|Size||3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1650 items)|
|Abstract||Gilpin family of Virginia and Maryland, particularly Baltimore wholesale druggist Bernard Gilpin (1826-1897); his son Henry Brooke Gilpin (born 1853) and his wife Hattie Newcomer Gilpin; their son Kenneth Newcomer Gilpin (1890-1947), who bred horses and cattle in Clarke County, Va., and served in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1916-1920, and his wife, Isabella Tyson Gilpin (1895- ) of Knoxville, Tenn., daughter of U.S. Brigadier General Lawrence Davis Tyson (1861-1929) and philanthropist Bettie McGhee Tyson (1865-1933); and their children McGhee Tyson Gilpin (1919- ), Kenneth Newcomer Gilpin Junior (1923- ), and Bettie Brooke Gilpin (1935- ). The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal materials, clippings, pictures, and other items chiefly relating to Kenneth Newcomer and Isabella Tyson Gilpin and their sons. There are, however, a few items from the 1770s relating to Gilpin land purchases in Bedford County, Pa. There is also correspondence in the 1840s between Bernard Gilpin, newly arrived in Baltimore, and his mother and brothers in the Quaker settlement at Sandy Springs, Md., and with Gilpin family members who had moved west. Letters, 1884-1888, document the courtship and early marriage of Henry Brooke and Hattie Newcomer Gilpin, and include descriptions by Hattie of her trips to Minneapolis, Yellowstone National Park, and Colorado Springs in 1884, and to San Francisco, Washington Territory, and Alaska in 1886. Kenneth Newcomer and Isabella Tyson Gilpin materials include letters, 1915-1921, about local Virginia politics. In 1917, there are many notes from Isabella to Kenneth, chiefly about her social activities. Letters after their April 1918 marriage are mainly from Kenneth on active duty as a flyer in France. From 1921 to 1941, materials are largely related to horse and cattle raising and to family affairs. World War II letters are chiefly from Kenneth, serving with the Army Air Force in Colorado Springs, and son McGhee Tyson in France. There is little post-World War II material. Also included are numerous clippings; a few items relating to Gilpin family genealogy; notes and other items from Kenneth Gilpin's tenure in the Virginia House of Delegates; photographs; and a few pencil drawings by Bernard Gilpin.|
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The Gilpin family is descended from Joseph Gilpin (1664-1741), a farmer of Dorchester, England, who settled in Chester County, Pa., around 1696. Gilpin, a Quaker, had two sons, Samuel and Joseph, with his wife Hannah Glover Gilpin, whom he married in 1692. Samuel's line later produced William Gilpin (1813-1894), first governor of Colorado. It is from Joseph Junior, (1704-1792) and his wife Mary Caldwell Gilpin that the Gilpins of Virginia and Maryland are descended.
Gideon Gilpin (1738-1825), son of Joseph and Mary, married Sarah Gregg in 1762 and settled around Chad's Ford, Pa. Among their seven children was Bernard Gilpin (1763-1847), who, in 1793, married Sarah Thomas, with whom he also had seven children. After Sarah's death, he married Letitia Gilbert, with whom he had nine children, the youngest being Bernard Gilpin (1826-1897), born at Sandy Spring, a Quaker settlement in Montgomery County, Md.
Bernard Gilpin rejected farming in favor of business, entering the wholesale drug trade in association with James Baily and later forming the firm of Canby, Gilpin and Company of Baltimore, where he had moved around 1846. Bernard's marriage to Mary Bernard of Baltimore in 1851 produced three sons: Bernard Junior; Frank; and Henry Brooke. It was Henry Brooke Gilpin (born 1853) who followed in his father's footsteps, greatly enhancing the family's wealth, serving as vice president of the National Wholesale Drug Association and commodore of the Baltimore Yacht Club, and becoming a power in local Republican politics. The family's Quaker ties had been weakened by Bernard Gilpin; Henry Brooke Gilpin's family worshipped at Baltimore's Emmanuel Protestant Episcopal Church.
