In 2017, I find it astounding that a grandmother I remember well was raised by the granddaughter of Gideon Tripp, born in 1793. He died in 1882 when Lovina Tripp (Wilbur) was thirty years old. What did she talk about with him, the man who heard firsthand about the founding of the United States from his parents?
My ancestor pick for today is not the first one I had in mind. I planned to write about George Ruggles, English-born grandfather generations ago, but he needs more research to see exactly where his fits in the family tree. Interestingly, Mr. Ruggles bequeathed enough wealth to his sons and grandsons in 1630 to allow them to hop on a ship in the Winthrop Fleet. Across the pond, to Boston, they go.
Instead, let’s investigate closer to my generation, Gideon Tripp. The Tripps came from England in the 1600s, also. Gideon, born in Rhode Island while George Washington is President, joins the Tripp family in 1793. It is just 10 years after the end of the Revolutionary War and the United States is a new country with its first elected leader. In his lifetime, the electric battery, Colt Revolver, home sewing machine, train transportation, elevator, escalator, camera, typewriter, internal combustion engine, refrigerator, and light bulb change the world.
With his wife, Susannah Harden, Gideon has eleven children, one of whom is Daniel. He marries Miranda Ruggles who, as an aside, is likely connected to the George mentioned above. Daniel is well-known in Owego and Binghamton for his singing, piano and organ abilities, talents shared by his daughter, Lovina Tripp Wilbur, and granddaughters Leoria Wilbur (Barber) and Emily Barber (Bigelow). He also registers an 1872 patent for an improvement for the reed organ. When does Daniel learn his instruments?
Research on Gideon makes no mention of music in the family. Whether he taught his children or his wife, Susanah is the teacher, with eleven children to manage, it seems unusual. How would a farmer have the financial ability to own such an instrument in the early 19th century? Is Daniel Tripp’s talent, which has spawned locally well-known musicians to a Grammy winner over the following generations, passed on from his father, Gideon?
1793 may seem like a long time ago for you, but in my family, I just missed meeting the woman who knew my ancestor born during George Washington’s presidency by twenty years. It’s so close to answering that question: Did Gideon Tripp’s family own an organ. And, hey, what was GW like?