By Robert L. Williams
George Buchanan Noble, born in Collin County, Texas on September 26, 1866, was a son of John Shackelford Noble (who was born in Kentucky on May 27, 1813 and died at Pilot Point, Texas on May 25, 1886), and his wife, Lucy Taylor Willock (who was born June 4, 1830 in Missouri, where her father and mother died when she was four years old, being taken to an uncle in Kentucky with whom she lived until her marriage on January 26, 1848, and died at Leonard, Texas on February 24, 1909). Immediately after said marriage he was transferred from the Louisville (Kentucky) Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to the Indian Mission Conference, and with his bride he at once removed to Fort Towson, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, arriving in February, 1848, where as a member of said Conference he became superintendent of the Robeson Choctaw Indian School, name later changed to the Choctaw Academy for Indian boys and girls, of which he was superintendent for over five years.
His wife, in addition to the ordinary primary educational courses, taught the Indian girls cooking, sewing, dressmaking, and other domestic arts. In addition to such primary courses and instruction and as to religious matters, he taught the Indian boys agriculture, carpentry, and mechanics. On account of his health, at his request he was relieved of assignment for work for the year 1853.1 In the latter part of 1854 he was transferred to the East Texas Conference, and at the Conference held at Marshall, Texas, in October, 1855, on account of his health he was granted a location. He then acquired a farm in Collin County, Texas, near Allen, where he settled and remained the greater part of his life,2 continuing religious work as a local Methodist preacher, and engaging in farming.
Three children were born at Fort Towson, Choctaw Nation,3 and ten in Collin County, Texas, three of whom settled in the
1History of Methodism in Oklahoma, Vol. 1, by Babcock and Bryce, pp. 320, 333, and Minutes of Indian Mission Conference, pp. 59, 65, 73 (Archives of Oklahoma Historical Society).
3Margaret L. Noble, born Feb. 15, 1849, and married George Buchanan on June 6, 1866, and died at Leonard, Texas, on April 8, 1928; Mary E. Noble, born on June 19, 1850, and married James S. Newman in May, 1868, and died in Collin County in August, 1894; John A. Noble, born April 14, 1852, and died in Crosby County, Texas on March 10, 1939.
In 1880 the family moved to Pilot Point, Texas that the children might have better educational advantages in attending what was then called the Dr. Franklin Academy, where George Buchanan Noble applied himself studiously and diligently.
In 1888 he secured a position in a drug store at Denison, Texas, where he remained until going to South Canadian in 1889 and securing employment in a drug store. He continued in that capacity until Dr. R. I. Bond (its proprietor) became a surgeon at Hartshorne for the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company, which was being constructed eastward across the Choctaw Nation from a point on the M. K. & T. Railroad line at McAlester. In March, 1892, at Cameron, I. T. he took charge of a drug store for Dr. Bond, later purchasing same from him. In November, 1896 F. W. Bird purchased an interest in said drug store, the business continuing under the firm name of Noble and Bird at that point until in 1899 when it was by them removed to Poteau, I. T. Bird and Noble remained partners in such business until the partnership was dissolved in 1910.
With the passage of Act of Congress of March 1, 1889 "to establish a United States Court in the Indian Territory," from the surrounding states persons began to settle in its towns and villages and surrounding country, expecting an early opening of the Territory for statehood. At Cameron in 1892 George B. Noble organized a "Cleveland Democratic Club" with about 500 members.
