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TRAPNELL, Lt. General Thomas John Hall

TRAPNELL, Lt. General Thomas John Hall[1]

Male 1902 - 2002  (99 years)

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  • Name TRAPNELL, Thomas John Hall 
    Prefix Lt. General 
    Birth 23 Nov 1902  Yonkers, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Trap & Tom 
    Education West Point, Class of 1927  [2
    Research Notes Thomas John Hall Trapnell page on Wikipedia: 
    Served in military
    Death 13 Feb 2002  Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Professional soldier. Cavalry officer WWII; taken by Japanese on Bataan
      with 26th cavalry. Switched to Airborne after war; retired Lt. Gen. in
      early 1960s.

      Thomas John Hall Trapnell page on Wikipedia:

      Esquire article on Thomas John Hall Trapnell

      March, 1943

      Salute to Tom Trapnell, D.S.C.
      West Point grid star who wanted to be preacher, became instead hero of the bridge at Rosario
      by A. PAUL MEKTON

      On January 22, 1942, from his field headquarters in the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur announced the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Major T.J. Hall Trapnell, Cavalry. The communique from General MacArthur stated:

      Major Trapnell, who is a former football hero of the United States Military Academy, matched his brilliant gridiron career with outstanding exploits on the battlefield. The action for which Major Trapnell was decorated took place at Rosario in La Union province on December 22, 1941, while his cavalry unit was engaged in rear-guard operations. During concentrated enemy fire from tanks and infantry, Major Trapnell remained between the hostile force and his own troops and set fire to a truck on a bridge. He waited until the bridge was in flames before leaving the scene in a scout car. He then retired slowly with the rear elements of his organization, picked up wounded soldiers and rallied his men. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Major Trapnell delayed the hostile advance and set an inspiring example to his entire regiment.

      We have only to go back to his family antecedents for the elements that produced Major Trapnell, D.S.C. His grandfathers, on both paternal and distaff sides were rebel troopers in the Civil War, one of them in General Ashby's cavalry. His grandmother's brother, Thomas White, was on Stonewall Jackson's staff. Of the present generation of the family that includes twenty-nine men, seventeen are in the United States armed forces, ranging in rank from Colonel Trapnell himself to a corporal. The eldest, brother, Joseph Trapnell, 3rd, served in the United States Navy during the World War on the transport Zuiderdijk and was wounded in action. Another brother, Commander Walter Scott Trapnell, was graduated from Annapolis in 1920 and is now port captain in Balboa, Panama. A cousin, Lieutenant Commander Frederick M. Trapnell, a Navy flyer and crack pilot, took part in the flight of 18 bombers from San Diego to Honolulu in 1938.

      Called Hall by his family, Tom Trapnell was born in Yonkers in 1902 and began making football history in the Mount Hebron Grammar School in Upper Montclair, N.J. where he early learned to go up against odds without flinching. A game had been booked with the jayvee team of a neighboring school. When the opposing team came on the field, Hebron's coach spotted a player of the first team in the jayvee lineup. The coach protested, but young Trapnell said: "Aw, let him play. We don't care." Then on the first play after the kick-off, the ringer, carrying the ball, came around end. Tom, playing halfback, made a flying tackle. The ringer was out!

      When Tom was ready for high school, his grandfather, Joseph Trapnell, a trustee of Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Virginia, got him a partial scholarship. He went in for track, basketball, lacrosse and football, and his third year he was captain of the eleven. It was during the years at Episcopal High that the influence of his ministerial relatives induced him to plan to become an Episcopal minister. A great-grandfather, grandfather and two uncles were Episcopal ministers.

      However, Major C.D. Daly, football coach at West Point, sold him on the idea of trying for an appointment to the Academy. He succeeded in gelling an alternate appointment, and during the interim, Tom and some of his high school friends served as a temporary pickup crew for his brother Joe, who was port steward and purchasing agent for the Baltimore Steamship Company, sailing to Caribbean ports on the S.S. Coelleda and the S.S. Lake Fauquier as ordinary seamen.

      Subsequently he took the competitive examination and won the appointment to West Point, entering the Academy from New Jersey in 1923. A two-letter man, outstanding in both football and lacrosse, he was also Phi Beta Kappa, president of his class for three years, teacher in the Sunday school to which children of the post were sent, and president of the Y.M.C.A. The West Point year book of 1927 said of him: "For the class and for the Academy, he has been a zealous worker, but towards his own advancement he has taken a nonchalant attitude -- the attitude of the truly unselfish comrade-in-arms. He is one who thinks first, acts quickly and wisely, and of whom it can never be said that he boasts."

