service in Payette has been due to his efforts to make the schools practical factors in the training of the young people for the duties and responsibilities which they will take up as soon as they leave school.
The Payette schools are housed in three well appointed and modern buildings, and the enrollment is nine hundred pupils, two hundred and four of which are in the high school. The work of the Payette high school is such that the graduates are fitted for any college, and in the report of the University of Idaho for the year 1912, among the twenty-seven students listed from Canyon county, sixteen were graduates of Payette. The staff of teachers under Mr. Turner's direction number twenty-six. Among the features of the Payette schools which measure up to the modern progressive ideas in education are its special departments of music and drawing, of home economics and manual training, and it is Mr. Turner's opinion that these special departments have well proved their value not only for practical training to the students, but have also been instrumental in holding the pupils to their school work longer than would otherwise be the case. The Payette high school is ranked third in the number of its graduates in the state of Idaho, the graduating class in 1911-12 having been thirty-five, and it is one of the very best and largest in the state in the character of its work and equipment.
John E. Turner was born at Taylorville, Illinois, February 7, 1870, a son of John L. and Elizabeth Turner. The father was a contractor and builder by profession, and still resides at Taylorville. There were four children in the family, of whom John E. was the second. Mr. Turner is thoroughly educated and brought to his work in Idaho not only the advantages of training in some of the best schools, but also a large experience in educational affairs. He graduated B. A. in 1894 from Lincoln University, and in 1808 took post-graduate work in the University of Chicago. For twelve years he served as principal of the Alton, Illinois, high school, having charge of one of the largest high schools in the state of Illinois. He was then for one year professor of physics at the James Milliken University at Decatur, Illinois, after which he came West in 1907 to Payette to take charge of the city schools.
On June 23, 1898, Mr. Turner was married at Alton, Illinois, to Miss Rettie C. Haight, a daughter of Robert A. and Gertrude Haight. Her father is one of the best known educators of Illinois, has been connected with the Alton city schools for upwards of forty years and for a quarter of a century has been city superintendent. The three children of Mr. and Mrs. Turner are: Edward Lewis, Dorothy May and John Allen. Mr. Turner was raised a Mason in the Payette Blue lodge and is also affiliated with the Knights of Pythias at Payette. He and his wife are both members of the Presbyterian church and in politics he is a Republican.