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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



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Sesquicentennial Portraits The Tripp Family George Tripp was a native of Watertown New York, born in 1829 he was reported in the 1882 History of Mason Manistee and Oceana Counties to have had developed a taste for sailing and adventure and pursued a vocation of boating on the Mississippi River. After leaving the river life he came north to Pere Marquette in 1854 at a time when there was little more then a sawmill, boarding house, and a few shanties. He spent his first two seasons working in the Pines and Lumbering and by 1858 he was married to Miss Harriet A. Hutchinson and brought his wife to his log home in what is now Riverton Township. He began in the meat business by peddling meat door to door and by 1867 had opened a meat market in the city of Ludington. George Tripp served as the first treasurer of Riverton Township and also prior to 1882 had served three terms as an alderman in the City of Ludington. His experience in Ludington influenced his brother Charles Tripp to relocate here in 1868. Charles was an early Ludington Business man who owned a Tobacco, Cigars and " Fancy Goods" store downtown. Charles was burned out in the fire of 1881 having lost a thousand dollars in merchandise and four hundred dollars in fixtures. In a short while though the rebuilding was complete and Charles was operating his tobacco business in the White and Danaher block on the corner of North James and Ludington Avenue, he also had several Billiard tables in the basement. In 1882 George Tripp was also putting up a new brick building in the city of Ludington. In 1875 Emma Armina Tripp a sister also came to Ludington after she was married to Nelson Jones Gaylord also of Watertown New York. Nelson Jones Gaylord was born in Bath, Ontario, son of Calvin Gaylord and Jane Jones. It was not uncommon in our early history that whole groups of families and relations, neighbors and friends would eventually settle in a new area. Not all of the Tripp family migrated to Mason County however, two brothers, Leander Philip Tripp settled with his family in Delphi, Ind., and Soranus Hunt Tripp remained with his family in Watertown New York. These Tripp siblings were the children of Julius Tripp, and Matilda Benson of Watertown. Emma and Nelson's daughter "Effie" was born in 1866 in South Carolina. Effie went on to marry Harrison V. Huston in 1894, "the hardware hustler according to his business card" son of David T. Huston. In 1882 the business was located on Ludington Avenue on the north side. The Huston building that was on the corner of South James and Ludington Avenue where Fort Ludington is now burned about 1944, it had been a two story structure but could only be rebuilt as a one story business due to the shortage of supplies during WWII. Effie M Gaylord graduated from Ludington High School in 1883 with a class of 9 total graduates. She was the first person from Mason County, Mich. to graduate from the University of Michigan. She also attended the university within a few years of its first admitting women. Her degree was a bachelor of philosophy, which she received in 1889. She was subsequently a teacher in Monroe near Detroit and later in Ludington. Effie also served as the County School Commissioner, which a newspaper clipping says "[she] was the first woman elected to office in this part of the state by the Democratic party." In 1919 she ran on the Democratic ticket for Regent of the University of Michigan. She was the first woman to run for regent, but it was an election she lost. Effie also was involved in helping to establish Ludington's Carnegie Library and received Library card number one in recognition of her contributions to that effort. The Library is also celebrating it's centennial and is looking for memorabilia and photographs to display during their celebration. This pioneer family was extensively involved in the early history and promotion of the area not only in their business but in their personal affairs as well as evidenced by the involvement of their children as well in public life and in giving back to the community in which they lived. When we look at our history we tend to overlook that there were many contributions made by families who came early, remained and continued to work toward growth and social contributions that traversed the generations long after the white pine was gone. Thanks to Thomas Roderick for contributing to this article. If you have Stories or photographs you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me. Dave Petersen 231-757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com Our first illustration is a photo of Ludington Avenue circa 1890, you can clearly see HV Huston's hardware store and a clear view of the avenue all the way down to Lake Michigan.

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