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Where is James Lorin Triplett?

James Lorin Triplett (1860-1953). What information do we have about James Lorin (or Loren) Triplett and his early life? We know that he was married in Red Oak, Iowa in 1883. Prior to that date we know very little about him or his family. In his obituary it states that James Triplett was born in Ohio on March 9, 1860, and that his father died when James was very young. It goes on to mention that as as a young man he ran away rather than be "bound out" to another family, and that he later moved to be near his uncle who was living in Mills County, Iowa.

This was largely the extent of information known about James Lorin (or Loren) Triplett's early life. We do know from available census records, 1895 through 1930, James Loren lists his birth state in Illinois, and that in the census he lists his parents' births in Ohio. Additional research into the every-name census record from 1860, 1870 and 1880, indicate the most likely matches to James Lorin Triplett, subject of this article. These include a Lorin Triplet in the 1860 Warren Co., Illinois census, a James Triplett in the 1870 Noble Co., Ohio census, and a Loran Triplett in the 1880 Licking Co. Ohio census. However more details are needed, and a good starting point seems to be the "uncle who was living in Mills County, Iowa."

In the Iowa census records for 1885 through 1895, we find James Lorin Triplett and his family farming in the vicinity of Henderson, Mills County, Iowa. When researching who James' uncle may have been, the name Simeon Triplett appears in the census. Simeon and his family were the only other Triplett family found in the general vicinity of Henderson Iowa from 1880 through 1895, the 1885 & 1895 Iowa State censuses being of great help here. What are the family connections between the subject of this article and Simeon Triplett? Who was this Simeon Triplett?

From a book by Hortense Abbott, entitled "Tripping Down the Triplett Path," it cites a Simeon Triplett and family who lived in the Henderson Iowa area. This Simeon was a son of James and Mary (Kinnick) Triplett, and based on this genealogy, Simeon had a brother named Lott Triplett. From the family bible of the elder James Triplett, Lot Triplett and his wife Mary Melissa Meighan (her name difficult to read) are recorded with children named Emmy Virette (born 30 Aug 1857) and James Lewis Triplett (born 16 Mar 1859).

Subsequent work on this genealogy, through work by Bill Smith (The Kinnick Project), has shed more light on the descended families of James and Mary (Kinnick) Triplett. This includes the families of Simeon and Lott Triplett who are both found in the 1860 census for Floyd twp, Warren Co, Illinois. In this census, the family of Lott and Mary Triplett show children named Emma and Lorin (easily construed as Lewis; see census image at left). It is the intent of this author to provide evidence that Lorin Triplett in this 1860 record is the same as James Loren Triplett, the subject of this article, and to explore his early history.

The initial evidence that James was a son of Lott Triplett comes from his marriage record and the 1925 Iowa census. In the marriage of James Lorin Triplett to Mary Addie Kennedy on August 02, 1883 in Red Oak, Iowa, it states that James was born in Warren Co., Illinois, a son of Lott Triplett and Mary Mayhan. In the 1925 Iowa State census our subject James L Triplett cites the names of his parents as Lot Triplett and Mary Mahon. So, what can be said of James' early life and family?

During the latter 1850s, Lott Triplett and his brother Simeon moved from the Guernsey/Noble County, Ohio area, where their parents had been farming for a number of years, and began farming on their own in Illinois. Lott's son, Lorin, was born about 1859 in Illinois according to the 1860 census record of the young family there. Lorin is listed in the household of his parents along with his older sister, Emma (age 3, born in Ohio), and his grandmother Mary (Kinnick) Triplett (age 50). The Hortense Abbott and Bill Smith records indicate that Lorin's father, Lott Triplett, died in September 1862 in or near Warren Co., Illinois. Additionally he is said to have been buried in Warren Co., Illinois.

At the time of his death, Lott Triplett was age 28, having been married for 6 years, and having lived in Illinois for less than 5 years. Lott's wife, Mary Triplett, was faced with a decision after the death of her husband. Asking for long term assistance from her brother-in-law, Simeon Triplett, would have been an insufficient solution for Mary and her young family. Simeon had a young farm family of his own. Mary's likely next step was to seek the assistance of her parents. Who were Mary's parents and where did they live? Where did Mary Triplett and her young family go? They certainly seem to disappear from the Illinois record.

Mary Triplett is referred to as Mary Melissa Meighan in the family bible, and her marriage in the Ohio records to Lott Triplett is given as February 25, 1856 in Guernsey Co., Ohio. The Guernsey County, Ohio area is the logical place to search for Mary's parents, and for Mary herself following the 1862 death of her husband.

