THE FAMILY OF THOMAS NOBLE
THOMAS NOBLE (mar. Hannah Warriner)
MATTHEW NOBLE (mar. Hannah Dewey)
ELISHA NOBLE (mar. Abigail Warner)
HANNAH NOBLE (mar. William Sheldon)
BOSTON and SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
THOMAS NOBLE was born as early as 1632, probably in England. Unfortunately, we know nothing about the exact place or date of birth or his parents’ names; nor what year he came to these shores. He was most definitely here in 1653 as Drake, in his History of Boston, states he was “admitted” as an inhabitant of Boston on January 5th, that year. In the same year he removed to Springfield, Massachusetts, and opened an account at the store of John Pynchon. He was not one of the founding settlers of Springfield, but he certainly was one of her early settlers.
Farming was almost everyone’s year-round occupation, and certainly Thomas Noble must have farmed. But while he was at Springfield, he also worked as a part-time tailor, probably during the winters. This is easily seen in the contents of the Inventory of his estate.
For some unknown reason, Thomas travelled to England in 1657, according to the account book of Mr. Pynchon; e.g., the entry for September 1, 1657, show that Noble was indebted to Pynchon in the amount of £32. 3s. 6d:
To what I pd. for yor passage to and fro. Engld., and for yor charges (beside what I give you) as in my pocket book, £16. 00. 00.
On 1 November 1660, Thomas Noble married HANNAH WARRINER. [Another source says March 9, 1660.] She was the daughter of William and Joanna Warriner of Springfield.
Besides farming and tailoring, Thomas Noble and several other townsmen were given permission to erect a saw-mill on the west side of the Connecticut River in 1664. They were also granted about 40 acres where the mill would stand, and 30 acres of “Meddow” within 2 or 3 miles of the place. They must set up the saw mill and “sett to work in Sawing by the first day of Aprill wch shal be in ye yeere 1666”. If they abandoned the work within three years, they’d have to give up the place and lands to the town. In order to make the business a success, they would have access to the Commons, “for all sorts of tymber for their use for Sawing or otherwise”. John Pynchon ran Springfield and this type of assistance was what his father, William Pynchon, gave out when he was in the multi-decade process of founding the town. Click here to read the unique story of the founding of Springfield.
On the first day of January, 1665/66, at Springfield, it was recorded in the terminology of the day, “This day according to Towne order we considered about (making Rates &) takeing a list of ye estate of ye Plantation. And for Prizing ye Living Stock of ye Towne we choose Tho. Noble and James Warriner.” This would indicate they were taking an inventory of the town livestock. James Warriner was Hannah’s brother.
Lands in Westfield (Warronoco) were granted to Thomas in July 1666, on the condition that he settle upon them before the end of May 1667. Because he didn't settle them, those lands were forfeited.
Thomas was living beyond his means and was in debt to Henry Smith and John Pynchon. In 1667, he signed over to Pynchon his house and all his lands in Springfield, keeping only a grant of land south towards Windsor [Connecticut]. He was raising a very large family and the loss of his property in Springfield must have been a blow. Men at this time needed to have land to give to their first-born son, if not the others, and this is what kept many families moving on to the newer settlements where more land was available.
Thomas’s Westfield grant was renewed on January 9, 1668, and the deadline for settlement was extended to November 10, 1668.
Mr. Noble was at Warronoco as early as January 21, 1669 on which date, at a meeting there, it was voted that he as well as James Cornish, Geo. Phelps, and Thomas Dewey were to go to Springfield the first Tuesday in February to settle affairs regarding where the line would run between Springfield and Westfield. They were also to ask the General Court to let Westfield be a township of its own.
The office of Constable was one of honor and trust in those days, and Thomas was chosen constable of Westfield, Hampshire county, on April 7, 1674, and “was sworne to discharge ye sd office.”
At Westfield, the Nobles lived about 2-1/2 miles east of the present center of the town in the family home until the beginning of “King Philip’s War” in 1675. His son, Thomas Jr., inherited the farm and the property remained in the family until after the death of Thomas's great-grandson, Lt. Stephen Noble, in 1791, when it passed to Ambrose Day.
KING PHILIP'S WAR, 1675
From The Noble Family History:
Mr. Noble was much exposed. One night during family prayers, Gray Lock (an old indian), stepped up and pulled the string and let the door swing open, and as soon as all was quiet, he would pull the string again. Mr. Noble was persuaded by his friends to move into town. Gray Lock said he had several opportunities of killing most of his children at a shot, but did not want scalps as much as captives.
