Biography of Noble Henry

Daniel Boone has a counterpart in the subject of this article. A noted trapper, a skillful hunter, a doughty pioneer, a veritable leader of frontiersmen, it is eminently fitting to grant space in the history of Nez Perces County to Noble Henry.

He was born in Indiana, on October 8, 1838, the son of Joseph and Ellen (Fisher) Henry. The father died on December 15. 1892. aged seventy-eight. He built the first house in the Grande Ronde valley, in i860, and was a pioneer in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. He was a native of Ohio and died on the reservation. The mother of our subject was also a native of Ohio and her parents were Pennsylvania Dutch.

Noble acquired little schooling in Michigan, but has spent much time in careful research since, and is a well informed man. When nine, he settled with his father in Iowa, seventy-five miles from neighbors. Later they went to the various states mentioned above and in i860, came to Grande Ronde valley and both took claims. Our subject held the land where Union now stands and sold his relinquishment for seventy dollars. In 1861, he commenced packing and in this line he was exceptionally skillful.

He packed out of Lewiston for eighteen years, having a train of nearly one hundred animals, handling nineteen thousand pounds. Lewiston was a great shipping point in those days and Mr. Henry was one of the best known transporters of freight in the entire country. In the ‘seventies he settled in Asotin County, Washington, and commenced to raise stock. There he remained until 1899, when he came to the reservation and settled on his allotment, the entire acreage of his family being nearly one thousand. Mr. Henry has the following brothers and sisters: Frank, in the Okanogan country, Washington; Joseph, in Stockton. California: Lorenzo, residing near Lapwai; Lorin G., in Umatilla County, Oregon; Marinda, wife of James Allen, on the John Day; Eliza, wife of Mr. Brintner at Mason City, Iowa; Mary, wife of Mr. Black, in Iowa; Sarah, wife of Robert Sutton, in Okanogan County, Washington.

In 1868, Mr. Henry married Tanacama, a Nez Perces Indian woman. Her parents died when she was very young and she was raised by a sister. She is a sister of old chief Jonah, now living on the reservation, aged seventy-five. Mrs. Henry has one sister, Mealets, wife of J. Maxwell, who deserted her recently.

To Mr. and Mrs. Henry there have been born nine children: Mary A., wife of Frank Broncho; Louisa, wife of Edwin Broncho; Jane, wife of William Smith, all living’ on their allotments in the reservation; Joseph, aged twenty-two, who is master of the carpenter, shoemaker and baker trades; John, aged twenty, a blacksmith and engineer; Benjamin, aged seventeen, a shoemaker; Frank, aged fourteen, and Lorin aged nine, both attending the Indian school. The sons of Mr. Henry are all notable musicians and are members of the band. In fact, they have displayed great skill and talent in this line and it is to be hoped that they may seek training further to develop the latent ability.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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