After reviewing the Ohio census records for 1850 and 1860, the family of John and Nancy Meighen comes closest to matching Mary (Meighen) Triplett's parents. In 1850 the family of John and Nancy Meighen were living in Seneca township, Guernsey Co., Ohio. In their household was a 10/11-year-old Mary Meighen. In addition to young Mary, the 1850 Meighen household also included siblings Perry, Sarah, Susannah, Peter, Nancy, Armelia, John, and Rinehart Meighen. The Mehans/Meehans, or Meighens as they later became known, were Irish in origin. Mary's grandfather, John Meighen, Sr. was born in County Donegal according to the book "The Meighen Sept in America and in Ireland" by Bernard Patrick Meighen. The fact this 1850 Meighen family lived only a few miles from the parents of Lott Triplett, who were listed in neighboring Beaver township, Guernsey Co., Ohio, helps support a connection between the two families. Read more about the extended families descended from
John Meighen, Sr..

By the 1860 census John and Nancy Meighen were living in Valley twp, Guernsey Co., Ohio, on the Noble County border. Listed with John and Nancy included their daughter Sarah Meighen (age 25) and a young male named Reuben I Danford (age 4). Two of John and Nancy's sons were farming nearby; Perry in Wayne township; and Peter in Buffalo township. Genealogical research on this family indicates that John Meighen (Jr.), father of Mary Meighen, died in 1866 and was buried at Mt. Ephraim Cemetery, Seneca twp., Noble Co., Ohio. [Note: In 1851, Seneca township was detached from Guernsey County to help form Noble County]

An analysis of the ages and names of John and Nancy's children, in contrast to other Meighen families in the surrounding area, also supports a conclusion that John and Nancy were in fact the parents of Mary Melissa Meighen. A John Mehan and a Nancy Rinehart were recorded marrying in Guernsey Co., Ohio on December 30, 1830. The connection between Mary (Meighen) Triplett and the family of John and Nancy Meighen is further substantiated when comparing the 1860 and 1870 census records (see below).

After the death of her husband Lott in 1862, and the death of her father John in 1866, where does Mary (Meighen) Triplett show up in the 1870 cenus? In reviewing the marriage records of Noble and Guernsey counties in Ohio [see footnote] we find two interesting marriage records - one for Mary M Triplett and another for Emma V Triplett. Mary M. Triplett married John Rutherford on October 25, 1868 in Noble Co., Ohio; and Emma V. Triplett married George A. Houston on December 18, 1875 in Noble Co., Ohio. As we will see from the 1870 census below, Mrs. Mary Rutherford appears to be Mary Melissa (Meighen) Triplett, widowed wife of Lott Triplett. This is inferred not simply from the Ohio marriage record, or from the names and ages in the household, but through a "connection" back to the 1860 household of Mary's parents.

In 1870 Center twp, Noble Co., Ohio, the township just south of Seneca (where John & Nancy Meighen lived in 1860), we find John Rutherford (age 40) and his wife Mary (age 28), and in their household are Henry Rutherford (age 12), Emma (age 12) and Melissa C (age 6); as well as a domestic servant named Reuben Danford (age 14). Henry was a son of John from a previous marriage, as recorded in his genealogy, and Emma would appear to be Mary (Meighen) Triplett's daughter, Emma Virette. Melissa C., based on her age, could be a child of either John or Mary (not both). It is likely that Reuben Danford was a son of Mary Meighen Triplett's older sister, Sarah A Meighen, as suggested by his death certificate. As indicated in the 1860 Seneca township census, Sarah Meighen and Reuben Danford were both living with Mary Meighen Triplett's parents. Reuben Danford is the "connection" between Mary (Meighen Triplett) Rutherford's 1870 household and her parent's 1860 household.

Since it appears that Mary, wife of John Rutherford of Center twp, was Mary Melissa (Meighen) Triplett, then where did James Loren go? In 1870 James Lorin Triplett would have been only age 10 or 11. Finding James Lorin Triplett living nearby would further validate the connection between Mrs. Mary Rutherford and Mary (Meighen) Triplett.

In a search of neighboring 1870 Ohio townships there is an 11 year-old James Triplet who was born in Illinois living in the household of George (67,WV) and Sarah (60,VA) Gregg. James is listed as "working on their farm", a farm which was located in Summerfield P.O., Beaver township, northeast of Center twp where Mrs. Mary Rutherford was living. Located almost next door to young James was the farm of Dolphin Triplett, who was Lott Triplett's half-brother!

