My Triplett Family
Wm and Elinor (Harbin) Triplett; Wm and Nancy (Ferguson) Triplett
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My Triplett Family

Research of my Triplett family ancestors began after finding out that Elinor Harbin Triplett (my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother) was a female Revolutionary War Patriot. Elinor became a patriot while her husband, William Triplett, and several sons were serving in the North Carolina militia. Elinor stayed home with their many children and kept their large farm operating in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina. Raising cattle was an important part of the Triplett farm especially during the war when food became scarce for everyone, including soldiers. To help feed the North Carolina militia, Elinor Triplett contributed a number of cows. After the Revolutionary War, Elinor’s name was included among a list of patriots who provided “sundries” to the Militia of North Carolina. Elinor was compensated 982.10L for providing beef to the soldiers. Due to her contributions and services, Elinor Triplett is considered one of the few (compared to the number of men) women patriots of the Revolutionary War. So, I made it my goal to honor Elinor Tirplett by researching and preparing a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) application with Elinor as my patriot. I worked at this endeavor for almost two years, which included a trip to Wilkes County, North Carolina. During my research, I came across a lot of information on Elinor and her family, but I was unable to find the one important piece of documentation that was needed to complete a DAR application. I could not find the proof that Elinor Harbin Triplett was the mother of William Triplett Jr. (my great-great-great-great-great grandfather).  

I searched deeds, wills, administrations, court records, baptism records, parish records, pension applications and did not find the necessary documentation. There are plenty of books and information on the internet that list William Triplett Jr. as the son of William and Elinor Triplett, none of which provide a source document. Since the DAR will not accept a book source as proof of lineage, I was unable to submit a DAR application for Elinor. As I began filing all of the information and documents that I had gathered on the Tripletts, I decided rather than letting all that information sit in my filing cabinet, I would compile a booklet describing all I had found. There has been a lot of research on the Triplett family connecting them back to Scotland. But for the purposes of this booklet, I have focused only on the direct descendants of William and Elinor (Harbin) Triplett to their great-great granddaughter, Julia Ann (Triplett) Smith. Julia Ann was my great-great grandmother and the last of my ancestors with the surmane of Tripeltt.  I hope you enjoy reading this effort.

William and Elinor (Harbin) Triplett

William Triplett I was born in Virginia about 1730 to Francis and Elizabeth Triplett. He was born in Loudon County, Virginia, on the Goose Creek property that was mentioned in his father's will and proved in court on November 22, 1758. In his will, Francis Triplett III left 305 acres of land to be split between William and his brother Daniel. In that same year, William married Elinor Harbin. William Triplett is listed in the 1765 Loudon County Tax List. While living in Virginia, it is believed that William and Elinor had six children; Micajah, Nimrod, Mason, William (see section below on William and Nancy), Thomas, and Francis.

It is not clear as to when or where Wm and Elinor first came to North Carolina. But on June 1, 1770 William Triplett purchased 100 acres of land in Orange County, North Carolina from Daniel Adams for 50 pounds. This date coincides withHortense E. Abbott's claim in her book Triplett that John, son of William and Elinor, was born in Orange County, North Carolina in 1770. Orange County is located in the north central portion of the state, just west of Durham. The next land record that I was able to find for William Triplett in North Carolina was dated December 30, 1778 in Wilkes County, North Carolina (below record from Wilkes County, Land Entry Book C page 214). Wilkes County is west of Orange County and is where William Triplett made his initial purchase of 50 acres for 25 Shillings. The 50 acres were located on the "big branch of Beaver Creek". The only adjacent landowner mentioned in the deed was William Allison.

