Turner Hunt Trippe 1801 - 1867

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
June 24, 1884, page 1
Transcribed by:  

Biographical Sketches.
No. 8.
Turner Hunt Trippe.
Born 1801 – Died 1867.

The subject of this sketch was born near Sparta, Hancock county, Ga., February 28, 1801, and died near Cassville, Bartow (formerly Cass) county, on January 28, 1867. For nearly sixty-six years he bore the burden of this world’s fight, and in many instances enjoyed its triumphs and its pleasures, and through it all, whether in the gloom of universal depression, as in 1865 and 1866, or the height of prosperity, his conduct was that of the true gentleman, good citizen and Christian man.

His family moved to Eatonton, Putnam county, where he grew to manhood. He enjoyed the usual educational advantages of the period of his youth, and, about his twentieth year, entered the University of Georgia at Athens. His father told him, before going to the university, that he could take his choice – an education or his share of property in his (the father’s) estate. He chose the former.

His course at the university was eminently satisfactory to himself and friends. He graduated in 1822 with the first honors of his class. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1823, and first located in Eatonton, Ga. On November 28, 1824, he was married to Miss M. A. E. Gatewood, of Putnam county, who survived him until May 12, 1873, when she breathed her last in Bartow county, Ga., mourned and beloved by all who knew her. His health failing him, he removed to Clarksville, Habersham county, about 1826, and was there associated in the practice of law with S. A. Wales, Esq.

In November, 1828, he was elected by the legislature of Georgia solicitor general of the western circuit, in which office he served acceptably to the people and the profession for a number of years. In looking over the journal of the house for 1828, I notice that the venerable Mark A. Cooper, now a citizen of Bartow county, was, at the same legislature, elected solicitor general of another circuit in Georgia. He is still with us, while the other has passed into the great and mysterious “beyond.”

In the year 1839, while still living at Clarkesville, he was, by the legislature of Georgia, elected judge of the superior courts for the Cherokee circuit. My information is that he was not a candidate for the office, but that there being a stubborn contest between other gentlemen for the position, and several ineffectual ballots being had, some member, a friend of his, wrote his name on a piece of paper, and, walking up the aisle of the house, showed it to several others, saying, “this is my vote.” Other members joined him, and finally the man who started with one vote was elected. The position of judge of the Cherokee circuit he filled not continuously, but alternate terms from that time to about 1856. His record, as a judge, in our supreme court reports, up to the twenty-seventh volume, can be seen and read by all men.

After his election as judge, he removed from Clarksville to Cassville, and lived in the village for a few years; then bought and improved the place, about three miles from Cassville, known as Linden. Here he remained in retirement from 1856 to 1860, content and happy with his books, family and farm. This must have been the happiest period of his life. His farm, and the occasional practice that he did, supplied the wants of himself and family. The future promised to him neither poverty or riches, but a modest competency and the time and inclination to enjoy it. His tastes were decidedly literary, and I have often thought, if he had not been a lawyer and a judge, he would have fittingly graced the presidential chair of some university. He was passionately fond of English literature, and especially the British poets. The Scottish bard, too, was one of his favorites. I have heard him repeat from memory verse after verse from the immortal Robert Burns. I do not think he loved the practice of the law; the contention and strife of the court room were distasteful to him; the majesty of the theory of the law he loved, but not its practical application. How rudely was his dream of a green old age dispelled. My eyes actually fill with tears when I think of the grief he experienced and expressed at the troubles that came upon us in 1860 and 1861. He, General W. T. Wofford and Colonel H. F. Price were elected as Unionists to the convention that carried Georgia out of the Union. They did not yield their convictions of right, but, finding a majority of the convention determined to secede, voted with the Secessionists, that the action of Georgia might be practically unanimous. I do not think Turner H. Trippe ever thought the South could succeed, but he was too patriotic to dampen the ardor of others by expressing this opinion. He was, in politics, a Whig, and loved the Union, but he loved Georgia more. How sad and grievous it must have been to these men to feel and know they were embarking their lives and property in a hopeless cause, and yet feel constrained, from motives of patriotism, to do so. Being sixty years of age, the subject of this sketch could not go into active service, but rendered all the aid he could as a member of the “Home Guards.” The writer remembers how amused he felt when the gray-haired head of the family came home one day as an officer, a lieutenant of the “Home Guards,” and the same day left for camp (the company was guarding the roads of the county) on Paddy (the pony) armed, not with an officer’s sword, but the writer’s single-barreled bird gun –the double-barreled gun having been, before that, given up to the service. Ah! Those days were sad and dreary! God grant we may never see the like again! Words cannot paint, language cannot describe the wanton vandalism of that war; but it is not my purpose to expatiate on its horrors.

After the war ended, he came back to his neglected farm and endeavored, with the wreck of his property, to make a support for himself and family. Ah! Well do I remember the perplexity depicted in his countenance in those days that I could not understand then. It is clear now.

He returned to the devastated fields in October, 1865. That legislature having established a county court for each county in the state, he offered for judge of the county court of Bartow, and was elected, I think, in April, 1866. He was the incumbent of this office at the time of his death, in the early part of 1867.

He was a consistent member of the Methodist church from his early youth to the day of his death, more than fifty years. He was a pure man – pure in thought, pure in act, pure in word and speech. His temper was completely under his control. I never saw and never heard of his giving way to his wrath, even when his indignation was justly excited. Neither intemperate nor profane speech ever escaped his lips, and yet he was a man of naturally quick temper. His was an unselfish nature, and one entirely void of ambition in the common acceptation of the term. His honesty and integrity were proverbial wherever he was known.

I have heard him say that if he had charged what his services were reasonably worth, and have improved his opportunities for making money, he could have amassed a fortune. But he had no ambition to be rich – he simply desired a comfortable competency.

His home life was a true index to his character –gentle, kind, loving and forbearing to his children, and withal firm –he engraved upon their hearts and minds his image as their ideal of all that is true, noble and good.

Ah! How indelibly is his dear face impressed upon the retinue of my mind. Though nearly twenty years have passed since the cold earth shut his form from mortal view forever, yet, as I write, I see each line of his countenance, his kindly eye, his bright smile, as though he were standing erect in very flesh and blood before me. Blessed be the association of ides that enables us to see the unseen and know the unknown.

His death must have been comparatively painless. He was sitting before the fire when the stroke of apoplexy came, and only said to his faithful wife, “Elizabeth, I am dying,” and was dead! Though the angel of death came unaware, I believe that he was prepared to go. If a blameless life in this world, if the consecration in his early youth of his heart and soul to the service of his Maker, and a steadfast adherence to that consecration entitles one to enter the haven of eternal rest, Turner H. Trippe has certainly entered that haven, and now enjoys the rest of the blessed.

Thus ended the life of a good, pure and noble, honest man.


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