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|Size||1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 440 items)|
|Abstract||William Henry Tripp (1820-1881) and his wife Araminta Guilford Tripp (1833-1897) grew corn and other crops at Durham's Creek, Beaufort County, N.C., 1850s-1880s. William was a state legislator in the 1850s and, during the Civil War, commanded Company B of the 40th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. The collection contains chiefly correspondence between William and Araminta during William's army service, 1861-1865, at Fort Fisher, Fort Holmes, and Fort Alexander, all on the North Carolina coast. Most letters are from William, who wrote of camp life, his own health, blockade running, and the conduct of the war in general. He also offered advice on how the farm was to be run in his absence. Type transcriptions of most letters are included. There are also financial and legal materials, slave bills of sale, and other items that relate to William's early political career, to Araminta, or to other Tripp family members. Also included are one diary of Araminta, 1857-1858, with brief, almost daily, entries chiefly about family and neighborhood activities and her work around the farm and home, and three diaries of William, 1854-1860, with brief, almost daily, entries chiefly documenting work done on the farm by William and/or his slaves, but also mentioning family and neighborhood activities. There are also a few printed advertisements for various products.|
|Creator||Tripp, Araminta Guilford, 1833-1897.
Tripp, William Henry, 1820-1881.
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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The Tripp family appears to have settled in eastern North Carolina in the early 1700s. William Henry and Araminta Guilford Tripp, who married in 1853, farmed at Mount Hope farm on the Pamlico River near Durham's Creek (sometimes called New Durham's Creek) in Beaufort County. Corn seems to have been their chief cash crop. They also raised hogs and other animals for their own consumption and to feed the people they enslaved. The Tripps had ten children: Josephus, born 1852; Lavinia, born 1855; Benjamin, born 1857; Rebecca, born 1859; Thomas, born 1861; Grace, born 1865; Eliza, born 1867; Guy, born 1870; Edwin, born 1873; and Mary, born 1877.
William served in the North Carolina legislature during the 1850s and also with the North Carolina militia. He volunteered for military service in September, 1861, and was commissioned a captain in the Confederate Army. He commanded Company B (Artillery) of the 40th North Carolina Regiment. William and his men were stationed at Fort Fisher, which guarded the vital port at Wilmington, April 1862-January 1864; at Fort Holmes on Smith Island, where William commanded the entire seaward side of the island, February 1864-January 1865; and, for a short time in early 1865, at Fort Anderson on the Cape Fear River. From Fort Holmes, they journeyed down the coast to help in the defense of Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. William resigned his commission in late January 1865, his letter of resignation stating that he had served since September 1861, was now 45 years of age, and had a large family "with no white male above the age of eleven." (William enslaved or trafficked between ten and fifteen people.)
While William was in the army, Araminta supervised the farm. Araminta's role was a point of anxiety for both William and herself--it seems that she was unhappy with the work and frustrated by her inexperience. William, for his part, sent detailed instructions to her on how to manage farm business. Both of them considered the arrangement to be a necessary but very unpleasant response to wartime conditions.
After the war, William returned to Durham's Creek. His last employment seems to have been as an enumerator for the 1880 United States census. He died in 1881. Araminta carried on alone for another sixteen years, dying in 1897.Back to Top
Of primary interest in this collection is the wartime correspondence between William Henry Tripp, captain in the Confederate Army and commander of Company B of the 40th North Carolina Regiment, and his wife, who supervised the family farm in her husband's absence. The great majority of letters are from William to Araminta, probably because of William's practicing of destroying Araminta's letters, which, while precious to him, would have given too much family and strategic information to the enemy had he been captured. While the collection offers a somewhat one-sided view of the dialogue between husband and wife, William was a careful writer with great powers of description, so it is often possible to derive a fairly clear picture of what was going on at home by reading only his end of the conversation. His descriptive abilities and great honesty also make his letters a compelling record of the daily routines, stresses, and combat experience of an important Confederate fort. He spent a fair amount of time discussing the merits and faults of those he supervised and those who supervised him. He also indulged in a bit of soul searching, assessing his reactions to deserters and shirkers and attempting to evaluate his fears of being a coward.
