The Family of Arminta Stewart and John L. Triplett
by Reba C. Casebolt


John L. Triplett, born on January 23, 1863, was one of the sons of Nimrod Triplett and Sarah Martin Triplett, Nimrod came from Wilkes County, North Carolina, to Jones Fork of Knott County during the Civil War. He was able to buy a large tract of land by paying the back taxes. He built a two-story log house. Part of it still stands on what is now the Bill Sparkman property. He raised and educated his family mainly by keeping a tutor in the home. His son, Daniel, William, and John L., each had a certificate to teach school at the eighth grade level. William became a minister and Daniel became a farmer. John L. taught school for a short time and then became a farmer.

 

John L. (known as Deet) married Arminta Stewart, born in 1869, the daughter of Dr. Jasper (Byrd) Stewart and Nancy Mullins Stewart. The home where Arminta was raised is still standing and is now the home of Albert Stewart, Dr. Stewart’s grandson.

John L. Triplett left Jones Fork to acquire land on Ball Creek. He and Arminta had nine children. Each child or their children received “100 acres more or less.” This was the way the deeds read. John L. bought his land with timber and mineral rights. A sawmill was placed in the meadow below the house to saw timber that he sold. During his lifetime, the gas and oil were sold. The Triplett heirs are still receiving royalties from this. The coal was given to the children with their one hundred acres.

 

Practically everything needed was produced on the Triplett farm. There were an apple orchard, strawberry field, peach trees, and a grape arbor. The persimmon and pawpaw trees were part of the forest. There was a large kiln for drying apples. Apples were also preserved by burning sulfur in a small container placed in a barrel of apples. They were then canned. Fresh apples were kept in a cellar under Deet’s and Arminta’s bedroom for winter eating. Nuts were brought in by the sled load. They were kept in a room over the main cellar where both children and adults could feast to their heart’s content.

 

In the early days, woolen fabrics and blankets were woven from the wool taken from the sheep. Cotton was grown for lighter fabrics. Chicken, geese, hogs, cattle, as well as sheep, were grown, Corn was raised in the fields to feed the animals. Arminta raised the vegetables in the garden for the kitchen. Beans were canned, pickled, and dried for what is known as shuckys. Corn was canned, pickled, and used for making hominy. Popcorn and peanuts were also raised. Potatoes and cabbages were kept in the cellar or underground.

 

Honey and molasses were produced to replace the lack of sugar. There were plenty of milk and eggs. The fat from the slaughtered hogs was rendered to produce lard that was used as shortening. Meat scraps combined with ashes were used to make soap that was needed for the household.

 

The work was done by the family, plus the help of tenant farmers who received a house and fields to tend for one third of their crops. Works were summoned for dinner, the midday meal, by the ringing of a large bell. The men would wash to the washstand in the middle hall just outside the dining room. The water was from the well. In later years, there was a pitcher pump at the kitchen sink.

Hospitality was the rule of the home. John L. Could often be heard to call someone at the road to “come on in, Minta will feed you.” They may have been asked to spend the night. There were five bedrooms, with four having two beds each, a dresser, table and chairs. In addition to the beds in the “lower room” there was a leather sofa with wooden arms, chair, and a library table. John L’s room was special because the usual furniture there was a Bible stand that the Bible more accessible that he read at night. The grandfather clock would enliven the quiet room by striking every hour on the hour.

 

The house was L-shaped two story house. There were four large rooms on the front of the house with a porch, both upstairs and down. These rooms were separated from the rest of the house by an open-ended hall, both upstairs and down. The two rooms in the back were the kitchen and dining room. Upstairs over the kitchen was the loom room, where weaving was done. The room over the dining room was the only room without a fireplace. The dining room had a fireplace and was used at times to make hominy or bake potatoes. Coal was burned until gas wells were drilled. After which, gas was used only to heat but also for lighting. Small gas mantles were used at the gas drops in the ceiling. The outside was lighted by a pipe, approximately six feet high, that had an open flame.

This house, originally log, sat very close to the hill, giving the most possible room in the front. Wooden walks were on two sides of the house. The front walk led to a platform that served as a hitching rack and made it easier for the ladies to mount their horses, using a side saddle. Ladies always used side saddles. The yard was fronted by a meadow with a large wagon kept under a shed just outside the meadow gate.

