Samuel Noble

Submitted & Transcribed by Eric Stack
Brant & Fuller (1893) from "Memorial Record of Alabama", Vol. I, p. 608-610
SAMUEL NOBLE (deceased).-The founder of Anniston, Samuel Noble, who died August 13th, 1888, was a son of James and Jenifer (Ward) Noble, of England, whose memoirs appear elsewhere in this work. Of the six sons of James and Jenifer Noble, Samuel became the most prominent, and really the man of the family. The family moved from Pennsylvania to Rome, Ga., in 1855, before Samuel attained his majority, and established a foundry and machine works; the business prospered and their plant was from time to time enlarged. During the war they built an iron furnace in Cherokee county, Ala., which they named Cornwall furnace, and which was destroyed by Blair's army corps in 1863. About the same time part of Sherman's army destroyed all the works in Rome, leaving the family owning only the ground the various industries had stood upon, and their homes. It was a time that required genius, energy and courage. Samuel Noble possessed all three; he also had friends who placed the greatest confidence in his ability and honesty. At the close of the war, he organized, with his brothers, a stock company, and built rolling mills, nail works, machine and car works and foundry, and did a successful business. Being greatly in need of a good quality of iron, with which to supply their works, Samuel Noble prospected among the hills of Calhoun county, Ala., where he found a literal mountain of brown hematite iron ore, where Anniston now stands, and in 1872, purchased 2,000 acres for $20,000. Needing a partner to assist in building furnaces, he met in Charleston, S. C., Gen. Daniel Tyler, to whom he described the property.
Gen. Tyler came to Alabama, was delighted with what he saw, and the result was a partnership, composed of three Nobles and three Tylers, each family taking half. Mr. Alfred Tyler (son of Gen. Tyler) and Mr. Samuel Noble, being placed in charge as president and vice-president. A furnace was immediately erected for charcoal iron. Every dollar the furnace made was put into improvements, other furnaces were erected, stores built, mills, depot, churches, schools, residences, and streets laid off and macadamized, shade trees planted, electric lights and water works built. The foundries and other works of Noble Bros. were moved from Rome to Anniston, thus concentrating their interests, and adding to the wealth of the town. The company refused to sell an acre of ground until the city was completed on a firm basis. They named it Anniston, and the place at once sprang to the front as a noted and prosperous city. Mr. Noble's time, money and energy were given to Anniston; his own business was of secondary importance; and whenever anything for the good of the city was to be done, all eyes were naturally turned to him, to take the initiative. Mr. Noble had an indomitable will, an energy that almost beggars description, an ambition, boundless yet praiseworthy in its channels, and a mind bold and decisive, comprehensive in its scope, yet with a wonderful aptitude for details-these constituted his elements of greatness. His many unostentatious deeds of charity, and his munificent donations to religious and educational institutions, proclaim a good man.
Mr. Noble was an Episcopalian, but the builders of almost every church in Anniston h we had tangible evidence of his liberality. Without Noble there would have been no Anniston. The city of Anniston - is a monument as lasting as the towering hills that overlook her lovely valleys, in which he opened mines, built furnaces, planned and laid out a city. He built and equipped railroads, erected and endowed institutions of learning, built and aided in the building of churches; and all these things he accomplished by an irresistable will, indomitable energy, and aggressive spirit. He was an ardent advocate of the protective tariff and wrote many able articles upon this subject for leading newspapers and magazines which attracted wide attention. The greatest statesmen of the day had not more thoroughly mastered the science of political economy, and of government, than he had. Judge W. D. Kelly, ("Pig Iron" Kelly) said of him: "Sam'l Noble's knowledge of statistics transcends anything I have ever heard." Mr. Noble was only fifty-four years of age and was cut down in the very zenith of his greatest successes, and leaves unconsummated some of the greatest plans of his life. Southern industry looses one of her greatest chieftains, and the labor of the south one of its truest friends. John Temple Graves, the greatest orator of the south, wrote of Samuel Noble: "He was the pioneer of southern development; while others were dreaming and waiting, he was at work. For thirty-four years he had lived and moved among the people of north Georgia and Alabama an inspiration to energy, hope and determination; his brave spirit knew no discouragement, his iron energy sought no rest. He was always a positive force, and always progressive. He led without question, and by right of superior qualities the great advance of southern interests, The south to-day owes no deeper debt of gratitude then to the heroic pioneer of industrial developement who sleeps to-day with folded hands on the hillside overlooking the notable city which they built. No human hands that we wot of have accomplished more."
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