Born: about 1632 in Prob. England
Married: 09 Mar 1659/1660 in Springfield, Hampden, MA
Died: 20 Jan 1703/1704 in Westfield, Hampden, MA
Wife: Hannah Warriner (3)
Born: 17 Aug 1643 in Springfield, Hampden, MA
Died: before 12 May 1721 in Westfield, Hampden, MA
"Thomas Noble was the emigrant ancestor of the largest family in the US bearing the name of Noble. ... His exact origin and early history are involved in obscurity, the place of his birth, the names of his parents, and the year in which he came to this country, being alike unknown. He was, without doubt, here in 1653, and was the man mentioned by Drake, (History of Boston, p. 331) as admitted, on the 5th of January of that year, an inhabitant of Boston. The same year, he removed to Springfield, MA and opened an account at the store of John Pynchon. Though not one of the founders, he may be considered as one of the early settlers of that ancient town, the first settlement having been made in 1636, only 17 years before. A few years after removing to Springfield, he visited England, as appears from an account book of Mr Pynchon. On the 1st of Sep 1657, he was indebted to Pynchon to the amount of 32 pounds in which account is this item: "To what I pd. for your passage to and fro Engld., and for yo charges (beside what I give you) as in my pocket booke, 16 pounds"
"In 1664, in connection with several of his townsmen, he had liberty granted him to erect a sawmill on the west side of the Connecticut,.. (a note quoted in the reference giving specifics)."
"Mr. Noble, though a man of activity and industry, seems to have early fallen into a habit (which it is to be hoped that his descendants will carefully avoid) of living "beyond his means," and as a natural result, soon found himself in debt. To secure the sums due to Henry Smith and John Pynchon, he was obliged, in 1667, to make over to Pynchon his house in Springfield, and all his land, except a grant towards Windsor. In the hope of improving his condition, and providing for the wants of a large and growing family, he was therefore ready to join those who were beginning a settlement at Westfield. The precise time of his removal to that place is not known. The lands there granted to him, July 1666, on condition that he settled upon them before the last of May 1667 having been forfeited by non-settlement, the grant was renewed, Jan 9, 1668, and the time of settlement extended to Nov 10, 1668. At all events, he was there as early as Jan 21, 1669, for at a meeting at Warronoco (Westfield), at that date it was "voted that Ja. Cornish, Geo. Phelps, Thomas Dewey and Thomas Noble shall go to Springfield the first Tuesday in Feb next, at a town meeting, to propound to the town for the settlement of our place and affayres, in particular to determine wherethe lyne shall run betwixt Springfield and us, and to appoynt persons to lay out the bounds granted us by the honored Gen Court, and to allow us to be a township by o'selves and signify the same to the honored Gen Court."
"In his historical sketch of Westfield, Rev. Dr. Emerson Davis states, that Mr. Noble's residence in Westfield was about 2 and a half miles east of the present center of the town, on the farm where his son, Dea. Thomas Noble, afterwards resided, and which remained in the family until after the death in 1791 of his great grandson, Lt. Stephen Noble, when it passed into the possession of Ambrose Day. There, he doubtless lived in peace and quiet, until the commencement of "King Philip's" War, in 1675. In this war, says Rev. Dr. Davis,
"Mr. Noble was much exposed. One night during family prayers, GrayLock (an old Indian) stepped up and pulled the string and let the doorswing 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... but did not want scalps as much as captives. "
"Having been chosen constable of Westfield, the records of the Hampshire county court show, that on the 7th April 1674, he "was sworne to discharge ye s office," which in those days was one of honor and trust. He took the oath of allegiance to his Majesty, Jan 23, 1678; joined Westfield church, Feb 20, 1681; was made a freeman, Oct 12, 1681, and at the Hampshire county court, Sept 26, 1682, took the freeman's oath."
"The Hampshire county records show that about this time he suffered the penalty of the law for travelling on Fast day"... had to pay 5 shillings.
"In 1684, his name is with the most influential of his townsmen, upon the jury of inquest on the body of Eliezer Weller of Westfield..." (names include John Maudsly, Samuel Loomis, Sen, Isaac Phelps, Thomas Noble, John Root, John Sacket, John Ponder, Josiah Dewey, Ramuel Root, Jacob Phelps, John Williams, and Thomas Dewey.... inquest signed by John Pynchon.
"The town of Westfield, on 6 Sep 1685, granted to him, in connection with Isaac Phelps, Nathaniel Weller, and David Ashley, liberty to erect a sawmill "on the NE side of the river" and at the same date, together with GEORGE SEXTON, he was chosen to" join with the Selectmen to prize buildings." (Details later about being chosen to settle difference between towns of Westfield and Suffield over boundary). He was later chosen as county surveyor. (1696)
"Agriculture, necessarily the main pursuit of every one in the early history of a country, was his principal employment, although while at Springfield, during the winter, he worked a portion of the time as a tailor."
