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Mary Ann Tripp

Mary Ann Tripp (1810 – 1906) was the wife of Captain Lemuel Carver Tripp and accompanied him on several voyages around the world, including the somewhat closed country of China.  The tripp-picTripps were members of the Fairhaven Congregational Church and snippets of their hair are among  those represented in an intricate hair wreath given by the congregation to their pastor Reverend John Willard, possibly in honor of his wedding.  It is now part of the library collection.  You can read about it on our Hair Wreath Page.

Mrs. Tripp’s house on the corner of William and Washington streets also was the subject of another archives item.  We had a steroview of a house that was supposed to be in Fairhaven.  After a few weeks of surveying the old houses in town, we discovered that it was Mrs. Tripp’s house.  You can see the stereoview and a modern snapshot of the house as it is today on our Tripp House Page.


Around the World Three Times

Mrs. Mary Ann Tripp First American Woman to Visit China and to Circumnavigate Globe.

[From New Bedford Standard Times] (See Fairhaven May 10, 1902 scan here)

Among the numerous portraits displayed at the recent Colonial Reception given by the ladies of the Congregational society was one which attracted considerable attention.  It was that of Mrs. Mary Ann Tripp, painted when she was a young woman.

What lent interest to the painting was the fact that she was the first American woman to circumnavigate the globe and also the first to visit China.

Mrs. Tripp resides at the corner of Washington and William Streets and will observe her 92nd anniversary next October.  The visitor would take her to be several years younger and her cordial welcome and hearty handshake places one immediately at ease.  Owing to a fractured hip, the result of a fall three years ago, she is unable to move about except in an invalid’s chair.

Her general health under the circumstances is remarkably good and she really nearly all the time.  She uses glasses when reading, but at other times finds them unnecessary.  Her hearing and memory are excellent and she never tires of receiving visitors who find her a most entertaining conversationalist.

Mrs. Tripp’s maiden name was Hathaway.  She was born in New York and met her husband, Captain Lemuel C. Tripp, while on a visit to Fairhaven.  They were married soon after, in December, 1828.  Captain Tripp was engaged in the merchant service, sailing from New York to nearly every port in the world.

Two years after the marriage, Mrs. Tripp accompanied him and it was on this voyage that she first circumnavigated the globe, visited China, and the Philippine Islands.  She also accompanied her husband on two successive voyages, and so has the added distinction of having made a trip around the world three times and made an equal number of visits to China.

She now looks back upon her first voyage as the most important even in her life and she recalls with much amusement the efforts of Captain Tripp and herself to visit the walled city of Canton.  The were art a port not many miles from Canton and were transported to the gates of the city by means of a car carried by two Chinamen.

Arriving, the entered a gate but further progress was barred by a guard and they were obliged to retire.  Admission was sought at other gates, but they met with a similar reception in each instance.  The finally gave up the attempt but they were afterwards able to say that they ahd been within the walls of the city.

Mrs. Tripp was never frightened but once during her voyages.  Her recollection is that it was on her second voyage, in the ship Oneida while in the Pacific Ocean.  Early one evening a whaler collided with the Oneida and carried away the latter’s mizzen mast and a boat.  No more serious damage was done but Mrs. Tripp has never forgotten the occurrence.

Captain Tripp died April 24, 1864.  He built the mansion now owned by Theodore Thomas where he resided for nearly 40 years.  After his death Mr.s Tripp sold the estate and removed to her present residence.

 


 

Fairhaven Star, October 27, 1906

Mary Ann Tripp obituary (scan of newspaper article is here)

Mrs. Mary Ann Tripp, widow of Captain Lemuel C. Tripp, died at her home 22 William Street, Wednesday, aged 96 years. Seven years ago Mrs. Tripp had a fall and her hip was fractured and since that time she had been unable to move about except in an invalid’s chair.  Mrs. Tripp was the oldest woman in Fairhaven.

Mrs. Tripp was the first American woman to circumnavigate the globe, a trip which she made three times, and was also the first woman to visit China, to which country she made three visits.

Mrs. Tripp’s maiden name was Hathaway.  She was born in New York and met her husband, Captain Lemuel C. Tripp, while on a visit to Fairhaven.  They were married soon after, in December 1828.  Captain Tripp was engaged in the merchant service, sailing from New York to nearly every port in the world.

Two years after her marriage, Mrs. Tripp accompanied him and it was on the voyage that she first circumnavigated the globe, visiting China and the Philippine Islands.

She always looked back on that first voyage as an important event in her life, and she recalled with much amusement the efforts of Captain Tripp and herself to visit the walled city of Canton.  They were at a port not many miles from Canton and were transported to the gates by means of a car carried by two Chinamen.  Arriving, they entered the gate but further progress was barred by a guard and they were obliged to retire.  Admission was sought at the other gates, but they met with similar reaction in each instance.  They finally gave up the attempt but they were afterwards able to say that they had been within the walls of the city.

Captain Tripp died April 24, 1864. He built a mansion on Adams Street recently purchased by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts for a monastery.  After his death  Mrs. Tripp sold the estate and in later years it was owned by the late Professor Theodore Thomas from whom it was bought by the Catholic order.