NOBLIN-L ArchivesArchiver > NOBLIN > 2001-07 > 0994277642
From: Al Noblin <>
Subject: Daughters of William NOBLIN & Elizabeth YANCEY, Mecklenburg Co, VA
Date: Wed, 04 Jul 2001 16:14:02 -0400
This message is a effort to sort out what is known about the five
daughters of William NOBLIN and Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN of Mecklenburg
Item 1 - Review of the Will of Elizabeth NOBLIN, dated 4 Dec 1855,
proved Feb Court 1856, Mecklenburg Co, VA Will Book 18, Page 496.
This will reads, in part: "First I give my 3 sons George Washington
NOBLIN, Thos. William NOBLIN and John NOBLIN each one dollar and unto my
daughter Susan I give one dollar. Secondly I give unto my son Joseph
NOBLIN and his heirs my horse to pay him off a debt he has against me.
Thirdly & lastly I give unto my son Joseph NOBLIN and unto my four
daughters Mary Frances NOBLIN, Nancy Jane NOBLIN, Alcy (Elsie) W. NOBLIN
and Eliza NOBLIN & their heirs forever all the balance of my estate and
my desire is that my estate shall be kept together for the benefit of my
son Joseph NOBLIN and my four daughters last mentioned and if my son
Joseph NOBLIN should marry and want to build a house on the same land he
can do so and if he should want to move off he can do so by selling his
interest to one or all of his four sisters and if either of my four
doters last mentioned should marry and want to move off and leave the
others she can do so by selling her interest to Joseph NOBLIN or her
other sisters who have an interest in this estate."
Joseph NOBLIN was nominated as Executor of this Will, but refused the
service. This Joseph NOBLIN is know to later generations as Joseph
Herbert NOBLIN, and much is known of his family and descendants.
Item 2 - Descendants interest in this family
Two people listed as recipients of this message are interested in
resolution of this family: Tom (Marvin Thomas) NOBLIN descends from
Rufus NOBLIN, positively identified with this family group through the
census records; Alec TAYLOR descends from Alexander NOBLIN, identified
with this family group by default as no other can be positively
identified has having a connection to Alexander NOBLIN.
Item 3 - Family Legend of the Daughters of William NOBLIN and Elizabeth
Joe James NOBLIN is a Grandson of Joseph Herbert NOBLIN. Joe, who is a
hale and hearty 80 years old with a great memory, currently lives in the
Grassy Creek Community in Granville Co, NC. I visited with Joe and his
lovely wife, Mary Leigh TILLEY NOBLIN, in June, 2001. When I asked Joe
if he knew anything of the daughters of William NOBLIN and Elizabeth
YANCEY, he laughed and related the following. He had heard stories from
his Grandfather, Joseph Herbert NOBLIN, and his Grandfather's sisters.
The stories related to the sisters having housefuls of children with no
husbands. According to Joe, the family had always concluded the
daughters to be prostitutes.
Item 4 - Census Records
There is a continuing record of this family in the Censuses from 1820 to
1820 Census of Granville Co, NC
1 male under 10
1 male 26-40 (William NOBLIN)
2 females under 10
1 female 16-26 (Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN)
1830 Census of Granville Co, NC
1 male under 5
1 male 5-10
1 male 15-20
1 male 40-50 (William NOBLIN)
1 female under 5
2 females 10-15
1 female 30-40 (Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN)
1840 Census of Granville Co, NC
1 male under 5
2 males 5-10
1 male 10-15
1 male 15-20
1 male 50-60 (William NOBLIN)
1 female under 5
1 female 5-10
1 female 10-15
2 females 20-30
1 female 40-50 (Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN)
1850 Census of Mecklenburg Co, VA
Betsy NOBLIN, age 50 (Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN) (Family #215)
Mary, age 22
Alice, age 20 (Elsie?)
Nancy, age 8
Lucy, age 3
In the Family of Samuel YANCEY and wife Agnes (Family # 204)
Eliza NOBLIN, age 30
Susan NOBLIN, age 30 (Family # 240)
Lucy, age 10
William, age 8
Betsy, age 6
Julia, age 4
In the Family of Lewis GAINER and wife Barbara (Family # 281)
Thomas NOBLIN, age 21
1860 Census of Mecklenburg Co, VA
Eliza NOBLIN, age 30
Joseph, age 25
Alicy (Elsie?), age 27
Mary, age 23
Nancy, age 19
Catherine, age 14
Rufus, age 10
James WILES, age 69
Susan NOBLIN, age 45
John NOBLIN, age 35
Jane (WILES?), age 22
William (WILES?), age 7
Eli (WILES?), age 14
Louvena (WILES?), age 8
Avy (WILES?), age 5 (I believe this to be the Avy WILES who married
George Washington NOBLIN)
William NOBLIN, age 10
1870 Census of Mecklenburg Co, VA
Eliza NOBLIN, age 50 (Family #514)
Elsie, age 45
Mary, age 35
Nancy, age 22
Kate, age 21
Rufus, age 19
Angeline, age 14
Susan, age 12
Narcissus, age 10
1880 Census of Mecklenburg Co, VA
Eliza NOBLIN, age 50, Head of Household
Elsie, age 43, Sister
Mary, age 38, Sister
Narcissus, age 24, Sister (Sister???)
QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION
How Many Children Did William NOBLIN and Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN Have?
In her will Elizabeth NOBLIN lists nine children: Four boys, George
Washington, Thomas William, John and Joseph; five girls, Susan, Mary
Frances, Nancy Jane, Elsie W. and Eliza. It is a safe surmise that these
nine were surviving in December 1855 when she wrote her will. Following
the censuses through the years seems to shed further light on this
question. In 1820, three children were shown, 1 boy and 2 girls. In
1830, six children are shown, 3 boys and 3 girls. The progression of the
ages from 1820 to 1830 is consistent; 2 girls under 10 in 1820 to 2
girls 10-15 in 1830 makes sense. Same is true for the one boy in the
However, some inconsistency appears when moving from the 1830 census to
the 1840 census. 1 boy in 1820, under 10 becomes one boy 15-20 in 1830,
and then he disappears in the 1840 census, as he would be in his 20's,
so that part seems OK. The older girls are all still at home, and now
there are 5 girls shown, and that is the count Elizabeth had in her
will. So, unless there was a birth and death of a young NOBLIN girl
between censuses, we can imagine that all the girls are accounted for.
However, 5 boys are shown in the 1840 census; add in the oldest, who has
disappeared, and that gives us a total of six boys for this family.
Elizabeth names only 4 in her will, so there are at least 2 boys who
died between and the making of her will in 1855. The 1850 census gives
us no help whatsoever in this matter as it shows no boys at all in
Elizabeth's (Betsy's) household. A William, age 8, is shown in Susan's
household; that doesn't help as, if his recorded age is correct, he was
born in 1842, which only compounds the missing boy problem if he was
William and Elizabeth's son.
It appears the safest guess, based on the few facts, is that William and
Elizabeth NOBLIN had 11 children, 6 boys and 5 girls, of which we only
have 9 names.
What was the order of birth of the children of William NOBLIN and
The most difficult part of this question is the boys. There is scant
mention of them in the later records, at least records known to this
researcher. It was a frequent practice for wills to name children in the
order of their birth. However, I've seen enough that did not to be wary
of assuming this is true. If this practice were true for Elizabeth
NOBLIN, then we easily have George Washington, Thomas William, John and
Joseph. I feel comfortable with naming Joseph the younger or youngest.
Joe NOBLIN has Joseph Herbert NOBLIN's family Bible with Joseph's birth
date recorded as 1 Mar 1833. This may be in error, but we have enough
problems with this family to risk throwing out such solid evidence, so
that's nailed down for me.
Based on the similarity of birth dates, and as a convenience to me in
tying all the various NOBLIN lines together in my computer software, I
have entered Thomas NOBLIN, who was shown in the 1850 census of Stokes
Co, NC as the eldest child of William and Elizabeth. I have no proof of
this and it may quite well be in error. As mentioned above, there is a
Thomas NOBLIN, age 21, shown in the the 1850 census of Mecklenburg Co,
residing in the household of Lewis GAINER. The age of 21 indicates a
birth year of 1829, well within the description of the 1830 census of
Granville Co, NC where a boy under 5 was counted. The only problem here
is that the Thomas NOBLIN in 1850 was shown to be born in VA, but those
statements of birth place were frequently in error.
Anyway, for the present, I'm leaving my connection to Thomas NOBLIN (in
Stokes Co in 1850) as the eldest child and son of William and Elizabeth.
After that, I simply placed the other boys into the family in the order
of their listing in the will. I know of no other data available that
supports any other order.
The girls are an entirely different matter. Here, the situation is one
of too much data, and it is all totally inconsistent. Susan is shown as
being 30 in 1850, 45 in 1860, and then we see her no more. Eliza is 30
in 1850, continues to be 30 is 1860, ages to 50 in 1870 and continues at
age 50 in 1880. Mary Frances is 22 in 1850, 23 in 1860, 35 in 1870 and
38 in 1880. Elsie is 20 in 1850, 27 in 1860, 45 in 1870 and 43 in 1880.