Henry Brooke Gilpin married Hattie Newcomer, daughter of Benjamin F. Newcomer, president of the Baltimore Safe Deposit and Trust Company, on 27 October 1886. Their three children were Donald (born 1887), Kenneth Newcomer (1890-1947), and Dorothy. Materials relating to Kenneth Gilpin and members of his immediate family form the bulk of this collection.
Born in Baltimore, Kenneth Gilpin spent most of his life at Scaleby, the family estate, and Kentmere, an adjoining farm, in Clarke County, Va. He attended the Gilman Country School in Baltimore and the University of Virginia. During World War I, he served as a flyer, first with British and then with American forces. Both before and after the war, Gilpin served in the Virginia House of Delegates, running unsuccessfully for speaker of the House in 1920. In 1938, he was appointed to the state highway commission, on which he served until shortly before his death.
After an unsuccessful bid for the speakership of the Virginia House of Delegates and a long and painful bout with kidney stones, Kenneth retired to his farms to raise thoroughbred horses and Guernsey cattle. At the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Force, rising to the rank of major. At the war's end, he returned to his farm to concentrate on breeding, buying, and selling horses. He was president of the Virginia Horsemen's Association and twice served as president of the Clarke County Horse Show.
Gilpin married socialite Isabella McGhee Tyson (1895-) of Knoxville, Tenn., in 1918. She was the daughter of U.S. Senator and Brigadier General Lawrence Davis Tyson (1861-1929) and philanthropist Betty McGhee Tyson (1865-1933). Her grandfathers were Wall Street financier and railroad magnate Charles McGhee and Knoxville founder James White. A golfer in her early years, Isabella later became somewhat of an authority on gardening and landscaping. Kenneth and Isabella had two sons, McGhee Tyson (1919- ), called Tyson, and Kenneth Newcomer Junior (1923-), called Kay, both of whom attended Princeton University and served in World War II, and a daughter, Bettie Brooke (1935-).Back to Top
Most items in this collection relate to Kenneth Newcomer and Isabella Tyson Gilpin and their sons. There are, however, a few items from the 1770s relating to Gilpin land purchases in Bedford County, Pa. There is also correspondence in the 1840s between Bernard Gilpin, newly arrived in Baltimore to begin his career in the wholesale drug trade and his mother and brothers in the Quaker settlement at Sandy Springs, Md. Letters 1884 to 1888 document the courtship and early years of marriage of Henry Brooke and Hattie Newcomer Gilpin, and include detailed descriptions by Hattie of her trips to Minneapolis, Yellowstone National Park, and Colorado Springs in 1884 and to San Francisco, Washington Territory, and Alaska in 1886.
By 1909, the focus has shifted almost entirely to Hattie and Henry's son Kenneth Newcomer Gilpin and his intended, Isabella McGhee Tyson. Materials include letters, 1915-1921, about local Virginia politics and letters and financial materials, 1915-1940s, relating to horse and cattle breeding. In 1917, there are many notes from Isabella to Kenneth, chiefly about her social activities. Letters after their April 1918 marriage are mainly from Kenneth on active duty as a flyer in France. Materials from 1919 and 1920 relate to Kenneth's political and farming activities; from 1921 to 1941, they are largely related to horse and cattle raising and to family affairs. World War II letters are chiefly from Kenneth, serving with the Army Air Force in Colorado Springs, and son McGhee Tyson in France. There is little post World War II material.