wmtriplettorignal50acrepurchase.jpg
Wm Triplett's Original 50 Acre Purchase

Shortly after this initial purchase, William bought 150 acres of land at the lower end of the "bottom on the north side of the Yadkin River....including the improvements where Alexander West now lives". It is not clear why William Triplett moved his family from Orange County to Wilkes County (a region known as the "Piedmont" or "backcountry"). But it is clear that a great number of people were migrating to this area between the 1750s and 1770s. There were four major groups migrating to this area including; 1) Scotch-Irish, the descendants of Scottish Presbyterians who had colonized northern Ireland in the seventeenth century and moved from there to Penssylvannia and Maryland in the early eighteenth centrury. When population growth made these colonies seem crowded, second-generation families loaded their posessions into wagons and began to follow the Shenandoah Valley southwards in search of cheap and fertile land, 2) German settlers followed the same pattern as the Scotch-Irish, but had originally settled in the backcountry of Pennsylvannia, where they became known as "Pennsylvania Dutch", 3)Highland Scots came directly to North Carolina from the Old World - escaping the British poliicies in Scotland that had disrupted the middle and lower ranks of Highland society, and finally 4)natives of eastern North Caolina, Virginia or other northern colonies who were mostly of English origin. It is this last category that the William Triplett family fell into. They migrated from Virginia to central North Carolina and then finally to the "backcountry" of North Carolina. Regarding the 100 acres of land in Orange County, I have not researched the land records to see if William sold this land before moving to Wilkes County. This is something I intend to follow up on.

Wilkes County, North Carolina was formed in 1777 from Surry County and is situated in the north western part of North Carolina. The official act establishing the county was on February 15, 1778 (only 10 months before William Triplett purchased his original 50 acres). Wilkes County is bounded on the north by the Blue Ridge, on the east by Surry and Yadkin Counties, on the south by Iredell and Alexander Counties and on the west by Caldwell and Watauga Counties. The larger portion of the county lies between two great mountain ranges and the Yadkin River flows between, forming a fertile valley of picturesque beauty. Before the white man showed up in Wilkes County, the Cherokee Indians shared the land with the deer, elk, bear, wildcat, fox and many other wild animals.

According to Hortense E. Abbot in her book Triplett, William and Elinor had four more children while living in Wilkes County. The names of the last four were Verlinda, Nancy, Jesse, and Priscilla who was born in 1780. This would be a total of eleven children Unfortunately, Abbott did not provide a source for her list of children for William and Elinor and I have been unable to verify this information.

According to the Revolutionary War Pension papers of William Triplett II (son of Wm and Elinor), William Triplett I was dead by the year 1780 as Elinor is mentioned as a widow :

"That he entered the service of the United States as a drafted militia man in the month of ______ in the year 1780 for five months under Capt William Sloan in Wilkes County State of North Carolina he states at that time his mother was a widow and needed his assistance..."

I have been unable to find any official location or cause of death for William Triplett but according to Hortense E. Abbott and family legend, William and his two eldest sons, Micajah and Nimrod, died in an Army Camp at Hanging Rock during an epidemic of measles in 1782. I have not been able to substantiate that claim and Abbott did not provide a source for this information - perhaps it came from an interview with a family member in Wilkes County. Nor can I find any indication that William or his sons were members of a militia. But most importantly, the suggested death date of 1782 is in conflict with son William's signed statement as part of his pension application that his mother was a widow in 1780. A death year of 1780 for William Triplett would fit with the Battle of Hanging Rock which occurred on July 30 and August 6 1780. It was not unusual for members of the revolutionary war militias to die of disease. The cramped living conditions and poor sanitary habits lead to many outbreaks of disease during the war. The Americans fighting in this battle were under General Thomas Sumter and numbered 600 - all North and South Carolina militiamen. If William did die in 1780, he was about 50 years of age and did not live long after purchasing his land in Wilkes County. Elinor was left to fend for herself in a new community, to mourn the loss of a husband and possibly two sons, to care for a number of young children and a large farm, all while being pregnant with her daughter Priscilla.

