Biography of Rev. Seth Noble
Madison County, Ohio Biographies





REV. SETH NOBLE, deceased. Respecting the question of the early ministers of the Gospel in the county, I believe my grandfather my mother's father Rev. Seth Noble, was the first Presbyterian. I have in my possession a book of "notes" of his sermons, in his own handwriting, together with the dates and places where some of his sermons were delivered about fifty in all during the years of 1806-07. He was born in Westfield, Mass., April 15, 1743, and died in Franklinton, now embraced in the corporation of Columbus, Ohio September 15, 1807, aged sixty four years. His genealogy, as far as known, is as follows: Thomas Noble was admitted an inhabitant of Boston, Mass., on the 5th day of January, 1653. He was probably a native of England. In the year 1653, he moved to Springfield, Mass., and in about 1669, to Westfield, Mass. He married, November 1, 1660, Hannah Warriner, born in Springfield, Mass., August 17, 1643, only daughter of William and Joanna (Scant) Warriner. To them were born eleven children, the thirds one of whom was Thomas Noble (Deacon Thomas), born in Springfield, Mass., January 14, 1666, and died in Westfield, Mass, July 29,1750, aged eighty four years. He married, December 19, 1695, Elizabth Dewey, born in Westfield, Mass., January 10, 1677, daughter of Thomas and Constant (Hawes) Dewey, and was ordained as Deacon in the Congregational Church May 25, 1712. They had eleven children, the first of whom was Thomas Noble, born in Westfield, Mass., September 10, 1696, and there died February 18, 1775, aged seventy eight years. He married (first), September 1, 1722, Sarah Root, born in Westfield, Mass., March 9, 1702, daughter of John and Sarah (Stebbins) Root. To them were born ten children, the youngest of whom being Rev. Seth Noble.

*By William Morrow Beach, M. D.

REV. SETH NOBLE, was born in Westfield, Mass., April 15, 1743. He married (first), November 30, 1775, Hannah Barker, who was born in Rowley, Mass., February 19, 1759, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Palmer) Barker, of Rowley, Mass., and Maugerville, N. S. She died in "Kenduskeag Meadow," (Bangor) Province of Maine, June 16, 1790. He married (second), April 11, 1793, Mrs. Ruhama Emery, of Bangor, Maine, who died in Montgomery, Mass., in October or November, 1805. He married (third), Mrs. Mary Riddle, in June, 1807. He joined the Congregational Church at Westfield, Mass., May 5, 1770. His first settlement in the ministry was on the 15th day of June, 1774, over the Congregational Church in Maugerville, N. S., and the descendants of that society say that he was ordained at Newburyport, Mass. In 1784, New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia, and in 1789 the meeting house in which " Parson" Noble had preached was removed to that part of the town which is now Sheffield, and on the 13th day of July, 1876, Rev. Joseph Barker, a grandnephew of Mrs. Noble's, was settled as their pastor. Rev. Seth Noble's ministry at Maugerville continued until 1777, when upon the arrival of an armed British schooner, which had come to enforce the oath of allegiance to King George, he fled, narrowly escaping with his life, as he was an ardent advocate of the cause of the Colonists. He became, for awhile at least, a soldier in the Revolutionary army. On the 7th day of June, 1786, he was engaged as the first settled religious teacher and preacher by the citizens of Kenduskeag Meadow (Bangor) at an annual salary of £70. He was inducted into office September 10, 1786. He was not only the first settled minister, but in 1790 he was deputized to go to Boston and procure from the General Assembly an act of incorporation., under the name of Sunfield; but being a teacher of sacred music, and passionately fond of the solid old minor tune of " Bangor," he erased "Sunfield" and inserted Bangor in the petition. The field over which Mr. Noble presided included Bangor, Brewer, Eddington, Hampden, Holden and Orrington. He added to these duties the instruction of youth in English branches, and also in singing. Deacon William Boyd, of Bangor, says " he was a good singer and had a clear and pleasant voice. He taught those who were natural vocalists to sing by note, and was the first teacher of sacred music in the place." During the Centennial exercises at Bangor in 1876, a brother of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin's was the orator. In his oration, he presents the foregoing facts, dwelling upon them at length. In 1797 he left Bangor and returned to New Market, N. H., where he had previously ministered to some now extinct Presbyterian congregations, and in 1799 went to Westfield, Mass., the place of his activity, where for two years he supplied vacant pulpits in Becket, Blanford, Feeding Hills, Ireland. Montgomery, Russell and Springfield. From the 4th of November. 1801, he was the first settled pastor of the church at Montgomery, Mass., up until his removal to Ohio in the spring of 1806.

