James E. Tribble, A Vintage Vignette

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James E. Tribble
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
July 30, 2007

Tucked away in the Tribble family folder in the Heritage Room of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is a DAR application worksheet compiled by Eva Landers Grantland. Mrs. Grantland lived in Louisville, Kentucky, at the time that she filed the papers showing her ancestry to James E. Tribble (who died in what is now Madison) via Elizabeth Jane Tribble (1874-1942) who was born here. Eva’s father was John Henry Landers (1872-1948), and he died in Decatur. Elizabeth Tribble Landers’ father was James E. Tribble (1848-1921), and her mother was Amanda Landers who died in 1883 in the Madison area. However, this “younger” James Tribble is not the focus of the story, for his great-grandfather had the same name, but the older James lived 1756-1840 and was a patriot of the American Revolutionary War who came to Madison and is buried here.

The senior James Tribble was born in Maryland. He was orphaned at an early age and lived in Virginia until 1785. From there, he moved to South Carolina, and from thence to the Madison area of Alabama in 1819. His wife was Ann Echols. James received a pension for his war services (he fought at the Battle Of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, among other activities), as did his wife after James’ death. Family papers indicate that James and Ann are both buried without headstones in the Gray Cemetery (behind the Balch Road Self Storage facility), which was known as the Providence Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery in the 1800s. However, James’ obituary stated that he had been a Baptist for 46 years. It is possible that the church began as a Baptist church and changed to Presbyterian around 1831, when deed records first mention it.

James and Ann Tribble had seven children, six of whom were born in South Carolina, while the firstborn arrived in Virginia. According data compiled in 1994 by Violet Louise Young of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, their second child was Stephen Tribble (1786-1850). Her records show that he is buried in the old Providence Cemetery in Madison. As with his parents, there is no headstone there today for him. Stephen’s son John P. Tribble (born 1811) was the father of the James E. Tribble of 1848-1921, a grandfather of Mrs. Grantland. John P. Tribble married Elizabeth Moore Bailey in 1840. Family data says that both are buried in the Gray Cemetery. In fact, several years ago, I received a call from a lady in Texas who said that she had John’s tombstone and would like to return it. However, it never came back, to my knowledge. Still she did say that it belonged in the southwestern corner of the cemetery, as that was the “Tribble area”. John’s wife Elizabeth was a daughter of Madison area pioneer Henry Moore, and her first husband was Josiah Bailey, a brother of Hezekiah Bailey. Hezekiah married first to Martha Moore and second to Louisa Gooch. It is known from Madison County probate records that Hezekiah was a son of Moses Bailey, another Revolutionary War soldier buried here. Among the notable names found in Hezekiah’s probate records are James H. Pride, David Blackburn, Reuben W. Crutcher, William Moore, James Louis Landers and his wife Sarah Bailey, and James F. Bailey. James Bailey is thought to have been a first cousin of Hezekiah rather than his brother, and he was the subject of a Vintage Vignette published on May 23.

The senior James Tribble patented 80 acres of government land with James Gray in 1830. That land is where Bob Jones High School is located now. It was sold by James Tribble and his wife Ann Echols in 1839 to William Echols, father-in-law of Col. Egbert J. Jones. In 1833 John P. Tribble recorded 40 acres between today’s locations of Liberty Middle School and Columbia Elementary School, basically the site of Walden Preserve housing development. While the descendants of James Tribble in Madison are prominent in the history of the town, it should also be noted that the family has connections to highlights of American history. George Tribble (1715-1792) married Betty Clark in Virginia. She was a sister of George Rogers Clark and William Clark (and there was an early Clark family in Madison who was probably connected). George Rogers Clark was a famed military leader, whose victories during the American Revolution led to inclusion in the peace settlement of lands west of the Allegheny Mountains to the Mississippi River. His brother William co-commanded the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition that mapped out the northwest territories of the Louisiana Purchase. While the connection is not yet proven, George Tribble was the right age and place to possibly be a grandfather of our James E. Tribble.

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