And it was during this time of hardship, that Elinor became a patriot of the Revolutionary War. She is listed as a patriot in a book by Charles E. Claghorn Women Patriots of the American Revolution: a Biographical Dictionary for providing provisions to the troops - but the listing does not state what Elinor provided. However, the document copy below, received from the State of North Carolina Archives, is part of an inventory of the patriots that lived in Wilkes County during the Revolutionary War who provided provisions. Elinor Triplett is listed fifth from the bottom as having provided beef to help feed the troops.

I have been unable to find a will for William Triplett. But in January 1784, William's widow Elinor and Thomas Harbin (who is thought to be her brother), signed and sealed a bonded agreement to be co-executors of William's estate. Elinor's signature would indicate that Elinor was an educated woman living out on the frontier.

elinortriplettpatriotlisting.jpg

The following inventory of William Triplett’s estate was presented in Wilkes County court April 1784 and recorded.

150 acres of land

2 Negroes

3 horses

3 head of cattle

1 sheep

4 head of hogs

one set of smith tools

3 plows

3 hoes

2 axes

1 foot ade

1 hand saw

1 Drawing knife

3 feather beds

2 iron pots

1 oven

7 chairs

1 chest

1 table

7 plates

2 pewter basons

1 Loom

3 Bedsteads

1 box Iron

3 pails

1 piggin (?)

2 pair pot racks

On November 24, 1784, Thomas Harbin sold to Elinor Harbin Triplett 230 acres on Beaver Creek, on the south side of the Yadkin River. Elinor paid Thomas 100 pounds for the land which was part of a 400 acre tract of land that Thomas purchased from Elijah Isaacs in February 1784 - nine months earlier.

It would appear that Elinor did not remarry after the loss of her husband and she was listed as head of household in the following Wilkes County, North Carolina census:

1784-1787

0-2-5-2-0 (no white males age 21-60, 2 white males under 21 or above age 60, 5 white females of any age, 2 blacks age 12-50, and no blacks under age 12 or over age 50)

1790

1-1-4-4 (1 white male over age 16, 1 white male under age 16, 4 white females, 4 slaves)

1800

0-0-1-0-0/0-0-2-0-1 (one white male age 16-26, two white females age 16-26, and 1 white female over age 45 who would have been Elinor)

1820

0-0-0-0-0-0-/0-0-0-0-1/4 (no males in the household, 1 white female over age 45, and 4 slaves)

1830

Elinor is listed as over 100 years of age.

I do not know where William and Elinor are buried. But it is very likely that Elinor is buried on the property that they owned on Beaver Creek. If William died during the Revolutionary War, his body may never have returned to Wilkes County.

William and Nancy (Ferguson) Triplett

William Triplett II was born November 15, 1763 in Loudon County, Virginia, according to his Revolutionary War Pension application. While he was still very young, somewhere between age six and ten, William moved with his parents (William and Elinor Harbin Triplett) to North Carolina. When the Revolutionary War began he was only about thirteen years of age - too young to join a militia but old enough to stay home and help out on the farm. According to Hortense Abbott, his father and older brothers Micajah and Nimrod enlisted in the North Carolina militia. Finally, in the year 1780 William enlisted at the age of 17 as a private for five months in Captain William Sloam's North Carolina Company. It appears that in the time between enlisting and actually mustering, William's father died and young William's assistance was needed at home to help his mother, Elinor, maintain the farm and help raise his younger siblings. William's mother was also pregnant at this time with his youngest sister, Priscilla. Elinor was in great need of help. So, William hired a substitute, Jeremiah Ferguson, to serve the term of that enlistment, for the payment of 40 pounds. According to William's pension papers, Jeremiah Ferguson served the full term of the enlistment. Sometime later, William volunteered again under Captain Isbell from Wilkes County. His militia served under General Charles McDowell and spent some time in a place called Pleasant Garden and then assisted in the destruction of some Indian towns of the Cherokee Nation. On the next page is a portion of William Triplett’s Revolutionary War Pension Application which illustrates his signature and was prepared in Adair County, Kentucky later in life.