The only printed productions known, from the pen of Mr. Noble, is a nineteen page pamphlet of two sermons preached at Westhampton, Mass., June 26, 1802, and published by T. M. Pomeroy, of Northampton, in 1804. I have in my possession a lengthy letter written me in 1876, by Rev. Elisha D. Barrett, of Assumption, Ill., who was, at that time, the oldest living Alumnus of Williams College, in which he says: "I well remember Rev. Seth Noble as the first pastor at Montgomery. He was tall and slim, but very active and energetic. His step was quick and firm, and his gait graceful. He wore a white wig, which he used to powder. His complexion was ruddy." " As a preacher he was sound and able; and his sermons were scholarly, unique, systematic and evangelical On one occasion, a child by the name of Bartholomew was killed by a falling tree, and Mr. Noble preached the funeral discourse over the open grave from Ecclesiastes ix, 12. The effect was electrical, and proved the most dramatic scene I have ever witnessed." The Congress of the United States gave public lands to the Nova Scotia refugees. The refugee lands extend from the Scioto, at Columbus, Ohio, to the Muskingum, at Zanesville. Mr. Noble's share, 320 acres, fell where Columbus now stands. In the spring of 1806, he came to Ohio and settled in Franklinton. He built a house on his land, which Mr. Albert Bartholomew, now of Detroit, Mich., a grandchild, revisited and recognized about thirty years ago. His first recorded sermon preached in Ohio was at J. Andrus'. at Worthington, April 9, 1806. Hem preached at Granville, Licking County, August 17, 1806; at Franklinton, August 24, 1806; " Derby " (Big Darby) September 22, 1806; Bixby's (Delaware), April 11,1807,and at Berkshire. Delaware County, May 24 and 27,1807. In 1847, whilst I was a dry goods clerk in the store of George A. Hill & Co., in Plain City (then Pleasant Valley), James Ewing, the first white settler of what is now Union County, told me that Mr. Noble had frequently been a guest at his house, and had preached there a number of times. There were a number of Presbyterians along Big Darby, north of Ewing's, and among his other preaching places were the houses of the Mitchells and Woods, the father of the late banker, William Wood. of Marysville, Ohio, and also at a point or points on Little Darby, over about the Fullington settlement. Mr. Wood was himself ordained in 1807 or 1808, as is shown by letters now in my possession. Mr. Noble had not infrequently ministered to Presbyterian congregations in New Hampshire, in and around New Market, both before and after his settlement at Bangor, Maine; and it is presumable that he fell into the Presbyterian ways of his congregations in Ohio with but little embarrassment. History is history; and Mr. Noble was not only the first pastor at Maugerville, at Bangor, and at Montgomery, but he was doubtless the first preacher to the Presbyterians at Franklinton, where he was on a salary and preached regularly, twice on each alternate Sunday, in 1807. where he had a church organization of fourteen members, of which Mrs. Lucas Sullivant was one. I saw, when a boy, among my mother's papers, the list of names of these fourteen members; and these fourteen persons were undoubtedly the persons who, in 1808, composed the " First Presbyterian Church," at the time of the ordination of the Rev. James Hoge

Mr. Noble's last recorded sermon was preached in Franklinton, August 9, 1807, from Matthew, xi, 28 - "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He died on the 15th day of the following month (September), and was buried in the old Franklinton Burying ground; but the " march of empire," sweeping over and beyond, has left no token or sign of the exact spot where his body was laid to rest. His children by his first wife were as follows: Seth, born August 5, 1777, at Maugerville, N. S., was lost at sea off the New England coast, October 20, 1798, aged twenty one; Joseph, born at New Market, N. H., June 13, 1783, died about 1869, at Brighton, N. B., aged about eighty six; Sarah, born June 1, 1785, and died in Montgomery, Mass., November 15, 1836, aged fifty one; Benjamin, born June 25, 1787, died in Brighton, N. B., April 12: 1860, aged seventy three; Hannah (my mother), born in Kenduskeag Meadow (Bangor), Maine, September 11, 1789, died in Amity, Madison County, Ohio, November 17 1854, aged sixty five. The children by the second marriage were Betsey, Thomas, Polly and John Adams, all of whom are now dead.

From:
History of Madison County, Ohio
Published by: W. H. Beers and Company
Chicago, Illinois
1883


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