At Westfield, Thomas Noble took the oath of allegiance to his Majesty on 23 January 1678.
Thomas joined the Westfield church on February 20, 1681, and was made a freeman the same year, on October 12th. He took the Freeman’s Oath at the Hampshire county court on September 26th in 1682. All of these steps were very important to becoming a full-fledged citizen and a man of responsibility and respect.
But along with that responsibility and respect came duties and obligations that were sometimes hard to keep. For instance, in 1683, Thomas travelled once on a Fasting Day. Yep! And he got caught! The Hampshire County records state:
At a County Corte held at Northampton, March 27th, 1683. Thomas Noble of Westfield being prsented by the Grand jury for Travelling on a day of Humiliation, publiquely appointed by the Genll Corte, which he owned, pleading his necessity for Comeing home, and yet this Corte Considering said offense, being a growing evil amongst us, many Persons too much disregarding such extraordinary Dutys, & Seasons, have adjudged sd. Noble to pay as a fine to the County treasurer five shillings.
In 1684, on September 10th, Thomas along with others signed a court document of the inquest into the hanging of Eliezer Weller of Westfield. At the County Court held at Springfield on September 30, 1684, it was concluded that Weller died “intestate in his own selfe Murther.” The document continued, “through the strength of temptation he became his own Executionr, by hanging himself, al signes & circumstances fully concurring therein.”
On September 6th, 1685, Thomas Noble and George Sexton were chosen “to join with the Selectmen to prize buildings.” The same day, the town of Westfield granted to Noble, Isaac Phelps, Nathaniel Weller, and David Ashley (another of my ancestors), liberty to erect a saw-mill “on the brook, on the northeast side of the river.”
On 22 Sep 1691, Noble was appointed with Lt. Phelps and John Sacket, “to atend the Court upon the town account with respect to the difference between our town and Suffield, and do what they can in the towne’s behalf settling our bounds between us and Suffield.” And on March 2, 1696, he was chosen to be the county surveyor.
And then, at a town meeting on March 4th, 1694/95,
...there was Granted unto Tho. Noble, Senr, upon the plaine knowne by the name of fower miles plaine, the contents of halfe a mile Square, that is to say the Liberty of the Pines one this pice of Land for Roysume, wc is to continue for three years ensuing the date heare.
Our ancestor died on January 20, 1704, at Westfield. Click here to read Thomas Noble’s Will and the Inventory of his Estate.
After his death, Hannah remarried Medad Pomeroy.
CHILDREN of THOMAS & HANNAH (WARRINER) NOBLE
- John Noble, born 6 Mar 1662 at Springfield, Mass.; died 17 Aug 1714. He mar. (1) Abigail Sacket; (2) M. Goodman.
- Hannah Noble, born 24 Feb 1663/64 at Springfield; died ca. 1741. She mar. (1) John Goodman; (2) N. Edwards.
- Deacon Thomas Noble, born 14 Jan 1665/66 at Springfield; died 29 Jul 1750. He mar. Elizabeth Dewey, the dau. of .
- MATTHEW NOBLE, born about 1668, probably at Springfield; died about 1744 at Sheffield, Berkshire county, Massachusetts. He mar. Hannah Dewey.
- Mark Noble, born ca. 1670 at Westfield, Mass.; died 16 April 1741. He mar. Mary Marshall.
- Elizabeth Noble, born 9 Feb 1673 at Westfield, Mass.; died 10 Aug 1751. She mar. (1) Richard Church; (2) S. Loomis.
- Sgt. Luke Noble, born 15 July 1675 at Westfield, Mass.; died 21 Mar 1744. He mar. Hannah Stebbins.
- James Noble, born 1 Oct 1677 at Westfield, Mass.; died 22 April 1712. He mar. (1) Ruth (?); (2) C. Higley.
- Mary Noble, born 29 June 1680 at Westfield, Mass.; mar. Ephraim Colton.
- Rebecca Noble, born 4 Jan 1683 at Westfield, Mass.; mar. Samuel Loomis.
Settler of Sheffield, Mass.
MATTHEW NOBLE was born about 1668, probably at Springfield.
It isn’t know when Matthew moved to Westfield, but he married HANNAH DEWEY there on December 10, 1690. She was the daughter of Thomas and Constant (Hawes) Dewey.
Matthew put himself under the watch of the Westfield church on 19 Aug 1694. Together with his wife, they joined the same on November 3, 1728, after they had moved to Sheffield, Massachusetts. They “joined” the church at Westfield even after they had moved to Sheffield because the Sheffield church wasn't organized at that early date.
