Trumbold Families

William Nokes

William Nokes was born on January 27, 1807, to Jacob and Mary Fuller Nokes in Swanton, Franklin County, Vermont.  He married Almina Twombly, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Twombly, before 1828 when his first child was born.  Their children were:

Richard, born about 1828, VT

Alonson, born June 29, 1830, VT

Norman, born July 12, 1832, VT, who died when he was 2 years old

Mary Nokes, born December 30, 1834, VT, who married Jephtha Wilson

Elizabeth M., born April 20, 1837, NY, who married George Harrison Bradney

William Niles, born October 14, 1839, IL

Velida, born March 22, 1842, IL, who married Henry H. Clifford

Melissa, born February 8, 1845, IL, who married William Thomas Beckman

Anna J., born July 10, 1848, IL, who married Hiram Dennison Shafer


There was another William Nokes in Swanton, his uncle who was involved in smuggling activity.  There was an embargo on English goods but the northern Vermonters were able to take advantage of their nearness to Canada to smuggle goods into the US by water.  In 1808, a boat called the Black Snake was outfitted for smuggling and was caught by the border patrol.  During the fight that ensued, three government men were killed and there were bounties placed on William Noaks' head along with 6-8 others1. 


1830 Vermont census, lists William Nokes in Franklin County, Swanton, page 109

          2 FWM between 20-30             ( William, 23, and a brother (?)

          2 FWF  between 20-30             (Almira, 21, and a brother’s wife  (?)

          3 FWM under 5                        (Richard, 2, and Alonson, 1month, and (?)


William’s brothers, George and John, also married Twombly girls (Elizabeth and Hannah).  Almina’s twin sister, Almira, married Jefferson Cleaves also from Swanton, Vermont, who came to Illinois in 1836.  Cleaves’s father, Nathaniel, had received a grant of 360 acres of land in Section 15 of Lee Township, Brown County2, and perhaps persuaded his in-laws and their families to join them in Illinois.


The 1840 Illinois census for Brown County lists Wm Nokes as head of this family:

          1 male 30 - 40                           (William, 33)

          2 males between 10 and 15       (Richard, 12, and Alonson, 10)

          1 male under 5                         (William Niles, age 1)

          1 female 30 - 40                        (Almina, 31)

          1 female between 5 and 10       (Mary, 6)

          1 female under 5                       (Elizabeth, 3)


I conclude from this that the William Nokes family had moved to Brown County, Illinois before 1840, probably before October, 1839, because the 1850 census states that William N. (the one-year-old in 1840) was born in Illinois.   There are no other Nokes or Twombly families listed in Brown County for the 1840 census.


In March 1849, William's brother, John, bought 160 acres in Lee Township (NE 1/4 Section 30) from Laban Paddock (Hudson, NY) for $250 plus taxes for 18473. Perhaps several family members lived on this land with John's family.


The 1850 Illinois census for Brown County (9/28) for Township 1S R4W (Lee) shows

     William Nokes, 45, farmer, $500 value of real estate, born Vt.

          Almina, 42, born Vt.

          Richard, 20, born Vt.

          Mary, 16, born Vt.

          Elizabeth, 13, born NY

          William N., 11, born Ill.

          Velida, 8, born Ill

          Melissa, 5, born Ill.

          Ann J., 2, born Ill.


The 1850 Mortality Schedule for Brown County lists William, age 45, died of cholera.  His occupation is shown as farmer and he was born in New York (?)4.


There is no record of William's burial but his wife, Almina, who later married John D. Morris, is buried with her second husband in Cleaves Cemetery in Brown County.  Her stone marker reads “Almina Nokes, wife of John D. Morris, March 8, 1809-March 5, 1884”5.


[Can we presume that William is buried there as well along with at least 20 other Nokes-Twombly family members?]


Source Notes

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

2.      The Brown County Board of the Schuyler Brown Historical and Genealogical Society, Cemeteries of Brown County, Illinois, 1825-1972, 1975, page 95.

3.      Brown County, Illinois Deeds, from Laban Paddock to John Nokes, March 24, 1849, page 621.

4.      U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index, Sect. XIII, Ch. 9.

5.      The Brown County Board of the Schuyler Brown Historical and Genealogical Society, Cemeteries of Brown County, Illinois, 1825-1972, 1975, page 96.