wmtriplettpensionappsignature.jpg

A couple of years after the Revolutionary War, William married Nancy Ferguson, believed to be the sister of Jeremiah Ferguson mentioned above. They were married in Wilkes County on February 17, 1785. On the next page is a copy of the marriage bond posted by William Triplett II to marry Nancy Ferguson. Notice that he signed his name with an X in this bond but signed his name in full in his pension application. Nancy Ferguson was born about 1766, most likely in Loudon County, Virginia, where the Ferguson family also migrated from to North Carolina.

wmandnancysmarriagecert.jpg

According to Hortense E. Abbott in her book Triplett , William and Nancy owned land on the south side of Beaver Creek (where his parents owned land in Wilkes County) and Gap Creek. They sold this land before moving to Kentucky. William stated in his Revolutionary War Pension application that he and his family moved from North Carolina to Kentucky about the year 1803. The last North Carolina census William and Nancy can be found in is the 1800 Wilkes County census. Their household had five white boys under age 10, two white boys age 10-16, one male age 26-45 (William), and one white female age 26-45 (Nancy) - a predominately white, male household.

Cousin Lynn Langa Greenberger and I searched the land records in Russell and Adair Counties and were unable to find the original deed of record for William Triplett's first land purchase in Kentucky. It is possible that it is recorded in the Green County, Kentucky records as it was the parent county for both Adair and Russell. From the records I did find, it is clear that William and Nancy settled on Greasy Creek which flows just south of Jamestown to the Cumberland River, sometime before 1810. This area along Greasy Creek was used for manufacturing purposes since 1785 when Alex Dick and George Lewis began operation of a meat house. In 1799 a grist mill was built and in 1800 a paper mill was built by Joseph Crockett, making use of the lush forest in the area. When William and Nancy moved their family to the Greasy Creek area, all of these uses were in operation at the time. The 1810 tax list of Adair County, Kentucky lists William Triplett as responsible for paying the taxes on 200 acres along Greasy Creek. The map on the next page, shows Greasy Creek (although poorly) just north of the Jamestown Marina, south of Jamestown and to the east of highway 127. William Triplett can also be found as head of household in the Adair County, Kentucky 1810 census. His household included 2 white boys under the age of 10, 2 white boys age 10-16, 3 white boys age 16-25, one white male over age 45 (William), 1 white female under age 10, 1 white female over age 45 (Nancy) and 3 black slaves. By the time the 1820 census was taken, many of their children had moved out and started families of their own. By1820, William Triplett's household was comprised of only1 white male age 10-16, 1 white male over age 45 (William), 1 white female age 10-16, 1 white female over age 45, 2 black males slaves and 1 black female slave. In 1824, an iron furnace and forge business was built along Greasy Creek followed by the Greasy Creek Woolen Mill which manufactured cloth and knitting yarns. Although there were a number of manufacturing businesses along Greasy Creek, William Triplett was in the agricultural industry, according to census information.

In 1826, Russell County was formed from the portion of Adair County where the Tripletts were living. The first record of a land purchase for William and Nancy Triplett was in Russell County Deed Book A page 178, where William bought 170 acres of land along Greasy Creek from the estate of John Stapp deceased for $355.00 on April 17, 1837. This purchase was most likely adjacent to the 200 acres on Greasy Creek that William Triplett already owned and paid taxes to Adair County in 1810.

I have not been able to find a document such as a Bible or Will that lists all of William and Nancy Triplett's children. However, Hortense E. Abbott listed nine children for them in her book Triplett. and I came across one more in the marriage records of Adair County. Their names in order of birth were Nimrod, John, William, Micajah, Lewis, Joel, Emma, Alfred and Elizabeth. It is believed that the last two children, Alfred and Elizabeth were twins. Other children may have been born to William and Nancy but have not been identified.

greasycreek.jpg

William Triplett died at age 84 sometime before January 1847 which was when an inventory of his estate was made by Hiram Rowe, F.S. Carter, George W. Moore, and his son-in-law, Adam Jackman. The inventory included the following:

