Fonds 575 William J. Noll

William J. Noll fonds. — [ca. 1914-1953]. — 4 cm of textual records. — 128 photographs. — 6 postcards. 


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Biographical Sketch

William John Noll was born January 15, 1895 in Parkdale, Minnesota, the son of Sebastian Noll and Anna Leibel. Sebastian and Anna were married September 19, 1889 at Sacred Heart Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. William’s brothers and sisters included Edward, Ida, Anne, and Frances. The family appears to have moved to Almena, Wisconsin between the births of William and Francis and it was here that Sebastian died in 1915 (buried at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, near Almena).

In the Spring of 1914, William left Almena and travelled to the Grande Prairie area over the Edson Trail. He filed on a homestead (SW 21-74-8 W6th) on October 30, 1913 and arrived on the land in April 1914. Living nearby were the Frank and W. J. Kinderwater families, who were also from Almena. The Kinderwaters’ brother Joseph Charles Kindervater was married to Ida Noll, William sister. William lived with the Kinderwater family for a while in 1916. He was also a partner of H. C. Plum in the packing business and worked on Plum’s Bar 33 cattle ranch on the Smoky River. William became a naturalized British subject in August 1917 and obtained the patent to his land in January 1918.

William enlisted in the Royal North West Mounted Police in 1918 as a way to get into WWI. According to the Buffalo Trails community book, when he left the area, he left a note on his door saying “Hell of a way to water, Hell of a way to wood, Am leaving this __ ___ country and leaving it for good.” He did return for at least one visit in 1922.

Before enlisting, in April 1918, he had invested in petroleum and natural gas leases for LS 13 and 14 of Sec. 4-50-10-4, LS 1 and 2 of Sec. 22-49-12-4, LS 1 and 2 of Sec. 1 and 2 of Sec. 18-48-13-4, and LS 13 of Sec. 32-49-13-4. Unfortunately these investments did not pay off after the war.

William enlisted in Regina on May 3, 1918 and was assigned to the RNWMP Battalion of the Canadian Cavalry Regiment, A Squadron. He achieved the rank of Trooper and his Regimental Number was 2684235. William served in Great Britain and was finally discharged July 16, 1919. He did not return to his ranch. By the time he joined the Great War Veterans Association, Regina Branch in 1919, he was living in Deronda, Wisconsin, where he became a telegrapher. William later quit and became a cheese maker, also in Deronda. He registered for a dairy course at the University of Minnesota, November 16, 1920, but “lost out” November 18 and became a street car conductor instead. He was fired from that job in December 1921 after a year of service.

William moved to South Bend, Washington and became a clam digger in Spring 1922, then after six weeks of work become a logger May 1, 1922 for the Nemah River Log Co. Later the same year he moved on to the Beaver Creek Log Co. on the Veronica line, where A. R. French also worked. He returned to Nemah River awhile later, but went on strike. Following this, in Spring 1923, he (and perhaps A. R. French) went to the Big Creek Log Co. at Knappa, Orgeon, then to Scappoose, Oregon, where they worked from August 1, 1923 until Spring 1924.

In the Spring of 1924 Noll partnered with Alva R. French, who had been a lieutenant in the American air force during WWI, and Earle M. Shahan in the airplane business. Initially French was the pilot and Shahan the manager. The company owned two planes, the Skylark and Silver Swallow (Canuck) and gave rides to people, mainly along Oregon’s Pacific coast (Corvallis, Newport, Tillimook, Salem, etc).
William started his flight training in May 1924, did his first solo flight on July 26, 1924, and was rapidly involved with flying passengers for pay. William unfortunately crashed the Skylark on October 2, 1924, reducing the number of planes to one. He became frustrated with Earle Shahan’s criticism and on November 2, 1924 left to make his own way.

William worked as a “gandy dancer” at Rock Creek on the Vancouver Line and the East Side Log Co. through November and December. When work ended before Christmas, Noll and French decided to go to Mexico to find flying jobs and got a ride with Fred “Wing” William Wenge. The group stopped in El Paso, Texas, after making a short trip down to Juarez, Mexico. Fred was arrested December 29, 1924 in El Paso for car theft and the following day Noll and French were also arrested. While Fred remained in custody, Noll and French were released on December 31, 1924. Since there were no promising opportunities in Mexico, they decided to return to Portland.
William appears to have resumed his flying career in March 1925 around Oregon, Washington, and perhaps British Columbia and California, maybe even with his former partners. He appears to have taken a break from flying through the first part of 1926, to resume, perhaps only briefly in July 1926 with flights around Idaho.

The rest of William’s life is known only from brief mentions in official records. By 1930 he was living in Vancouver, Washington and identified himself as a pilot. He was naturalized back to an American citizen on September 5, 1935, at which time he was living in Warrenton, Oregon. By 1940 he was living in Clatsop, Oregon and identified himself as a caretaker.

