A Noble site on Frenchmans Road

By Donald A. Windsor

Deputy Historian, Chenango County

In spite of the dire admonition by Thomas Wolfe in the title of his 1934 novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” many of us do. And, of course, we suffer the consequences. Things change and “home” is no longer home.

Daniel B. “Dan” Noble knows this very well. His birth home once stood along Frenchmans Road in the Town of Plymouth. The site is now part of state land and Frenchmans Road has long since been abandoned. All that remains are a stone-lined cellar, a well, and foundations of a barn, a silo, and a few outbuildings.

Dan was born in the house atop the cellar in June 1932. The Great Depression was well under way and the economic plights of most people were severe. When the depression hit, jobs vanished. But Dan’s father, Mr. Daniel A. Noble, had found work at a watch factory in Connecticut. That factory soon failed and the family returned to the Preston area. Mr. Noble had no job, but he did have a pregnant wife and two little boys to support. A farmer on Frenchmans Road, who sold his farm to the state, had 30 days in which to harvest firewood. He hired Mr. Noble to cut the wood for 50 cents a face cord and the use of the abandoned house for the month. Wood was money, so Mr. Noble spent every waking hour chopping and sawing wood, by hand, even by lantern after dark. Of course, chain saws were not available then.

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