Matthew Noble was the first English settler “to cross the hideous howling wilderness” into Berkshire County in 1725, what would become Sheffield. A common web page featuring the area states:
.... The following spring, he returned to Westfield and brought his 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, to keep house for him. The township had been purchased from Chief Konkapot and other Stockbridge Indians in 1724. Purchase price was 460 Pounds, 3 barrels of cider, and 30 quarts of rum. It covered an area 18 miles by 12 miles centered on the Housatonic River.
And yet, there has been disagreement on the subject. For that story, click here.
In 1733, Matthew Noble issued the following warrant for the first town meeting in Sheffield:
Hampshire ss. Sheffield, Jan. 11, 1733.
To the Constable or Constables of the Town of Sheffield, or Either of them Greting. In His Majesty's Name, you are Required forthwith to warn the free Holders, or Proprietors that are approbated sttlers in the said Town of Sheffield, that they meet at the House of Mr. Obadiah Noble, on Wensday the sixteenth Day of January Currant, at ten of the Clock In the Morning; and signifie unto them that they are then and their Required to Chuse Town Officers to serve the Town Respectively from the Date of said Meeting, untill the time of annually Chusing Town Officers, which is in March Next.
This warrant is Given under my Hand Persuant to the Power and authority Directed to me by the General Assembly at Boston, to Call sd meeting to Chuse Town Officers &c., and you are Hereby Directed to make a Return of sd warrant unto myself at or before sd time to me. Given under my Hand the day above said. MATTHEW NOBLE.
In pursuance with this warrant, a meeting was held, of which the following is a record:
Att Leagal Meeting, Janr 16, 1733, in Sheffield, voted, matthew Noble Chosen moderator.
voted at the Same meeting Hezekiah Noble Chosen Town Clerk, and sworn.
voted at the Same meeting, and Joseph Taylor and Elisha Noble was Chosen Constables, and worn.
voted at the Same meeting Nathaniel Austin, and Obadiah Noble was Chosen fenceviewers and Sworn.
Many other town jobs were also voted upon, e.g., Selectmen, Town Treasurer, Tithingmen, “Sirveyer”.
Although the church records were never found, the town records show that on 7 June 1734, the townsmen “voted to Give mr Ebenezer Devotion A call to the work of the ministrie In this Town.” Mathew Noble was one of a committee “to Treate with mr Devotion In order for Settling In the work of the Ministrie.”
Early in 1744, Matthew Noble died at Sheffield, Massachusetts; he was about 76 years of age. He left no will, but the court of probate in the settlement of his estate and the Inventory were recorded. Click here to read the proceedings of Matthew Noble's Estate. Constant Dewey was alive on 9 July 1745, but when she died is unknown.
CHILDREN of MATTHEW & HANNAH (DEWEY) NOBLE
- Joseph Noble, born 8 Oct 1691; died 12 Feb 1758. He mar. Abigail Dewey in 1716. They lived in Great Barrington, Mass.
- Hezekiah Noble, born 14 May 1694; died 13 May 1772. He mar. Ann Roberts in 1740. He was a hatter in Sheffield.
- Ens. Matthew Noble, born 9 Sep 1698; died 8 Aug 1771. He mar. (1) J. Stebbins; and (2) M. Ashley.
- Solomon Noble, born 23 Dec 1700; died 17 Dec 1757. He mar. (1) H. Betts; and (2) Z. Dewey.
- CAPT. ELISHA NOBLE, born 9 Feb 1703 at Westfield; died 27 Aug 1771 at Sheffield (age 68). He married Abigail Warner.
- Obadiah Noble, born 19 Oct 1705 at Westfield, Mass.; died probably 1786 at Sheffield, Mass. (age 81). He mar. Mary Bosworth.
The first town meeting of Sheffield, Mass., was held in 1733 at his home. In the Sheffield town records, under date of May 22, 1735, “three barrels of Good Beare and twenty gallons of Rumb, were voted by the towne, for the use of those, who should aid in raising the first meeting house.” At the same meeting, Obadiah and Ensign Ashley were chosen “to Dool out Drink to the laborers, when it is convenient and likewiss, to sell Drink to Strangers or town's People, and also to Receive the money”.
[The following is in contention.] Mr. Obadiah Noble was the first white man who came to reside in Sheffield, Massachusetts. He was from Westfield and came and spent the first winter here with no other human associates, other than the Indians. In the Spring, he went back to Westfield and in June, his daughter, afterwards the wife of Deacon Daniel Kellogg, returned here with him. She was the first white woman that came into town. She traveled from Westfield, when about 16 years of age, on horseback, bringing a bed with her and lodging one night in the wilderness, in what is now the east part of Tyringham. Obadiah Noble married Mary (Callender) Bosworth, daughter of Phillip Callender of Sheffield, Massachusetts.