William’s WWII registration card listed him as living in Warrenton, Oregon. An application form from ca. 1952 for enrollment in the USAF Extension Course Institute in Montgomery, Alabama indicates that he received his original commission in February 1942. He was serving with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Astoria Squadron, Oregon Wing at the time of his application, but there is no evidence he actually sent the form or was accepted.

William Noll died June 11, 1963 and is buried in the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, although his Social Security was issued in Oregon. It appears that he was never married and had no children.

Custodial History

The journal was loaned for copy to the Archives in July 2014 by Chris Kinderwater. It had previously been preserved by Clem Kinderwater, son of Frank Kinderwater. Frank Kinderwater and W. J. Kinderwater’s brother Joseph Charles Kindervater was married to Ida Noll, William Noll’s sister. Frank and W. J. Kinderwater and William Noll were neighbours in Almena and in the Peace River Country. We assume that William either sent the journal to the Kinderwaters or brought it with him on a visit, sometime after 1953, which is the latest attachment/photo in the book. Other genealogical notes included in the journal are thought to have been added by Clem Kinderwater.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of a journal kept by William J. Noll from about 1914 to 1925. It records events in his life including homesteading in the Peace River Country, enlisting in the RNWMP and WWI, working in various industries including Oregon’s lumber camps, and becoming an early commercial pilot in Oregon. The journal includes written entries, photographs, posters, some employment records, receipts, tickets, cards, and newspaper clippings. Several other loose records are inserted into the pages of the journal, including a WWI medal, Great War Veterans Association membership booklet, 1935 US naturalization papers, correspondence about his homestead and petroleum and natural gas leases, [ca. 1952] USAF course application, and 1917 Canadian naturalization papers. Two pages of genealogical notes presumed to have been written by Clem Kinderwater are also inserted.

The journal ends rather abruptly in January 1925 as William is on his way from El Paso to Portland. The final entry states “Contd in next book.” Subsequent book(s) have unfortunately been lost.

The original order of the journal has been maintained, including the original position of inserted material.

Note

Biography Sources: WWI Attestation papers,Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Social Security Death Index, William Noll Grave Record, Canadian Great War Project, Grande Prairie Herald (February 22, 1916), Buffalo Trails community book (p. 219, 228, 265), 1930 and 1940 US Census, 1916 Canada Census, passenger lists, WWII registration card, naturalization papers (1917, 1935).

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William J. Noll, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 5.5 x 7.5 cm
William J. Noll in Almena, Wisconsin, before travelling to the Peace Country in the Spring of 1914.
Location: 2014.061.003a
 
On the Edson Trail, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 8 x 6 cm
The wagon on the Edson Trail.
Location: 2014.061.003b
 
Mail Crossing the Little Smoky River, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 5.5 x 8 cm
“Royal Mail Crossing the Little Smokey River Alta. Can. Trail was unfit for wagons, so the mail was packed in on horses.”
Location: 2014.061.004a
 
H. C. Plum, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 8.5 x 5.5 cm
“My partnar H. C. Plum. The best pal a man ever had. Overlooking Smokey River flats. The best cow ranch ever put outdoors.” See also 2014.061.06a
Location: 2014.061.004b
 
Bar 33 Ranch, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 7 x 6.5 cm
Bar 33 Ranch, owned by H. C. Plum. The photograph shows cattle and a cowboy.
Location: 2014.061.004c
 
William J. Noll, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 6 x 8 cm
William J. Noll in the Peace River country. “My first moustache and proud of it.”
Location: 2014.061.005a
 
William J. Noll’s Cabin, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 10 x 7 cm
William J. Noll’s log cabin in the Peace River country. “Home sweet home.”
Location: 2014.061.005b
 
H. C. Plum, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 12 x 6.5 cm
“Plom over looking Smokey Flats.” William’s partner H. C. Plum on horseback. See also 2014.061.04b.
Location: 2014.061.006a
 
William Noll, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 7 x 9.5 cm
William J. Knoll in frontier garb sitting outside a cabin and rolling a cigarette. “I wouldn’t walk a foot for a Camel. I roll my own.”
Location: 2014.061.006b
 
Wapiti River, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 7 x 9.5 cm
“Wapiti River on trail to Bar 33.”
Location: 2014.061.007a
 
Mrs. H. C. Plum, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 5 x 8 cm
Mrs. H. C. Plum with three bear cubs.
Location: 2014.061.007b
 
Wapiti River, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 7 cm
Landscape photograph of the Wapiti River.
Location: 2014.061.007c
 
Lake Saskatoon, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 6.5 cm
Group of men in the back of an ox cart in Lake Saskatoon.
Location: 2014.061.008a
 
