Biography of Mary Louisa TRIPP 1882-1968

Mary Louisa Tripp was born 27 Dec 1882 at home near Finis, Jack County, TX. She married 17 Sep 1900 to Walter Lee Fields. Mary died 10 Feb 1968 at Graham, Young County, TX.. She and Walter Fields raised a large family on their ranch (called "The 80") outside of Bryson, Jack County Texas.

Mary was a beautiful, modest, diminuative, young woman who was raised a Christian with the values of hard work, honesty, and humility in a time when respectability and good manners meant much. She raised her children with the same values and commanded their respect throughout her life. She was sweet tempered and patient but not timid if the situation demanded it.

She and Walter Fields married for love but never prospered financially. The stresses on this family were immense with a large family and small acreage. A daughter, Kate Marie, died from a fire in 1934. Mary was the glue that held the family together through sickness, death and, at times, near starvation during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Walter delivered all the children. Amidst the childbearing and neverending chores, Mary cooked twice a day on a wood stove. Each morning she baked biscuits and set them out for the children to eat when they were hungry between meals. Most people today have no conception of the amount of toil there was in running a household without modern machines nor running water. But somehow, Mary found time for church, correspondence, and family gatherings. In private, she loved to play the organ (by ear) and she taught her son Robert to play.

During World War II, five of her sons served in the army. In January 1945, her son, Robert, was killed in action. She demanded that the War Department return the remains for buiral and, remarkably, they complied. The following December 1945, she was widowed. Throughout the war, she kept a war journal about the war and about her sons. She was honored, in a speech, at a war support rally in Bryson and was awarded a medal of honor with five stars denoting her sons serving the war effort. She never complained about her sons serving, but she did complain about the young men with influence and connections who evaded service.

Mary Louisa Tripp was said to have taught school in 1900 as a young woman at Long Hollow School in Finis, Jack County, Texas. She was likely to have been home-schooled by her mother and father. At least three of her great aunts were early school teachers in Michigan. Her great grand-uncle was a physician and representative to congress from Michigan. An uncle was a postmaster in Lake County, MI. The Tripp and Avery families (the families of her father and mother) are well documented families with long and distinguished lineages, both families having come to the Colonies in the 17th century. These families valued education.

She was the family's first known genealogist. She kept a journal about the family history. Some pages survive and are published on this website. We know that Mary was in correspondence with early family historians including George Randall, compiler of the landmark Tripps of Rhode Island genealogies. Her father received issues of the Cohocton Index, a genealogy newsletter by Vincent Tripp, editor; published 1893-1902, Steuben County, NY. She also probably corresponded with Elroy McKendree Avery and Catherine Hitchcock (Tilden) Avery who documented the Groton Avery Clan genealogy. From Mary's journals, we know that she wrote to the National Archives for information on her ancestors who served in the military.

Small things: Outdoors, she wore an old fashioned bonnet, and she always seemed to wear print dresses. She kept her hair long, wore it up, and loved to have her hair brushed by her grandchildren. There was always a fly-swatter nearby because a fly always seemed to get past the screen doors. She took snuff later in life and stored buttons, coins and other small things in the empty containers. She listened to radio programs and, being a rancher, kept a daily record of the weather. Mary was a letter writer and corresponded regularly, sometimes running short of writing paper. Often, at the end of her letters, she wrote very small script in order to finish.

Mary bore the adversities of life well and had more than her share of hardship and grief. She did not sour nor harden. We remember her smile well. She is missed.

© 2007 Mark L. Fields. This work may be reproduced and redistributed, in whole or in part, without alteration and without prior written permission solely for genealogy research purposes, provided all copies contain the following statement: "© 2007 Mark L. Fields. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Mark L. Fields."

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Mary Louisa Tripp was born in a log home at Finis, Jack County, Texas (now a ghost town). According to her daughter Irene, part of the roof collapsed leaving a large hole. Somehow a wildcat (Lynx Rufus) fell through the roof onto Baby Mary.

The Tripp Family-source: Riddel, L.A, Bygone Days in and Around Bryson, Texas, pg 53-54

William R Tripp from near Detroit, Michigan and his wife Nettie (nee Avery) came to Jack County in 1877. He and his wife settled in Ross Valley and raised the following children - Arch [Archie] married Minnie Spencer, Nellie married to John Smith, Mary married to Walter Fields, Gertrude married to Joe Holman and Lillie was the wife of Leslie Ramsey. These people are good, law-abiding people. They also helped to tame the frontier and make this a better [place] for all to live. Walter Fields and wife Mary (Tripp) gave more to this country in World War II than any other county. The couple had five sons in the war and one of them gave his life for you and me. The other four returned. One was Robert, better known and {as} Bobby, Guy was married to Martha Hargraves and Leslie was married to Victoria Borger [Barger]. The other four are single. They are Edwin, Glen and twins Ybelle [Vydel] and Clyde. They also had four girls. Irene married Jack Waldrop [correction: George Gilmore], Dorothy married Raymond Rogers [correction: Raymond Sosebee]. A lot of the Fields still live in our community and are law-abiding and humble, honest citizens. I was talking to one of the Fields boys and I asked him if he had had enough war and he said yes but under the circumstances he wold be ready to go again. This is not the same attitude of all our young men. Some never did go that I am sure had more than I do or any of the Fields. I suppose it is much nicer to stay home and make more bat hides and to let the other boys do the fighting again. Like Sherman said, "War is Hell".