Rebecca W. Tripp

Rebecca W. Tripp

1854 – 1931

One of these women is likely Rebecca Tripp, the other her sister Patience Crosby. The gentleman is William Tripp, originator of the RI Red. LCHS Collection.

Rebecca W. Tripp was born in 1854 on her family farm in Little Compton, daughter of William Tripp and Rebecca S. Tripp. At just about the time she was born, her father began his experiments in poultry breeding that would lead to the famous Rhode Island Red. Tripp was a marketman, a teamster who carted Little Compton produce to New Bedford. There he picked up exotic fowls brought back about whaling ships, one a “Cochin China,” the other a “Chitagong.” He spent ten years in cross-breeding these into what became known as the “Tripp fowl.”

It wasn’t until the 1870s that the breed took off, and at first it was only a local success. Rebecca Tripp was the one who deserves the credit for its national popularity. She came up with the idea of selling Rhode Island Red egg sets to poultry fanciers throughout the United States. “She built up a business,” declared the Providence Journal, “which put Rhode Island Reds in every State of the Union.”[1] Tripp kept her flock for more than fifty years.

Rebecca Tripp died 14 November 1931 and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Fall River.

Steve Lubar, Vice President, LCHS Board of Directors

April 2020

 

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[1] Providence Journal, November 16, 1924 – page 51

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