“In a country whose character and circumstances are constantly changing, the little facts and incidents, which are the life of history, soon pass from the minds even of the present generation” – Anonymous
As I drove and then walked a revitalized section of downtown Detroit, MI, I navigated to locations provided by a small book in my husband’s possession. It is an account of the life of Eunice Hunt Tripler, his great-great-great-great grandmother. Discovering the locations, a story emerging, I imagined these locations in the early 1800s.
The book, “Eunice Tripler, Some Notes Of Her Personal Recollections”, is a compilation of notes taken discretely by her son-in-law Louis A. Arthur. The impetus for the book is best described in his words:
“For years I tried to induce my Mother-in-law to write a brief autobiography for the benefit of her Children and Grandchildren. She received the proposition with no favor and, although she deplored the fact that her own Mother had done nothing of the sort, she would write no part of the story of her life.”
A Treasure Personal And Beyond
To his credit, Uncle Louis recognized the value of rescuing this woman’s emerging story. In it are details and perspective, not only for family, but for anyone valuing an inside view of early life in the United States. It gives personal accounts of:
- early military life and battles during the American Revolution
- Col. Thomas Hunt, an ancestor, wounded in the battle of Yorktown
- friendships between the family and Count de Rochambeau, General Lafayette, and President Jackson.
- the War of 1812 and hatred of the British of the time
- her life as the wife of an Army Surgeon, and the love and affection they had for each other.
And so much more. This small 176 page book is dense with detail. It brings life to history, a story emerging putting flesh on the bones of facts.
This age of increased fascination with our ancestors and access through Ancestry, Family Search, and other on-line databases, provides unprecedented opportunity. Treasures of personal story, like this one, add “soul” to facts, names and dates.
It’s Our Turn
When I imagine the effort it took for Louis to capture this story, I am filled with gratitude. This example provides inspiration to step into the important, but rarely urgent, task of rescuing stories.
It is not unlike the journey I took in compiling my father’s writings. At the time it was simply a way to process his absence. Today it is a means for his descendants to know a bit about a man they never met. A man whose DNA resides somewhere in their life blood.
Are you ready to start rescuing your stories? Let me know in the comments or email. Perhaps we can walk that path together?