Is this the James Triplett we are looking for? Reviewing the Bible record kept by George & Sarah Gregg, we find the following birth entry listed in their family bible (see image at left). It reads: James Loren Triplett. son of Lot and Mary Triplett, born March 9, 1859. March 9th is also the birthday of our subject, James Loren Triplett! A George Gregg married a Sarah Heskett in 1828 Belmont Co., Ohio. Is it possible this Sarah Heskett (born 1803 in Virginia) was related to Dolphin Triplett's mother, who is listed in various records as Ruth Heskett (aka Haskett or Hiskett)? Or was Sarah a Triplett, as suggested in the 1887 History of Noble County, Ohio; and in the death record of her son Aaron Gregg?

Given the information from the census, from marriage records, from the Gregg bible, and from the various genealogies, there is little doubt that Mary Triplett, Emma and Lorin (of the 1860 census) are the same individuals as Mary Rutherford, Emma, and James of the 1870 census. This provides good evidence that Mary Rutherford was Mary Melissa (Meighen) Triplett. Perhaps there is further evidence to be found in the 1880 census. What became of them in 1880?

In 1880 Enoch township, Noble Co., Ohio, just south of Center twp, we again find the family of John (age 51) and Mary (age 39) Rutherford. In the household are Henry Rutherford (age 22), Charles D Rutherford (age 8), and step-daughter Malisa Caroline Tripplett (age 18). From this information it would appear that both Malisa and Charles were children of Mary (Triplett) Rutherford. Since Mary married John Rutherford in 1868, Malisa would have been a child from a previous marriage, and in fact was a daughter of Lott Triplett according to her death certificate. Malisa Caroline Tripplett of 1880 is the same person as Melissa C. of the 1870 census, confirming the connection between Mary Rutherford and Mary Melissa (Meighen) Triplett. The other evidence confirming the connection between Mary Rutherford and Mary Melissa (Meighen) Triplett include the birth and death records for her son Charles Rutherford of the 1880 census. His birth record cites a birth on 22 Jan 1873 in Marion, Noble Co., Ohio, a son of John Rutherford and Mary Meighen. The death death record for Charles Rutheford is dated 17 Apr 1887 in Enoch, Noble Co., Ohio, citing his parents as John and Mag.? Rutherford.

Where did Lott and Mary's other daughter, Emma, end up? Recall the marriage of Emma V. Triplett and George A. Houston in 1875 Noble Co., Ohio. In 1880 Newark, Licking County, Ohio is the household of George A. Houston (age 31) and Emma V. Houston (age 22) and their 2 year old son Clifford. This has proven to be the same couple who married in 1875 Noble County Ohio.

Where did James Lorin Triplett end up in 1880? In a search of the 1880 all-name census soundex, the closest match for him is the 21 year old "Loran Triplett" who was living in Madison twp, Licking Co., Ohio, listed as a laborer on the farm of David (38,OH) and Kate (38,OH) Barrick. This Loran gives his birth in Ohio (an error on his part?), with his parents birth in Ohio. It is more than a coincidence that Loran was living in the same county as his sister, Emma (Triplett) Houston, and living in the township adjoining hers.

So what of the mystery of little Melissa Caroline Triplett? A genealogy exists for her which indicates that she married John N Boyd on September 24, 1881 in Noble Co., Ohio. In the 1900 census for Enoch township, Noble County, Ohio census is the family of John N Boyd (born May 1861 in Ohio) and wife Malissa C Boyd (born March 1863 in Ohio), who were married 19 years and with 3 children living - Minnie, Ida and Francis. Enumerated next to them was her "step-father" John Rutherford and his new wife Nancy E., who had been married about 7-8 years. In his genealogy John Rutherford remarried a Nancy E. Garvin on March 18, 1893 in Noble Co., Ohio. Whether Melissa Caroline's mother Mary (Meighen) Triplett Rutherford had died is unknown. If Mary had died she may have been buried somewhere in or near Enoch twp, Noble Co., Ohio, or perhaps where her father was buried, at Mt. Ephraim Cemetery, Seneca twp., Noble Co., Ohio. Mary's death is the final mystery to be solved for the family of Lott Triplett.

In subsequent census records for John and Malissa C Boyd, she is referred to as Lina C Boyd. According to the death certificate of Lina Boyd, widow of John N Boyd, she was born March 09, 1863 in Noble Co., Ohio, a daughter of Lot Triplett and Margaret Meighen. This indicates that Lina was born about six months after the death of her father Lott Triplett. Her mother Mary would have been pregnant when Lott died, and Mary (Meighen) Triplett would quite naturally move "back home" to the Noble County, Ohio area to be near her parents and extended family. Melissa Caroline (Lina) Triplett's birth in Noble Co., Ohio confirms the family's move from Illinois to Ohio after Lott's death.

