Co. I, 12th NY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, Onondaga County, NY

(Written by his great-granddaughter, Janet Noble White Gibbens in 2001)

Two days after the fall of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on 13 April 1861, President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men to volunteer for Civil War service. Edward Allen Noble, age 22, responded to his president's plea and enrolled on April 30 for three months state service ('ninety days men') in Company I, 12th NY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Onondaga County Regiment.

Edward Allen Noble was born 6 November 1838 at Marengo, Calhoun county, Michigan, during the few years his parents, William Burwell Noble and Amelia (Allen) Noble relocated from Cayuga county, NY.

Edward A. Noble's grandparents were early settlers of Cayuga county. His paternal grandfather, William Henry Noble, was the second toll collector at the Montezuma stop on the Erie Canal, NY Assemblyman 1828-30, US Congressman in the Twenty-fifth Congress during the first two years of the Van Buren administration, 1837-39, and Inspector of Auburn Prison, 1843-45.

Edward Allen Noble's maternal grandfather, Capt. Edward Allen, arrived in Aurelius in 1806 and bought the grist mill from Clark at Clarksville on the Owasco outlet in 1823. Edward Allen Esq. contributed to the first schools in the district and was a foundation member of the First Baptist Church of Auburn.

Edward Noble came to Cayuga county as an infant, when his parents and older sister returned from Michigan in 1839. Another sister had died earlier. A third sister was born in Montezuma and a brother in Auburn. The family of two boys and two girls lived at Ira Corners where his father owned a store. Edward was about fifteen when his mother died of consumption on 7 March 1853. His father remarried December 20 1853. Edward's step-mother was Harriet Van Nearing of Pompey, Onondaga county, daughter of Alson and Eliza (Hulburt) Nearing.

Soon afterwards the William B. Noble family moved to Pompey where they lived in the homestead originally built by his new father-in-law Alson Nearing. Harriet Nearing had been living here with her parents while she raised her nephew, Alson N. Squires, who would have been eleven years old at the time of her marriage to Noble. Three children were born in Pompey to W. B. Noble and Harriet Nearing Noble.

The current postal address of the Alson Nearing homestead is Berry Rd., Lafayette, NY. It is in the Town of Pompey, near the Town of Lafayette line. It was one of two built about 1807 by pioneer brothers Alson and John Nearing, a central chimney Connecticut style house of one and a half stories.

It is uncertain whether it was from this house that Edward Allen Noble left in 1861 to enroll for Civil War service with the 12th NY. His 'cousin' Alson Squires did. Some information suggests that the Noble family moved some miles away, and purchased land in Lot 78, Town of Pompey. (Note 1.)

Noble was mustered in at Elmira, NY, May 13, 1861, with the rank of private, and left the state May 29. Edward Drake was the lieutenant and later the captain of Co. I. He remained in touch with Noble, and vouched for his pension application thirty years later.

Edward Noble suffered an attack of typhoid fever about July 18, and developed a fever sore on his left leg. That leg troubled him all his life. The muster roll of August 31 shows Noble absent on leave. At about this time he was a patient at a Washington DC hospital [Fort Tillinghast, 4 miles from Washington?] under the care of Charles E. Hill, MD. Noble used a cane for six weeks.

After their intended three months of service at 31 August 1861, the regiment was turned over to the US for a further period to make a total of two years service. The following day Noble was promoted to corporal.

The company muster rolls show Noble present at the January, February, March and April 1862 musters.

Noble was absent from his company musters from 30 June1862 through 10 April 1863. From 30 June 1862, and with the rank of private, Noble was detached from Co. I and attached to Reserve Artillery, Movell's Division. From November he was attached to Battery K, 1st US Regular Artillery, Capt. Graham commanding, Gen. Rickett's Division. He served with them until April 1863, and was then ordered to report to Co. I to be sent home.

I am uncertain whether Co. I of 12th NY Infantry served in the same engagements as the above artillery units.

