Scope and Content
Title: Noble Family Papers
Collection Number: mssNBL 1-875
Creator OR Collector:
Noble (Family : Abbeville, S.C.)
Approximately 788 items
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Abstract: This collection contains the personal and professional correspondence of the Noble family of South Carolina,
mostly of attorney Edward Noble (1823-1889) and his son Patrick Noble (1849-1920). The Nobles were closely related through
to the Calhoun, Green, Clemson, Bratton, Pickens, McCaws, Cuningham, and Gadsden families.
Language of Material: The records are in English.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material,
nor does it charge fees for such activities.
The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with
[Identification of item]. Noble Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Gift of P. N. Jenkins, November 2007.
The Nobles of Abbeville, South Carolina, closely related through various marriages to the Calhoun, Green, Clemson, Bratton,
Pickens, McCaws, Cuningham, and Gadsden families, was one of the most prominent planter families of the "featherbed aristocracy"
of South Carolina. The Noble family was of Scots-Irish ancestry; the first Nobles came to America in the early 1700s and settled
in Augusta County, Va. Major Alexander Noble (1733-1801), married to his first cousin Catherine Calhoun, moved to South Carolina
and made his home in Abbeville District, near Willington. During the Revolutionary War, he was Captain of the state militia
and later became an aide-de-camp to General Andrew Pickens. Major Noble's eldest son John (1774-1819) went to Princeton, studied
medicine in France, and the set up medical practice in Charleston. His brothers Ezekiel Noble (d. 1732), William (1777-1823),
and Alexander (1794-1821) ran family plantations, including Vienna Plantation on the Savannah River and were engaged in cotton
trade. Joseph Noble (1792-1822), a Yale educated lawyer left for Alabama. Patrick Noble (1787-1840), the 57th Governor of
South Carolina was the most prominent among Alexander Noble's sons. He was born in Abbeville and graduated from the College
of New Jersey in 1806. In 1809, he was admitted to the bar and set up a law practice in partnership with John C. Calhoun.
In 1814, Noble was elected to the state legislature. In 1830, the General Assembly elected him as 34th Lieutenant Governor;
in 1836, he became state senator, and in 1838, the General Assembly elected him Governor of South Carolina.
Patrick Noble's son Edward Noble (1823-1889) graduated from South Carolina College in 1844 and practiced law in Abbeville
and Charleston. He was a well respected lawyer and also served as the alderman. He was the legal advisor to the family of
his cousin John C. Calhoun and a trustee to Anna Calhoun Clemson. On February 4, 1849, Edward Noble married Mary Means Bratton
(1827-1905) of the Yorkville Brattons, sister of the Confederate general John Bratton. The couple had five children: Patrick
(1849-1920), Belle (1852-1866), Edward (b. 1855), Floride (b. 1859), and Mary Bratton Pickens (1861-1898). A nullifier, Edward
Noble represented his district at the South Carolina's secession convention and signed the state's Ordinance of Secession
on December 20, 1861. In 1862-1863, he served for 90 days as Major of the 5th South Carolina Reserves. After the war, he returned
to Abbeville to his farming and law practice. In the 1880s, he joined his son Patrick in San Francisco; he died there in 1889.
Patrick Noble (1849-1920) studied at South Carolina College. During the Civil War, he briefly fought in the Confederate Army,
and then returned to Charleston to his studies. In 1868, Patrick Noble moved to California and became a clerk at Pacific Rolling
Mills Co., the first iron and steel foundry in the West that had been founded two years earlier by William Alvord and James
G. Fair. In the 1880s, Noble was the company's president. After the Pacific Rolling Mills' original operation closed at Potrero
Point, Noble reorganized the company at its new location on 17th and Mississippi Streets. Patrick Noble passed away in October
1920, and his son, Edward B. Noble continued leading the company through successive mergers until he retired 1945.