      At the end of his leave after he was graduated in 1927, Tom was sent to Monterey, California, with the calvary. There he took up polo and became a star. In 1929, he married Miss Alyse Snow in Fresno. She is now living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, having been evacuated from the Philippines in May, 1942.

      In 1939 Trapnell was sent to the Philippines at the request of General MacArthur, who likes the football type of officer. With the fall of Bataan he was reported captured by the Japs. From a passenger returning on the Gripsholm, the family heard that "The Kid", as he was known to them, was a prisoner in Tarlac prison —- emaciated and drawn with prison pallor and malnutrition. Neither his mother, Mrs. Laura Trapnell who lives in Baltimore, nor any other member of his family has heard from him since the war started. [4]
    Person ID I1022  Hugh Byrne and Nanette Asimov Lines
    Last Modified 20 Apr 2018 

    Father TRAPNELL, Joseph IV,   b. 21 Jun 1871, Charles Town, W. Va. Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 11 Nov 1922, Chatham, New Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 51 years) 
    Mother KENNEDY, Laura Virginia,   b. 21 Aug 1870, Charles Town, West Virginia Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 6 Jan 1963, Baltimore, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 92 years) 
    Marriage 5 Nov 1895 
    Waters, Billy, Hall, Scott, Laura, and Joe Trapnell circa 1910 (1)
    Eleanor, Laura, and William Trapnell
    Trapnell children
    Trapnell Family
    Trapnell Family (265)
    Descendants of Joseph Trapnell (1775-1870) and related lines
    Family ID F2169  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 SNOW, Alys Julie,   b. 27 Aug 1906, Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 21 Jan 1953 (Age 46 years) 
    Marriage 1 Jun 1929  Fresno, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 5
    • From the Oakland Tribune:

      Fresno Girl Weds Monterey Officer

      Monterey, June 7 - Miss Alys Julie Snow and Lieutenant Thomas John Hall Trapnell, U.S.A. were married at the home of the bride's parents in Fresno Saturday evening, according to announcements received here today. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sherman Snow of Fresno and Carmel. Miss Maude Snow is her twin sister.

      Lieutenant Trapnell is the son of Mrs. Joseph Trapnell of New York City. He is a graduate of West Point with the class of 1927 and formerly lived in Richmond W Va. He has been stationed at the Monterey Presidio for the last year and a half.

      Following a motor honeymoon Lieutenant and Mrs Trapnell will return to make their home at the Monterey Presidio. [5]
    Last Modified 1 Aug 2015 
    Family ID F414  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 ELDER, Elizabeth Anne,   b. 6 Sep 1917, St. Louis, MO Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 20 Jun 2001, Toms Brook, Shenandoah, Virginia, United States of America Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 83 years) 
    Marriage 1956  [6
    Last Modified 23 Oct 2012 
    Family ID F413  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 23 Nov 1902 - Yonkers, NY Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 1 Jun 1929 - Fresno, CA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 13 Feb 2002 - Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Thomas John Hall Trapnell
    Thomas John Hall Trapnell circa 1920
    Hall Trapnell circa 1910
    Trap (Thomas John Hall Trapnell)
    Thomas John Hall Trapnell (1)
    Trapnell children

    Salute to Tom Trapnell
    Salute to Tom Trapnell
    March, 1943 Esquire article on Thomas John Hall Trapnell
    Brief history of the life and career of Thomas John Hall Trapnell, written in 2013 by Hunter Ripley Rawlings IV

  • Sources 
    1. [S72] Frederica Holmes Trapnell, Joseph Trapnell Descendants, (1964).

    2. [S642] Fresno Girl Weds Monterey Officer, ieutenant Trapnell is the son of Mrs. Joseph Trapnell of New York City. He is a graduate of West Point with the class of 1927 and formerly lived in Richmond W Va.

    3. [S122], Social Security Death Index, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007), Online publication - Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2006.Original data - Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

    4. [S305] Sally Trapnell Warthen Tree.

    5. [S642] Fresno Girl Weds Monterey Officer.

    6. [S527] Thomas John Hall Trapnell Wikipedia Page, His second marriage, to Elizabeth Elder, lasted from 1956 to her death in 2001.

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