James NOEL, b. 1830

James Noel is one of the pioneer residents of Mahaska county, who has intimate knowledge of the events which have marked the advance of its history and indicated its progress toward an advancing civilization. He was born in Union township, Perry county, Ohio, March 30, 1830, a son of Joseph and Mary (Cooper) Noel, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania and spent their last days in Indiana, the father's death occurring in White county, that state. He was a shoemaker in early life but later became a farmer and settled in White county. James Noel of this review is the only living son in a family of sixteen children, three brothers having died in the Civil war. He was eighteen years of age when his father died. He then went to work on a farm in the neighborhood, having previously acquired a good common school education in the district schools of White county. In 1852 he came to Mahaska county with his wife's parents and on the 12th of December, the same year, he was married in a little log cabin in Richland township, this county, to Miss Mary M. Bacon, who was horn in White county, Indiana, April 16, 1834, a daughter of Ira and Mary Bacon, the former born in Massachusetts and the latter in Ohio. Mr. Bacon and his family came to this county in July, 1852, and he took up government land in Richland township, whereon he built a log cabin, in which the family lived for several years. As time passed and he prospered in his undertakings he added to his farm until he owned five hundred acres of land and he continued his residence in Richland township until his death, which occurred when he had reached the age of sixty-six years. His widow survived him to the age of seventy-eight years. In their family were twelve children. Following his marriage James Noel purchased one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Richland township, which he improved and made his home for several years. He then traded that property for another farm partially improved and lived thereon fourteen years, when he sold out and removed to New Sharon, where he is now living a retired life. He was an active and energetic agriculturist, carefully directed his business affairs and his industry and perseverance constituted the salient elements in his success. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Noel have been born six children, of whom four are living: Rubie, who died at the age of one year; Alfred, who married Miss Clara Tice, and is living at Leighton, this county; Almeda, who died at the age of fifteen years; Otis B., who married Miss Julia E. Knowlton and resides upon a farm in Union township; Olive, living in Illinois; Lillian, the wife of Henry C. Hull, a resident of Prairie township. In politics Mr. Noel is independent. He and his wife are members of the Christian church and they occupy a comfortable home on West Main street. Mr. Noel relates many interesting incidents of the early days when his Indiana home was upon the frontier. They used grease lamps and burned coon oil, which gave a steadier light than any other grease. After coming to Iowa they burned lard and tallow in the same kind of lamp. Their first bed was made by placing poles in holes made in the logs in the side of the cabin and then covering these with clapboards. They shared in the hardships and privations of pioneer times but as the years have gone by have been enabled to secure the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.


from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906

Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

Home Page