Nancy is 8 in 1850, 19 in 1860, 22 in 1870 and is not shown further. Of
course, if these women were practicing the oldest profession, they would
tend to minimize their ages. Who wants to fool around with an old
woman? (No brick bats, please, just humor :o))
If one plays with the above ages a bit, there does seem to be a degree
of consistency, with some of the girls consistently being older than
others. Based on that consistency, I have placed them in this order: 1)
Susan as the eldest as she is shown first in the will and in 1850 is in
a separate household with children; 2) Eliza is consistently shown as
older than the remaining girls; 3) Mary Frances is shown older than
Elsie on two censuses; 4) Elsie is shown older than Mary Frances on two
censuses, but I had to make a choice; 5) Nancy Jane is shown younger in
One additional troubling area is the naming of Narcissus as a "sister"
in the 1880 census. Her age was shown as 24, indicating a birth date of
1856. If true, this would have been at or after Elizabeth's death. As
Elizabeth was around 60 when she died, I think the naming of Narcissus
as a sister is simply an error and to be disregarded.
Another troubling area is just the proliferation of girls, as shown in
the various censuses. It is quite likely that they are called by
different names from one census to the next, as Catherine in 1860 is
quite likely Kate in 1870. However, that is the only similarity in names
so that the host of girls can be trimmed a bit. Also, there is little
continuation of girls present from census to census with a progression
in their ages to indicate that Julia in 1850 may be Angeline in 1870.
There is a gap in 1860 with few girls mentioned that keeps from reducing
the length of the list of girls.
The marriage records of Granville Co, NC show marriage of the following
NOBLIN women: Louisa A. NOBLIN, age 20 in 1872 - could this be
Angeline, the dates are about right? Catherine NOBLIN, age 24 in 1874 -
we know about Catherine/Kate, so this is a fit; Laura NOBLIN, age 20 in
1875; Nancy NOBLIN, age 24 in 1875 - too young, if age is stated
correctly, to be Nancy Jane. These marriage records only clear the air a
Who was the Mother of Alexander NOBLIN?
As I look at the various possibilities, I see only two that really seem
to fit. Either Alexander was a child of Elizabeth YANCEY NOBLIN or Susan
NOBLIN. I don't really think that Alexander belongs to Elizabeth; why
would she not name him in her will as her son, if so? Therefore, by
default, I'm placing Alexander as a child of Susan NOBLIN. Susan would
have been about 18 years old in 1834, when Alexander was born. The next
oldest girl, either Mary Frances or Elsie, was born in 1828, and only
six years older than Alexander. I just don't think it could be anyone
One clue that I found in the marriage records of Scott Co, VA has not
helped in this placement, as I had hoped it might. When Alexander's son,
Logan Preston NOBLIN, married in Scott Co, his listed his parents as J.
A. & E. V. NOBLIN. From this, we can conclude that Alexander was his
middle name. Alexander's youngest son was Joseph Alexander NOBLIN, so
this might be another clue as to Alexander's first name. Or, since his
Uncle was Joseph Herbert NOBLIN, Joseph Alexander could simply have been
named for that Uncle. In the 1850 census of Granville Co, NC, Alexander
is shown in another family. We have not found him in the 1860 census.
Using the 'J' first initial, and looking in the 1860 census, we find
Joseph, age 25, in the household of Eliza NOBLIN, age 30. I had always
taken this to be Joseph Herbert NOBLIN, but I could be in error. We also
find John NOBLIN, age 35, in the household of James WILES. Unless there
is serious error, this John is too old by 9 years to be the listing for
Alexander NOBLIN. Unless a careful perusal of the 1860 census reveals
another 'J' NOBLIN somewhere, we are still stuck with not knowing where
Alexander NOBLIN is in 1860.
Who were the parents of Rufus NOBLIN?
This is significantly harder to answer than the above question about
Alexander. In the 1860 census, Rufus is shown in the same household with
Eliza, Elsie, Mary Frances, and Nancy Jane. In the 1870 census, Rufus is
shown in the same household with Eliza, Elsie, Mary Frances, and Nancy
Jane. No help there. From researchers on Rufus' line, we have Rufus'
birthdate as Jan 1858. In 1858, Susan would have been about 43, Eliza
about 40, Mary Frances about 30, Elsie about 27 and Nancy Jane about 22.
Using 'normal' thinking, Susan and Eliza are too old. Hopefully, Nancy
Jane is too young to be playing around. That leaves Mary Frances and
Elsie as the most promising prospects to be the Mother of Rufus NOBLIN,
given the facts we know today.
I hope this recapitulation of this family has been interesting and
helpful to each of you. Please, if you have additional information that
will help clear up the confusion about this family, send it to me and
the other researchers on this line. It will be most appreciated.
Owings Mill, MD