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

The Turnbo Family

During the Civil War, Robert Turnbo fought for the Union Army, he was born in Alabama. While her husband was away, Isabella Cook Turnbo, a Kentucky native, fled the state with their two children, Jerry (b.1856) and Nancy Jane (b.1859). The family reunited in Metropolis, Illinois, where Jerry and Nancy were employed by the Cook Family who had lived in Kentucky, according to the 1880 U. S. Federal Census. Robert and Isabella eventually had nine more children, one of whom was Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957), who made hair and scalp preparations for rejuvenating African American women's hair. In St. Louis, Turnbo sold her products door-to-door, and with the success of her business she was able to hire sales agents, one of whom was Sarah Breedlove, also known as Madam C. J. Walker. For more see the Annie Turnbo Malone entry in Black Women in America, 2nd ed., vol. 2; and L. L. Wright, "Celebrating her legacy: Museum honors beauty pioneer for contributions to cosmetology, The Paducah Sun, 01/24/2008, State and Regional section.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Black women in America 2nd ed.
NKAA Source: The Paducah sun (newspaper)

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“The Turnbo Family,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 27, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:21