Also included are numerous clippings, most of which are about Isabella Gilpin's reign as queen of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in 1927, a few items relating to Gilpin family genealogy, notes and other items from Kenneth Gilpin's tenure in the Virginia House of Delegates, photographs, and a few pencil drawings by Bernard Gilpin.Back to Top
Gilpin family correspondence, most of which relates to Bernard Gilpin. The earliest items, dated 1773-1774, relate to land purchases by a Thomas Gilpin along Chest Creek in Bedford County, Pa. In the 1830s, there are letters, particularly one dated 19 June 1836, that show an interest in genealogy on the part of family members Josiah Gilpin and one of his Fisher cousins, spurred largely by an effort to determine who could rightfully lay claim to family lands. The bulk of the correspondence is from the 1840s and is primarily concerned with Bernard Gilpin, who, around 1845, appears to have left the family farm in Sandy Springs, Md., for a business career in Baltimore. There are many letters from Bernard's mother and brothers advising him on how to handle himself in business and informing him of happenings back home. There is correspondence in the 1840s between the Gilpins at Sandy Springs and relatives who moved west, particularly Bernard's sister Hannah Birdsall in Clinton County, Ohio, and Noah Gilpin, a physician who relocated to Illinois around 1847. These letters discuss family news, management of Quaker meetings, and local improvements found in the west. Items from the late 1840s and 1850s document Bernard Gilpin's business activities, and include papers relating to the establishment of wholesale drug firms Gilpin & Baily in 1852 and Gilpin, Baily, & Canby in 1854. The only Civil War era materials are two passes, dated 1861 and 1862, allowing Bernard Gilpin to cross sentry lines.
Letters documenting the courtship and early years of marriage of Bernard Gilpin's son, Henry Brooke Gilpin, and Hattie Newcomer of Baltimore. Almost all of the letters are from Hattie to Henry, who is addressed as "Dear Mr. Gilpin" in 1884, becomes "Dear Friend" around July 1885, and progresses to "Dear Harry" or "My dear Harry" around December 1885. Salutations go from "Very sincerely" to "Very lovingly yours" or "Devotedly" during the same time period.
Most letters discuss social plans; a few hint at politics as a chief topic of conversation between the two; and various domestic niceties are mentioned--Hattie's new telephone in December 1884 and the couple's plans to furnish a house in 1886. Of special interest, however, are the letters from Hattie as she traveled to various locations around the country before and after her marriage. In July and August 1885, letters describe a trip west that Hattie took with her father, stopping in Minneapolis, Yellowstone National Park, and Colorado Springs. In March 1886, Hattie wrote from Atlantic City, N.J., describing in detail its function as a society watering hole. In July and August 1886, Hattie, her father, and, possibly, her brother, made another trip west, this time stopping in Yosemite National Park and various California locations, including San Francisco, from which they traveled north by steamer, stopping in Washington Territory and proceeding to Alaska, where they viewed glaciers and other attractions.
After their October 1886 marriage, there are letters from Hattie to Henry as he traveled on business and as she visited relatives and summered at mountain resorts with baby Donald (born 1887).
Also included is a 1892 night letter from William Gilpin in Colorado to Bernard Gilpin requesting that Bernard travel to Colorado to consult with William on unspecified matters.
Chiefly letters relating to Kenneth Newcomer and Isabella Tyson Gilpin. The earlier item is a 1909 letter of reference for Isabella from the East Tennessee Institute, where she had been a student for nine years. From 1912 to 1913, there are a few family letters to Kenneth's brother Donald. Letters to Kenneth about Virginia politics begin in 1915, and include one with a lengthy argument in favor of opening a women's college in Charlottesville. In 1916, there are many items relating to the operation of Scaleby, the family estate near Boyce, Va., and several from Isabella to Kenneth about her social activities in Knoxville and New York. Almost all materials in 1917 are notes from Isabella to Kenneth, but also included is an extensive horoscope for Isabella, probably cast in anticipation of her April 1918 marriage.
There are few items directly relating to the marriage of Isabella and Kenneth Gilpin, although there are quite a few congratulatory notes to the couple on their engagement announcement in February 1918. By June 1918, letters show that Kenneth was already receiving flying instruction with the United States Naval Flying Corps, and, by September, he was in France, from where he wrote extensive descriptions of his activities. In October 1918, there are several items having to do with the death of Isabella's brother Charles McGhee Tyson in a seaplane accident off the English coast. Letters also show that, during this time, the Gilpin land in Virginia was managed by Ralph M. Ware, assistant cashier at the First National Bank in Berryville, Va., and Milton S. Pyle, who apparently was on the property.
By May 1919, Kenneth had returned from the war, and the couple had settled at Kentmere, an estate adjoining Scaleby. From September 1919 until his withdrawal on 13 January 1920, there are many items relating to Kenneth's campaign for the speakership of the Virginia House of Delegates on a platform supporting the abolition of the Virginia Prohibition Department, an administrative unit that Kenneth believed unnecessary. The last letter relating to politics is dated 12 May 1921.
