Sunday, December 10, 2006

Last living descendant of W.T. Hearne: James Noel

Out of the blue last week, I got a call from Kathy Smith, a local Historical expert from Lee's Summit, Missouri. Through her historical work, she had the acquaintence of James Noel (pronounced Nowl, rhymes with bowl), who is the remaining living direct descendant of W.T. Hearne, author of Hearne History, who died about 1913 .

I was able to talk to Jim on the phone. He is now 90, but clear in thought and nimble of wit. He has a good memory for facts, and many binders of notes. He has W.T. Hearne's original notes for the book, as well as the copper plates from the original printing. Handed down through the family are many heirlooms, including jewelry and one of the original chairs from the family's dining set from England.

Jim's aunt was Maggie Barkley Lee, the daughter of Fannie S. Hearne and Dr. J. C. Lee. Fannie was the daughter of William T. Hearne, the author of the book.

Maggie Barkley Lee married James Noel, had a son Lee Noel. He had no survivors; no children. Lee inherited the W.T. Hearne house in Independence. The house was donated to the truman heritage foundation.

James' brother is Forrest Noel, who married Jean Stribling. This is Jim's father.

Here are some other notes from my discussion:

"Aunt Mag stayed in Lee's summit until 1914. Ms. Lee and Aunt Mag Hearne lived in Uncle William's house, and moved in with them in 1917, with Lee opened up a savings and loan and insurance business. Mag and son Lee living in the house. Uncle Jim died about 1963, son Lee died about 1967-8, Aunt Mag Noel died about 1967.

"The family came to Lee's summit about 1870, and started buying land, bought by the Unity Church. A 20 story tower, Mag Hearne and Aunt . His first wife, her mother in laws farm bought by state of State of Kentucky where they built the State capital of KY and the Unity Tower.

"When the Hearne family cam to virginia about 1680, the family had a furniture buisness in london, and had shipped over a dining room set mhogany and 8 leather upholtered chairs. Somebody has the other chairs. Around page 130 something, there's a reference to the table and chairs.

"Granddad bought land from Alexander Majors, who created the pony express. He bought that farm out of bankruptcy in 1887. James Noel lived and worked on that pony express farm, 48 years with state of Missouri." (Note: Kathy Smith says the pony express did not actually pass through the farm.)
I'm sure Jim would be delighted to hear from you. He thinks nobody cares about Hearne's anymore:

James Noel
P.O. Box 1015
Lee's Summit, MO 64063

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