On March 9, 1892 at a convention organized in response to a call issued to the Democrats of the Indian Territory to meet at a schoolhouse at South McAlester to select delegates to the National Democratic Convention which was to meet at Chicago, Illinois to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President, George B. Noble of Hartshorne acted as a Secretary. At a convention of Democrats held on October 5, 1892 at South McAlester for the purpose of naming a National Committeeman for the Indian Territory,
4Emily W. Noble, born on Feb. 25, 1854 and married Frank M. Michael in June, 1870, and died on Nov. 2, 1935, at Paoli, Garvin County, Oklahoma; Albert Gallatin Noble, born on June 10, 1856, operated a store at Preston in Grayson County, Texas, and then at Kingston and also resided at Ardmore in the Chickasaw Nation, and later removed to Shattuck, Oklahoma, where he died on October 23, 1930. He was married three times, his wives being as follows: (1) Nannie Stelzer, (2) Sallie Wilson, and (3) Mrs. Nina Minor, who survived him.a
6Ellen V. Noble, born March 25, 1858, and died on Aug. 30, 1870; Laura J. Noble, born Feb. 2, 1860, and married J. Granville Mullens (Dallas, Texas); James R. Noble, born on March 25, 1862, and died on Oct. 15, 1881; Florence B. Noble, born Sept. 24, 1868, and married George D. Galloway June 30, 1891 and died Sept. 6, 1927 at Dallas, Texas; Allie S. Noble born Sept. 22, 1872, and married Annie Steele, Dec. 25, 1892 (Jefferson, Texas); Lou Ermine Noble, born Nov. 1, 1876 and married Dr. J. J. Pendergrass, Mar. 28, 1899 (Wharton, Texas).
George B. Noble was a delegate from Cameron and through all the years until the date of his death except when he was prevented on account of infirmity of body, he was active in the Democratic Party, and attended as a delegate all district, territorial, county and state conventions.
In the early part of March, 1895, having been duly appointed, he qualified as United States Deputy Marshal for the Central District of the Indian Territory with headquarters at Cameron and served in that capacity as an exemplary, efficient, and brave officer until March, 1898, when he was succeeded by an appointee under the then Republican National Administration.
On organization of public schools at Poteau prior to statehood he was elected as a member of the first school board.
He was married on December 3, 1896 to Miss Memora Stalcup, and to this union three children came, all of whom are living, to-wit: two sons, Bird Noble, Poteau, and William S. Noble, Houston, Texas, and one daughter, Mrs. Marshall Miltimore, West Palm Beach, Florida. George B. Noble died at Poteau on September 4, 1940, funeral held at the First Methodist Church on Thursday, September 5, 1940 at 2:30 P. M., the pastor, Rev. J. O. Whitmore, officiating, the memorial address being delivered by his long time friend, Judge Malcolm E. Rosser of Muskogee; interment in the Oakland Cemetery at Poteau.
After passage of the Enabling Act on June 16, 1906 (34 Stats. 267) he took an active and effective part in the election of delegates to the Convention to frame a Constitution for the proposed state of Oklahoma, which met at Guthrie on November 20, 1906, and at the election on its ratification on September 17, 1906, he was elected as sheriff of Leflore County, and qualified on November 20, 1906, and at the general election in November, 1910 he was re-elected and held the office until the term expired in January, 1913, during which terms he was a brave, faithful, honest, wise and efficient officer.
In January, 1915 he was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate as Commissioner of the State Game and Fish Department, and efficiently continued in that capacity until he was appointed and qualified as Commissioner of Highways.
Under Act of March 15, 1915, Session Laws of Oklahoma, 1915 "creating a Department of Highways and Relating to Roads", the office of Commissioner of Highways was created and he was appointed to said office by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and qualified on July 1, 1915 and continued in such capacity until the early part of 1919. At the beginning of his administration a highway engineer was appointed and the work of locating and designating state highways and the construction of permanent culverts and bridges and roads was inaugurated.
From 1919 to 1931 he served in different important capacities at the state capital, except the period when he was a receiver in an
important case in the United States Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Retiring on account of failing health, he returned to Poteau in 1934 to live in such retirement.
Not only was his father a missionary to the Choctaw Indians, but also for seven years an itinerant Methodist minister in Kentucky and for one year an active itinerant minister in the East Texas Conference, and upon his location whilst engaged in farming was active as a local Methodist preacher. Another brother of George B. Noble was Albert Gallatin Noble also an ordained local Methodist preacher, who performed the marriage ceremony when George B. Noble and his wife, Memora Stalcup, were married.
In the county of Leflore before his retirement, George B. Noble was active in the leadership of his party for the promotion of the public welfare.
At his funeral in Poteau on September 5, 1940 were assembled many old timers, their locks whitened with many winters, who had been his associates and long time friends beginning with the early pioneer days.
Devoted and faithful to family and home, to friends and associates—loyal to country and party—with sterling honesty and faithful performance of duty in every line of endeavor—he will be remembered.