The major encounters of Co. I prior to Noble's detachment 30 June 1862 were (Virginia): Blackburn's Ford, First Bull Run, Upton's Hill, Big Bethel, Yorktown, Hanover Court House, and Seven Days Battle. [The Squires' memoir gives a description of this period.]

After 30 June 1862, the major encounters of Co. I were (Virginia): General Pope's Campaign, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, Richard's Ford, Rappahonnock River, and Chancellorsville.

Noble was discharged with Co. I, 12th NY Infantry at Elmira, NY, 17 May 1863, just two weeks before others remaining in the revised regiment fought at Gettysburg, PA.

A photograph of Edward Allen Noble in uniform with four fellow soldiers in front of a tent was taken at some time during his service. [Probably before his detachment at the end of June 1862. This photo is in the possession of Janet Gibbens.]

One year after discharge Edward A. Noble was in Ira, Cayuga county, when his Allen grandfather died, and left him two hundred dollars. Noble was married 12 Jun 1864 at Pompey, Onondaga county to Nancy Philena 'Lena' Wheelock, Nathan Bosworth officiating. She was the daughter of Luther and Nancy (St.John) Wheelock, both families early pioneers of Onondaga county. The Noble and Wheelock families were neighbors on Lot 78, Town of Pompey. (Note 2.)

Edward and Lena Noble started their married life in Auburn, Cayuga county where he worked from 1864-66 for the Merchants Union Express Co. Six children were born between 1865-77, Arthur, Frances, Anna, Inez, Florence, and Louise. In 1875, 'Nancie W. Noble' bought eight plots in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, two days after Anna died, age 6 years and 6 months. (Section 17, S. Slope Greenwood, Lot 12.) Florence was buried there two years later, age two years and nine months.

At 1891 and prior, Edward Noble worked, probably as a teamster, for George Shakleton, an Auburn grocer. By spring of 1893 the family was living at 49 Aurelius Ave. [house not there in 1998], and in 1894 at 1 Madison Ave., [house standing in 1998]. Owing to ill health he left the grocery position, and worked at the Nye & Wait Co., a carpet manufacturer. He was in charge of spooling and winding yarn, a job he had to accept because of his war-service leg problems and inability to do heavier work. He kept his leg bandaged from knee to ankle and walked with a cane.

More than five years after first applying in 1893 for a Civil War pension under the Act of June 27, 1890, Noble was granted a pension of $10 a month. His impatience with the repeated form-filling and trips to the notary public showed when he responded in 1898 to the printed question, 'What record of marriage exists?' Noble's handwritten answer was, 'A certificate of marriage and four children which I think will do.'

Friends who had known him for thirty years testified to his good character. His old commander Edward Drake, wrote in 1893, 'a steady, sober, and industrious man…a good and faithful soldier,' Jay E. Storke wrote in 1894, 'I know he is temperate and not given to any vices whatever and has led an exemplary life: has been industrious, temperate and a good citizen generally.' Frank A. Talladay, and George H. Brice attested to his physical problems. Also testifying was Carl Armbruster, a neighbor in 1895 who wrote in 1898, 'claimant is a strictly temperate man...spare in physique...'

At February 1898 Noble worked at W. D. Ames grocery in Auburn. After his wife died on 10 March 1898, Noble continued to live with his three daughters at 1 Madison Ave., Auburn. He visited every few days with his brother William and family at 150 Perrine St.

Edward Allen Noble died 24 Nov 1905, age 67, while at work as a mechanic at the Bowen Mfg. Co., Canal St., Auburn, and was buried near his wife and the two infant daughters in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn. His stone says: Edward A. Noble, Co 2, 12 Reg NY Vol. (Inscription error. Should be Co. I), 1838-1905. Also buried in that Lot are his son Arthur Noble, who died in 1914, and his (Edward's) mother, Amelia Allen Noble, a reinterment. (Two of the eight plots were sold in 1940.)