Scope and Content
Personal and professional correspondence of the Noble family, mostly Edward Noble and his son Patrick Noble, as preserved
by Patrick Noble's family. The collection also includes a group of letters addressed to Edward Noble's uncle John Noble (1774-1819),
and the correspondence of Floride Calhoun (1792-1866) and James Edward Calhoun (1826-1861), wife and son of John C. Calhoun,
about the administration of Calhoun's estate and property. There are also several documents about slaves owned by the Calhoun,
Cuningham, and PIckens families as well as legal documents used in various law suits brought about by the various family estates
John Noble's correspondence includes letters from his brothers Alexander, Ezekiel, and Patrick. In his letters, Alexander
Noble discusses the disposition of the estate of Nicolas Cooper; his business affairs, including management of the Vienna
Plantation, cotton trade, and family slaves (including news of a fire set by the enslaved woman Hannah). Ten letters by Patrick
Noble (1805-1818) describe his studies at Princeton and his trip home in the fall of 1806; admission to the bar, partnership
with John C. Calhoun, his legal practice, and state and national politics. Also included is the letter to Patrick Noble from
John C. Calhoun (1828, Sep. 19, NBL 165), discussing the tariff controversy.
Correspondence of Edward Noble includes his letters to his wife and son; his business correspondence, including communications
with the Calhoun and Clemson families, and letters from his friends, family members, colleagues, and political allies, including
John Bratton and Francis Wilkinson Pickens. The letters of Edward Noble and Patrick Noble (1849-1920) describe Patrick's school
studies; Edward Noble's trip to New York, Washington, D.C., White Sulphur Springs, Va. in the summer of 1860; the South Carolina
Secession Convention in Charleston (December 1860-March 1861); Noble's service in the Confederate Army (February 1862-June
1863); the politics of Reconstruction in South Carolina and particularly in Abbeville (including the activities of the local
Ku Klux Klan), Patrick's life in California, news of friends and family, etc.
Other prominent participants include: Thomas W. Bacot, South Carolina lawyer and politician; Andrew Pickens Calhoun, son of
John C. Calhoun; author Floride Clemson; professor R. Means Davis; businessman and Senator James G. Fair; General John T.
Morgan; businessman J. Mora Moss; Mexican journalist Manuel Payno; Francis W. Pickens, South Carolina representative; Charles
P. Stone, U.S. Army officer; and Major Jasper S. Whiting.
The collection is arranged chronologically. It is housed in sixteen boxes.
Bacot, Thomas W. (Thomas Wright), 1849-1927
Calhoun, Andrew P. (Andrew Pickens), 1811-1865
Calhoun, Floride, 1792-1866
Calhoun, James E. (James Edward), 1826-1861
Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1782-1850
Clemson, Floride, 1842-1871
Davis, R. Means, 1849-1904
Fair, James Graham, 1831-1894
Morgan, John Tyler, 1824-1907
Moss, Joseph Mora, 1809-1880
Noble family -- Archives
Noble, Edward, 1823-1890
Noble, John, 1774-1819
Noble, Patrick, 1849-1920
Payno, Manuel, 1810-1894
Pickens, F. W. (Francis Wilkinson), 1805-1889
Stone, Chas. P. (Charles Pomeroy), 1824-1887
Whiting, Jasper S.
Ku Klux Klan (19th century) -- South Carolina
Administration of estates -- South Carolina
African Americans -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Cotton growing -- Southern States -- History -- Sources
Cotton trade -- Southern States -- History -- Sources
Freedmen -- Southern States -- History -- Sources
Fugitive slaves -- South Carolina
Iron ores -- South Carolina
Lawyers -- Southern States
Plantation owners -- Southern States -- Archives
Plantations -- Southern States
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Sources
Secession -- Southern States -- Sources
Slaveholders -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Slavery -- Confederate States of America
Slaves -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Women -- Confederate States of America -- Correspondence
Women plantations owners -- Southern States
Abbeville (S.C.) -- History
Charleston (S.C.) -- History
Confederate States of America -- History -- Sources
Fort Hill Plantation (S.C.)
Sonora (Mexico : State) -- Description and travel
South Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
South Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1775-1865 -- Sources
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
Winnsboro (S.C.) -- History
Family papers -- United States -- 19th century
Legal documents -- United States -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century