Charles Noel-Mary Baker

To say that I could use some help with this page is a classic understatement! There are more questions than answers here, I'm afraid. I offer what I know in the hope that some answers will come my way!

Charles Noel was the son of Moses Noel and Exilda Beauchamp. He was born on August 3, 1885, in Hinsdale, Berkshire Co., MA along with his twin brother Moses. Baby Moses died at 7 days old.4
Charles, instead of taking up the trade of stone mason like his father and his father's father, went into the shoe making industry.
Charles married Mary Baker on 16 April 1884, in North Adams, Massachusetts.4 She was born about March of 1870 in New York, and was the daughter of Edgar & Julia HOVER.5 They may have even met in the shoe factory; on their marriage record, Mary lists her occupation as "shoe worker".5

Charles and Mary had three children:
Maud Ellen- Born 17 December 1886 in North Adams.1 Maud married John D.F. Nolan on 19 January 1903 in North Adams.2 They had one known daughter, Helen Nolan, born on 13 April 1904.1. By 1910, Helen was living with Mary Baker Noel and Mary's mother, Julia Over Rand. No trace of Maud or John have been found thus far after 1904. Helen Nolan is the subject of one of our family mysteries .5
Frank A.- Born about 1889 in North Adams, little Frank died from scarletina on 29 March 1891 in North Adams.3

Mary Noel filed for divorce from Charles on November 2, 1899, and was granted the same by the Superior Court of Pittsfield, Berkshire Co, MA on August 29, 1900.
According to the papers filed in Superior Court, Charles Noel deserted his family on or about August 8, 1891 and was reported to be living in Somersworth, NH at the time of the action. He appears to have signed for a registered letter sent to him in Somersworth from Mary's attorney. Oddly enough, Mary mentioned nothing about her children in the action, who would have been 15 and 14 years old.7

News articles from the North Adams Transcript between the years of 1896-1899 about Charles seem to validate Mary Baker's allegations. Some of the articles are outlined as follows:

  • Cruelty to aniamls charge- On 20 August 1895, the Transcript reported that Charles Noel had sheltered his horse in a barn belonging to someone else and did not feed it for a week. The horse was in a state of starvation. Charles was charged with and plead not guilty to cruelty to animals charge. He was found guilty and was ordered to pay a $15 fine or be sentenced to the house of corrections for 30 days.
    A letter from a citizen that appeared in the paper two days later complained about the lenient sentence and to report that she had observed the emaciated animal being pulled along the road a few days earlier by a small boy. Charles' son Edgar would have been about 10 years old at this time and could very well have been leading his father's horse.
  • Capias Issued- On 31 December 1895 the District Court issued a capias for Charles Noel. Nothing else reference this could be located.
  • Drunkenness- Charles was fine $5 for drunkenness in the District Court on 30 October 1896.
  • Disturbing the peace- Charles Noel was fined $5 for disturbing the peace on 2 January 1897--I guess the New Year's party got out of hand!
  • Paid the Fine- On 18 January 1897, Charles paid a fine for drunkenness. It is assumed that this is from the 2 January charge.
  • Liquor in the house- A small amount of liquor was found in Charles Noel's house located at the corner of State/Summer Streets in North Adams around 25 April 1898. Charles pled not guilty and remained under a $200 bond until 20 May. I didn't think having liquor in your house was illegal in 1898; Prohibition wasn't passed until 1920. Unless Berkshire was a "dry" county at the time. Maybe someone can explain this to me. On 5 May 1898 the case of Charles Noel "keeping a liquor nuisance" was tried and he was discharged--I'm assuming that means found not guilty.
  • Arrested in raid- On 3 October 1898, Charles Noel was arrested in a raid of the Berwick house on Holden Street in North Adams. He secured a $200 bond. He appeared in court the next day for the charges, but the case was continued to the following day. The following day, 5 October, Charles Noel was found guilty of drunkenness and keeping a disorderly house. He appealed both cases. On 17January 1899, Charles plead guilty to keeping a disorderly house. No fine or disposition of the case was noted in this article. On January 21, the charge of keeping a disorderly house was "filed away".
Is it just me, or did Charles seem to have a little problem with alcohol?

After this, the newspapers are silent about Charles Noel--about the same time he was reported to be in New Hampshire. Thus far, no trace of Charles can be located in that area in that time period.

Charles was enumerated in the 1910 North Adams census with his parents. Charles' marital condition was listed as married for 27 years--the number of years he and Mary would have been married had they not divorced.5
At the time of his father's death in 1923, the obituary listed Charles as living in Milford, Massachusetts. Again, no record of Charles has been found in or around Milford in that time frame. In the 1930 death of his mother, the obituary listed Charles as living in Brockton. Charles does not show up in the 1930 Brockton census.5,6 It is not known where and when Charles Noel died or is buried, if he remarried, if he had any more children; nothing at all can be learned about him after 1899.

Mary Baker Noel was enumerated in the 1910 census in Randolph, MA. She is listed in a residence on North Main Street with her mother Julia Hover Rand; her brother William; her sister Hattie and Hattie's husband William Ryan and their daughter Julia; and Maude's daughter Helen Nolan. Edgar Noel and his wife Josephine were also living in Randolph with their daughter Viola.
The 1920 census shows Mary living in Brockton, MA. with her mother, Julia Rand, her brother William Baker, her half brother David Rand, and Helen Nolan.
The 1930 census shows Mary Baker Noel living with Preston, Helen Nolan's 8 year old son by husband Frank Noel.5

It is unknown if Charles and Mary's son Edgar had the problem with alcohol that Charles seemed to have. It is known, however, that Edgar's son Russell was an alcoholic.9

In 1940, Mary Baker was mentioned in this letter, which indicated that she was the last one in that generation that was still living.10. Mary Baker died sometime after 1942, as she was listed on Edgar's WWII draft registration card as his next of kin. She would have been 77 years old at that time.8

1. Birth records from New England Historic Genealogical Society
2. Marriage records from New England Historic Genealogical Society
3. Death records from New England Historic Genealogical Society
4. Copies of birth, marriage and death records obtained by lookup volunteer Julie.
5. Census Records
6. Obituaries and news articles from North Adams Transcript.
7. Divorce record obtained by lookup volunteer Julie
8. Military Records
9. Personal recollections of Joseph Russell Noel, Jr. (Russell's son)
10. Copy of said letter shared by Barbara G.

This page was updated March 20112.

Creative Commons License
Noel Family of Brockton, MA by Jolynn Noel Winland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
What does this mean?