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Thomas Noble Papers

Thomas Noble Papers

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Thomas Noble Papers




2012



Profile Description

Creation: 05.04.2012
Language: English

Title: Thomas Noble Papers
Dates: 1728 - 1739
Quantity: 1 standing box, 1 flat box
Identification: PP NTh
Location: 252C
Language: English

The first part of the collection details Thomas Noble's business activities as a merchant in New York between 1731-1739. The shipping book contains receipts of shipments made by Noble with various ship captains between 1734-1739, some aboard Moravian ships. The letter book contains drafts of outgoing letters to business contacts between 1731-1736.

The second part of the collection consists of papers relating to New York merchant John Roehead and the debt owed him by John Louthian of Edinburgh. Roehead was having difficulty collecting payment from John Louthian of Edinburgh and named his nephew Andrew Home (Hume) of London as his attorney. Thomas Noble was a witness to Roehead's letter of attorney. In this series there are letters, copies of letters, accounts and receipts. Home sent many of the papers Roehead grouped in three bundles. The purpose of these papers was to provide supplementary information regarding Louthian's debt. Many of the letters from Roehead to Home are copies made by Roehead. Alexander Dundas, a merchant in London, also copied several of the letters between Roehead and Hume. In some cases, the collection includes both the original letter and a copy. Some letters listed on the original list of bundles are missing, primarily from the third bundle.


Thomas Noble (? - 1746) was a Presbyterian merchant in New York who met Spangenberg in August of 1736. Through this relationship he was able to provide valuable services to the Moravian colonies and missions.

Noble's wife Mary, whose maiden name was Bayard, was a devout Christian of Dutch descent and was drawn to Moravian teachings and way of life. Both were part of the nine original members of Peter Boehler's non-denominational religious society established in January of 1741, and Thomas was one of the spiritual leaders of the community.

Noble was soon negatively influenced by the Amsterdam Classis, which caused him to distance himself from the Moravians. When he and his wife hosted Count Zinzendorf in his home early December of 1741, another guest Captain William Bryant of the London started a controversial conversation which left Noble offended and questioning whether Zinzendorf could be a servant of Christ. His wife harbored no negative feelings toward the Moravians and actively tried to restore their good reputation and defend them against attack from Presbyterians and others. She welcomed the First Sea Congregation which docked in New York in 1742 and convinced her husband to join her. Noble was under intense pressure from fellow Presbyterians to have nothing to do with the Moravians. In 1743 Presbyterian minister Gilbert Tennent sent a man to Noble's home to convince him to disassociate with the Moravians, but while they were talking a bundle of letters arrived which they got permission to open. The letters were from James Burnside and John Brownfield of Savannah to the Brethren in Bethlehem. These letters convinced Noble that the Moravians were the children of God. He ultimately joined the Brethren.

When Mary died in mid-March of 1745, Thomas Noble commissioned Hector Gambold and his wife to take his children (Thomas Jr., Isaac, James, Sarah and Mary) to Bethlehem so they could be cared for by the Brethren and go to the Moravian School. Thomas Noble visited his children often, and died on one of these visits to Bethlehem on April 2, 1746.

Noble was intimately involved in building the Moravian ship the Irene, and acted as the financial agent and arranged for rigging, cables, and anchors to be shipped from England. Upon his death, money from his estate was given to Bishop Spangenberg and the Irene was able to be launched debt free.


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Related Material

Letters by Thomas Noble in Unity Archives R.14.A.30.


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