Major references:

Boltwood, L.M. 1878. History and Genealogy of the Family of Thomas Noble of Westfield, Massachusetts. Hartford, Conn: Case Lockwood & Brainard Co.

Death Certificate, EAN, Reg. No. 11864, City of Auburn, Cayuga county, NY.

Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, NY, Record of Interments.

National Archives, Civil War Pension File, No. 1143526.

Personal correspondence, Sylvia Shoebridge, Pompey Town Historian and Nearing descendant, 1992/3.

Phisterer, F. 1912. New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Third Ed., Five volumes. Vol 3, p1873.

Squires, A. N. 1903. A Short Biographical Sketch of the Life of A. N. Squires. (A copy kindly supplied by S. K. Walling, and originally from Sylvia Shoebridge.)


Note 1. Lot number(s) and years of Noble residence in Pompey (one farm or two?) are unclear. They could be sorted out at the Onondaga County Courthouse.

They are relevant in establishing the relationship of Edward A. Noble and Alson Nearing Squires who both served in Co. I of the 12th NY V. I. In his memoir, Squires called Edward Noble his cousin, probably an honorary term. Squires was raised by his aunt Harriet Nearing, prior to her marriage to W. B. Noble. She became Edward Noble's step-mother in 1854. Squires said he lived in his grandparents' house (Alson Nearing) until he was nineteen and left for the war in 1861. Squires also says the Noble family had moved some distance away sometime before 1861, but that he, Squires, continued to live with his grandparents, and share-farm the property. It's likely that Edward Noble and Alson Squires lived in the same household in Pompey for some of their teenage years from 1854.

According to a note added to the Squires memoir by J. Roy Dodge, Lafayette Historian, the Alson Nearing farm was on Lot 62 Pompey.

According to Sylvia Shoebridge, Town of Pompey Historian, writing in 1993, the Nearing house was on Lot 78. In one letter she said W. B. Noble bought the place January 18, 1855. In another she said W. B. Noble bought it in 1864 and lived there until 1865 when it was bought by Sylvia's grandparents. Sylvia wrote that the Nobles took care of John Nearing's elderly wife in that house until her death 15 Jul 1865. Perhaps the 1864 is a mistake?

The Boltwood genealogy says the Nobles lived in Pompey 1854-1863, and then in Syracuse 1863-1878 when the genealogy was published. The Pompey house was one of two built about 1807 by pioneer brothers Alson and John Nearing. Rebuilt as a two-story house in the 1880s, it is the home of Sylvia Shoebridge, a Nearing descendant. She took Noble descendants Janet Gibbens and Andrew White on a tour of the house in 1993.

Note 2. According to 1816 Clark Berry deed, land adjacent was owned by Samuel Wheelock, and according to 1847 assessor's book, by his son Luther Wheelock. Sylvia Shoebridge correspondence 1993. Thus, Edward Noble married 'the girl next door'.

Note 3. Edward A. Noble had a cousin, Charles Hervey Kellogg, b. 1846, son of his aunt Mary Jane (Noble) Kellogg. It is not known if he is the same Charles Kellogg listed as a musician in the Regimental Band of the 12th NY. Charles H. Kellogg was from Ira, Cayuga county.

About the author: Janet Noble White Gibbens, is the great-granddaughter of Edward Allen Noble, through his daughter Inez Noble White (1872-1938), and her son Robert Noble White (1908-1996). Janet began her Noble research with a Civil War photo among her father's possessions. It showed five soldiers in front of a tent, and written on the back was, 'Old 12th, Mrs. Nobel' (sic Noble) and '120 Kelleog' (sic Kellogg?). (Note 3.) A positive response from the National Archives started her research. Janet Gibbens welcomes additions and corrections to this biography. Email jwgibbens2@yahoo.com.

(This file was received by Kenneth Jennings Wooster, February 26, 2001.)