Trumbold Families

John Nokes

  John Nokes is the first Nokes that we can identify as our direct ancestor.  He was born about 1750, possibly in New York.  He married Clement (born about 1752) and had at least nine children: 

Morris, born about 1768

A female, born about 1770, who later married Joseph Summerix

John, born about 1772

William, born about 1774

George, born about 1776

Jacob, born 1778

Stephen, born about 1780

Esther, born 1782, who later married John Asselstine

Simon Pelotes, born about 1786


History books1,2 say that John Nokes was one of Swanton's first settlers and settled on the west side of Hog Island, now called West Swanton, Vermont as early as 1787, coming with his wife and children in a canoe from Whitehall, New York, down Lake Champlain.  This history book also says that Nokes was of Dutch extraction.  There is some sentiment that he may have had Loyalist leanings and was intending to go north to British-held Canada but fell about 20 miles short in Vermont.


There is mention3 of a John Nokes who served in1776 in the Revolutionary War under Col. John Knickerbacker in New York's 14th New York Regiment (Hoosack & Shaghtecooke) most of whom came from Albany. I do not know if this is our forefather.


The first town meeting recorded in Swanton was held March 23, 1790, and John Knox (must be Nokes) was chosen a selectman4.


The Grand List for 1798, the first recorded tax list, shows that John Nokes paid $300 in taxes, the second highest on the list. The Grand List for Swanton in 1800 shows John Nokes paid $119.70 taxes.  This is again one of the highest amounts.  John Nokes was on the "General List" for Highgate, Vermont, for the years 1800 and 1804.  Highgate is as close to Canada as you can get.


John Nokes is listed in the 1800 Vermont census in Swanton, Franklin County, Vermont, aged over 45 (John, 50) with a woman over 45 (Clement,48), a boy (Stephen, 20?) and a girl between 16 and 26 (?), 2 boys between 10 and 16, and a boy (Simon, 4) and girl (Esther, 8) under 10 years of age.


His son, John Nokes, is also listed in the 1800 Vermont census (page 75) as living in Highgate, Franklin County, aged 26 - 45 (John. 28) with a woman 16 - 26 and a boy and girl under 10 years of age.  Another son, Morris, married Azubah Knapp in 1792 and is listed as living on Isle of Mott in Franklin County, Vermont.  Presumably the unnamed female who was approximately 30 years old had already Joseph Summerix. 


In 1802, he sold his farm in Highgate upon which he had been living5 to William Wilson of Highgate for $50.


John apparently continued to still be engaged in farming based on descriptions of his land and personal property in probate documents.  At his death in 1819, documents6 show that his estate was valued at $239.50 personal property and he had 60 acres of land valued at $780.  His debts were described at being $211.18.  The will is dated from 1810 and does not mention all his sons (perhaps because these younger sons were still single?).  The estate was left to his wife and when she died was to be left to a son-in-law, Joseph Summerix:


"I do give and bequeath unto by beloved Wife Clement Nokes all my real and personal property during her life.  I do also give & bequeath unto Joseph Summerix my Son in Law all my real and personal property at her decease except the household furniture which is to be divided between my two daughters and the said Joseph Summerix paying out at my wife's decease to George Nokes, Simon Nokes, Stephen Nokes my Sons each of them twenty-five dollars." 


John apparently could not write and signed the documents with an X.


A Nokes descendant in Vermont said that John was buried on Hog Island and had a marker at one time in a barnyard on a turkey farm.  We have no knowledge of when Clement died or where she is buried.


Source Notes

1.      Ledoux, Rodney R., The History of Swanton Vermont, The Swanton Historical Society, Inc., 1988, page 28.

2.      History of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont.

3.      New York in the Revolution as Colony and State [1904], section on Middlesex County, NY, page 127.

4.      Ledoux, Rodney R., The History of Swanton Vermont, The Swanton Historical Society, Inc., 1988, page 33.

5.      Vermont Deeds, Franklin County, Nokes to Wilson, January 26, 1802.

6.      Franklin County Probate Records, Estate of John Nokes, will prepared on June 25, 1810 and proved in Swanton, VT, on May 7, 1819, Pages 308-315.