Our family history begins with the 1860 Slave Schedule of Abbeville, South Carolina. Although many former slaves did not take their slave masters surname at emancipation, with a name such as Noble, it is likely that this family did continue on with the name. In the Slave Schedule of 1860, just two men with the surname Noble owned slaves. They were Edward and William P. Noble. William was the uncle of Edward Noble, who, by the ages of his slaves, was most likely to be the slave holder of our family. Both men came from a distinguished Scots-Irish family, as described by a descendant on the Public Trees at Ancestry.com: „h Edward Noble was the fourth child and third son of S.C. Governor Patrick Noble and Elizabeth Bonneau Pickens, daughter of Ezekiel and Elizabeth Bonneau Pickens. Governor Patrick Noble was a son of Major Alexander Noble, husband of Catherine Calhoun, a daughter of Ezekiel Calhoun, and sister of Rebecca Floride Calhoun, wife of General Andrew Pickens. Edward Noble married Mary Bratton and they had two daughters: Mary Noble and Floride Noble. (Source: http://freepages.books.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pickensarchive/day/day05b.html.) ¡X Submitted November 19, 2009, by Brian Scott of Greenville, South Carolina.
In 1860 Edward Noble owned nineteen slaves, who lived in four slave houses. One of these slaves was about the age of Elias Noble, a freedman who lived in Calhoun Mills, Abbeville County, in 1870. Elias and his wife Margaret were both thirty years old (this may have been an approximate age, many people then did not know exactly when they were born). They had four children living in the household ¡V Becky aged 5, Sarah 3, Charley, two months, and Ressie(?) Smith 9. What relation this nine year old girl was we can only guess. She may have been Margaret¡¦s daughter by a previous marriage, a niece, or a cousin.
However nearby were other Noble households, who well may have been relatives. They were Louisa Noble, aged 27, and her children Lewis, Solomon, Moses, Cary, Letta and Vaney. Also Ashland Noble aged 25, with wife Jane and child john, then Richard Noble aged 50, wife Rose, child Zara, ad his possible mother Sarah, aged 75. Next door was a Daphne Noble, her age is difficult to read as the census taker had written part of her name over the number, but is appears to be 74. With her were a young woman Jane and a child Kate. And next door to Daphne was a Prelaske Noble aged 36, with a wife Rachel, and children Margaret and Starkes (?).
The conditions for freedmen and their former masters were terrible in South Carolina after the Civil War. Both tended to stay close at first, for mutual support. These other Nobles are probably relatives of Elias., or may have lived on the same plantation.
After 1870 Elias and Margaret had two more children, Lizzie and Jeanette. But sometime between 1876 and 1879, Elias Died. Margaret married again, to a Solomon Pudervest, and had one child by him, Mary, born in 1880.
Elias Noble¡¦s family lived in the southern part of Abbeville County, in what is now McCormick County. It was a natural migration path for people from this area to move towards Augusta, Georgia, a large town where work was more plentiful.
What happened to Charles Noble¡¦s family in between 1880 and 1895 is a mystery. The census of 1890, which would have been a great help, was destroyed by fire. But we do know that in 1895 Charles Noble married Hannah Reynolds in Screven County, Georgia, south of Augusta.
In 1900 Charles and Hannah were living in Bulloch County Georgia, next door to Hannah¡¦s parents Tom and Sophia (Buxton) Reynolds. Tom and Sophia had named their youngest son Noble, in honor of Charles. As Noble Reynolds was born in
1893, it suggests that Charles already knew the Reynolds family by then. He may have been working for Tom Reynolds, as his son Fred did later.
In the 1900 census, Charles and Hannah had two sons, Fred and Eugene. But tragedy was soon to strike Charles Noble again, for Hannah died, probably soon after she had been enumerated in the census. Hannah¡¦s parents Tom Reynolds and Sophia Buxton, had been married in Burke County on 30 November 1874. Sophia Buxton was the daughter of James and Becky Buxton.
In 1910 Charles Noble was newly married to his second wife Estella Mercer (possibly the daughter of York Mercer), and living in Laston, Bulloch County. His sones were not living with him.
By 1920 Charlie and Estella had returned to Burke County, and had three children ¡V Henry C., aged 9, Ida A., aged 7, and Charlie, aged 4. Eugene was living alone, unmarried, also in Burke County. Fred was married to Minnie Hendrix and was living with his in-laws in Hagan, Bulloch County. He had one son, Jessie, aged 2. Fred was still single in 1918 when he registered for the WWI Draft in Bulloch County. He was farming with his grandfather, Tom Reynolds, and named Tom as his closest relative.
In 1930 Charles and Estella Noble were living in Jenkins County (Jenkins had been formed in 1905), with five more children ¡V Mary W., Jesse, Birges, Lewis W., and Eddie Noble. Later that year another son, Wilbert, was to be born. But Charles was not to live to see his children grow up ¡V on 16 February 1932 Charles died in Millen, Jenkins County.
Estella was now left a widow with small children to support, and by 1937 she was living in Palm Beach, Florida. Eddie Noble also went to Palm Beach, he may have been helping to support the family. Wilbert died there in 1937, only seven years old.
Charlie Noble has not been difficult to trace in Georgia, but in South Carolina secondary sources had to be used. Charlie owned no land, which helps to locate a person. Also, the fact that vital records were not kept in South Carolina does not
help. Cemetery records again are of no use in early times, as an Afro American working man could not afford expensive gravestones, usually a fieldstone marker was used, and inscriptions wear away in time.
But we do know that Charlie¡¦s parents survived the often brutal life of a slave, and that Margaret survived her husband¡¦s early death, married again, and managed to bring up two families.
Suggestions for Further Research
Estella Mercer ¡V there may be records at the local level in Georgia that will throw light on her ancestry. There was a York Mercer and his family living in the same town when Charlie and Estella were married, and he had a daughter, Annie E. Mercer in his household about the same age as Estella in 1900. Was this Estella, using her ¡§cradle name¡¨?
Did Estella marry again? Where did she die? If family members can supply this information, the mystery may be solved.
Elias Noble¡¦s probable slave master, Edward Noble, did not die until 1889, and of course his slaves were long gone by then. His slaves may have been inherited by himself or his wife, or purchased. Knowing the various intermarriages of the Noble/Calhoun/Pickens families, it is going to take some time to search through relevant documents, and then without the promise of success.
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