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Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

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Descendants of Reverend William Noyes, born, England, 1568, in direct line to La Verne W. Noyes and Frances Adelia Noyes-Giffen

by La Verne W Noyes


He died intestate before 30 April, 1622, when an inventory was made, and his widow was appointed administratrix 28 May, 1622 (Court of Archdeacon of Sarum). His widow was buried at Choulderton 7 March, 1657, aged eighty-two years (Parish Register). Her will is at Somerset House, London (Wooten, 130), and mentions sons James and Nicholas in New England. Will was dated March, 1655, and proved 21 April, 1658, at London. James, his brother Nicholas and their cousin, Thomas Parker, came to New England in 1634, and from James and Nicholas Noyes have sprung the Noyes family in America.

1 James1 Noyes was born about the year 1608 at Choulderton in Wiltshire, England. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, 22 August, 1627, but was not graduated. The Rev. Thomas Parker took him for his assistant at his school in Newbury in Berkshire.

He married, early in 1634, Sarah, eldest daughter of Mr. Joseph Brown of Southampton, England. In March of that year they embarked for New England on the "Mary and John" of London. They settled in Medford, where the county records show him to have been a resident in 1634, where he was made Freeman, September 3,1634, and where "he preached" (Brook's History of Medford). It is said that "for a time he officiated in the Watertown Church" (probably as an assistant to Rev. George Phillips).

His cousin, Rev. Thomas Parker, was at first called to Ipswich to join with Mr. Ward, but he, choosing rather to accompany some of his countrymen (who came out of Wiltshire in England) to that new place, than to be engaged with such as he had not been acquainted withal before, removed with them and settled at Newbury (Coffins' Newbury, pp. 11,12). Newbury, Mass., was incorporated as a town in the spring of 1635.

Uniform tradition asserts that the few original settlers came by water from Ipswich through Plum Island Sound and up the river Quascacunquen (now river Parker) to the place they had selected as their future habitation. Tradition also asserts that they landed on the north bank of the river about one hundred rods below the spot where the bridge now stands, and that Nicholas Noyes was the first who leaped ashore. Among these original settlers was Mr. Thomas Parker, Mr. James Noyes and wife, and brother Nicholas Noyes (Newbury, p. 15).

Rev. Mr. Parker and Rev. Mr. Noyes began, almost immediately, to form a church. The first meeting was on the Sabbath and held in the open air, under a tree. Rev. Mr. Parker was chosen pastor " in that waye of church discipline which he then preached for, the congregational waye" (Newbury, p. 17).

Mr. James Noyes was at the same time chosen teacher. He was the son of a minister, who married a sister of Mr. Robert Parker, and was, of course, a cousin of Mr. Thomas Parker.

Rev. Cotton Mather in his "Magnolia" says: "They taught in one school (in England), came over in one ship, were pastor and teacher in one church and, Mr. Parker continuing always in celibacy, they lived in one house till death separated them for a time."

For a few years after the settlement of the town their residence was on the west side of the "lower green," but on the removal of the meeting-house Mr. Noyes built a house in what is now Parker street. It is still standing and is owned by one of his descendants, Mr. Silas Noyes, and is one of the oldest houses in Newbury. Of Mr. James Noyes his cousin Parker writes: "Mr. James Noyes, my worthy colleague in the ministry of the gospel, was a man of singular qualifications, in piety excelling, an implacable enemy to all heresie and schism, and a most able warriour against the same. He was of a reaching and ready apprehension, a large invention, a most profound judgment, a rare and tenacious and comprehensive memory, fixed and unmovable in his grounded conceptions, sure in words and speach, without rashness; gentle and mild in all his expressions, without all passion or provoking language. And as he was a notable disputant, so he never would provoke his adversary, saving by the short knocks and heavy weight of argument. He was of so loving, and compassionate, and humble carriage, that I believe never were any acquainted with him but did desire the continuance of his society and acquaintance. He was resolute for truth and in defense thereof, had no respect to any persons. He was a most excellent counsellor in doubts, and could strike at a hair's breadth, like the Benjamites, and expedite the entangled out of the briars. He was courageous in danger, and still was apt to believe the best, and made fair weather in a storm. He was much honored and esteemed in the country, and his death was much bewailed. I think he may be reckoned among the greatest worthies of the age." He died 22 October, 1656. His will was dated 17 October, 1656, five days before his death, and was proved 26 November. In it he mentions wife Sara and children, brother Deacon Nicholas Noyes and cousin Rev. Thomas Parker. Inventory of estate amounted to £657 lis. 4d. His widow's will was dated 11 November, 1681, she died in Newbury 13 September, 1691, and her will was proved 29 September, 1691. Inventory of estate amounted to £1108.

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