Family Stories

Four Kays Siblings Marry Four Noel Siblings – Garrard County, Mercer County, Washington County and Beyond

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Not sure you will get that many today, but the above picture started a search for the Kays, Huffman, Noel, Smith and other entwined families of central Kentucky.

In the above picture we have, left to right, Sarah Kays Phillips, Squire T. Kays and Susan Kays Kays.  Sarah and Susan are sisters; Susan is married to Squire.  Yes, all three have the same birth name – Kays.  Squire was the son of William A. Kays and Rebecca Noel.  Sarah and Susan were the daughters of Solomon Kays and Nancy Noel.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Our story begins in Lincoln County on April 4, 1795, when George Kays (1770-1817) married Mary Huffman (1777-1839).  George was from Pennsylvania, Mary from Virginia.  They settled in Garrard County and raised a large family of ten children.  George became ill in 1817 and wrote his will July 31; it was probated in November, his illness must have been serious.  His estate was left to wife Mary (Polly) during her life and widowhood, then to be equally distributed to his children, which are named in the will – John, Jane, Betsy, William, Solomon, Jesse, James, Polly, Henry and Patsy.  George and Mary are buried in the Kays Farm Cemetery in Garrard County.

Will of George Kays

Garrard County Probate Book D, Pages 434-435

In the name of God, amen.  The thirty-first of July in the year of our Lord 1817.  I, George Kays, of Kentucky in the County of Garrard, being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God for the same, and calling to mind the mentality of the body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul to God that gave it and for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a Christian-like and decent manner at the discretion of my executor, doubting not but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, and as for things, such worldly estate which it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give, devise and dispose of in the following manner, that is to say in the first place I give and bequeath unto Polly, my dearly beloved wife, all my property during her life and widowhood.  Also, my father and mother to have the privilege of continuing on my land and plantation during the lives.  I also appoint Polly Kays and Reuben Taverant my sole executors.  At the expiration of the said I wish my property to be equally divided between my ten children, which is to say John, Jane, Betsy, William, Solomon, Jesse, James, Polly, Henry, and Patsy.  I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testament, wills and legacies, requests, executors by me in any way before this time named, willed and ratified and confirm this and no other to be my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date before written.

                                      George Kays

Leroy Brown, Charles Kays, Robert Clark

Garrard County Court, November Term 1817

This last will and testament of George Kays, deceased, was exhibited in court at the house and proved by the oath of Charles Kays and Robert Clark and ordered to be recorded and the same has been admitted to record.

Benj. Letcher, Clerk

The second couple we are interested in are John Muscoe Noel (1771-1845), from Cumberland County, Virginia, and Elizabeth Smith (1775-1843) of Bourbon County.  The couple married February 21, 1792, in Mercer County, afterwards settling in Washington County.  They are buried in Glens Creek Cemetery.  John and Elizabeth’s children were Rebecca, Nancy, Elizabeth, Henry and Lucinda.

Why do I introduce you to both families?  Four Kays siblings married four Noel siblings.

James Harrison Kays, (September 9, 1805 – January 2, 1898), married Elizabeth (Betsy) Noel, (December 20, 1809 – October 8, 1900), March 10, 1825, in Garrard County.  This couple first moved to Indiana, then in 1877 moved by wagon to Denton County, Texas.  They are buried in Pilot Point Community Center Cemetery.

Know all men by these presents that we, William Kays and Muscoe Noel, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky, in the penal sum of fifty pounds current money to the payment of which well and truly to be made to the said Commonwealth. We bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 20th day of February 22, 1822.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a license about to issue for a marriage intended to be solemnized between the above bound William Kays and Rebecca Noel. Now, if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage then the above obligation to be void. Else to remain in full force and virtue.

William Kays, Muscoe Noel

This is to certify that I am willing for a license to issue for a marriage to be solemnized between my son William Kays and Rebecca Noel. Given under my hand and seal this 20 day of February 22.

Mary Kays, Witnesses William Hamner, Jesse C. Kays

William A. Kays, (1801-1852), married Rebecca Noel, (June 25, 1799 – August 20, 1884), February 20, 1822, in Mercer County, moving afterward to Washington County.  Their children, taken from census records, included Elizabeth, Davis, Henry, Martha and Squire.

Know all men by these presents that we, Solomon Kays and John Kays, are held and firmly bound unto th Commonwealth of Kentucky in the penal sum of fifty pounds current money to the payment of which will and truly to be made unto the said state, we bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly and severally firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 3rd day of March 1824.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a license about to issue for a marriage intended to be solemnized between the above bound Solomon Kays and Nancy Noel. Now if there be no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage then the above obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue.

Solomon Kays, John Kays

Solomon Kays, (June 26, 1803 – April 17, 1883), married Nancy Noel, (September 15, 1803 – November 10, 1875), March 3, 1824, in Mercer County, moving afterward to Washington County.  Their children, from census records, were James, Sarah, Lucinda, Susan, John, and Little.

Henry Noel marriage Polly Kays, April 5, 1830, son of Moscoe Noel, daughter of Polly Kays.

Mary Kays, (1807 – September 8, 1889), married Henry Noel, (1811-1894), April 5, 1830, in Garrard County.  In 1857 they moved to Owen County, Indiana.  Their children were George, James, William, John, Isaac and Elizabeth.

Squire T. Kays, (November 19, 1841 – February 16, 1919), his parents and siblings lived in Washington County in 1850.  His father died before the next census, 1860, and his siblings were married, living with their families in their own homes.  Squire, 18, and his mother, Rebecca, 52, lived in the family home.  When the war started Squire volunteered for the State Guard at Harrodsburg, Mercer County.  He received a pension for his service beginning August 29, 1890. 

January 6, 1867, Squire T. Kays and Susan Kays (October 31, 1838 – October 15, 1921), were married by Jesse S. Robinson on January 6, 1867, in Washington County.  Smith Kays and W. Montgomery were witnesses.  Squire and Susan were double first cousins.  The couple had two daughters that were listed in census records.  Paralee Kays was born in 1868, Hannah was born in July 1869.  Hannah died at the age of 4 in 1873.  Paralee married James W. Colvin, December 14, 1884.  They had one daughter, Susie, named for her grandmother.  Paralee died in 1901; Susie lived with her grandparents, listed as 22 in 1910. New information – a reader says that her grandfather, Roscoe Colvin, was also a child of James and Paralee. There was also a sister, Hannah Colvin. Thank you!

As with the Coulter couple from a few days ago, the later Kays and Noel families lived in the Willisburg area of Washington County.  A small community is a precious place to grow up – everyone knows everyone, neighbors are willing to help neighbors.  Squire, Susan, Paralee and Hannah are buried in Antioch Christian Cemetery in Willisburg.  Solomon and Nancy Noel Kays are also buried there.

2 replies »

  1. Thank you. I have this picture & this is my family. I only had the info in the 2nd to last paragraph so I thank you very very much for your hard work on this. Although he is not mentioned ( in the next to last paragraph)here my Grandfather Roscoe Colvin is Susie’s brother and they had another sister named Hester. Sent from my iPad

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