Cash on hand $298.50

One Negro man named Adam $10.00

One Negro man named Aaron $200.00 (see page ___ about Aaron)

One Negro girl named Lucy $400.00

One Negro girl named Sarah $450.00

One Negro girl named Lettice $400.00

One Negro girl named Frances $300.00

One sorrel filly $27.00

One old sorrel mare $0.00

One yoke of oxen $25.00

One cow $6.00

A one horned cow $5.00

Three heifers $11.50

One two year old bull $3.00

Two bull yearlings $3.00

42 head of hogs $42.00

13 head of sheep $9.75

Grubbing hoe, mat axe, and three weeding hoes $2.00

And irons and 6 axes $2.75

1 old hackney & shovel plough & clevices $2.00

Old wagon and log chairs $15.00

Drawing knife $0.50

Three augers $0.75

Stay chains, double tree and single tree $1.00

Two hackles $1.00

Two plains, one chisel and 2 cow bells $0.75

1 wine sieve $0.75

Bureau and Book case $10.00

Cupboard & Furniture $7.50

One clock $2.00

Two tables $0.50

Crock churn and pail $0.50

Gridiron pot, oven & lid $1.50

Pot, kettle and pair of hooks $1.00

Pot rack $0.75

Eight tubs & barrels $1.30

One bed, bedstead & furniture $10.00

Total appraisal $2252.00

On January 3, 1848, brothers Joel, Nimrod and John Triplett signed an indenture in Russell County Deed book E page 412 regarding the "one negro man named Aaron" listed in the estate inventory of their father, William Triplett. It reads, "We the heirs of William Triplett deceased, at the death of mother do give unto Aaron, the slave of William Triplett deceased, our interest in him..." Their brother William "Buck" Triplett returned to Russell County from Tennessee and signed a similar indenture on September 19, 1849 - same deed book and page.

In January 1850, Adam Jackman followed a court order to set apart some of William Triplett's land to his widow, Nancy, as her dower. Adam chose 258 1/2 acres of land in Russell County that surrounded the Triplett "mansion house", lying on a branch of Greasy Creek called the Dry Fork. I do not know if the old Triplett house still exists in any form or what the property currently looks like. A further description of the property can be found in Russell County Deed Book E page 163.

Nancy outlived her husband by about 10 years as there is record of her estate dated January 28, 1858, inventoried by her son-in-law and administrator, Adam Jackman. Items of Nancy's personal estate at the time of her death were:

1 bed & furniture $10.00

1 table & cloth $1.50

Dishes, plates & cups $1.00

1 Col __ ware $0.50

1 Brass kettle $0.35

5 jars $1.00

1 frying pan $12.50

1 flesh fork $5.00

2 Tew Trumpets $15.00

2 jugs and jars $0.65

5 bottles and pitcher $0.20

1 chest $0.75

1 coffee milo $0.05

1 box $0.13

3 barrels $0.25

Knives, forks, spoons $0.20

4 chairs $0.20

1 water bucket $0.10

1 falling ax $0.75

1 Large pot $1.50

1 dinner pot, lid and hook $0.80

1 Oven and hooks $0.65

1 pot rack $0.50

1 tub & bucket $0.25

2 weeding hoes $).10

1 pair huim & chain $0.50

1 lap____& plow $0.30

1 swing plow $1.25

1 milk cow $13.50

1 sow with pigs $2.00

8 pieces bacon sides & 10 points $12.00

1 wheel $0.50

1 pew corn $30.00

1 reel $0.13

1 keg $0.10

1 lot dried apples $0.15

Total appraisement $82.17

The children of William and Nancy Triplett settled in many different areas of the growing country. Some stayed near the family homestead in Kentucky, some went to Tennessee and others went west to Missouri. I do not know where William and Nancy are buried but I will continue to search for any new information. Perhaps a return trip to Russell County Kentucky and contacting the current owner of their property on Greasy Creek would produce some findings.

(continued on My Triplett Family Page 2 - see above links)

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Triplett Property in Loudon County Virginia