"At Westfield, he was so much prospered in his labors, as not only to bring up a large family of children well, but also to leave them at his death a respectable estate. " (Copy of his will is included in the reference)
[as quoted in PAF file: Boslow_Anc_Stevens.paf, rec'd via EMail 0n 14 APR 2002 from Wayne Olsen.]
"...He put himself under the watch of the Westfield church, Aug 19,1694, and together with his wife, joined the same, Nov 3, 1728, after their removal to Sheffield, the church at the latter place not being then organized. The precise date of his removal to Sheffield has not been ascertained. It is known, however, that the land in that township, which, in 1725, had been divided into lots by John Ashley and Ebenezer Pomeroy,was very soon occupied by settlers, who came in, and planted themselves upon the river bank."
"In a "History of Berkshire County, MA, by gentlemen in the county, clergymen and laymen," Pittsfield, 1829, is a carefully prepared sketch of Sheffield by Rev. James Bradford, who on the 13th of Oct 1813 was settled over the Congregational church in that place. In this sketch, appears the following statement, respecting the first settler ofSheffield:
"Mr. Obadiah Noble was the first white man who came to reside in Sheffield. He was from Westfield, and came and spent the first winter here with no other human associates 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 the town. She travelled from Westfield, when about 16 years of age, on horseback, bringing a bed with her, and lodged one night in the wilderness, in what is now the east part of Tyringham."
"The above statement has been quoted with more or less fullness, by J.W. Barber, in "Massachusetts Historical Collections"; by J. G. Holland, in his "History of Western Massachusetts," and more recently by J. G. Barnard, and G. A. Hoadley, in their addresses at the Centennial celebration of the town of Sheffield, on the 19th of June, 1876."
"Mr. George D. Noble, an intelligent citizen of Sheffield, born there on the 23rd of Aug 1813, the great grandson of Obadiah Noble, informed me, in 1876, that his grandfather Nathaniel Noble, whom he well remembers, and who died, May 28, 1824, aged 87, used to say, "My father, Obadiah Noble, was the first white settler of Sheffield; he came from Westfield to Sheffield in the fall of the year, lived the first winter in a wigwam, and the next spring went for his wife, and soon brought her, a bride, to Sheffield."
"To Mr Bradford's statement, the objections are these: In the firstplace, there is no evidence that Obadiah Noble ever had a daughter, his family consisting of 5 sons, whose births are recorded on the town record of Sheffield. In the second place, Hannah Noble, who subsequently became the wife of Deacon Daniel Kellogg, is known to have been the daughter of Matthew, and not the daughter of Obadiah Noble."
To the statement of Mr. George D. Noble, we have this objection to make, that in 1724, when Hannah Noble, afterward the wife of Dea. Daniel Kellogg, was sixteen years of age, Obadiah Noble, her brother, was but 18, quite too young to have been the pioneer settler of the town. Again, the eldest child of Obadiah Noble having been born May 22, 1734, it is not probable that he was married much before the year 1733, whereas, the first settler would, according to G.D. Noble, have been married as early as 1725. "
"We incline, therefore, to the opinion, that if any person by the name of Noble was the first settler of Sheffield, it was Matthew, and not his son Obadiah. Matthew is known to have been there on the 3rd of Feb 1727, for at that date, as appears by Hampshire Deed, E. P. 61, "Matthew Noble, of Housatunnuck, husbandman, in consideration of a certain sum paid by Capt. John Ashley of Westfield, gentleman," makes over to him"two certain tracts or Parcells of lands, with a house, barn and orchard or orcharding upon it, which Parcells of lands containing in quantity by Estimation about 200 acres, lying and being partly within the boundaries and precincts of ye township of Springfield, and partly within ye boundaries of the township of Westfield, in the aforesaid County, it being a tract of land, which the first Mathew Noble formerly dwelt upon, and lyeth easterly of ye mountain, which rangeth between the s Westfield and Springfield, and also lyeth Southerly of Westfield river."
"If Matthew Noble was in Sheffield, in Feb 1727, he could not have removed during the winter, but must certainly have removed as early as the previous year. How much earlier he fixed his abode there, we have no means of determining.
"In 1733, Matthew Noble issued the following warrant for the first two meetings in Sheffield:...(town meeting to choose town officers)...(see the reference for who was elected... lots of familiar names).
"Matthew Noble died intestate. " Details of his estate are contained in the reference.
[as quoted in PAF file: Boslow_Anc_Stevens.paf, rec'd via EMail 0n 14 APR 2002 from Wayne Olsen.]
Revised: November 26, 2016