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Nobles' deep roots traced back to Indiana farms

POSTED August 8, 2007 12:02 p.m.
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In the rich fertile flat land just north of Rigdon, Grant County, Indiana proudly stands a fine tall, three-story home built of red brick with white adorned window frames. My wife and I have visited and been in this house twice over 35 years. This house, about 30 miles from Indianapolis, is in good condition considering that it's 151 years old.

We went completely through this old house, into the third floor, up and down the ornate stairway, into the "summer house" where the cooking was done in the hot summers. We saw the storage cellar, the smokehouse, the barn and outbuildings.

The new owner was very gracious after I explained that my great grandfather had built that house in the 1850's. It is a practice of Indiana farmers to have their name over the barn door. My memory fails me as to what his name was.

A few months ago on a Saturday afternoon I had a long distance call from the wife of a second cousin, now deceased, who was parked in the driveway of this old house! She described this old house to me while standing there and asked me about the place to be sure that this was the home she was looking for. A few years back I had told her and my other relatives about our visits to this home. Later she told me that she was warmly escorted around this place by its owners.

This brick house is very dear to my family for it was built by one of the early pioneers to the area, my great-grandfather, Jonathan Noble for his wife Lucinda and is the very home that they bore and raised seven children - three girls and four boys. My grandfather, James H. Noble, was born in this house during the Civil War year of 1863.

This was just a very few years after the adventure of the great California Gold Rush and the migration westward, which has never stopped! These were the days of Mark Twain and his books about Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi! Abraham Lincoln was president and was killed two years later.

My grandfather, James Noble, died in Ceres in 1935 in another fine home on Old Creamery Road, across from my home and family.

My uncle Charles H. Noble, a dentist, told me just before his death at age 103 that he slid down the bannister of his grandparents red brick house as a boy. I had shown him a photo taken of me in 1969 standing on that same stairwell in this old brick house.

About 25 miles away in Hamilton County is a city called Noblesville, Ind., founded by another branch of the Noble family who settled the area in the 1800s.

Some 15 miles away is the little town of Hackleman, Indiana and also in Grant County. Now the story I received is that James H. Noble would ride his horse from Rigdon to see a young lady in Hackleman named Frances "Fannie" Ayers. Love being what it was and still is, they married and raised three children: William, Hazel and Charles. They lived in a wooden house across from the fine Ayers three-story house just outside Hackleman. My father William Ayers Noble was born in that house in 1886. Polly and I have been in and welcomed in both of these houses. The wooden house has been moved about a mile away but the Ayers home still stands in all of its glory, restored and improved to today's standards. The outside walls were built three-feet thick for protection against the cold Indiana winters! My father, William Ayers Noble, was proud to be called a Hoosier from Indiana and spoke fondly of this legacy.

A few miles away near Fairmont, Ind., is the home where James Dean of Hollywood fame was born and raised. This rich farm land was once wooded with hickory and other trees but has been cleared many years ago by the early pioneers to provide flat land suitable for many farm crops, mainly corn! This wood derived from these trees was used to build homes and towns.

On our trips to this area Polly and I learned a lot about the area in searching for the roots of the Noble family. We were welcomed by everyone we met and helped in our quest for information about this district. We visited the library and the Grant County hall of records in our quest for knowledge. I am rightfully very proud of my ancestry, how these old-timers toiled and achieved to build a better life for themselves and their children. We all can learn from the past for it is the only place we have to look to see the mistakes and achievements of those that have gone this way before.

These pioneers, these builders, these successful settlers should be noted that they well deserve our motivation to repeat their achievements, to leave behind something for those who will follow us so that they, too, can find satisfaction in this adventure called life by building and achievement.

Bill Noble may be reached via email at

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