As a recap -- James Lorin Triplett, our subject, moved to Montgomery County, Iowa in the early 1880's, after having reached his age of maturity. It would be natural enough for James to seek the help of his father's closest brother, Simeon, as he started his adult life. Simeon moved to this area of southwest Iowa in the late 1860s, followed by his sister Minnie Triplett Turner in the late 1870s. In the 1880 census for Lincoln township, Montgomery County, Iowa, both Simeon and Minnie's familes are noted. In the 1885 Iowa State census both Loran Triplett and Simeon Triplett were farming near each other in Lincoln township, Montgomery County, Iowa. By the 1895 Iowa State census Simeon's children were starting their own families, and in the same towsship is Loran Triplett, age 34, born in Illinois, and his family.

Postscript: After completing this research additional records for Emma V Triplett's family have been located. Emma's husband George A Houston died in 1892 West Virginia after the family had grown to six known children - Clifford, Edmund, Zola, Ethel Maggie, George, and Emmett. Emma remarried Nathan Young in 1900 Noble Co., Ohio, a record which cites her parents as ___ Tripplett and Maggie Meighen. The death certificate of 'Emma V Houston Young' indicates she was born August 30, 1857 in Ohio, a daughter of ___ Triplet, the informant at her death in 1932 being her son Emmett Houston. Emma's birth date matches the Triplett family record.
There are also interesting connections between the families of Emma, James and Melissa C Triplett. One example is the World War I draft registration of Emma's son Edmund Houston who indicates his nearest relative as Loren Tripplett of Woodbine, Iowa (i.e. our subject James Lorin Triplett).
Another example comes from a member of our family (a granddaughter of our subject, James Lorin Triplett) who found a photo among the Triplett family memorabilia she has retained. On the reverse of this photo, taken in Dexter City, it reads: "A token of love from your Aunt Emma Houston to her niece Miss Ida Boyd." This photo from Aunt Emma Houston was to Ida Boyd, daughter of Melissa C "Lina" Triplett. Dexter City is in Noble County, Ohio, situated at the crossroads of four townships: Enoch, Jackson, Jefferson and Olive. The Boyd family was raised in Enoch township and Ida Boyd's brother Frank is enumerated in Dexter City in the 1930 census.

In summary - James Lorin (or Loren) Triplett was born in or near Warren County, Illinios on March 9th, in either 1859 or 1860. When James' father Lott died in 1862 his mother Mary (Meighen) Triplett, pregnant with Melissa Caroline, moved back home to the Noble County, Ohio area to be near her parents. Melissa Caroline Triplett was born there in March 1863. In 1866, Mary Meighen Triplett's father died in Noble County, Ohio; and in 1868 Mary remarried John Rutherford in Noble County, Ohio. About 1868 Simeon Triplett, who went to Illinois with James Lorin's father, moved on to greener pastures in southwestern Iowa. In 1870 we find Mary M. Triplett living with her new husband in Noble County, Ohio, and in the household are her two daughters, Emma V. and Melissa C. Also in 1870 we find James Triplett (son of Lot and Mary), age 11, born in Illinois, working on the Gregg farm just a few miles away from his mother, and living within a couple of miles of his half-uncle, Dolphin Triplett. The Gregg's recorded his full name, his birth date, and the names of his parents in their family bible. By 1880 we find a Loran Triplett, age 21, living in Licking County, Ohio, just a few miles away from his older sister Emma V Houston. Also in 1880 their mother Mary was living in Noble County, Ohio, with their little sister Melissa Caroline Triplett. Within the next 3 years James Lorin Triplett moved to western Iowa to be with his uncle Simeon. There he married and began his new life. James Lorin Triplett and his uncle Simeon Triplett are cited in the mid 1880's and into the 1890's, both farming near Henderson, Iowa, near the border of Mills and Montgomery County, Iowa.

Simeon and James Triplett

The marriage records for Mary M. and Melissa C. Triplett are extracted from the IGI (International Genealogical Index). Within the same group of IGI marriages, which are specific to locale & timeframe, we also find marriages for other children of John and Nancy Meighen, as well as for the children of Dolphin and Anna M Triplett. Dolphin was an older half-brother of Lott Triplett according to the Triplett genealogy.

Next Article: Our Line of the Triplett Tree

Article researched and written by Dennis Walsh, July 2003.