George Alexander Turner Samoa Scotland

Biography of George Alexander Turner

George Alexander Turner, MD 1870
George Alexander Turner, MD 1870

George Alexander Turner was born in Upolu, Samoa, in 1845, son of George Turner, LLD, one of the London Missionary Society's earliest missionaries in the Pacific. Turner was sent back to Scotland when he was 8 to be educated at the High School of Glasgow before enrolling at the University of Glasgow in 1861, aged 15. He graduated MB CM in 1867, and MD in 1870. During his medical course he also studied divinity at the United Presbyterian Theological Hall in Edinburgh, and was ordained a minister in 1867.

In 1868 he returned to Samoa as a medical missionary of the London Missionary Society with his wife Isabella Nelson. Their 6 children were all born in Samoa, where George worked until 1880, when he returned to Scotland.

In Samoa, George was the only physician and surgeon in the missionary group, his practice placed first at Malua, and, after a few years, at Apia, where he was also pastor of the English Church. Holding an intimate knowledge of the Samoan language, culture, and people, George was able to mediate on behalf of Britain during various political crises.

George continued as a physician in Glasgow until his death in 1900. He also played a part in the formation of the Glasgow branch of the Geographical Society, as its Honorary Secretary, he lectured on on Samoa and the South Pacific Islands.


George Alexander Turner
Born 1845.
Died 26 January 1900.
GU Degrees: MB CM, 1867; MD, 1870;
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: missionaries; physicians; surgeons
English snippet: Scottish medical missionary in Samoa from 1868 to 1879
Record last updated: 5th Oct 2012

Country Associations

Samoa Samoa, Upolu
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow
Place of Death

Samoa Samoa, Apia

University Connections

University Roles