Jacob A. Noble
Jacob A. Noble has been for many years a prominent engineer sailing out of Milwaukee, but in 1898 he entered the employ of the Wisconsin Milling Company as chief engineer. He has been endowed with many good qualities of head and heart, is generous and companionable, and now holds a responsible position. He was born January 21, 1847, at St. Catharines, Ontario, and is the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Campbell) Noble. The father was raised near Kingstone, Ontario, and after leaving home he went to St. Catharines, where he soon displayed an aptitude for business, and finally founded a large axe factory, to which in the course of time he added a large flouring mill, but suffered reverses during the financial crash of 1857. He joined the silent majority in 1861. The mother was born near Belfast, Ireland, and was a descendant of Colin Campbell; her father was a captain in the Scots Grays, a famous British cavalry regiment, and on being retired on half-pay crossed the Atlantic with his family to locate a government grant of land near Toronto. The family had carried on a factory for the manufacture of lace previous to their emigration to the New World. The mother of our subject died in 1874.
After attaining a good public-school education in St. Catharines, Jacob A. Noble spent some time as a clerk in a dry-goods store, but that occupation being too confining he adopted the life of a sailor, going to Port Colborne and shipping on tugs operating on the Welland canal, among them the Minnie Battle and Florence. He also acted as engineer of a dredge, doing contract work at Bay City. In 1872 he was appointed engineer of the steamer Florence, plying in the Detroit and Windsor ferry line. The next year he applied for American papers, which were granted by Mr. DeForest, of the Cleveland district, and was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Alpena. He then moved to Milwaukee and shipped as chief engineer of the steamer Susquehanna. After sailing for a number of years as chief of lumber barges, which included the Hickox, Hilton, Almedinger, Neptune and Fayette, he entered the Milwaukee Cement Works as engineer. Owing to some change in the company Mr. Noble, in 1891, returned to the lakes as second engineer of the steamer George H. Dyer, followed by a season as second in the Thomas Davidson. In the spring of 1893 he was appointed chief engineer of the Thomas Davidson and ran her for four seasons, always with satisfaction to everybody concerned. In the spring of 1897 he transferred to the John Duncan as chief, closing the season in the Fred Pabst, and at this writing he is chief engineer of the Wisconsin Milling Campany, of Milwaukee. He has twenty-four issues of license.
His brother, William Noble, who is also a resident of Milwaukee, sailed as chief engineer of many steamers, among them being the R. J. Hackett, Forest City, and Amazon, and since 1882 has been superintendent chief engineer of the Wolf and Davidson line of steamers.
In November, 1888, Jacob A. Noble was wedded to Miss Catherine Rung, of Milwaukee, and they reside at No. 972 Scott street, Milwaukee, Wis. Socially our subject is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, No. 9, of Milwaukee, and is vice-president of that body.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.