 

There were three barns, off a good distance from the house, thus helping to prevent odors and flies from reaching there. First there was the milking barn and then on down the meadow, there was a barn for storing hay. Another bar, to the right of the house, served as storage for corn and stalls for mules and horses. On up the cover, where they could not be seen from the house, were the hog pens. There were usually one hundred hogs as these were a major source of income.

 

When the hogs were butchered, they were cured by smoking and salting in the smoke house and stored there. Parts of the hogs would be ground into sausage and canned for later use. Souse was made from the head.

 

Besides farming, there was also a watermill for grinding corn into cornmeal. People brought their corn on horseback from far and near. The mules and horses were shoed in the farm’s blacksmith shop. Family shoes were repaired with the aid of an iron last and a piece of leather.

 

This was a farm kept by exacting people. Their word was their bond. Laziness they did not understand. They felt obligated to treat anyone as they would want to be treated. John L. Triplett’s adage was to “do all the good that you can do and as little harm as you can.” His word at a moment of irritation was “Dang!” He did not use bad language. Physical cleanliness also prevailed in their home. Sand was used to whiten the floors in the early years. Clothes may have been patched, but they were clean. The only time that John L. Triplett wore his black suit and a black hat was when his children insisted because they were taking him off the farm.

Despite all the work, there was love in the home. The home was a good example of the extended family because grandchildren were raised in the home at the death of their parents and many just like spending the summer at the farm. The children were education at various place. Professor Clark’s school, Hindman Settlement School, Pine Mountain Settlement, and Louisa Normal School were the best remembered.

 

In this simple home, books were valued and kept the upstairs closet. The feasting that took place there was much greater than in the room over the cellar. Books could be absorbed in that bedroom away from the rest of the house. However, the regular newspaper was the Pathfinder.

 

According to a granddaughter, Rheba Coburn Casebolt, a cold winter day could mean listening to poems read by her or her grandmother. She enjoyed and benefitted from hearing the scripture expounded by great-uncle Ambrose Stewart, who had been a teacher in his youth. He lived at the farm. Reading the Bible led to using the King’s English. Terms like fetch and kiver, for cover, were used which were all correct in a difference land and a different time.

 

Descendants of Arminta Stewart Triplett, daughter of

Jasper and Nancy Stewart, and her husband, John L. Triplett

John L. Triplett was born on December 13, 1862 in Knott County, Kentucky, and died on October 0, 1956 in Soft Shell, Knott County, Kentucky. He married Arminta Stewart on September 17, 1883, the daughter of Jasper (Byrd) Stewart and Nancy Mullins Stewart. She was born on March 2, 1869, and died March 22, 1957 in Soft Shell, Knott County, Kentucky. The children of John L. and Arminta were:

Aminta (Stewart) and John L. Triplett

               i. ALEXANDER TRIPLETT, born on September 17, 1884, Knott County, Kentucky; married MELISSA HAYWOOD, April 20, 1906.


               ii. THOMAS J. TRIPLETT, born on January 11, 1886, Knott County, Kentucky; married (1) CINDY MAGGARD; married (2) NORA MARTIN HAYES, October 10, 1921.


               iii. JOSEPH EDWARD TRIPLETT, born on April 3, 1890, Knott County, Kentucky; married (1) MARY ELLEN SPEARS; married (2) MARCIE TRIPLETT.


               iv. SARAH TRIPLETT, born on May 7, 1893, Knott County, Kentucky; died on November 27, 1971; married MARION SLONE on February 7, 1912; born on August 31, 1886, Knott County, Kentucky; died on May 5, 1967. Their daughter, Amy Slone, married Hubbard Martin, the parents of Garnard Martin.

 

Hubbard Martin Family - Ralph is kneeling, Amy, Hubbard with crutches; back row - Proctor, Taylor (son-in-law), Garnard, Delano, Minnie, Marion, James and Jennings.

 

               v. JACKSON TRIPLETT, born on April 26, 1895, Knott County, Kentucky; married NANCY CORNETT on November 19, 1919.


               vi. MARGARET TRIPLETT, born on December 6, 1896, Knott County, Kentucky; married RAYMOND STORER, August 1934.


               vii. ROBERT LEE TRIPLETT, b. March 4, 1899, Knott County, Kentucky; married THELMA BEFLEY.

 

Robert Lee Triplett and Thelma Befley


               viii. SAMUEL TRIPLETT, born on June 23, 1901, Knott County, Kentucky; died when a tree fell on him.

               

               ix. SUSIE TRIPLETT, born on June 16, 1904, Knott County, Kentucky; married SHIRL COBURN, December 24, 1925.

 

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