William wrote of camp life, battles he witnessed or heard about, the comings and goings of officers and men, and the Confederacy's chances for victory and, later, survival. The waxing and waning of Confederate aspirations is evident in his letters. In a letter of 12 May 1862, he wrote, "You must give my best regards to all my negroes. Tell them to take care of what I have and it will be a crown of glory to them and when I come home each one shall have a nice present." By 12 November 1864, Confederate prospects had worsened considerably: "[I]n my judgement slavery is dead as a last year's caught herring. It makes no difference how this war ends or when it ends slavery is dead and we had as well prepare for it at once."
Additionally, William wrote about his mental and physical health, his love for Araminta and their children, and, given his survival, his hopes for the future. The few letters from Araminta to William largely pertain to family life.
There are several letters (circa 1861-62) from Araminta's brother, Felix N. Guilford, addressed to her. Araminta's cousin Fenner Guilford is also represented by a few letters. Of the small number of pre-war letters, some relate to North Carolina politics. Post-war letters are almost exclusively family correspondence and chiefly reflect the efforts of family members to open or re-open channels of communication with other family members.
Also included is a group of financial materials, chiefly accounting sheets; a slightly smaller group of legal materials, primarily deeds and indentures; and some miscellaneous items. There is one diary of Araminta, 1857-1858, and three of William, 1854-1860.Back to Top
Correspondence, chiefly between William Henry and Araminta Guilford Tripp, with a small number of letters relating to other family members. All letters are accompanied by typed transcriptions.
Includes letters to William Henry Tripp from several friends who discuss North Carolina Whig politics, and one letter dated 5 June 1856 from Araminta's brother about his studies. Also included are letters from William's sister regarding a courtship he was pursuing (circa 1851), and letters from her and other family members during the first months of the war.
Chiefly letters from William Henry Tripp to Araminta Guilford Tripp, with occasional letters from other family members to Araminta. William's letters document his career in the Confederate Army as captain and commander of Company B of the 40th North Carolina Regiment. He and his men were first stationed at Fort Fisher, outside Wilmington, N.C., April 1862-January 1865; and then at Fort Holmes on Smith Island, N.C., February 1865; and Fort Alexander on the Cape Fear River, from which he retired his commission in late January 1865. William wrote of camp life, battles he had witnessed or heard about, comings and goings of officers and men, and the Confederacy's chances for victory and, later, survival. The waxing and waning of Confederate aspirations is evident in his letters home. William also wrote about his mental and physical health, his love for Araminta and their children, and, given his personal survival, his hopes for the future. Many letters give detailed instructions to his wife on how to manage the farm. The few letters from Araminta to William are largely chatty records of family life.
There are also a few letters from Araminta's brother, Felix N. Guilford, to her and to their parents. These begin in 1861 and carry on until his death around July 1862. Araminta's cousin Fenner is also represented by a few letters.
Letters include detailed instructions on plantation management and treatment of enslaved individuals on his plantations, dated 12 May 1862.
Letters include opinions on the future of slavery after the Civil War, dated 12 November 1864.
Almost exclusively family correspondence, chiefly reflecting the efforts of family members to open or re-open channels of communication with other family members. Also included are some letters addressed to William from former members of his company.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Accounting sheets, tax receipts, and other items relating to William Henry and Araminta Guilford Tripp and other Tripp and Guilford family members. Items from the 1860s include a bill of sale for a person enslaved by and trafficked to William Henry Tripp's mother and several accounting sheets relating to Tripp's Company B of the 40th North Carolina Regiment.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Plats, deeds, indentures, wills, and other legal papers of Tripp family members. Early papers, 1801-1835, relate to Tripp family members of William Henry Tripp's parents' and grandparents' generations. They deal chiefly with land transactions. Later papers relate to William's activities and, after his death in 1881, to Araminta's business transactions.
Diaries of William and Araminta Tripp. Araminta's contains brief, almost daily entries, chiefly about family and neighborhood activities. Many entries document the work Araminta did around the farm and home. William's contain brief, almost daily entries, chiefly documenting work done on the farm by William and the people he enslaved, but also mentioning family and neighborhood activities.
Circa 200 pages
Circa 150 pages
Circa 200 pages
Circa 250 pages
Photocopies of William Henry Tripp's military records, 1862-1865, including his 2 January 1865 letter of resignation (originals in National Archives); genealogical materials; and miscellaneous items. Genealogical materials consist of a typed Tripp family genealogy and a family tree. Miscellaneous items include a booklet advertising International Quick Cleaner and a printed election returns tally sheet for the 1851 Eighth North Carolina Congressional District.
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, May 1990; Ryan Teall, July 1993
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010
Updated by: Laura Hart, June 2021Back to Top