Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hanging Fork

At Finding Everett I considered conversational taboo regarding ancestors ... as disservice to the living. I wrote of my willingness to research subjects who left no bloodline heirs, and realize these themes again play out ... as result of a Facebook query from Michigan, which diverted my attention to a Peter Tribble.

'P' mark attributed to Peter Tribble (c1670-1738)
Rummaging around, I discovered my personal database profiled ten souls named in variation of 'Peter Tribble.' My 7th great-grandfather, purported by Rozendal to be "founder of the Tribble family in America," bore the appellation (right). The illiterate barrel-maker remained in colonial Virginia, perhaps overseeing family endeavor: father and grandfather, William Tribbles both, are to have returned to Olde World familiarity.

Perhaps accruing luster from his father, the second surviving son born to Baptist pioneer Andrew Tribble (1741-1822) and wife Sarah Ann Burris (1753-1830) achieved veneration. A considerable body of men including those beyond Tribble family lineage were named for Baptist Elder Peter Burris Tribble (1774-1849). Condemned to a life eternal? depicts Burris-Tribble families' adventurous migration into Kentucky ... where our scene opens.

7 Jun 1894 – The Leaf-Chronicle.
I was far from the subject of my initial investigation when realizing the text string, "Son of Mr. Peter Tribble, and a brother of Mr. Zan Tribble," provided significant clue to identifying a "Mr. Joe Tribble," who ended life tragically at Hopkinsville, Kentucky environs in the summer of 1894. (Click on image, right.) Census records divulged Alexander Stephens Tribble (1865-1951) was styled ‘Zan’ from at least age fifteen onward. I knew him to be a son of my second cousin Peter Tribble (1835-1920) and his first bride: the once-widowed Mary Elizabeth (Kenley) Bowdry (1827-1871). It dawned upon me that, perhaps mercifully for Tribbles, reporting did not correctly identify the self-slayer: it had been Joel Craig Tribble (1861-1894) who hanged from a rafter in his father's barn.

Particularly when comparing Joel's negating response to life with that of pioneering Tribble progenitors, I sense deviation has occurred. Willing to puncture taboo, I waded in among his siblings ... to discern the milieu in which thirty-two year old Joel failed to thrive. How much deviance was there?

I of course unearthed no family secrets a century and a quarter later.* Genealogical tools did summons skeletal structures for assessment, however.

Neither Joel nor Zan ever married. Nor did the brothers' youngest known sibling, George Washington Tribble (1865-1895). Passing at age thirty (of consumption, according to death records), George's death followed Joel's by a mere ten months. Half-brother Peter Tribble (b c1876), named for his father no doubt, never surfaced in any records subsequent to the 1880 census.

Peter and Mary Elizabeth's eldest son, Fielding Kenley Tribble (1859-1921), finally married in 1900 but, like all his brothers, did not spawn known children.

Failure to establish families, among a knot of siblings, seems to offer significant anomaly.


I was prepared to secern – what should I call it – a 'dysfunctional pocket' in my family tree. Where, for reasons I suspect dark and murky, a family unit reliant on muscled farm labor resists bringing others into lasting, intimate relationship. I ruminated as to whether I had stumbled over incest indicators.

I looked closely into Peter and Mary Elizabeth’s only known daughter, Mattie Emery (Tribble) Eads (1856-1930). My brooding, on a black cloud hanging over this clan, unfurled completely when I discovered unmarried Mattie on her paternal grandfather’s farmstead by 1880. When she was 24. Had the first-born child fled her father's not-too-distant household? Had Peter's second marriage, to Mary Emma Robinson (1846-1911) in 1875, contributed to Mattie's out-migration?

Like all of Peter and Mary Elizabeth's children, Mattie is not known to have "produced issue" ... in the sense of forwarding the bloodline. This is not to say that Mattie's comparatively long life was free from issues, but their resolution tended to indicate capable, decisive character. I can assume she chose to be childless.

Mattie quite likely proved a helpmate to her grandfather George Washington Tribble (1804-1896) and his second wife. 'G. W.' died a mere twenty months following his namesake, consumptive grandson George, above. Six years later, in 1902 and after Mattie had shared responsibilities there for at least two decades, her grandfather's widow, Lucinda (Kenley) Tribble (c1823-1904), conveyed the 129-acre Hanging Fork Bluegrass Farm on the Stanford and Danville Pike to Mattie. One woman empowered another.

The spread is handsomely depicted in a sale bill, below: thirty-six acres of 'bottoms' along Hanging Fork Creek. Forty acres in bluegrass. More than fifty acres furnished a fruit orchard, and crops of "corn, tobacco, etc." Everlasting springs fed a stone spring-house. It crouched among a buggy barn, double garage, smoke house, stock- and tobacco-barns ... and three chicken coops. After Mattie had cared for it for at least a half century; an airy, two-story home with veranda, and perched in a "pretty lawn," was described at culmination of a "nice avenue."

Mattie’s step-grandmother Lucinda passed in 1904. In February 1906, Martha Clark, wife of the man to whom Mattie had rented Hanging Fork Farm, died of kidney trouble. Clark apparently went back from whence he’d come. Local papers in Stanford and Danville reported Mattie that October, following harvest, rented her farm to landless James Eads for $700.