First Nations Trappers, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 6.5 cm
“Indians on way to trap line Bar 33.”
Location: 2014.061.008b
 
H. C. Plum With a Fox, 1914
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
“H. C. P. with cross fox caught on ranch.” H. C. Plum leading a horse carrying a fox caught on the ranch. The ground is covered with snow.
Location: 2014.061.008c
 
Leaving for the Homestead, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 7 x 6.5 cm
“I leave for my homestead with some lumber. for floor It’s about time too. I have lived in it for two years with[out] one.” William J. Noll and an ox-drawn wagon.
Location: 2014.061.011a
 
Sawmill, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 7 cm
A small sawmill. “Gypo layout.”
Location: 2014.061.011b
 
Men with Bear Cubs, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 5.5 x 7.5 cm
William J. Noll, H. C. Plum, and T. Moroney (fire ranger) with three bear cubs outside a tent. “Bar 33 summer range Smokey River.” See also photograph 2014.061.105a.
Location: 2014.061.011c
 
Frank Kinderwater’s Homestead, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 7 x 9.5 cm
Children on horses at Frank Kinderwater (Kindervater)’s homestead.
Location: 2014.061.012a
 
Old Smoky, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 7 cm
The Old Smoky townsite showing various buildings, including Bezanson’s Restaurant and a couple of pool halls.
Location: 2014.061.012b
 
Lake Saskatoon, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 6 cm
“Bull teams at Lake Saskatoon.” A group of men on a wagon pulled by oxen in Lake Saskatoon.
Location: 2014.061.013a
 
Bar 33 Ranch, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 6 cm
Cowboys on horseback at the Bar 33 ranch. “Lords and Masters of all we survey Bar 33”.
Location: 2014.061.013b
 
Canoeing on the Smoky River, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
Three men (H. C. Plum, William J. Noll, and possibly T. Moroney (fire ranger)) and three bear cubs in a dugout canoe on the Smoky River. See also photograph 2014.061.150d.
Location: 2014.061.013c
 
Lake Saskatoon, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 7 cm
“Bull team.” A group of men on a wagon pulled by oxen in Lake Saskatoon.
Location: 2014.061.014a
 
Mrs. Plum on the Smoky River, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
“Mrs. H. C. Plum in doughout canoe on Smokey River summer range.” Mrs. H. C. Plum paddles a dugout canoe on the Smoky River.
Location: 2014.061.014b
 
Leaving for War, 1917
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
William J. Noll on horseback leaving to go join World War I. “I leave the ranch to go to war Winter 1917.”
Location: 2014.061.014c
 
Mr. and Mrs. Plum on the Smoky River, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
H. C. Plum and his wife with a dugout canoe on the Smoky River. “Plum and wife summer range. Happy days.”
Location: 2014.061.015a
 
William J. Noll, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 6 x 9 cm
A portrait of William J. Noll taken as a passport photo, but never used.
Location: 2014.061.015b
 
William J. Noll in Uniform, 1918
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 10.5 cm
A portrait of William J. Noll taken in his wartime Royal North West Mounted Police uniform in Carlisle, England, 1918.
Location: 2014.061.019a
 
William J. Noll with a Gun, 1916
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 10 cm
“Bring on your moose or what have you? Canada 1916”. William J. Noll in a homestead yard holding a gun.
Location: 2014.061.024c
 
Mrs. Plum and William Noll, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 17 x 12 cm
Mrs. H. C. Plum and William J. Noll leading horses on the Bar 33 ranch in the Peace River country.
Location: 2014.061.104
 
William Noll, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 6 x 6 cm
William J. Noll with a horse on his home ranch.
Location: 2014.061.104
 
Men with Bear Cubs, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
William J. Noll, H. C. Plum, and T. Moroney (fire ranger) with three bear cubs outside a tent on the summer range at Smoky Flats. See also photograph 2014.061.011c.
Location: 2014.061.105a
 
William J. Noll on Horseback, [ca. 1915]
1 photograph; b & w; 9.5 x 4 cm
William J. Noll on horseback, tied to a steer. “I was tied on to a young steer and couldn’t get loose.”
Location: 2014.061.105c
 
At the Edison Hotel, Portland, August 12, 1953
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 8 cm
“The three “Muskees” Aug 12-’53”. Three men outside the Edison Hotel (likely in Portland, Oregon).The three men may be A.R. French, William J. Noll, and Earle Shahan.
Location: 2014.061.150a
 
Canoeing on the Smoky River, [ca. 1917]
1 photograph; b & w; 7.5 x 5.5 cm
Three men (H. C. Plum, William J. Noll, and possibly T. Moroney (fire ranger)) and three bear cubs in a dugout canoe on the Smoky River. See also photograph 2014.061.013c.
Location: 2014.061.150d
 
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