Jacob Bruce Triplett
U.S. Army Private Jacob Bruce Triplett was born on February 17, 1888, at Monroe, Randolph County, West Virginia, the son of Cyrus and Lucy J. Scott Triplett. He had one sister, Rebecca O. Triplett, and three brothers, Randolph C., Walter, and Willis F. Triplett. Lucy Scott Triplett died in 1903, and Cyrus remarried in 1905. The 1910 Federal Census shows that Cyrus, his new wife Maude, Jacob, and Willis were living in the household in Randolph County.
On June 5, 1917, at the age of 29, he registered for the draft, at which time he claimed an exemption because of his responsibility to care for his farm at Huttonsville in Randolph County. Despite the reasonableness of his request, it appears he was destined for the battlefield. Jacob’s World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918—a good source of descriptive information—indicates he was tall and slender, with light brown eyes and light brown hair. He stated that he was single at the time of his draft registration, so it appears he was married to Annie sometime between June 5 and August 28, 1917, when he filed his will.
During World War I, Jacob served as a private in Company C, 166th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Division (the Rainbow Division) of the U.S. Army. This division engaged the enemy in six major campaigns in France, including the Battle of Champagne in July 1918. On July 15, 1918, while fighting German forces, Jacob Bruce Triplett lost his life.
A death notice in the Elkins Inter-Mountain for Pvt. Triplett recognized him as an excellent soldier. Although it was first reported that he had been killed in a bayonet charge, it was later learned that he was killed by a shell. The newspaper went on to say that his friends were aware that he was an expert with the bayonet. A letter to Annie Triplett from Lt. James A. Moseley dated July 21, 1918, tells of the event that led to Jacob’s death and describes his service:
My Dear Mrs. Triplett:
The enclosed letter was written by your husband the evening before his death. He was instantly killed by a heavy caliber shell which struck his squad while they were going to a dugout to escape the terrible bombardment which preceded the German drive of July 15. You will be relieved to know that his death was instantaneous and painless and that he died during the battle which must be the beginning of our ultimate victory.
He was buried by the regimental chaplain, Rev. J. H. Holliday, and the Grave Registration Bureau, 42nd division, will be able to give you the location of his grave after the war. At the first opportunity I will mail to you his personal belonging, Testament, etc.
Your husband had only joined my platoon that morning but I had recognized him as an excellent soldier and had assigned him to my best squad.
We were deeply grieved and shocked by his death and will do our utmost to insure that your sacrifice and his will not have been in vain.
James A. Moseley 1st Lt. Co. C, 166th Inf.
I enclose one of his identity discs which I took from his body within a few minutes of his death. (Source: “Jacob Triplett Killed by Heavy Calibre Shell,” Elkins Inter-Mountain, August 19, 1918, p. 1.)
|After the war, Pvt. Triplett was interred among the more than 6,000 soldiers in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery at Fère-en-Tardenois, France. Jacob B. Triplett’s grave is located in Plot A, Row 14, Grave 32.|
|Jacob made his will on August 28, 1917, in which he named his wife, Annie F. Triplett, as his heir and executrix. Jacob’s will was presented to the Randolph County clerk of the court on August 19, 1918.|
Jacob’s widow Annie remarried in 1922. She died on November, 19, 1969, and is buried in Parkersburg Memorial Gardens, Parkersburg, West Virginia.
This article was researched and written by Leon Armentrout, whose great-great-grandfather Triplett was a second cousin to Jacob B. Triplett, with assistance from Patricia Richards McClure.
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.
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