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Appanoose County >> 1903 Index

Biographical and Genealogical History of Appanoose and Monroe Counties, Iowa.
New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1903.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.

Samuel A. Newell

Though not a native of Iowa, the above named has been a resident for over fifty years, and so long has be been identified with the affairs of Monroe county that he may justly be classed with the earliest pioneers. Originally from the north of Ireland, his ancestry settled in old Virginia many generations ago, and his paternal grandfather, Samuel Newell, was a man of note during the latter half of the eighteenth century. He enlisted for the Revolutionary war, fought gallantly in many engagements, and at the battle of King's Mountain received a British bullet in his body which he carried until his dying day.

Samuel married a Miss Montgomery, and among their children was a son named William. The latter married Paulina, daughter of David and Elizabeth Fain, Tennesseeans by birth, who removed first to Kentucky and then to Indiana, where the former ended his days. William and Paulina (Fain) Newell came to Iowa in 1851 and settled in Monroe county, where the former died shortly after his arrival, in the fiftieth year of his age, his wife long surviving him and dying when seventy-six years old. Of their eleven children six are living in different sections of the country, and all of them have families of their own.

Samuel A. Newell, who is included in the last mentioned list, was born January 25, 1838, during the residence of his parents in Owen county, Indiana. He was therefore about thirteen years old when they came west, and grew to manhood on the farm settled by his father in Monroe county. After his father's death he became the head of the household and occupied the position of a parent towards his younger brothers and sisters. He took charge of the farm and managed it until 1870, and during the subsequent twelve years was engaged in merchandising at Melrose, Monroe county. After retiring from his mercantile venture in 1882, he embarked in the live stock business, and since then has been a general dealer in this industry.

In May, 1860, Mr. Newell was united in marriage with Malinda J., daughter of David and Rebecca ( Nail ) Lukenbill, who came to Iowa in 1852. The father died in Eddyville in January, 1853, a few weeks after his arrival, but his wife lived to be sixty years old before passing away at the home of her daughter. She had nine children, and of these three are now living, including Mrs. Newell, with whom she lived and was tenderly cared for during her declining years. Mr. and Mrs. Newell have an only daughter, named Ida, who married David A. Criswell, a train dispatcher, and has three children, on boy and two girls.

The Newel's have a creditable record for patriotism, gained at different periods of the country's history. Besides the grandfather, of Revolutionary fame, one of his uncles participated in the Black Hawk war, and Mr. Newell himself was one of “the brave boys in blue” who fought for the Union. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in Company C., Eighteenth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Van Benthusen, and served loyally with his command for about one year. Mr. Newell stated his political career by voting for Abraham Lincoln when he was making his race for the presidency, and has ever since favored Republican principles, though he is very independent in his voting and “carries his sovereignty under his hat.” He was an Odd Fellow until his lodge surrendered its charter. He may be described as a strictly self-made man, as what he has done has been accomplished without the assistance of wealthy or influential friends, and by his individual efforts he has obtained a creditable standing in the social and business world.

Edgar M. Noble

Mr. Noble was born in the town of Albia, Iowa, April 25, 1854 the son of David A. and Elizabeth Ann ( Arnold ) Noble. His father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother in Indiana. They were married in Albia in 1853, the father having come to Albia in 1851, and the mother in 1852. They had three children. The elder Mr. Noble merchandised in Albia thirty or more years and died in 1895, aged sixty-five, but his wife still resides in Albia, aged sixty-eight. The father was a Republican and was county treasurer two terms. He and his wife were members of the Christian church. He was a successful business man as a general merchant. He had a fair common school education. The last several years of his life were spent retired.

Edgar M. Noble was reared and educated in Albia and spent one year at Christian College at Oskaloosa. In early life he entered the store of his father and was in mercantile lines up to 1895, since when he has been in the real estate and insurance business. He was married in 1878 to Miss Anna Miller. He is a Republican and the nominee of his party for auditor of the county. He and his wife are Methodists, and he is a Knight Templar Mason and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Ira Noble

The fame of Iowa as the home of thoroughbred stock has extended over the civilized world. The last census gives her precedence in the live-stock industry over all the states of the American Union, and her output is as fine in quality as it is large numerically. The famous breeding counties of old England, which at one time supplied this and all other countries with the best samples of horses, cattle and sheep, no longer exercise the pre-eminence once enjoyed. Nor do the stock centers in the celebrated bluegrass sections of Kentucky, middle Tennessee and Ohio now enjoy the supremacy which a few decades ago was allowed them without question.

The fine-stock banner, like the center of population and the “Star of Empire,” has been moving westward and at length seems to float permanently over the comparatively new state, whose eastern border is washed by the upper Mississippi. It is only necessary to attend one of the international live-stock exhibitions given at Chicago every December to be convinced that Iowa is able to hold her own in competition with the whole world in this important department of national development. All over the state may be found farms devoted to the scientific breeding and feeding of stock, where the general methods embody all the latest improvements and the concrete results of the highest skill.