11 Jan 1907 Stanford Interior Journal.
Mattie in January 1907 married widower James Henderson Eads (1841-1931). Reporting (right) says “It was a case of love almost at first sight …” Between fifty-year-old-Mattie and sixty-five-year-old James, whose daughter and three sons were no doubt resident in the nine-room, Hanging Fork Farmhouse at conclusion of the couple's nuptials.

In contrast with brother Joel, Mattie prevailed upon life. The matrimonial depiction asserts the bride "for several years has managed her farm and always declared a good dividend."

Folks in 1912 still referred to the property as the “Tribble farm,” five years after Eads and his brood took up residency. I was surprised to find our subject that year represented in Kentucky Court of Appeals records. As landholder, Mattie finally prevailed – after what must have been considerable legal wrangling – in retaining right of overland passage across her neighbor's property ... whenever Hanging Fork Creek was in "high water time" and “past fording.”

1907 reporting above portrayed Mattie as “all business.” I appreciate her tenacity.

Between 1912 and 1916 in particular, newspaper front pages annually report Lincoln County Fair judges bestowing all sorts of awards on Mattie. (Canning, baking, floral and needlework prominent among them). In the early spring of 1917, Eads offered livestock and farm equipment for sale, publicly admitting "I am getting too old to farm."

Cause of death for Mattie's father Peter Tribble in 1920 included "gradual wear out." By then Mattie and James cohabited with three 'single' sons, aged twenty-five to thirty-six.§ Based on my research of other farm-based families in the era, these men seem well past marrying age to me.

Mattie died in March, 1930 … at age seventy-three, and having had influence over Eads' children for twenty-three years. James died almost exactly a year later: twenty-two days beyond his 90th birthday. With Eads stepsons as heirs, it’s apparent from the broadside below that Hanging Fork Farm remained in Mattie’s estate, until her affairs were settled and Great Depression grinded into the summer of 1831.

18 Aug 1931 - Stanford Interior Journal.

* I was introduced to Joel Craig Tribble a mere two weeks following the 125th anniversary of his suicide. I had known that John Calhoun Tribble (b 1839) – married with two surviving children – died by his own hand in Madison County, Kentucky on 22 Sep 1886. He took strychnine. Kentucky Advocate reporting on Peter Tribble's first cousin was rather more intimate than that concerning his son Joel. Though "no cause is known for the rash act," friends' observation on the death of two of John's children in the previous year graced readers with some sense of justification ... as contemporaries puzzled over the deed. "He owed a little money, but not enough, perhaps, to have been burdensome." In an era when PTSD afflicts so many veterans, it might be noted that John Calhoun Tribble rode four years with John Hunt Morgan's Confederate cavalry during the Civil War ... and twenty years prior to his demise.

 Interestingly, the landowners contending Hammonds v. Eads were both women. And Judge Robert Hiner Winn had to decide whether men had inadequately conveyed notice of rights of passage retained by Mattie's deeds. Eads' son Hugh Guthrie Eads (1883-1939) was dispatched "at the request of Mattie Eads" to represent her claim to prospective buyers. Hugh dealt not with Pharoba (Combest) Hammonds (1861-1934) however, but with husband Tolbert. Winn noted "It is true that the conveyance stood not in Mr. Hammonds, but in his wife." He then ruled Tolbert was acting for Pharoba in the land transaction, and Mattie prevailed in a second (and concluding) instance. By legal outcome, timely presentation of deed language proved astute forethought on Mattie's part.

 A pair of old workhorses were declared "not afraid of automobiles" and "safe for women to drive." In addition to a "good rubber tire buggy and harness," Eads disposed of an "extra good farm wagon. (There is nothing like a Mitchell wagon.)"

§ I don't know what is the greater oddity; that the men were enumerated as 'grandsons' in 1920 or that name variation, over time, seemed excessive. In trying to assess how many of James Henderson Eads' heirs declined to marry or bear children, I found father and namesake son alternating between 'James' and 'John.'

6 Dec 1912 - Advocate Messenger
Eads' son, listed as 'Cortes' at birth and in 1900 was, by 1920, depicted as grandson 'Charles.' He would be interred in 1972 as 'Carter William Eads.' Cortes/ Charles/ Carter/ "Mr. Eads," was perhaps eighteen years old in 1912 reporting (right) that referenced "the Tribble farm." I think it makes a nostalgic read ... and leaves the living to ponder, "Why was Charley among a family adjacent to his father and step-mother?"

Hugh Guthrie Eads (seen in 1912 court records, above, as 'Hugh Eads') would register for the draft in 1918 under that three-part name (and offer his father as next of kin). He appeared in the 1920 census of Hanging Fork Farm as (grandson and) 'George H. Eads.' He's likely the 'Hugh D. Eads' depicted as residing in a brother-in-law's 1930 household with a daughter born c1911, and a wife he'd purportedly married in 1913.

Since I have it, I thought to contribute the signature of Peter Tribble (1835-1920). As a bookend.