Lee County Biographies



Prof. George H. Noble who is successfully conducting a lively business in the village of Compton, is one of the native-born citizens of Lee County, who now form so important an element in the maintenance of its prosperity. His birthplace is Amboy Township, and March 27, 1859 is the date of his birth. His father Charles Noble, formerly a well known farmer of this section was born in Whitehall, Washington County N.Y., while his father, whose name was the same as his own, was a native of Massachusetts. During some period of his life he removed from the old Bay State to the Empire State, and became the proprietor of a farm in Whitehall, where he passd the remainder of his life. The maiden name of his wife was Anna watters, and seh too died on the home farm in Whitehall.

The father of our subject was reared and educated in his native state of which he ramained a resident until 1855, and in the meantime he learned the art of daguerreotyping. in the year mentioned, he came to Illinois, and became a pioneer farmer of what is now Amboy Township. He remained on his farm but one year, however, as the climate did not agree with his family, and he removed with them to Minnesota, going by teams to the Mississipi, and then by boat to Winona. He entered a tract of Government land near that city, lived there about two years, and then returned to his homestead in Amboy Township. He made that his home until death closed his honorable career, March 26, 1880, devoting himself to its improvement. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Eliza H. Holcomb. She was born in Dresden, Washington County N Y, a daughter of James and Olive Holcomb. She married a second time, becoming the wife of Edward Mackin, and still occupies the home farm.

Our subject was one of nine children, and the names of his brothers and sisters are as follows; Mariette, Ann Eliza, Julia, Charles, James, Josephine (twin sister of our subject), Bowman and Hiram. George H. Noble received his early education in the district schools and advanced by attendance at Phillips' private academy at Amboy and Dixon Business College. In September 1876 he went to Kansas, and was employed on a farm in the summer and attended school in the winter during his stay in that state. He resided in Dickinson, Saline and McPherson Counties two and a half years, and then, returning home, attended Phillips Academy, where he pursued a thorough course of study. In the fall of 1881 he entered the profession of teacher, for which he was amply qualified, and in the years that he devoted to that vocation he wona a high reputation for his manifest talent for imparting knowledge and for the excellence of his methods of teaching. He taught two years, and then entered Dixon Business College, where he obtained high rank for general proficiency in his studies and while a student taught a class in German during the absence of Professor Sickles.

At the close of his term at the business college, Prof. Noble resumed teaching in the public schools and continued his professional career until June 1891, being principal of the Compton School the last three years of that time. In the fall of 1890 he established himself in the livery business, in which he continues. He has a well equipped stable and is well patronized by the traveling public. The professor is a h ighly intelligent, well informed, young man, whose active mind has been well trained, and he stands high in the citizenship of his native county. He is a member of Brooklyn Lodge, No. 282. A.F. & A. M.; ANchor Lodge I.O.O.F., No. 510, at Paw Paw, and is popular in scoical circles.

Prof. N oble was married June 20, 1889 to Miss Josephine Atkinson, a native of Brooklyn Township, and a daughter of the late William Atkinson, who was a prominent pioneer and well known citizen of Lee County. Her father was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in December 1806. He was in his sixteenth year when he embarked on board the good ship "Betsy Jane, " bound for St. John, N.B. where he was met by two older brothers who had preceded him to America. He attended school in that city two years, and then news of his mother's death was received and his brothers returning to their old home across the sea, he never saw any of the family again. He engaged in lumbering in the New Brunswick forests a few years, and subsequently tried the mercantile business a short time. He finally came to the States, and from New Hampshire made his way to Cairo, Ill. For a time he made trips up and down the Ohio from that point., but attacks of fever and ague obliged him to seek other quarters. We next hear of him at Ross's Grove, whence he removed to Inlet, and found employment in Dewey's saw mill.

In 1843 Mr. 1843 Mr. Atkinson took unto himself a wife, in the person of Mrs. Mary Ross Melugin, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of Joseph and Jane (Eaton) Ross, and widow of Zachariah Melugin. Her father died January 31, 1888, and her mother April 13, 1880, both living to be very old. Four of the eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson are living, namely; William, Martha E., Anna and Josephine.

Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Atkinson bought the homestead in Brooklyn Township of the Government, and there he and his wife passed the most of their wedded life, though at two different times they were residents of Mendota, once for a year, and again for three years, and Mr. Atkinson was at one time prominent in the civic life of that city as a member of the City Council. He was very successful in his business operaitons, as he invested his money judiciously, and became one of the rich men of the county. He was a man of broad views, of untiring energy, and was fond of traveling. He watched with keen interest the progress of the war, and after the battle of Murfreesboro was fought he visited the scene of the conflict. He attended the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia and the Cotton Exposition at New Orleans. He was a man of genial, frank, straight - forward nature, was generous and hospitable, and had many close friends who mourned his death, which was aloss to the community. He had done much for the upbuilding of the county, and his name will always be associated with its history. He was a member of Bethany Chapter, K.T. and was active in forwarding the interests of that organization, as well as of all things which would in any way benefit the community.

Contributed by Sheila Smith - Portraits & Biographical Pg 442


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