One of these stock farms, which is a model of its kind, is situated in Monroe county, near Albia, and the foregoing prefatory remarks are intended as an introduction to its owner. It is called the Maple Row stock farm, and has been owned and operated about seventeen years by Mr. Ira Noble, a member of a family long influential in the affairs of Monroe county. The lover of fine horses who visits this place will find much to delight the eye in the shape of fine trotters of the best strains and trained by a thorough master in the art of breeding. He will be shown stallions with pedigrees as long as those of any English king, who have to their credit some remarkable achievements on the track.

General Wilkes, Jr., has a record of 2:24 I-2, and is the sire of one colt with a record of 2:081/4 to his credit, twelve others with records better than 2:20 and twenty-four in the 2:30 list. Red Maple was sired by Red Baron and is another highborn member of this equine aristocracy, having to his credit the hardest and longest race in the world, won at Independence after twelve heats. Much space could be devoted to description of other beauties on this fine farm and to the place itself, but first something must be said of the proprietor and the family to which be belongs.

Samuel Noble, the emigrant founder, came from Ireland during the latter part of the eighteenth century and settled in Huntington county, Pennsylvania. His son John, born in 1796, long afterward removed to Iowa, where he died in 1871, at Fairfield. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Abram Crane, of German lineage, by whom he had ten children, all sons but one, and nine of these are still living. Samuel Noble, one of the nine boys, was born in Huntington county, Pennsylvania, November 30, 1819, and came to Iowa in 1845, just a year previous to the state's admission into the Union. He first located at Fairfield, Jefferson county, but in 1849 embarked in merchandising at Albia, and continued that business with success for sixteen years.

In 1865 he closed out his mercantile business and engaged in realty and loaning, which constituted his occupation for a number of years. During this period he did much for the improvement of Albia, a notable instance being the erection of the fine business block on the northwest corner of the square, which is known by his name. By judicious investments in real estate and general business ability he became a large property holder, his possessions including several hundred acres of farmland near the city.

As a stockholder and director in the Monroe County Bank he was for many years an influential figure in the financial circles of Albia and ranked without question as one of its leading citizens. In 1860 he was elected judge of Monroe county on the Republican ticket and also served several terms as a member of the city council. He has been an elder in the Presbyterian church for forty years or more, and during that time also one of the most liberal contributors to and promoters of religious work of all kinds.

In 1842 Judge Noble married Miss Sarah Matthews of Pennsylvania, who died a few years later in her native state, and in 1849, after coming to Iowa, he contracted a second matrimonial union with Miss Mary J., daughter of Samuel Shipler, of Jefferson county. Mrs. Noble died October 14, 1892, leaving two sons, Emmett E. and Ira, and a daughter, Mary, now the wife of Charles Tharp of Chicago.

Ira Noble, second of the sons above mentioned, was born in Albia, Monroe county, Iowa, May 6, 1857, and was educated in the schools of his native place and in Burlington. His first business employment after leaving the schoolroom was as clerk in the old Monroe County Bank, but he soon abandoned this for more energetic pursuits. From earliest childhood he had developed a fondness for horses, and was never so happy as when handling these animals. This disposition found a vent in the establishment of a livery stable, which enterprise followed closely after his departure from the bank, and was also connected for a time with a grocery store in Albia.

The ruling passion, however, found full gratification in 1886, when Mr. Noble abandoned every other kind of business to concentrate his attention upon stock-breeding. In the year mentioned he took possession of Maple Row stock farm, consisting of nearly one hundred and sixty acres of land within a mile of Albia. Here he entered into the breeding of horses for the road and farm, and for a number of years kept jacks, but latterly he has practically dropped all other features to make a specialty of trotters. He handles only the standard breeds, as a glance over his catalogues will show, and his place is visited by turfmen from far and near who are anxious to secure promising colts.

Mr. Noble enjoys a high reputation as a breeder and handler of trotting stock, and his name is familiar throughout the west at all places where turfmen meet for business or pleasure. From his neatly kept farm go forth every year a dozen or more fine young animals, the product of proud sires and dams, and many of Mr. Noble's output have made fine racing records. His reputation both as a breeder and conscientious dealer, added to the excellence of his stock, enables him to obtain high prices and to enjoy a deserved prosperity as the result of his enterprise. It is such men as he that have given to Iowa her place of proud pre-eminence in the live-stock industry and brought her to the front as the home of thoroughbreds of the highest and best quality.

In 1879 Mr. Noble was united in marriage with Miss Nellie A., daughter of James B. and Elizabeth ( Irvin ) Bell, the former of Pennsylvania and the latter of Indiana, and now residing on a farm in Kansas. Mrs. Noble, who is highly spoken of by those who knew her well as a Christian wife and mother, died a few years ago, at the comparatively early age of thirty-nine. She left as a consolation to her bereaved husband three unusually bright children, whose names are Guy G., Iva J., and J. Thorpe, who in years to come promise to be worthy successors to their father in his noble calling.