Also included around 1919 through the 1920s are a few letters to Isabella from her father Lawrence Davis Tyson.
Letters show that, by 1922, Kenneth and Isabella had retired to the farm to raise cattle and horses. During the 1920s, there is mostly material relating to farm and family life. Beginning in 1923, there are many letters registering and transferring stock through the American Guernsey Cattle Club. In April 1927, there is mention of Isabella's election as queen of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Va., a topic that is thoroughly covered in clippings in Series 3. The small amount of material from the 1930s relates chiefly to family affairs, the couple's three children becoming active during this period: McGhee Tyson, called Tyson, born in 1919 and attending St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H.; Kenneth Newcomer Junior, called Kay, born in 1923; and Bettie Brooke, born in 1935.
Letters show that the Gilpins moved from Kentmere to Scaleby sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s and started concentrating on horse rather than cattle breeding. In the early 1940s, there are letters from Tyson at Princeton, but by 1942 he is writing about military life from the 3rd Coast Artillery Training Battalion at Fort Eustis, Va. In 1943, most letters were written to Isabella by Kenneth, who apparently was training airmen, first at the Newport Army Exchange in Newport, Ark., and then from the headquarters of the Second Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo. These letters stop in February 1944, when Kenneth seems to have returned home. War letters continue, however, from Tyson in England and France and Kay in the Pacific through 1945.
The few post-war letters chiefly relate family news. They are frequently from to Isabella from her grandchildren or from daughter Bettie.
Arrangement: roughly sorted by year.
Bills, receipts, accounts, statements, and other items, chiefly 1918-1920, relating to the horse and cattle breeding operations at Scaleby and Kentmere farms. Also included are earlier items, 1874-1899, showing loans and stock purchases of Bernard Gilpin. There are very few items after 1920.
Loose newspaper clippings, chiefly relating to Gilpin family members, and a scrapbook containing similar items. Some of the clippings from 1919 and 1920 relate to Kenneth Newcomer Gilpin's campaign for speakership of the Virginia House of Delegates. The greatest number of clippings are about Isabella Tyson Gilpin's reign as queen of the 1927 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Va. Clippings from the 1930s and 1940s are chiefly about horse breeding. The 1975 clipping is about Isabella Tyson Gilpin.
Genealogical materials, including a Tyson-Gilpin family tree, chiefly showing the Tyson side; a remembrance, author unknown, of Lawrence Davis Tyson; short, undated, Gilpin family histories, one printed and one typed, authors unknown; a printed booklet entitled "Some Facts and Figures Regarding the Construction of Scaleby near Boyce, Clarke County, Virginia," undated, author unknown; and a "Short History of a Long Life: Never a Dull Moment; I Really Enjoyed It," a brief, hand-written chronological listing of Isabella Tyson Gilpin's activities. #04535, Series: "4. Other Papers" Folder 66
Notes, undated, chiefly in the hands of Kenneth Newcomer Gilpin and Isabella Tyson Gilpin, mostly relating to household affairs. Included is Isabella's list of "Things I Want" and a notebook called "How To Be Taken to the Cleaners," in which are listed names and addresses of plumbers, roofers, and other repair people. #04535, Series: "4. Other Papers" Folder 68
Miscellaneous items, including McGhee Tyson Gilpin's 1935 report card from St. Paul's School; various calling cards; baseball schedules for the 1916 Blue Ridge League season; 1927 and 1929 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival programs; and several pamphlets, including an undated, annotated compilation of verses and sayings called "Words Fitly Spoken." Also included are an undated, typed description of a trip to Mexico, author unknown; several poems, including one, perhaps from the early 19th century, about the joys of drinking alcohol; and a few advertisements for various products. #04535, Series: "4. Other Papers" Folder 69-70
|Museum Item MU-4535/1|
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, January 1992
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Roslyn Holdzkom with assistance from Denis Barrier January 1992Back to Top