Children of Obadiah and Mary (Callender) Noble were:
Peter born 22 May 1734;
Nathaniel born 23 October 1736;
Obadiah born 06 September 1739;
Zechariah born 16 April 1742;
Ezekiel born 08 June 1745.
Obadiah's will is dated 14 October 1785, proved 06 June 1786 naming his sons, Peter, Nathaniel, Zechariah, Obadiah, Ezekiel and daughter in law Susannah Fairchild.
- Hannah Noble, born 11 Oct 1707. [First white woman at Sheffield.] She mar. Daniel Kellogg.
- Hester Noble, born 6 Jun 1710. She mar. Moses King, to whom she was published 12 Nov 1730, per son of David and Abigail King, and born in Westfield, 20 Nov 1706.
- Rhoda Noble, born 17 Apr 1717; died 4 Sep 1737. She mar. Ebenezer Smith of Sheffield, Mass. and died 4 Sept 1737 (age 20). She had one child, Noble, born 22 Aug 1737. Her birth is recorded in Springfield records as 21 Apr 1716.
ELISHA NOBLE was born on February 9, 1703, at Westfield.
Elisha Noble “was published” to ABIGAIL WARNER on March 18th, 1727, and was most likely married that year. She was the daughter of Mark and Lydia (Phelps) Warner of Northampton.
Elisha entered into full fellowship with the Westfield church on December 8, 1728. Soon after this, he must have removed to Sheffield, for he was there on June 17th, 1730, and at the organization of the town in 1733, he was chosen Constable.
In 1745, Elisha’s house was “forted”. This means the house was fortified to serve as a garrison where fleeing townspeople could go to be safe during, presumably, indian attacks. A small gimpse of Noble’s forted house is preserved in the diary of Rev. Samuel Hopkins of Great Barrington, Mass.:
November 22, 1745
Alarmed by the reports that the Indians had taken Stockbridge, he went down and lodged in Elisha Noble's fort, but “had a very poor lodging,” as “the house was crowded with women and children.”
In 1755, he had command of a company of men, who enlisted for reinforcing the army destined for Crown Point.
DEATH and WILL of ELISHA NOBLE
Not very much is known about Elisha Noble’s life and occupation other than that he was constable, had a forted house, and held a minor command, which is when he most likely received the title “Captain”. Unless he received money from his wife’s family as was often the case, Elisha must have accumulated his wealth with an occupation or trade of some sort. His father, after all, died intestate and left a very small estate of bowls, chests, trenchers, kettles and featherbeds. Elisha gave for a family burying-ground, a piece of land in Sheffield, “where my daughter, Sarah Saxton, lies buried.”
He died at Sheffield on 27 August 1771, age 68. His will was dated on 8 August 1771, and was proved on the 6th of September following. In it, he names his wife, Abigail, who he appointed executrix; son Enoch; daughter Abigail Ashley; children of daughter Sarah Saxton, late wife of James Saxton; and daughter Hannah, wife of William Sheldon of Sheffield.
Elisha’s estate was inventoried at £1,243 10. 3. 2.
After her husband’s death, Abigail Noble’s name appears on the Sheffield tax rolls for 1775, ‘79, ‘80, and ‘82.
CHILDREN of CAPT. ELISHA & ABIGAIL (WARNER) NOBLE
(All children born at Sheffield, Berkshire Co, Massachusetts)
- Abigail Noble, born 24 August 1728.
- Sarah Noble, born 14 October 1730.
- Elisha Noble, born 23 January 1733/34.
- HANNAH NOBLE, born 1 April 1735. She married William Sheldon.
- Enoch Noble, born 13 May 1738.
HANNAH NOBLE was born on 1 April 1735 at Sheffield, Massachusetts. She married WILLIAM SHELDON, also of Sheffield.
Bradford, Rev. James. History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts....(Pittsfield, 1829).
The Noble Family History (NFH).
Photos of the Noble House in Westfield, Mass.
The Warriner Family of New England Origin, p. 20.
Drake. History of Boston, p. 331.
Will and Inventory: Recorded, Hampshire Probate Court (Vol. III, pgs. 119-20).
“Ancestry of Bridget Yonge....” The New England Historical & Genealogical Register (April 1899) 3, 217-224.
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
A website with the genealogy of Thomas Dewey Lineage. The link to the home page is broken, so it is impossible to locate the owner of this web page.
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