Biography of John S. Noble
Napa County, CA Biographies





JOHN STEWART NOBLE.
To indulge in prolix encomium of a life which was one of distinctive modesty and unpretentiousness would be incongruous; yet in reviewing the career of the late John Stewart Noble, who was long one of the best known funeral directors and business men in the Bay district and who held a position of unequivocal confidence and esteem in the community where he labored to so goodly ends, feelings of admiration are prompted, for while working for his individual advancement he at the same time took a good citizen's interest in the general welfare of his community. He possessed to a marked degree the essential elements of success and was a splendid type of the self made man. His death removed from St. Helena one of her most substantial and highly esteemed citizens, and the many beautiful tributes to his high standing in business circles and as a man and a citizen attested to the abiding place he had in the hearts and affections of those who knew him and of his work and accomplishments. Mr. Noble was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 12th of August, 1857, and was a son of John and Margaret Noble, of whose four sons he was the eldest. When he was about twelve years of age the family came to the United States, locating first in Chicago. A short time later they moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, where the father, who was a tailor by trade, engaged in business.

John S. Noble secured his education in the public schools of that city and during his leisure hours he applied himself to learning the tailor's trade under his father's direction. At the age of eighteen years he decided to start out in the world on his own account, and he set his face westward, traveling all through the northwest and down the coast to San Diego, California. While in California he made a trip through the Napa valley and received a favorable impression of the district, which was to recur to him in later days. Eventually he returned north and located at Colfax, Washington, where he engaged in business as a tailor. Some time later he formed a partnership with Oliver Hall, who later was a member of the state senate of that state, and they opened an undertaking establishment in Colfax. He continued in business there until 1890, when he moved to Spokane and established himself in the same line of business. While there he suffered a severe attack of blood poisoning and, because of the impaired condition of his health, he decided to move to California. He then remembered his former trip through the beautiful Napa valley and at once decided to locate here. They arrived in August, 1891, and Mr. Noble bought the furniture and undertaking business of the late J. I. Logan, which at that time was located where the Bank of St. Helena now stands. He also purchased "Rockland," just north of this city, as a home. By close attention to business and sound methods of procedure, he gradually prospered, and in 1901 he purchased a lot and built the splendidly equipped establishment now occupied by W. F. Mercier. In 1906 he exchanged his business and real estate in St. Helena with J. F. Heim for property in Chicago and moved to that city. The deal proved unfortunate and the comfortable fortune which had been accumulated by Mr. Noble was wiped out. However, in 1910, undaunted, he returned to St. Helena and again engaged in the furniture and undertaking business, hoping to retrieve his losses. In this he was successful to a very gratifying degree, and during the subsequent years he enjoyed his full share of the local business in his line. He was a man of indomitable energy and gave close attention to his affairs, and he won not only material success, but, what is more important, the confidence and respect of the entire community. In December, 1922, Mr. Noble was again the victim of a severe attack of blood poisoning, which, despite the best that medical skill could do to check it, caused his death on January 16, 1923.

In Colfax, Washington, in 1887, Mr. Noble was married to Miss Minnie A. Wilman, and there their daughter, now Mrs. Joy Noble Lack, was born. In 1916 Mr. Noble was divorced from his first wife and on April 16, 1922, he was married to Mrs. Emma R. D. Mooney. In January, 1921, Mr. Noble took his daughter into full partnership in the business.

Early in 1926 the furniture department was discontinued, and the undertaking business is now being operated under the name of the Noble Funeral Home. Mr. Noble was a member and past master of St. Helena Lodge No. 93, Free and Accepted Masons; a member and past worthy patron of St. Helena Chapter No. 274, Order of the Eastern Star, and a member of Olive Camp No. 135, Woodmen of the World. His religious membership was with the Methodist Episcopal church. He was a man of kindly and generous impulses, giving liberally to all worthy benevolent and charitable organizations and cooperating with his fellow citizens in the promotion of all measures for the betterment of the community. Quiet and unassuming, yet of a sociable nature he was a popular member of the circles in which he moved and was well and favorably known throughout the community.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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