Portrait and Biographical Record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton and Linn
Counties, Missouri (Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1893), 119-20, Chariton and Carroll
J. E. M. TRIPLETT
This family, which is so well and favorably known throughout Chariton County, Mo., is of Irish descent, and it was during the Colonial history of this country that the family tree first took root on American soil. The paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, HEDGEMAN TRIPLETT, attained the rank of Major in the Revolutionary War, being a member of Thomas' regiment of Virginia volunteers. He emigrated from Culpeper County, Va., to Franklin County, Ky., with his wife, whose maiden name was NANCY POPHAM, and there purchased a tract of land, on which he made his home until 1833, when he paid the last debt of nature, at the advanced age of ninety-nine years and eight months. His family consisted of five sons and five daughters, the following of whom are especially worthy of mention, owing to the extreme old age to which they attained: ELIZABETH died in Kentucky at the age of one hundred and four years; MILDRED passed from life in Morgan County, Ill., at one hundred and two years of age; WILLIAM died in Platte County, Mo., when one hundred and one years old; and GEORGE W. was called from life in Davis County, Ky., at the age of ninety-one years. The latter served as Quartermaster and was a Representative from Kentucky to the Confederate Congress. He was also a member of the Kentucky Legislature, and at one time held the rank of Adjutant-General. One of his brothers was HEDGEMAN TRIPLETT, Jr., the father of J. E. M. Triplett.
Hedgeman Triplett was born in Culpeper County, Va., but when a boy removed to Kentucky with his parents, and located at Briant Station with Boone and others. He was brought up in Franklin County, which was then almost wholly in a state of nature, and upon reaching man's estate he married Margaret Eddins, a daughter of Joseph Eddins, a Virginian. He eventually became a wealthy farmer and was highly respected by all who knew him. He and his wife became the parents of five sons and two daughters, the latter dying in infancy. The sons were: Harrison, who died in Kentucky; John E. M., whose name heads this sketch; George, who died in Kentucky; Alexander, who died in San Francisco, Cal.; and Thomas, who died in July, 1892, at Austin, Nev., where he founded the town, and there operated a quartz mill, being also interested in mining. The father of these children attained the age of fifty-six years, dying in Kentucky in 1845, his wife's death occurring in Missouri about one year later. They were a worthy couple and had many warm friends.
J. E. M. Triplett is a native of Franklin County, Ky., where he was born December 2, 1818. He received a practical education in the schools of that county, becoming sufficiently well qualified to become a teacher, an occupation which received considerable of his attention during his early manhood. After the death of the head of the family he, with his widowed mother and brothers, came to Carroll County, Mo., but owing to the death of his mother the same year (1846), his brothers returned to Kentucky. Thomas and Alexander did not remain there long, however, but soon returned to Missouri, and from there went West to California. J.E.M. Triplett purchased land in Carroll County, Mo., which he continued to tell until 1847, when he sold his property and once more returned to the State of his birth, where the death of his wife occurred March 19, 1847. After a very short time he went to Chicago, Ill., but in 1849 once more took up his residence in the State of Missouri and has since been a resident of Chariton County and one of her active, industrious and leading citizens.
In 1852 our subject purchased a tract of land, to which he subsequently added by purchase adjoining lands, upon which, at a later date, was laid out the village of Triplett. Here for many years he carried on farming and stock-raising, or until about eight years ago, when advancing years and infirmities warned him to cease from his labors, and he has since been a resident of the village of Triplett, where he has a comfortable home and enjoys a competency which his early efforts won for him. He still continues to manage seventy-five acres of land adjoining the village on the east, and he and his son William own one hundred and sixty acres in Idaho, and in the village of Tiplett a brick store building, five houses and forty vacant lots. Although he at one time owned about two thousand acres of land, he has sold some and divided a large portion among his children. The township of Triplett was named in his honor, and in 1868, when the present village of Triplett was laid off on a portion of his land, being surveyed by himself and L.A. Cunningham, it also received his name. Our subject has contributed more to the upbuilding of the town and surroundings than anyone else.
Before coming to Missouri Mr. Triplett held the office of County Judge of Franklin County, Ky., and for thirty-two years he discharged the duties of Justice of the Peace in the locality where he is now living. Having a taste for law, he was admitted to the Bar, after some preparation, in 1865, and has since practiced in the Court of Common Pleas and the justice courts of the vicinity ever since. Until 1862 he was a Whig in politics, but later became a Democrat, and was an active worker in that party's conventions until 1876, when he joined the Weaver party, since which time he has not taken a very active part in politics. In 1846 he was initiated into the mysteries of Masonry in Kentucky, joining Owen Lodge No. 328, of Owen County, Ky., but he is now a member of Dagon Lodge No. 374, of Mendon, Mo.
He was first married in Kentucky, in 1843, to Miss Selina Eddins, who died March, 1847, and his second wife was Miss Frances Littrell, daughter of John W. D. Littrell, of Chariton County, Mo., whom he married in May, 1849. She died in 1852, leaving one child, Georgia A., wife of D. L. Wood, of Triplett. He married his present wife June 26, 1853, in Carroll County, Mo., her maiden name being Nancy Cawthron. She is a daughter of Asa Cawthron, and is a Kentuckian by birth. The children of this last marriage are: George W., of Texas; William, of Idaho, married; Martha, wife of S.F. Powell, of Texas; Emma; Benjamin F., married; and John A., married. The last two mentioned live on the old home farm near Triplett. The Cawthron family were from Virginia and of Scotch-Irish descent, the grandfather of Mrs. Triplett being Charles Cawthron, who died in Kentucky. Her father, Asa W. Cawthron, was born in the Old Dominion, January 1, 1796, but spent his boyhood days in Clark County, near Lexington, Ky. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and at the time of Dudley's defeat was captured in Ohio by the British, and sent as a prisoner to Canada, where he was kept in captivity for over a year. He was exchanged at Quebec and sent home. He was soon afterward married to Miss Eliza Canote, of Kentucky, a German by descent, and in 1825 moved with his family to Howard County, Mo., where he engaged in tilling the soil. Three of the ten children born to him are now living. Alexander R. resides in Triplett; Harriet, wife of James Smart, resides in Carroll County, Mo.; and Nancy, Mrs. Triplett. Tyre died in Livingston County, in 1891, aged seventy-three years; the others were Martha, Elizabeth, Matilda, Eliza Ann, Emily and Araminta, all of whom were married. Mr. Cawthron was a Whig, but later became a Democrat, and was a member of the Baptist Church, in which faith he died in 1881, his wife having passed from life in 1864.
Our subject has held office for fifty-four years of his life, and has never been under arrest nor has ever paid one cent of costs in a law suit.