Turlock is a city in Stanislaus County, California, United States. Its estimated 2015 population of 72,292 made it the second-largest city in Stanislaus County after Modesto.
Founded on December 22, 1871, by prominent grain farmer John William Mitchell, the town consisted of a post office, a depot, a grain warehouse and a few other buildings. Mitchell declined the honor of having the town named for himself. The name "Turlock" was then chosen instead. The name is believed to originate from the Irish village “Turlough”. In October 1870, Harper's Weekly published an excerpt from English novelist James Payn's story Bred in the Bone, which includes the mention of a town named "Turlough" (translated from Gaelic as "Turlock"). Local historians believe that this issue of Harper's Weekly was read by early resident H. W. Lander who suggested the alternate name. Mitchell and his brother were successful businessmen, buying land and developing large herds of cattle and sheep that were sold to gold miners and others as they arrived. They were also leaders in wheat farming and cultivated tracts of land under the tenant system.